December 18, 2018 Feature

ABA Working Group Tackles Mental Health and Substance Use Crisis

Group asks legal employers to take leading role in improving attorney well-being

By Matthew S. Mulqueen

The legal profession faces a crisis. Data show alarmingly high rates of mental health problems, substance use disorders, and a general existential malaise among legal professionals.

Lawyers must be mindful of their mental health and well-being

Lawyers must be mindful of their mental health and well-being

Image Illustration by Elmarie Jara | Getty Images

The depth of the condition threatens the well-being of practitioners, the financial health of their employers, and the interests of the clients they serve. Leaders in the profession are addressing the issue through education and action. An ABA Presidential Working Group convened a workshop in April to finalize a draft model impairment policy for legal employers. The working group hopes that the policy, in connection with an upcoming pledge campaign and employer toolkit, will help lawyers thrive by improving their well-being.

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