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2019 State of the Judiciary: Lawyer Well-Being and Access to Justice Efforts in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants provided updates on work to improve well-being in the legal profession and public access to justice in the 6th Annual State of the Judiciary Address hosted by the Mass Bar Association…

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ABA Launches Anti-Stigma Campaign for the Legal Profession

Too often, individuals in the legal profession struggle privately with mental health concerns because of stigma, fear, and shame. The ABA recently launched a campaign to encourage lawyers, law students, and judges to get support. Efforts to improve well-being in…

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Lawyer Well-Being: Massachusetts SJC Steering Committee Releases Report

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Steering Committee on Lawyer Well-Being just released its final report yesterday. Chief Justice Gants announced members of the Committee in October 2018, in response to the clear need bring stakeholders in the legal profession to…

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Front View Of The John Adams Courthouse In Boston MA

Lawyer Well-Being: Massachusetts SJC Announces Steering Committee

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.

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ABA Report on the Path to Lawyer Well-Being

In recent months, there has been an increase in the discussions of the high rates of substance abuse and mental health issues burdening lawyers, rates much higher than the general population. A recent study has confirmed what many of us…

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New Study on Substance Abuse, Depression, and Anxiety among Lawyers

A new study published this month in the Journal of Addiction Medicine confirms that lawyers have higher than average rates of alcohol abuse, depression and stress.  The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP) collaborated in a survey of over 12,000 attorneys in 19 states (not including Massachusetts).  We know that the legal profession is a stressful profession with prior studies showing higher rates of alcohol abuse and depression than the general population, but find it gravely concerning that the levels of substance abuse, depression and stress remain so high, particularly among younger attorneys. 

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