New research published in 2016 illuminated the need to improve Lawyer Well-Being, and the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being assembled in response, publishing The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change. The Task Force Report offered recommendations for all stakeholders in the profession, with specific action steps for Judges, Regulators, Legal Employers, Law Schools, Bar Associations, Liability Insurance Carriers, and Lawyers Assistance Programs (that’s us!). Forming a Well-Being Committee ranked among the Task Force’s most advised action steps for stakeholders as a group and individually — for the obvious reasons that collective awareness, attention, and action are more effective than we can expect to see from isolated efforts. Earlier this year, the ABA House of Delegates resolved to support well-being goals and to urge all stakeholders to consider the Report’s recommendations.
Observing the influence the Judiciary holds in our profession, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court confirmed its commitment to creating positive change by forming a Steering Committee on Lawyer Well-Being. The Committee “will explore ways to reduce stress on attorneys, help restore work-life balance, increase professional satisfaction and better support those who are confronting mental health and substance use disorders.” Members of the Commonwealth’s Steering Committee on Lawyer Well-Being were announced by Chief Justice Gants in his annual State of the Judiciary Address on October 24th. The steering committee is coordinated by Honorable Margot Botsford (ret.), who served as an associate justice on the SJC from 2007 to 2017.