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“This may sound radical, but I’ll say it. Every lawyer should be practicing mindfulness.” This is a quote from Jeena Cho’s recent two-part article in Above the Law. The article discusses how compared to companies in corporate America, which have been actively implementing mindfulness programs, lawyers and law firms have been slow to adapt.

Cho and Karen Gifford are co-authors of the upcoming ABA book, The Anxious Lawyer, which introduces lawyers to meditation and mindfulness through a guided eight-week program. Together they also offer a number of CLE courses on mindfulness – find out more at http://theanxiouslawyer.com/.

Read part I and part II of “Why Every Lawyer Should Be Practicing Mindfulness.”

Don’t tell the boss, but it seems that lawyers who earn less are happier! At least those working in public interest settings report being happier than those in the pressure-cooker of BigLaw. “Lawyers With Lowest Pay Report More Happiness,” discusses how the factors lawyers most frequently associate with success do not actually correlate with happiness and well-being. A survey of 6,200 lawyers found that lawyers in public-service positions were more likely to report being happy than those with high incomes and prestigious law-firm jobs. Lawyers doing public-service work also reported drinking less alcohol.

You can read the full New York Times article here. For some added and insightful discussion on this topic, take a look at the comments section.

The ABA Journal coverage includes a link to the study, published in the George Washington Law Review.

For those who missed it, last month’s ABA webinar, “Colleagues Under the Influence: Licensure and the Impaired Lawyer,” is now available for purchase. In it, panelists examine addiction within the legal profession through a discussion on the science of addiction, how impairment relates to disciplinary action and ethical considerations, and how lawyer assistance programs are there to offer confidential assistance. Your ABA e-news recently featured the program in their article, “Colleagues under the influence: Signs, available help, obligations.”

The program is sponsored by ABA Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division and co-sponsored by the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP). Panelists include CoLAP Commission Member Linda Albert and CoLAP Advisory Committee Member Tracy L. Kepler.

A recent health care edition of GPSOLO features an article titled, “Out of the Darkness: Overcoming Depression among Lawyers,” bringing more awareness to the high rates of suicide, depression and mental health issues within the legal profession, and ways those who have been affected can get help. The authors point out how the problem is rooted in the nature of the profession, and how required disclosures to the bar may contribute to an already all-too-common reluctance to seek help. The article ends by providing warning signs for depression and suicide, as well as a number of ways lawyers can obtain confidential assistance.

Access the full article in the March/April 2015 issue of GPSOLO here.

In a recent law firm blog, attorney Stuart Mauney asks, “Where is the outrage?” He’s referring to underage and binge drinking, and the inadequate response to its dangers from the media and the public. He points out that despite the alarmingly high rates of abuse and the thousands of lives it harms each year, it just doesn’t make the headlines.

In 2014, a survey of law student well-being was conducted. Some preliminary results show that 43% of respondents reported binge drinking at least once in the last two weeks while 21.8% reported binge drinking at least twice in the past two weeks. 52.9% indicated that they drank enough to get drunk at least once in the last 30 days. This shows us that Mauney’s concern is well-founded in the legal arena, as well.

Mauney is an Advisory Committee member to the Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP) and Shareholder at Gallivan, White & Boyd P.A. You can read “Underage And Binge Drinking: Where is the Outrage?” in the firm’s Abnormal Use blog here.

LAPs in the News

Virginia Lawyers Helping Lawyers Honored for 30 Years of Assistance

Virginia Lawyers Helping Lawyers was recently honored in a ceremony before the Virginia Supreme Court in recognition of their 30 years of service to lawyers, law students and judges. At the ceremony, representatives of the Virginia State Bar and Virginia Bar Association praised the program for helping thousands of people over the years.

Read more here.

State Bar of Texas to Fund Treatment for Lawyers

The State Bar of Texas’ 2015-2016 budget allocates $250,000 to a fund that provides lawyers with money for substance abuse and mental health treatment. The contribution to the to the Sheeran Crowley Memorial Trust is an initiative of the Bar’s president-elect, Allan DuBois, whose one-year term starts in June.

Read more here.

A recent Asked and Answered podcast from the ABA Journal asks, “Would your practice be prepared if something happened to you?” The Journal’s Stephanie Francis Ward, together with two experts on the issue, discuss ways to prepare your practice so that you, your colleagues and your clients are protected in the event of death or incapacitation.

The podcast features Steve Crossland, former Washington State Bar Association president and chair of the WSBA’s task force succession planning, and Barbara Fishleder, executive director of the Oregon Attorney Assistance Program and author of the book Planning Ahead: A Guide to Protecting your Client’s Interest in the Event of your Disability or Death.

Listen to the Podcast here.

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