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Lawyer Wellbeing: Do It For "The Gipper"?

Who, exactly, was "The Gipper", and why should anyone care? The answer to the second question is, there is no real reason to care (unless you're a Notre Dame football fan or a political scientist).

The answer to the second question is, George Gipp was a football player who was the first Notre Dame All-American, and was portrayed in a movie by Ronald Reagan (before being elected President of the United States). That bit of history aside, the relevant point of this post concerns lawyer well-being-- why is it so widely talked about, but so narrowly acted upon? Put more colloquially, what gives?

Maybe, it's about money? Maybe it's lack of imagination? Maybe it's just plain old indifference? Lord knows, the case has been made-- by scientists, statisticians, academics and business peers-- with an appropriate sense of urgency. Even the American Bar Association has weighed in by promoting a wellbeing Pledge campaign that has garnered more than 200 signatories.

But talk is cheap, and so are signatures to a Pledge that really doesn't have any teeth. In substance, it's largely "aspirational", and you can count on less than two hands the number of law firms that have actually put their money where their mouths are. Ditto re: law schools and other institutions that regard themselves as part of the legal profession. Again, one wonders-- what gives?

I've written very recently about doing for ourselves, what our institutions are apparently unable, or unwilling, to do. Let's leave the talking (or the pledging) to others, and start doing something for us. Wellbeing is ultimately something we do for ourselves, our families and our loved ones. Sure, firms and other entities benefit (and should be willing to support, lawyer wellbeing), but that's their decision-- hopefully, they'll find a way to join us, but in the meantime, we can make our own decisions.

We can be cheerleaders for "The Gipper", or we can be advocates-- and actors-- for ourselves. When I was practicing, I found a way to take care of myself-- you can, too!


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