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Let's Kill All The Lawyers?

Dick the butcher famously declares in the play Henry VI, Part II, "First thing, let's kill all the lawyers". Shakespeare was imagining a moment that might have happened in the unfolding of Cade's Rebellion, and the sentiment expressed by the character Dick, was not meant to be taken literally-- quite to the contrary.

In order for the rebellion to succeed, lawyers (who were the foundation upon which society had been built) had to be compromised or, in the words of the butcher, killed. The scene was intended to inject a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor into an otherwise turbulent time-- I think of Dick the butcher as I might think of a certain someone else, who shall remain unnamed.

I'm recalling that particular line right now, not because I subscribe to it's literal meaning, but rather, because it captures so clearly the current dilemma that apparently confronts so many of the legal profession's leaders, when it comes to the issue of well-being-- will lip service (which costs little, if any, money) suffice, or do we actually have to do something (which will cost money, and other precious resources)?

Killing all the lawyers is an extremely unpleasant and illegal notion (pun intended), but it serves to make the point-- the point at which many who are in a position to act, seem to be stuck. Speaking for myself, those people need to get unstuck. It's time to put on a pair of big-boy (or big-girl) pants, and make a decision-- it's time to act.

Well-being is no longer something that'd be, "nice to have" in or around the office. That's an anachronistic attitude that needs to be reassessed, and changed. Counterintuitively, many Managing Partners or members of law firm Management Committees have given the concern about lawyer well-being, short shrift. Respectfully, that kind of thinking has got to stop.

Lawyer well-being is not anathema to PPP (profits per partner). In point of fact, the promotion of well-being among lawyers should be seen as an ally to leaders of law firms and other institutions in the legal profession. A well lawyer is more effective lawyer, and that is exactly what clients both need and expect-- it's also what the Rules of professional conduct require.

Allow me to again re-emphasize that I do not propose that all the lawyers should be killed. I do, however, propose that the apparent attitude of skepticism about the importance of well-being, come to a timely end. It's a necessary thing to do, and it's the right thing to do.

Let's help all the lawyers-- let's help them to be well!


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