Sep 12, 2021
There are many efforts underway around the country to help lawyers address stress in the practice of law. Several years ago, the Report of the Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being was issued by the American Bar Association, Conference of Chief Judges, and other legal organizations. It called well-being an essential element of a lawyer’s duty of competence.
In Massachusetts, there is an organization called Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers which helps attorneys deal with substance abuse and some of the underlying causes of attorney anxiety and depression and there are similar organizations in many states. In January of 2020, The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts created a Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being. The Standing Committee is charged with planning and overseeing efforts to enhance the well-being of lawyers, judges and law students in the Commonwealth and is doing a great job of educating these different constituencies.
As summer is coming to a close and the pandemic rages on, I thought this was a good time to revisit the subject of attorney well-being. And if you happen to be Jewish like me, this is generally a great time for self-reflection and thinking about the changes you want to make in your life. So with the start of the New Year, Jewish or not, I was pleased to welcome Shailini George, a professor at Suffolk University School of Law.
Shailini is someone who has thought a lot about the subject of attorney well-being and just published a book called The Law Student’s Guide to Doing Well and Being Well. She was also co-author of Mindful Lawyering: The Key to Creative Problem Solving. Shailini teaches legal writing at Suffolk and focuses her scholarship on lawyer well-being, mindfulness, and the cognitive science of learning. In this episode, we talk stress in the practice of law and about what Shailini calls distraction addiction. She offers strategies for addressing stress and distraction in order to become a more productive, effective and happier lawyer.