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If I Was Michelle Obama....

Just the other day, I read an announcement about Oprah Winfrey's "Wellness Tour" and guess who is joining her, to add some much-needed (not) celebrity bounce?

A woman who is: 1) A former BigLaw lawyer who, 2) Grew up and practiced law in, "Da Great City of Chicaga", and 3) Is lending her name and status to the wellness advocacy cause. Sounds like someone I'd like to work with, to promote lawyer well-being!

Query whether she has read the Report generated by the National Task Force for Lawyer Well-Being? If not, I'm guessing she'd find it to be sadly reminiscent and starkly enlightening--as well as very hopeful! Both the Report and the related Well-Being Toolkit for lawyers and legal employers, are tremendous resources-- not exactly easy reading, but incredibly informative. ( Full disclosure: Yours truly is identified in the Toolkit as a well-being speaker & consultant ).

Being a former practicing lawyer myself, I understand that we-- as a profession-- are not held in high esteem by many members of the public. That being the case, lawyer well-being may not be at the top of the list in terms of issues that non-lawyers care about. But it matters to me. And, I would think, it should matter to anyone who is a former, or current, practicing lawyer.

There are lots of causes in the world, and I certainly understand that no one person can lend his or her name to all of them, but I believe that lawyer well-being is a concern that both warrants and requires the support of those who enjoy the good fortune of being able to bring the attention of others, to concerns that they choose to champion-- particularly if one is a lawyer, one's self!

The numbers support that claim. And so does the anecdotal evidence that anyone who knows a lawyer is well-acquainted with. The practice of law is inherently rife with conflict, consequence and high emotion. Add to those things, client needs and expectations, as well as the business demands of partners-- not to mention the bullet-proof persona that lawyers are expected to cultivate-- and you've got all the ingredients needed for a human pressure-cooker, the likes of which many of our best and brightest, are ill-equipped to deal with.

Where are the champions of our cause? Who is going to advocate for us -- the men and women to whom others turn for counsel, advice and assistance? Why, if I was Michelle Obama.....


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