Opinions of the General Counsel, 1119 ALBJ, 80 The Alabama Lawyer 468 (2019)

AuthorRoman A. Shaul
PositionVol. 80 6 Pg. 468


Vol. 80 No. 6 Pg. 468

Alabama Bar Lawyer

November, 2019

Roman A. Shaul

Lawyer Wellness and Preventing Bar Complaints

Since this month's edition is devoted to lawyer wellness, I decided to take this opportunity to give you my views on the subject. In January 2014,1 was getting ready for a three-week trial in Kansas City, Kansas, on a case I had worked on for well over two years. This case required that I leave my home in Montgomery almost every Sunday or Monday and not return home until Thursday, Friday or even Saturday, at times. After picking the jury in the case, we settled. Back in my hotel room, I reflected on what we accomplished and tried to make a note of all the people who helped make the case a success. I remember sitting there in silence and could literally hear myself breathing and gasping a little each time I inhaled. I stepped on the weight scale in my room; it showed I had gained more than 30 pounds in the last two years. As someone who had always taken pride in being healthy, I realized I had given up part of my identity. Realization #1:1 lost my sense of self.

Because I had blocked out most of January for the trial in this case, I was able to go home early each night over the next few weeks and made it a point to build in time with my wife and two kids (now three kids-another product of being home). However, my kids began to look at me rather strangely and asked, "Why are you home?" I realized I had become a stranger in my own house. Realization #2:1 lost my sense of family.

As those next few weeks in January played out, I took the opportunity to reestablish relationships with friends and extended family and renew my involvement in community and church activities. However, I noticed that the groups and organizations with which I was once intimately familiar had changed. While I was gone, everyone went on without me. Time gave my friends and family new experiences, new memories and a new conversant language that excluded me because I had not been there. Realization #3:1 lost my sense of community.

I realized that my losses were the results of my choices and from the way I had prioritized and marginalized the things in my life. I had a close-knit family, worked at a wonderful law firm and had amazing, supportive friends. There had been plenty of time to build in "metime" or "ustime" during that two-plus year period; I just did not...

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