Practicing law – even in a busy firm with lots of people running around – can be isolating, which is why it’s important to maintain healthy social connections in and out of the office.
This becomes even more important during the holidays, which bring additional stressors.
The solution is to prioritize the creation and cultivation of healthy relationships. But this doesn’t happen by accident. It requires intention.
Don’t neglect your family. Schedule time for family, friends and personal activities like exercise as rigorously as you schedule work commitments. Join a new professional group. Sign up for a well-being committee at your state or local bar association. Engage in community work and public service.
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Well-Being is an Ethical and Professional Responsibility
- ABA Model Rule of Professionalism 1.1 Competence: “A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.”
- ABA Model Rule of Professionalism – Preamble:  Many of a lawyer’s professional responsibilities are prescribed in the Rules of Professional Conduct, as well as substantive and procedural law. However, a lawyer is also guided by personal conscience and the approbation of professional peers. A lawyer should 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.”
Staying grounded in a profession as stressful as the law is imperative. Here are some ways to do it:
- Yoga and other mind/body practices
- A “quiet room” in the office
- Going into nature
- Deep breathing
- Turn off screens and machines
Well-Being is Essential in a Pandemic
More than one in four workers say their mental health has suffered during the pandemic. Seventy-seven (77) percent say receiving support for their emotional well-being will become even more important in the coming months, and 74 percent say it is important for managers to show empathy.
Almost all say they will need the tools, training and enlightened leadership required to help them adjust to working remotely and other aspects of the new normal.
What can law firm employers do? Work on “soft” management skills, starting with communication, empathy and wellness support.
Ask for Help if Needed
To keep your law office thriving, eliminate the stigma of seeking help for stress, substance use, burnout and other issues. Cultivate a supportive and caring climate. Protect confidentiality.
Contact your state bar’s Lawyers Assistance Program or seek professional help elsewhere.
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