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The Portrait Test

Quoting Annie Leibowitz (the portrait photographer of our time), on the factors that she weighs in conceiving a particular portrait: "When you photograph people, it's about history; it's about looking at our times; it's about our culture and society"-- it's also about legacy.

The idea of a portrait test is, of course, just an analogy, but it's significant-- it's an analogy that has real meaning. Is being a champion for lawyer wellbeing something that is significant for one's firm? For the broader legal profession? For our society?
I believe it is.

Workplace wellbeing-- specifically, wellbeing in the legal profession-- is a revolutionary cause that deserves the support of everyone who has already concrete steps toward instituting wellbeing in the workplace-- to all those people, a tip of the hat and a sincere, "thank you". But the cause still needs a champion.

Maybe the referenced portrait should include all of the men and women who have already made efforts to institute wellbeing initiatives in their respective law firms, or maybe a singular champion will emerge.

Whatever the case, workplace wellbeing-- and lawyer wellbeing, in particular-- has been the focus of intense advocacy in recent months and is all the things that contribute to Annie Leibowitz's definition of a meaningful portrait: It's historical; it's of our times; it's about our culture and it's about our society.

Piecemeal initiatives limited to individual firms are certainly important, but they're limited in their impact, and incremental progress is no longer an effective strategy. The days of wishful thinking and well-intended gestures are now in the rearview mirror.
Simply "building it", no longer means "they will come".

Lawyer wellbeing needs a champion-- someone worthy of a portrait (figuratively, if not literally). Who, among the profession's leaders, will assume that role?


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