well-being week in law

At the 2024 Future Is Now: Legal Services conference, Patrick Krill and Bree Buchanan, leading researchers and strategists in lawyer behavioral health, discussed the elusiveness of well-being in the legal profession.

Startling data reveals how stress and anxiety, which can lead to maladaptive coping mechanisms, can be woven into the fabric of the profession. However, addressing these realities and advancing structural changes needed to reduce behavioral health challenges has not always been a priority in the legal profession, where competitiveness, perfectionism, and productivity can rule all.

During their Future Is Now panel, Patrick and Bree shared realistic advice lawyers and legal employers can use to support the health of individuals and the profession as a whole, like prioritizing rest and rejuvenation and emphasizing a lawyer’s value outside of their billable hours, as outlined in this Law360 article.

Well-Being Week in Law (WWIL), which is organized annually by the Institute for Well-Being in Law (IWIL), also aims to raise awareness about attorney mental health.

This year, WWIL will be held May 6-10. Individuals or legal workplaces can register and/or participate in various ways by utilizing the resources on the website.

A ‘Well-Being New Year’

This year’s WWIL theme is “Well-Being Reboot: A Fresh Start for Positive Change,” which embodies both a clean slate for well-being action plans and behavior change toward greater well-being.

The week includes CLEs, resources, and daily “challenges” focused on and equipping attorneys with actionable well-being practices and encouraging innovation across the profession.

Each day of the week also has a specific well-being focus:

  • Monday: Stay Strong (Physical Well-Being)
  • Tuesday: Align (Spiritual Well-Being)
  • Wednesday: Engage & Grow (Career and Intellectual Well-Being)
  • Thursday: Connect (Social Well-Being)
  • Friday: Feel Well (Emotional Well-Being)

Below, we’ve outlined four ways that lawyers can make a tangible difference in their mental health and well-being this week.

1. Explore well-being resources

Visit the IWIL website to view and download resources covering an array of topics like developing workplace well-being policies, how to better align your core values with your work, ways to uncover and use your strengths to support personal and professional growth, and breathing and meditation guides.

You can also check out your local Lawyers’ Assistance Program. The Illinois Lawyers’ Assistance Program offers free and confidential help for Illinois lawyers, judges, law students, and their families concerned about alcohol abuse, drug dependency, or stress-related issues like anxiety, burnout, depression, and many others.

Finally, click here to read one of our blogs on how to introduce well-being practices into your life as an attorney.

2. Conduct “mini well-being experiments”

IWIL encourages WWIL participants to engage in daily “mini well-being experiments.” These simple activities are the first steps toward long-term, positive change.

Some of the mini experiments include:

  • Increasing your step count throughout the day;
  • Performing small acts of kindness;
  • Building breaks into your workday;
  • Practicing civility in your workplace; and
  • Taking a mental health and well-being self-assessment.

Click here to download a full list of mini experiments from IWIL.

IWIL has also created a 31-day mental health challenge for Mental Health Awareness Month in May. Click here to download the calendar.

Additionally, if you consider reading for pleasure as a mini well-being experiment, here are some book recommendations from fellow attorneys (and a few more).

3. Attend a CLE

IWIL will host live webinars on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday that correspond with each daily well-being focus, most of which will be available for CLE credit. For example, on Monday, lawyers can support their physical well-being by attending a virtual session in yoga, ballet, Peloton, boxing, or high-intensity interval training.

Or take one of the following free, online well-being CLEs from the Commission:

The Illinois Lawyers’ Assistance Program also provides on-demand well-being CLEs on its website.

4. Connect with others via social media

Use your organization’s social media to show and spread support for lawyer well-being by sharing well-being content. IWIL provides social media posts, graphics, and logos for free. Click here to download the materials.

You can add photos of your well-being week activities to the IWIL photo wall to find community with others who are participating.

Also, consider sharing a post of gratitude or kind words for someone who has positively affected your work or a note of affection for a friend. IWIL has provided a tool for sending kind messages directly.

How will you be marking WWIL? Share in the comments below.

Staying up to date on issues impacting the legal profession is vital to your success. Subscribe here to get the Commission’s weekly news delivered to your inbox.

Survey Reveals the Characteristics Attorneys Want in Law Firm Culture  

Law Firms Lose 10% of Staffing Costs Due to Employee Mental Health, Study Finds

Well-Being Needs to Be Part of the Legal Profession’s DNA

The post 4 Ways Lawyers Can Participate in 2024 Well-Being Week in Law, May 6–10 appeared first on 2Civility.