January 01, 2020

Technology and Well-Being: Friends or Foes?

The two are not incompatible; in fact, technology wisely used may be a valuable tool to enhance well-being.

Roberta Tepper

It’s  a strange situation. For years, many years in fact, a plethora of knowledgeable and wise people—including practice management advisors, legal tech consultants, tech-savvy lawyers and the Law Practice Division as a whole—have encouraged lawyers to embrace legal technology and the benefits it brings. Automate, go paperless, integrate, go to the cloud ... you’ve heard it all before, right?

Then in 2016, a report from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the American Bar Association made concrete what those of us who also work in the lawyer assistance world have known for many years. Lawyers have issues including substance use disorders, anxiety, depression and more that impact not only their professional lives but also their personal lives. What did it mean? Lawyers need to focus on wellness and well-being (not interchangeable terms, but that’s a topic for another article). The National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being was established and made recommendations that for many create a sea change of vast proportion in their focus on both wellness and well-being. 

This focus moved many to contemplate the negative effects of many parts of law practice, including technology. Is it possible the miracles of efficiency made possible by technology are also bad for us?  The short answer is, well, perhaps.

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