ABA Publishes “Toolkit” for Lawyer Well-Being

Lawyers are a lonley lot. See Washington Post, American Workers Are Already Lonley. Here Come the Robots (Mar. 30, 2018) (reporting that sixty-one percent of the lawyers in sample “ranked ‘above average’ on a loneliness scale”). With that (sad) fact in mind, the ABA in 2017 created a “Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession” in an effort “to examine and make recommendations regarding the current state of attorney mental health and substance use issues with an emphasis on helping legal employers support healthy work environments.” See ABA Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession (Dec. 26, 2018). In December 2018, the Working Group published a “Well-Being Toolkit for Lawyers and Legal Employers” to provide guidance to lawyers and law firms interested in the well-being initiative. A two-page summary of the “Toolkit” recommendations is available here: Well-Being Toolkit Nutshell—80 Tips For Lawyer Thriving. Here’s a summary of the summary:

  1. Make the legal workplace healthy by: creating a culture of trust, providing mental health support, selecting effective leadership, encouraging civility, assigning projects to those best fit to handle them, recognizing and rewarding accomplishments, permitting lawyers to manage their workloads, and encouraging work-life balance.
  2. Address lawyer well-being on six dimensions: occupational; emotional; physical; intellectual; spiritual; and, social.
  3. Be aware of warning signs for mental-health and substance-use disorders.
  4. Destigmatize help-seeking.
  5. Enhance lawyer autonomy and control.
  6. Elevate the firm’s focus on client care.
  7. Practice mindfulness.
  8. Permit adequate time for lawyer rejuvenation.
  9. Develop grit, resilience, and optimism.
  10. Manage stress.
  11. Cutlivate meaning and purpose for legal work beyond compensation.


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