There’s a free resource from the ABA that can help you and your team stay balanced and healthy in these uncertain times.
It’s the ABA Well-Being Toolkit, which contains best practices, online resources and even an 8-Step Action Plan for implementing a wellness program in your practice.
“This Toolkit is designed to help lawyers and legal employers improve well-being holistically and systemically,” says attorney and psychologist Anne Brafford, one of the Toolkit’s creators. “This goal will require new choices, considerable effort, and changes that likely will upset the status quo.”
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Included in the ABA Well-Being Toolkit:
- Why lawyer well-being should be a priority
- Definition of lawyer well-being
- Definition of a healthy workplace
- 8-Step Action Plan for legal employers
- Guidance for a Policy & Practice Audit to evaluate what supports and harms well-being
- Recommendations for activities, events, education and development to include in your Action Plan
- Ideas for assessments to track progress on wellbeing goals
- Online resources and technology to help start and develop well-being initiatives
- Book recommendations
- A list of organizations that focus on lawyer well-being and can assist you in your efforts
- A list of speakers and consultants on well-being
- An Activity Workbook that contains Worksheets with hands-on activities and checklists for enhancing well-being that can be used individually or collectively
Three Reasons You Should Focus on Well-Being
1. It’s good for your business. “Organizational success depends on lawyer wellbeing, which is an important form of human capital. Worker mental health and alcohol use disorders cost businesses billions. Additionally, work-related well-being in the form of employee engagement is linked to organizational success factors, including lower turnover, higher client satisfaction and loyalty, and higher productivity and profitability. But most workers (67 percent) are not engaged, which means that organizations are not getting the full benefit of their people’s talent. Low engagement also is linked to turnover—which often is problematic for law firms. A 2016 survey by Law360 found that over 40 percent of lawyers said that they were likely or very likely to leave their firms in the next year. This high turnover rate is expensive—with estimated costs for larger firms of $25 million every year. Improving engagement and other aspects of the workplace culture also is likely to help retain Millennials. A key driver of work engagement and psychological health is the experience of meaningful work, which is what Millennials say they want.”
2. It’s good for your clients. “Well-being also is good for clients and the integrity of the profession. All state professional codes of conduct require lawyers to provide competent representation, which suffers when lawyers’ health declines. Troubled lawyers can struggle with even minimum competence. This can be explained, in part, by declining mental capacity due to mental health conditions. For example, major depression and alcohol abuse is associated with impaired executive functioning, including diminished memory, attention, problem-solving, planning, and organizing—core features of competent lawyering. Poor well-being also disables lawyers from living up to the vision conveyed in the Preamble to the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which calls lawyers to ‘strive to attain the highest level of skill, to improve the law and the legal profession and to exemplify the legal profession’s ideals of public service.’”
3. It’s the right thing to do. “Promoting lawyer well-being also is the right thing to do. For most of us, over 50 percent of our waking daily lives is spent working. Given the dominance of work, enhancing the quality of our work lives can have an enormous impact on the quality of our lives as a whole. Additionally, untreated mental health and substance use disorders ruin lives and careers. Though our profession prioritizes individualism and self-sufficiency, we all contribute to, and are affected by, the collective work culture. Whether that culture is toxic or sustaining is up to us.”
Source: ABA Well-Being Toolkit
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