Young Lawyers Division, 0419 UTBJ, Vol. 32, No. 2. 66

AuthorMichael F. Iwasaki
PositionVol. 32 2 Pg. 66

Young Lawyers Division

Vol. 32 No. 2 Pg. 66

Utah Bar Journal

April, 2019

March,

2019

Fit2Practice:

Ways to Improve Our Mental Health and Personal

Well-Being

Michael F. Iwasaki

How

many times have we heard that being an attorney is stressful?

Whether you are working at a big firm, solo practice firm, or

a government agency, stress seems to be a universal theme for

the legal community. As attorneys, we are trained to be

tough, hard-working professionals. From day one of law school

until retirement, we seem to be on a constant rollercoaster

ride of highs and lows, from negotiating a huge settlement

one minute to being berated and threatened by an angry client

the next. It is easy to get caught up in this chaotic world

and lose sight of our personal well-being. It is with this

understanding that various individuals and organizations have

recently begun the long-overdue task of studying and

promoting mental health awareness and improvement of

well-being within the legal community.

Recognizing

the Problem

In

2016, the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer

Assistance Programs (CoLAP) and the Hazelden Betty Ford

Foundation conducted a study to measure the prevalence of

substance abuse and mental health concerns among attorneys.

Patrick R. Krill, Ryan Johnson & Linda Albert, The

Prevalence of Substance Use and Other Mental Health Concerns

Among American Attorneys, 10 J Addict Med 1 (Jan./Feb.

2016). Of the 12,825 attorneys who responded to the survey,

20.6% showed signs of potentially hazardous and harmful

alcohol-dependent drinking. Furthermore, it was noted that

the prevalence of mental health issues among attorneys was

significant, with 28% of respondents experiencing depression,

23% having high levels of stress, and 19% showing signs of

anxiety. Id.

The

results of this study were concerning enough that it led to

the creation of a task force and the ABA Working Group to

Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession. Anna Marie Kukec,

Working Toward Well-Being: Tools Help Lawyers and Legal

Employers Deal with Substance-Abuse Disorders, available

at

http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/wellbeing_lawyers_

substance_abuse_toolkit (Jan. 2019). They developed and

presented Resolution 105 in 2018, asking all stakeholders in

the legal profession to review and consider recommendations

made in the report The Path to Lawyer Well-Being:

Practical Recommendations for Positive Change, by the

National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being. Id. at 2.

This report concentrated on different methods for reducing

stress and promoting well-being by providing recommendations

and action plans for all legal profession stakeholders,

including law schools, employers, regulators, bar

associations, and...

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