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The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Now is the Winter of our heart's discontent, and if you've read or seen Shakespeare's Richard III play, you know things will likely get much worse before they get better. The old adage is that art imitates life, and when it comes to wellbeing or mental health-- specifically, in law firms-- you know in your bones that it's true.

Which is the long way of saying that the notions of wellbeing and mental health are being paid plenty of lip service, but little of substance is actually occurring. Candidly, I believe the reason is money--compensation and other policy considerations (like protecting the sanctity of the billable hour) that impact profit margins.

The very things that undermine concerns about lawyer wellbeing and mental health, are the reasons that wellbeing and mental health init1atives are being scuttled or marginalized by the powers that be. I think that's shameful, and it relegates responsibility for those concerns to the individual-- where (sadly) they'll likely languish and die, because of other pressing personal demands.

Admittedly, that's a pretty bleak outlook, but after 5 years of labor on the proverbial rock I feel compelled to tell it like it is. To quote another of the Bard's famous characters (Hamlet), I can tell the difference between a hawk and a handsaw.

I once naively believed that the legal profession-- the business world, in general--would change priorities, and elevate that value of human beings, over money. I've (finally) learned that lesson, and now know better.

The more things change, the more they stay the same-- as it turns out, there's more truth to that old saw than many of us would like to believe.

It's the only kind of "change" that the institutional world can really get behind.


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