chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.

Voice of Experience

Voice of Experience: April 2023 | Transition

Words of Wellbeing: Water

Eric York Drogin


  • Adequate hydration regulaties your temperature, protects tissue, and maintains joint function, among other benefits.
  • Prioritizing hydration improves performance during your workdays.
  • Carry a water bottle or gravitate towards high water content foods such as watermelon and artichokes.
Words of Wellbeing: Water
Mario Guti via Getty Images

Jump to:

One often hears that lawyers drink to excess.  No one believes this of all lawyers, to be sure, but rarely have so many bent elbows led to so many raised eyebrows.  What helps to make this problem so prevalent in our profession?  Is it the inherent stress of the job, performed within an adversarial system, for stakes that may literally amount to life or death?  Is it the party culture of the undergraduate institutions through which all future practitioners must pass?  Is it the peculiar loneliness that arises, ironically enough, from spending days on end trying to influence the opinions of twelve other people?  Regardless of the cause, we can all agree that the effect is nothing short of troubling.

Against this backdrop, it may seem passing strange when a bar publication—a bar association publication—proposes that actually lawyers don’t drink enough.  Water, that is.

Water imagery abounds in the world of the lawyer.  We complain of drowning in work while at the same time abhorring a dry spell.  Our arguments must hold water, but we strive to keep them from being watered down.  What firm doesn’t prize its rainmakers, indeed showering them with praise for their contributions to liquidity?  Appellate courts disfavor safe harbors and seek at the same time not to open the floodgates.

We might think—indeed hope—that the ubiquity of these subtle reminders would drive us to drink, in a positive sense.  Even when we consciously try to keep hydrated, however, there is many a slip twixt the cup and the lip.  Not every courthouse has vending machines, and pandemic conditions have done for the public drinking fountain what Netflix allegedly did for Blockbuster.  Counsel’s table is now a valley of blinking, pulsing, softly whirring business machines that have about as much use for water as the Wicked Witch of the West.  It’s neither easy nor convenient to spirit beverage containers through the maze of modern courtroom security.

More should be done to promote drinking on the job.  It’s the tide that raises all boats.  Lubricated lawyers are loquacious lawyers, free from dry mouths and the dizzying, muddling effects of dehydration.  Beyond these readily perceptible advantages, there are more subtle but no less important advantages to proper hydration, reflecting medical opinions so fully supported by the professional literature as to be convincing beyond a reasonable drought.

For example, the esteemed Mayo Clinic—headquartered as it is in Minnesota, the Land of a Thousand Lakes—makes a compelling case for water, water everywhere and plenty of drops to drink.  Their doctors emphasize that remaining suitably irrigated is a critical means of regulating temperature, protecting tissue, ensuring proper functioning of joints, and promoting the filtering of impurities. 

Not to be outdone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) inform us that dehydration can “cause unclear thinking, result in mood change, cause your body to overheat, and lead to constipation and kidney stones.”  The CDC also offers practical tips for keeping up with our drinking that include “carry a water bottle with you and refill it throughout the day,” “freeze some freezer safe water bottles” (to access “ice-cold water all day long”), “choose water over sugary drinks,” and “add a wedge of lime or lemon to your water” to “improve the taste.”

One perhaps unintended implication of some of the CDC’s advice is that the tastelessness of water—actually most vendors’ goal—is for some persons so unappealing that various measures are necessary to make these drinks palatable.  In recent years, however, there has emerged such a veritable tsunami of bottled water choices that those seeking that extra kick need not resort to home remedies in order to achieve it.   

Readily accessible, mainline brands offer “naturally flavored” waters.  Perrier—for some, an acquired taste to begin with—now touts pineapple, peach, strawberry, lime, grapefruit, and orange options.  Less established brands aren’t afraid to try something a bit daring in order to capture the public’s fancy and carve out a highly specialized niche of their own.  Spindrift does cucumber, and doesn’t see the need to apologize to anyone.  Drink Simple challenges its own moniker by offering “sparkling maple water.”  Edgier still, there is cactus flavored water from True Nopal, and artichoke flavored water from Artywater. 

Hats off to those members of the legal community whose hesitancy to take the plunge—as it were—is motivated by laudable environmental concerns.  According to Harvard University’s “Sustainability” project, as described here, bottled water “uses fossil fuels, contributes to global warming, and causes pollution,” with production requirements in excess of 17 million barrels of oil per year in America alone.  Of course, these concerns are all about packaging and are anything but anti-water.  This project points to a readily accessible alternative by deriding what it identifies as the “myth” that bottled water is any purer than simple tap water.  Presumably the latter is best quaffed from a hand-thrown clay mug replete with eco-friendly glaze.

It turns out that water is not the only reliable source of water.  This is not to suggest that law firms—at least the smaller ones—invest in atom-smashing technology and copious stores of hydrogen and oxygen.  Rather, there are a number of foods, as described by the Healthline organization, with such a high water content that they constitute a decent course of hydration in and of themselves.  These include not just fruits like watermelon, strawberries, and oranges, but also lettuce, zucchini, and cabbage.  Artichokes?  Yes, artichokes, too.  On this basis, the folks in the marketing division could rebrand Artywater as Smartywater, were it not for palpable trademark issues.

Go wet, young man (and woman, and everyone else—young, old, and in between).  Don’t chug a quart of cactus water just before launching into a lengthy summation before the jury, but do try to maintain a reasonable level of hydration throughout the working day … and these days, sad to say, the working night. 

Reprinted with permission of the Kentucky Bar Association.