Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession

The Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession 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. The Working Group was formed in September 2017 at the request of Immediate Past-President Hilarie Bass and continues to operate under President Bob Carlson’s leadership. 

Watch this Video Message from ABA President Bob Carlson highlighting the ABA's efforts to improve lawyer well-being.  

Well-Being Pledge

The Working Group has launched a Campaign to improve the substance use and mental health landscape of the legal profession. 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.

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 – a year after the initial signing and annually thereafter – asking participants to describe any steps taken toward the objectives set out in the framework during the previous year.

Contact Theresa Gronkiewicz at Theresa.Gronkiewicz@americanbar.org with any questions or to pledge your support. 


Pledge Signatories

3M
Member since 2018

Akerman LLP
Member since 2018

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP*
Member since 2018

Allen & Overy LLP
Member since 2018

American University Washington
College of Law 
Member since 2019

Arent Fox LLP
Member since 2018

Ave Maria School of Law
Member since 2019

Baker Botts LLP
Member since 2019

Ballard Spahr LLP
Member since 2019

Barclays
Member since 2019

Barnes & Thornburg LLP
Member since 2018

Bass, Berry & Sims PLC
Member since 2018

Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP
Member since 2018

Blank Rome LLP
Member since 2018

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP
Member since 2019

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Member since 2018

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC
Member since 2018

Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP
Member since 2018

Chapman and Cutler LLP
Member since 2019

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
Member since 2019

Clifford Chance US LLP 
Member since 2019

Clyde & Co LLP
Member since 2019

Compass Law IP
Member since 2019

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
Member since 2019

Cooley LLP
Member since 2018

Corette Black Carlson & Mickelson P.C.*
Member since 2018

Cozen O'Connor
Member since 2018

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP 
Member since 2019

Crowell & Moring LLP
Member since 2018

Cummins Inc.
Member since 2019

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Member since 2019

Day Pitney LLP
Member since 2019

Dechert LLP
Member since 2019

Dentons
Member since 2018

Dorsey & Whitney LLP
Member since 2018

Drost Kivlahan McMahon & O’Connor, LLP
Member since 2018

Duane Morris LLP*
Member since 2018

Dunner Law PLLC
Member since 2019

Dykema
Member since 2019

Farella Braun & Martel LLP
Member since 2019

Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
Member since 2018

Felhaber Larson
Member since 2019

Fenwick & West LLP
Member since 2019

Fish & Richardson P.C.
Member since 2019

Foley Hoag LLP
Member since 2019

Foley & Lardner LLP
Member since 2018

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
Member since 2018

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Member since 2018

Goodwin Procter LLP
Member since 2018

Greene Espel PLLP
Member since 2018

Hanson Bridgett LLP 
Member since 2019

Hausfeld
Member since 2019

Haynes and Boone, LLP 
Member since 2019

Heiting & Irwin, APLC
Member since 2018

HEREIAM LAW
Member since 2019

Hogan Lovells
Member since 2018

Hoge Fenton
Member since 2019

Holland & Knight LLP
Member since 2018

Honigman*
Member since 2018

Howard University
School of Law
Member since 2019

Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP 
Member since 2019 

Husch Blackwell LLP 
Member since 2019

Ice Miller LLP
Member since 2019

Jackson Lewis P.C.
Member since 2018

Jenner & Block LLP
Member since 2018

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
Member since 2018

Latham & Watkins LLP*
Member since 2018

Lewis Thomason
Member since 2018

Linklaters LLP
Member since 2018

Locke Lord LLP
Member since 2018

Loyola Law School - Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles
Member since 2019

McDermott Will & Emery LLP
Member since 2018

Miller & Chevalier
Member since 2019

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Member since 2018

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP*
Member since 2018

Morrison & Foerster LLP
Member since 2018

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP 
Member since 2019

Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP
Member since 2019

Nexsen Pruet, LLC
Member since 2018

Nixon Peabody LLP*
Member since 2018

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
Member since 2019

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash,
Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
Member since 2018

O’Melveny & Myers LLP
Member since 2018

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Member since 2018

Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP
Member since 2018

Paul Hastings LLP
Member since 2019

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Member since 2018

Pepper Hamilton LLP
Member since 2018

Perkins Coie LLP*
Member since 2018

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Member since 2018

Piper McCracken, PLLC
Member since 2018

Proskauer Rose LLP 
Member since 2019

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
Member since 2018

Reed Smith, LLP*
Member since 2018

Robins Kaplan LLP
Member since 2019

Rutgers Law School 
Member since 2019

 Santa Clara University
School of Law
Member since 2019

Saul Ewing Arnstein  & Lehr LLP
Member since 2019

Schiff Hardin LLP*
Member since 2018

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP 
Member since 2019

Seyfarth Shaw LLP*
Member since 2018

Shearman & Sterling LLP
Member since 2019

Sheppard Mullin
Member since 2018

Shook, Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P.
Member since 2019

Sidley Austin LLP
Member since 2018

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Member since 2018

Snell & Wilmer LLP*
Member since 2018

Stinson LLP
Member since 2019

Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young LLP
Member since 2019

Southwestern Law School 
Member since 2019

Squire Patton Boggs LLP 
Member since 2019

Suffolk University Law School 
Member since 2019

The John Marshall Law School
Member since 2019

The University of Tulsa College of Law
Member since 2019

Thompson & Knight LLP
Member since 2018

UC Irvine School of Law 
Member since 2019

University of Connecticut
School of Law 
Member since 2019

University of Idaho
College of Law 
Member since 2019

University of Miami
School of Law 
Member since 2019

University of Michigan
Law School 
Member since 2019

University of Mississippi
School of Law 
Member since 2019

University of San Diego
School of Law 
Member since 2019

University of St. Thomas 
School of Law (MN)
Member since 2019

University of Toledo
College of Law
Member since 2019

USC Gould School of Law
Member since 2019

U.S. Bank
Member since 2019

Vanderbilt Law School
Member since 2019

VMware, Inc
Member since 2018

Waller
Member since 2019

Wiley Rein LLP*
Member since 2018

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Member since 2018

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Member since 2018

*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

ABA House of Delegates Adopts Lawyer Well-Being Resolution at Midyear Meeting

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

Resolution 105 was co-sponsored by the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs, the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism and the National Organization of Bar Counsel.

National Workshop

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.

More Information

Share Your Thoughts

What other projects should the Working Group be pursuing?  Share your thoughts and ideas by emailing Teresa Schmid.

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