The Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession was formed in September 2017 at the request of Past-President Hilarie Bass and continued to operate under Immediate Past-President Bob Carlson’s leadership. The Working Group was created to examine and make recommendations regarding the current state of attorney mental health and substance use issues with an emphasis on helping legal employers support healthy work environments. Following the conclusion of the Working Group’s term in 2019, its initiatives and projects, including the Well-Being Pledge Campaign transitioned to the leadership of the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs.
Well-Being Pledge Campaign
The ABA Well-Being Campaign was launched to improve the substance use and mental health landscape of the legal profession. The primary vehicle for the Campaign is a Pledge calling upon legal employers (including law firms, corporate entities, government agencies and legal aid organizations) to first: (a) recognize that substance use and mental health problems represent a significant challenge for the legal profession and acknowledge that more can and should be done to improve the health and well-being of lawyers; and, (b) pledge to support the Campaign and work to adopt and prioritize its seven-point framework for building a better future.
During the second stage of the Campaign, a Commitment Form will be circulated annually – asking participants to describe any steps taken toward the objectives set out in the framework during the previous year and recommit to the Pledge.
Contact Theresa Gronkiewicz at Theresa.Gronkiewicz@americanbar.org with any questions or to pledge your support.
For a more detailed description of the Campaign as well as a quote from President Bob Carlson in support of the initiative, see the official ABA Press Release.
Watch this Video Message from Immediate-Past ABA President Bob Carlson highlighting the ABA's efforts to improve lawyer well-being.
Pledge Members - 185 Signatories
American Bar Association
Arnold & Porter
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP*
Allen & Overy LLP
All Elite Wrestling, LLC
Alston & Bird
American University Washington
Arent Fox LLP
Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois
Ave Maria School of Law
Baker Botts LLP
Ballard Spahr LLP
Barclay Damon LLP
Barnes & Thornburg LLP
Bass, Berry & Sims PLC
Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP
Blank Rome LLP
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
Bold Events, LLC
Bowman and Brooke LLP
Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC
Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP
Chapman and Cutler LLP
Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
Clifford Chance US LLP
Clyde & Co LLP
Compass Law IP
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
Corette Black Carlson & Mickelson P.C.*
Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP
Crowell & Moring LLP
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Day Pitney LLP
Dorsey & Whitney LLP
Drost Kivlahan McMahon & O’Connor, LLP
Duane Morris LLP*
Dunner Law PLLC
Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP
Farella Braun & Martel LLP
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
Fenwick & West LLP
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP
Fish & Richardson P.C.
FIU College of Law
Foley Hoag LLP
Foley & Lardner LLP
Fordham University School of Law
Fox Rothschild LLP
Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Gonzaga University School of Law
Goodwin Procter LLP
Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani LLP
Greene Espel PLLP
Hanson Bridgett LLP
Harter Secrest & Emery LLP
Haynes and Boone, LLP
Heiting & Irwin, APLC
Holland & Knight LLP
Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP
Husch Blackwell LLP
Ice Miller LLP
Jackson Lewis P.C.
Jacksonville Jaguars, LLC
Jenner & Block LLP
Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
Kelley Drye & Warren LLP
K & L Gates LLP
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
Latham & Watkins LLP*
Lawrence & Bundy LLC
Locke Lord LLP
Lowenstein Sandler LLP
Loyola Law School - Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles
Mayer Brown LLP
McDermott Will & Emery LLP
McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC
Miller & Chevalier
Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
The Mississippi Bar
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP*
Morrison & Foerster LLP
Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
National Organization of Bar Counsel (NOBC)
Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP
Nexsen Pruet, LLC
Nixon Peabody LLP*
Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash,
O’Melveny & Myers LLP
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP
Paul Hastings LLP
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Pepper Hamilton LLP
Perkins Coie LLP*
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Piper McCracken, PLLC
Porter Hedges LLP
Proskauer Rose LLP
Quarles & Brady LLP
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
Reed Smith, LLP*
Robins Kaplan LLP
Robinson & Cole LLP
Rutgers Law School
Santa Clara University
Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP
Schiff Hardin LLP*
Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP
Selendy & Gay PLLC
Seyfarth Shaw LLP*
Shearman & Sterling LLP
Shook, Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P.
Sidley Austin LLP
S.J. Quinney College of Law
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Snell & Wilmer LLP*
Stoel Rives LLP
Stokes Lawrence, P.S.
Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young LLP
Southwestern Law School
Squire Patton Boggs LLP
Suffolk University Law School
UIC John Marshall Law School
The Bar Plan Mutual Insurance Co.
The University of Tulsa College of Law
Thompson & Knight LLP
UC Irvine School of Law
University of Cincinnati
University of Connecticut
University of Idaho
University of Maine
University of Miami
University of Michigan
The University of Minnesota Law School
University of Mississippi
University of San Diego
University of St. Thomas
University of Toledo
USC Gould School of Law
Vanderbilt Law School
Washington Council of Lawyers
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
West Virginia University College of Law
Wiley Rein LLP*
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
*Indicates initial signer.
Click here to download a PDf of the infographic.
Well-Being Template for Legal Employers
The Policy Committee of the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP) and the ABA Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession developed a Well-Being Template for Legal Employers to provide suggested guidelines to legal employers for responding to an employee who is experiencing impairment due to a substance use disorder, mental health disorder or cognitive impairment. The template is intended to serve as a tool that can be modified as needed to suit the individual employer. Each employer should tailor this document to meet the specific needs of its workplace, taking into consideration size, resources and practice setting, as well as consult with labor and employment counsel.
Access the template here.
Well-Being Toolkit for Lawyers and Legal Employers
The National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being’s 2017 report shined a spotlight on evidence that too many lawyers face mental health and substance use disorders or otherwise aren’t thriving. Wanting to support the effort to catalyze positive change, American Bar Association President Hilarie Bass formed a Presidential Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession in September 2017. Its focus is on helping legal employers support healthy work environments, which are critical for lawyer wellness. Research shows that if workplace cultures support well-being, lawyers will be better able to make good choices that allow them to thrive and be their best for clients, colleagues, and work organizations.
Many legal employers are ready to become positive change agents but have been unsure where to start. The new Well-Being Toolkit for Lawyers and Legal Employers is designed to help. It offers tools and practical guidance for legal employers who want to join the lawyer well-being movement by launching organizational initiatives. The Toolkit, created by Presidential Working Group member Anne Brafford (a lawyer and organizational science researcher) can be viewed as a design prototype. It is meant to be a living document that will continue to develop and improve—an effort in which you are encouraged to participate. You can do so by trying out the Toolkit and offering feedback on what’s helpful, what can be improved, and what other resources are available. The Toolkit is offered as another step on the path to lawyer well-being—to help lawyers be their best as they carry out their critical roles contributing to the vitality of our government, business sector, community safety, and individual lives.
Also available is the Well-Being Toolkit Nutshell: 80 Tips For Lawyer Thriving, summarizing 80 of the Toolkit’s key items to help get you started on a lawyer well-being initiative.
Note for Use: The Toolkit is filled with electronic hyperlinks to websites and online resources that appear in blue underlined type. As a result, it is intended primarily for online viewing. If you decide to print the document in hard copy, select “fit to page” in your print dialogue box to ensure proper printing.
Resolution 105 – primarily sponsored by the Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession – was adopted by the ABA House of Delegates at the Midyear Meeting in Vancouver. Resolution 105 supports the goal of reducing mental health and substance use disorders and improving the well-being of lawyers, judges and law students, and urges stakeholders within the legal profession to consider the recommendations set out in The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change from the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being.
National Workshop on the Advancement of Attorney Well-Being in the Law Firm Setting with Special Guest, ABA President Hilarie Bass
Spring 2018 National Legal Malpractice Conference | April 25, 2018
The ABA Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession is focusing on the importance of well-being in the legal profession, with an emphasis on helping legal employers support healthy work environments.
To achieve this goal, one of the first steps is to formulate a national model policy on lawyer well-being for use in law firms. This interactive workshop was intended to create practical and workable law firm policies to reinforce lawyer well-being as a core component of the ethical obligations of competence and diligence as well as professionalism. Using a collaborative process, firm leaders, risk management providers, and subject matter experts, including members of lawyer assistance programs, met to generate ideas, innovations, and tools to develop this national model. Participants also learned ways to foster healthy lifestyles within firms as well as how to address addiction and mental health issues to help lawyers as part of a firm’s risk management strategy.
Presented by the ABA Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession, Standing Committee on Lawyers Professional Liability, Center for Professional Responsibility and the Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs.
Share Your Thoughts
What other projects should the Working Group be pursuing? Share your thoughts and ideas by emailing Teresa Schmid.
- It’s time to promote our health: ABA mobilizes on multiple fronts to address well-being in the legal profession (ABA Journal, December 2018)
- ABA launches pledge campaign to improve mental health and well-being of lawyers (ABA News, September 10, 2018)
- ABA’s Focus on Lawyers’ Well-Being Is ‘Right Thing to Do’ (Bloomberg BNA, May 7, 2018)
- ABA 'Furiously Working' to Craft Proposal on Lawyers' Mental Health (The National Law Journal, May 21, 2018)
- ABA works to address attorney substance use and mental health disorders (ABA Journal, December 2017)
- For the New Year, ABA Aims to Help Firms with Well-Being Policies (Daily Business Review, December 21, 2017)