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The Politicization Of Lawyer Wellbeing

Why is so much of the legal profession resistant to the issue of lawyer wellbeing? Why are so many leaders hesitant, if not downright skeptical? Granted, it is for the most part passive resistance, but it's still resistance-- and that is downright head-scratching.

The various health aspects of wellbeing have been clearly identified, and thoroughly documented-- tip of the hat to the lawyer assistance programs (LAP's) that operate so effectively in the various State jurisdictions. The business case for wellbeing has been illuminated and widely analyzed. The impact of so many women and men leaving the legal profession is measurable, and obviously costly. And yet, much of the profession quietly continues to resist-- what's up with that?

One theory is that it would be personally embarrassing for the people presiding over current resistance, to reverse course. Another theory is that support of lawyer wellbeing would be time consuming, and since time is (quite literally) money in so much of the legal profession, the prospect of promoting wellbeing among the women and men of the profession is not likely to gain much traction. Still another theory is the misperception that encouraging wellbeing among lawyers will make them "soft", and ineffective.

To all of the above, I say: Baloney. Or, perhaps, even more pointedly: "Get real"! We all know the most obvious way to stimulate change, is from the top down. But if the "top" won't act, proponents of lawyer wellbeing need to act from the bottom up. I'm talking grassroots-- you and me-- the so-called "little guys".

Several months ago, I wrote about the effectiveness of ERG's (employee resource groups) in accomplishing culture shifts, when leaders refuse to, or are incapable of, leading. Little did I imagine that lawyer wellbeing might be one of the sea-shifts in our profession driven from behind, as opposed to being led from the front.

So, maybe ask firm managers to open a seldom-used "war room", storage room or conference room, once a week to members of a self-led meditation club? Maybe start a voluntary physical exercise club? Or a home-grown eating/cooking/nutrition club?

Start some kind of wellbeing ERG in your firm, and see how many like-minded share your interest!



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