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New Rules (For Professional Competence)

Beginning with the Golden Rule, I propose the legal profession declare a new rule-- call it the Golden Rule 2.0: DO WELL UNTO YOURSELF, TO MAXIMIZE COMPETENCE IN DEALINGS WITH, OR ON BEHALF OF, OTHERS.

To be clear, I'm not advocating for any kind of selfish favoritism toward oneself-- I am arguing that lawyers should prioritize their own wellbeing, in order to provide others with the best possible advocacy and representation. Secondarily, I'm confident that legal institutions like law firms, bar associations and other professional organizations will benefit richly from the wellbeing of their constituents.

I'm not talking about any kind of "holier than thou", kind of attitude about wellbeing. I believe that any effort to cultivate a simple level of happiness and contentment with one's own life will inevitably result in closer connection with others-- be they family, friends, clients, work peers or opposing counsel. Even seemingly remote senior partners, judges and others in high places.

Whether it be physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing, emotional wellbeing, financial wellbeing or any other form of wellbeing, all are important to our sense of ourselves and our place in the world. The skepticism no longer seems to be about whether wellbeing is important. Rather, most leaders are hesitating because of the breadth of the challenge. And so, the status quo continues--though it clearly needs to change.

I say, out with the old rules, and in with the new. The legal profession prides itself in its ability to deal effectively with difficult facts or circumstances, and what could be more deserving of the profession's ingenuity, than the challenge of folding wellbeing into its existing business model?

It's time for new rules in the legal profession, and the adoption of a new Golden Rule 2.0 would be a propitious place to start!


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