Be Well, 0419 WYBJ, Vol. 42 No. 3. 48

Author:Maryt L. Fredrickson Ninth Judicial District Court & 307 Yoga LLC Jackson, Wyoming
Position:Vol. 42 3 Pg. 48
 
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Be Well

Vol. 42 No. 3 Pg. 48

Wyoming Bar Journal

April, 2019

Attorney

Resilience: A Spiral Up or a Spiral Down

Maryt

L. Fredrickson Ninth Judicial District Court & 307 Yoga

LLC Jackson, Wyoming

Resilience

is the capacity for stress-related growth and positive

responses. One of the primary characteristics of the practice

of law is stress. Consistent with that premise, attorneys

face a universe of stress-related physical and mental health

challenges widely publicized by the ABA’s Task Force on

Attorney Well Being and wellness initiatives by bar

associations.

The

legal profession would do well to focus on resilience as one

component to combat the stress-related ailments affecting the

profession. The corporate world has been focusing on building

resilience as part of employee wellness programs for years.

The military has as well. The ABA Task Force on Lawyer

Well-Being recommended that lawyers look to those models to

build resilience in its August 2017 comprehensive report,

The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations

for Positive Change.

A

Spiral Down to Un-Wellness

People

with low resilience tend to fixate on negative outcomes and

also tend to abandon self-care. Abandoning self-care may mean

making poor dietary choices, avoiding exercise, and

increasing the consumption of alcohol or other mood-altering

substances. These choices then spiral a person down to a host

of physical and mental health issues. The legal profession is

already plagued by high rates of depression, suicide,

anxiety-related disorders, and substance abuse. Building

resilience may be a step to reverse those trends.

People

with low resilience also tend to have less creativity for

solving problems. This is a significant detriment when our

profession depends on our abilities to solve problems for our

clients. People with low resilience also tend to take

criticism personally, resist feedback, and are overly

defensive. This type of downward spiral can lead to burnout

and higher rates of attrition.

Spiraling

Up to Resilience

Resilience

can be learned and can always be improved. Some attorneys

might be naturally resilient, others less so, and many may be

anywhere in between. Resilience may vary from scenario to

scenario, with some individuals being particularly resilient

in professional contexts but less so in personal matters, and

vice versa.

Building

resilience...

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