I entered the legal industry as a summer clerk with MinterEllison in 2016. At the time, I was still active with my other career as a professional adventurer. As an adventurer, I developed a panic disorder which caused me to have panic attacks leading up to my expeditions; often many months in advance.
My journey in understanding and managing my anxiety was long and varied and led to my becoming an ambassador for BeyondBlue and also sharing my story through speaking engagements, including delivering a TEDx talk in 2016.
When I joined MinterEllison, I was given the opportunity to contribute to the firm’s mental health initiatives by sharing my story both internally to our people and externally to our clients. For RUOK? Day, I travelled to all of the Australian MinterEllison offices to explain how I developed the ability to schedule my panic attacks before heading off on dangerous expeditions to Arctic Alaska, how I viewed my anxiety as the main cause of multiple failed expeditions, and how I learned to accept my anxiety and no longer view it as a weakness of mine.
As the legal industry is rife with mental health issues, being at a firm that endeavours to make progress in the mental health space is important to me. Personally, I have been given the opportunity to take extended leave so that I could continue to pursue some of my expeditions, and this has been integral to my own ability to maintain positive mental health in what is a very challenging industry. Moving forward, I see agile ways of working as a key area in driving positive change and I am heartened by the steps MinterEllison have been taking in this regard.
John Cantor, Lawyer, MinterEllison