November 5, 2021

Q&A with Richard Laufer, Chief Legal Officer

In this week’s ‘Q & A with…’ we chat with Richard Laufer, Northern Health’s Chief Legal Officer.

What’s your coffee order?

If I trust the place, a long macchiato, if not, drown the coffee with milk.

Tell us about your career at Northern Health?

I started in 2015 as a lawyer with a mainly medical portfolio. Now as Chief Legal Officer, I am responsible for the entire legal and FOI function of the health service.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Some form of exercise at 5:30 am and am usually at my desk around 8 am. I try to spend the early hours of the morning focusing on urgent, or overnight matters that have come up and then work through other matters. The legal team need to be dynamic as we have many matters that can last for weeks, but also have Court deadlines and urgent last minute clinical issues. Once I get home and the 3 and 5 year old kids are in bed, (and if I get my way) it is general lights out and bed time for me by 9 pm.

How has COVID-19 impacted your day-to-day work?

It has required the team to shuffle our working arrangements and be dynamic. There have been some fascinating legal and ethical issues that have come about as a result of COVID-19 which my team has been involved with. Over recent weeks, I have been locked up in home isolation with my family due to my daughter having COVID-19, which has been a challenge and eventful! It has highlighted to me that the liver is the unsung hero of COVID-19 for me.

What was your career before Northern Health?

Before becoming a lawyer, I was an Osteopath. Prior to Northern Health, I practised at a law-firm in medical and regulatory law. I often worked for various AHPRA Boards in regulatory misconduct matters and advised aged care facilities.

How can our staff best live the values of safe, kind and together?

COVID-19 has highlighted more than ever the need to look after each other and communicate in a positive manner. Without face masks, a simple smile can go a long way. With face masks, a simple ‘hello, how are you’ can lead to a more positive outcome. It goes back to the age old saying – ‘treat others the way you want to be treated’.

What would people be most surprised to know about you?

I played state grade rugby union and chess. Oh and I once had an “afro”.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Spend as much time with my family (including the fur baby), watch NFL (go Chiefs), or go for a run to clear my mind.

If you could describe Northern Health in one sentence, what would it be?

A diverse and growing health service where no two days are the same, and its strength is its passionate staff.