The Mindfulness Blog

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Let's cut through all the noise and politically correct nonsense about lawyer wellbeing. Law firms, bar associations and many leaders of the legal profession have been largely disingenuous about the the whole thing.

Naivety is hard to own up to, but there comes a time when all the cheerleading and hand-clapping begins to ring hollow, and the blush of lip service is off the proverbial rose. It's time to stop talking, and start chalking (to use an old pool hall phrase).

To date, the chorus being sung by a large swath of the legal profession is best summed up by the Pet Shop Boys in their song, "Opportunities":

You've got the brawn,
I've got the brains,
Let's make lots of money!

Lawyer wellbeing is decidedly not about making money. Sure, wellbeing can contribute to the bottom line in a number of ways that have been discussed and written about by some (including myself), but that hasn't proven to be persuasive in any meaningful way. Money is a powerful antidote to persuasion-- just ask Gordon Gecko-- the Wall Street character played so compellingly by Michael Douglas.

Any student of history will know that the noble profession of law was not always associated with money-- that seems to have only occurred in the last 100 years or so, with the widespread adoption of the billable hour as the metric by which lawyer productivity should be measured, and billed. Turns out, unfortunately, the ascendancy of the billable hour seems to have eclipsed interest in lawyer wellbeing.

Can that ever change? Of course, but only if the legal profession can shift from being seen as a field of endeavor that cares largely about  making money, to one that cares first, about people. Money has become the lifeblood of the legal profession but it's that's a short-term game, without a commensurate recognition of lawyer wellbeing.

The simple wisdom of a common adage, pretty much sums it up: Money can't buy everything-- and it's not anathema to lawyer wellbeing!


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