The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change
Created on January 22, 2018
Abraham Lincoln advised that "the best way to predict the future is to create it." Presently, the leaders of our legal profession stand at a crossroads in this construction effort. To maintain the status quo is not an option. Too many in our profession are too exhausted, too impaired, too disengaged, or too self-absorbed to develop into their best selves. Many find themselves in a profession drained of civility and compassion and plagued by chronic stress, poor self-care, and high rates of depression and alcohol abuse. The result is that the profession is not living up to its full potential as an institution in which attorneys can thrive, best serve their clients, and contribute to a better society. Further, research shows that the current state of lawyers' health cannot sustain a profession that depends upon the public trust, and is grounded in a tradition of self-regulation.
In this program, panelists James Coyle and Tracy Kepler will provide information on two recent studies that revealed the high rates of substance use and mental health disorders among law students and lawyers, statistics that served as catalysts for a Report from the National Task Force on Attorney Well-Being. They will present recommendations to multiple legal stakeholders, including legal employers, regulators and bar associations, on what they can each do to institute a culture change so that well-being becomes a priority. Much focus will be placed on Rule 1.1 (competence) of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and the recognition that well-being is an essential aspect of competent and ethical practice. The speakers will present information on how all members of the profession can work to promote attorney well-being, and in so doing ensure fitness to practice, competent representation and ethical engagement.
- Examine the various statistics demonstrating the prevalence of substance use and mental health disorders in the legal community
- Develop best practices that legal organizations can utilize and implement in order to ensure and improve attorney well-being
- Identify the ethical obligations that attorneys and legal organizations have to promote attorney well-being, with a particular focus on Rule 1.1 (competence) of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct
Please note: this course will be for general credit only in Virginia.
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