January 18, 2019

National Mental Health Day for Law Schools - October 10, 2018

The ABA Law Student Division has officially moved Law School Mental Health Day to October 10. On and around this day law schools are encouraged to sponsor educational programs and events that teach and foster breaking the stigma associated with severe depression and anxiety among law students and lawyers.

To Hell and Back: One Lawyer’s Path to Recovery. A YouTube Live Presentation  

In recognition of Law School Mental Health Day, the American University Washington College of Law will host a YouTube Live event featuring Laurie Besden, Pennsylvania Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers Executive Director, who is in recovery with an incredible story to share.

Laurie had a privileged upbringing.  She graduated college with a 3.97 GPA, and was in the top 15% of her law school class. On paper, Laurie is the definition of success. Laurie is also a drug addict…

Listen as Laurie candidly shares her story of crippling addiction, and ultimately, redemption. Learn how the District Attorney approached the case and her current thoughts about it. Understand what it is like to be approached by a caring individual, with their experience strength and hope, even when you are not ready to accept your state of affairs. It is never too early or late to plant “the seed of hope."

The session, "To Hell and Back: One Lawyer’s Path to Recovery," will run live from 2:00-3:00pm Eastern and then be available for replay. The YouTube link is http://auw.cl/tohellandback

This session will move you. Please share Law School Mental Health Day activities with #LawStudentWellness.

Sponsored by the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs, Law Student Division and Young Lawyers Division.

Rewiring Your Brain for Stress Resilience – An ABA Mental Health Week Webinar -  October 11

Join Jennifer Riggs, a J.D. and Neuroscience Coach, and Alessandra Frtiz for Rewiring Your Brain for Stress Resilience - An ABA Mental Health Week Webinar. Learn more.

The Path to Law Student Well-Being: Podcast Series

"The Path to Law Student Well-Being" is a new podcast series sponsored by the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. The series is a response to the call for action in the 2017 Report, The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Changefrom the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being, which sets out action items for the legal community, including specific steps law schools can take, to shift the culture of the legal profession towards one that is focused on well-being. 

The inaugural 2-part episode features two short conversations with Dean and Professor of Law Michael Hunter Schwartz of the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law and Professor Larry Krieger of the Florida State University College of Law and is moderated by Professor Susan Wawrose of the University of Dayton School of Law.

Dean Schwartz is a recognized expert and the author of numerous books and articles on the subject of law student teaching and learning, including his book, What the Best Law Teachers Do. He has also been ranked for the past three years in a row by National Jurist magazine as one of the most influential legal educators.

Professor Krieger is well-known for his groundbreaking work on law student well-being, including how values and motivation affect law student and lawyer satisfaction and the role law schools play in shaping law student values and in humanizing the profession. He has also has done significant research measuring the psychological changes of law students during law school.

Episode 1

  • Part 1 - Ways individual faculty members can notice, engage with, and support students they suspect are in distress.  
  • Part 2 - Steps faculty can take to promote student well-being through their teaching in the classroom and includes concrete actions for law school administrators.  

Episode 2

Episode 2 features a short conversation about character and fitness evaluations in the bar admission process as it pertains to mental health issues and substance use disorders. Guests are Janet Stearns, Dean of Students at the University of Miami School of Law, Robert Albury, Executive Director of the West Virginia Judicial & Lawyer Assistance Program, and host Chase Anderson, Case Manager with Minnesota Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers.

Live Twitter Chat

On the previous National Mental Health Day for Law Schools (March 28, 2018), the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP) and Law Student Division hosted a live Twitter Chat aimed at encouraging students to seek help when they need it by addressing questions around stigma, bar application character and fitness, and anything else on the minds of students and those who care about them. The special guests participating were: Mistie Bauscher, Former Conditional Admittee, Brian Cuban, author of The Addicted Lawyer and Amanda Lee, Harvard Law School Student Government President. They also encouraged law schools and students to share what they were doing for Mental Health Day by using the hashtag #LawStudentWellness.