Imagine the Occupational Safety and Health Administration fining a U.S. law firm for working its associates too hard. That’s more or less what happened in Australia, where state-level workplace safety regulators took action after concluding that onerous hours are jeopardizing lawyers’ mental health. 

“It’s so counter to the U.S. approach,” said Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe chief talent officer Siobhan Handley. Putting aside the Trump administration’s indifferent attitude toward enforcement, such a measure would seem inconceivable in the U.S., where overworking tends to be a matter of pride.