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Maybe Lawyers Are Not As Smart As We Think We Are

Being a retired lawyer myself, I absolutely believe that the law-- and lawyers-- are critical to the foundation of a functional society. But as stewards of the law, does that necessarily mean that we're really all that smart?

Book smart? Check. A studied understanding of statutes and common law precedent (in the UK, Commonwealth nations and the United States). Check. "Street smart"? Not necessarily, and too often, not at all. Forward-thinking (as opposed to slavishly loyal to the principle of stare decisis and lock-step observation of current rules and customs)? Definitely, not so much. Let's face it: We lawyers are a mixed bag, when it comes to smarts.

For instance, what do we think/know/care about personal sustainability? Or our work environment? Or the fundamental notion of wellbeing? Maybe we should think/know/care more about those kinds of things-- maybe should concern ourselves a bit more about actually doing something about those kinds of things. Maybe we should begin looking at the proverbial forest, and stop obsessing about the trees?

Conferences built around a growing number of intentional, like-minded people who care about the concerns mentioned above are all well and good--more than that, they're absolutely necessary to the dissemination of information and the growth of awareness. With all respect, however, as someone who has dedicated my share of blood, sweat and tears to conceiving and promoting those kinds of conferences, I believe now is the time for the legal profession to put up (even though "we"-- the wellbeing advocates-- will never shut up).

The statistics are legion, and the data are unassailable. What's missing is the commitment of the profession's leaders to do something about it. To stem the tide of growing work-related illbeing and begin building a foundation for what the profession will look like in 5 years. Or 10 years. Or 20 years.

The profession has turned a blind eye far too long to lawyer wellbeing, and the wellbeing of men and women who support us lawyers. The present-- and the future-- of the profession, is in the balance.

Let's get smart!


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