Washington has recently shed some light on what some are calling the “gray area” of the intersection between attorneys and marijuana in the state. The Washington State Bar’s Ethics Committee recently issued Washington Informal Op. 201501,  providing that an attorney may participate in a marijuana-related business if it is “separate and apart” from his or her law practice and does not affect his or her ability to comply with the state’s Rules of Professional Conduct. It further provides that an attorney may purchase and use marijuana provided that it does not interfere with the attorney’s ethical obligations to provide competent legal advice and otherwise.

For more on this, see this article in the Legal Ethics in Motion blog and the Washington State Bar’s Ethics Committee Advisory Opinion 201501.

The ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) has dedicated their Summer 2015 edition of TortSource to health and wellness. It includes an introduction by Lisa Bondurant urging readers to “step back…and ask yourself the tough questions,” and includes the following feature articles:

• Getting Lost in Our Own Lives, by Robynn E. Moraites, Executive Director of the North Carolina Lawyer Assistance Program

• Ending the Epidemic of Lawyers’ Depression and Substance Abuse Disorders, by C. Stuart Mauney

• Fitness and Exercise Ease Law Practice Stress, by Lisa Ramsay Cole

• Back into the Light, by C. Stuart Mauney

Access the entire TortSource newsletter here.

In case you missed it, the May/June 2015 GPSOLO Publication was dedicated to “Bumps in the Road for Young Lawyers,” and included a series of articles on addiction and wellness. Some features and columns you’ll find are:

How to Avoid a (Less than) Spectacular Burnout in Your Law Practice, By Shawn Healy

Ten Ways Successful Lawyers Respond to Career Setbacks, By Jeena Cho

Reviving Your Legal Career in the Wake of Addiction, By Ann M. Israel

Substance Abuse and Mental Health: Going Solo Isn’t an Option, By Patrick R. Krill

I Got Your Back: Recognizing and Helping Addicted Colleagues, By Robin Belleau, Tony Pacione

Anonymity or Disclosure? The Choice I Made about My Alcoholism, By Sarah L. Krauss

Signs and Symptoms: Knowing How They’re Different Can Make a Difference, By Patricia Spataro

GP MENTOR: Helping a Colleague over the Bumps, By Rodney S. Dowell

TECHNO ETHICS: Smoothing the Bumps in the Road for Young Lawyers, By James Ellis Arden

READY RESOURCES: Ready Resources for Bumps in the Road: ABA books and web resources for advice on handling your own bumps in the road.

Check out the entire publication here.

The recent ABA Journal article, “How lawyers can avoid burnout and debilitating anxiety,” proposes mindfulness, meditation, sleep, exercise and healthy eating as just some of the ways that lawyers can combat stress. While no one size fits all, lawyers can start by not accepting misery as the norm, knowing when to turn off the lawyer in them and letting go “of the belief, endemic to the profession, that expressing vulnerability is weakness.” The article also quotes CoLAP Chair Terry Harrell, who explains how it goes beyond the lawyer’s personal health; that practicing mindfulness also “translates into better lawyering.”

Read the full article here.

A recent Wall Street Journal article discusses how mindfulness – a practice that has already caught on in corporate America – is being embraced by attorneys, as well. About two law dozen schools nation-wide have introduced mindfulness into their curricula, some for course credit, with homework such as “deliberately losing an argument.” In addition, lawyers who have felt the pressure are shifting gears to become mindfulness coaches for other lawyers.

Learn more in the full article, “Lawyers Go Zen, With Few Objections.”

Lawyers Weekly has released a follow-up to their recent article in which Justice Marshall called upon young lawyers to join him and share their experiences with mental illness. In response to concerning comments about how admitting to mental illness is akin to “career suicide,” “Disclosing mental ill health should not cost your career” discusses the general unwillingness of lawyers to come forward for fear their competency will be questioned and their careers affected. Lawyers Weekly spoke with Michael McGarvie, from Victorian Legal Services, who elaborates on his belief that “suppressing conversations about employee mental illness only exacerbates a problem…”

Read the full article here.


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