Lawyers on Well-Being

Lawyer well-being week 2024
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In honor of Lawyer Well-Being Week, we are asking our readers to share their go-to practices to staying grounded and healthy throughout their work day as well as their insight into how the industry as a whole could improve lawyer well-being. Want to share your thoughts? Enter your response at the bottom of this page. 

To effectively support one’s own well-being, the effort must be sustained over time and inclusive of multiple facets of health. From law school to retirement, lawyers should consider preservation of well-being to be part of both an ongoing duty of competence and a core competency, one that exists alongside knowledge of civil procedure and the rules of evidence.
Bree Buchanan
Bree Buchanan
Founding Co-Chair of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being
I expect that over the next two-three years in particular there will be a re-examination of how we as a profession operate, with an eye on improving the systems that may be negatively impacting wellness in our profession. Everything from how we license lawyers and the bar exam to the provisions of the general rules of practice and other procedural rules to marshalling resources to help those already suffering and how the courts schedule and handle cases while implanting the technology gains during the pandemic.
Paul Peterson
Paul Peterson
Harper & Peterson, P.L.L.C.
I’ve learned that when I need a break, I need a break. There’s a nice park across the street from my office. If I need 30 minutes to collect myself and regather my thoughts, I go for a walk in the park at 2 PM on a Monday, and I let the emails come in without feeling guilt about it. I’ve never returned from one these walks and felt worse. Rather, I always feel like a better, happier version of myself, ready to take on whatever challenge is on my desk or popping up in my personal life. Also, I keep a hefty supply of chocolate in my office. Not only does chocolate give me happiness, but I like that people stop by my office several times a day to grab a piece of chocolate, say hi, and tell me about their day. That gives me joy, even when I struggled with internal feelings of depression or anxiety.
Rachel Sodée
Rachel Sodée
I think the most important way to deal with stress in a litigation environment is to not create an environment for it to fester. For example, act professionally and courteously, and people will be more likely to treat you that way in return. Additionally, deeply recognize the fact that the result of the case is not always within your control. Do your very best — this much you can control — but know in the end that the result is out of your hands.
With lawyers it takes a while for them to reach their bottom experiencing a lot of pain and suffering along the way so being able to access help earlier is very helpful, especially as early as law school. For them to be able to learn that if they’re coping in an unhealthy way, if they are avoiding stress, this will not serve them down the road. Developing healthier coping mechanisms in law school will help when they practice law.
Nicole Ellington
NC Lawyers Assistance Program
When stressors come up during the workday, I use EFT tapping to rebalance and re-center myself. It works in a matter of minutes. When I think about work/life balance, the future of our law practices, and other deeper issues, I use EFT to acknowledge and release any underlying emotions that keep me trapped and prevent me from moving forward. EFT tapping works every time. Other techniques such as yoga, meditation, exercise and mindfulness are also in valuable tools for me.
Sharon Ames
Ames Immigration Law PLLC
To help improve attorney wellness and the overall wellness of our team, we have office dogs! At least a few days a week, I bring our two dogs to the office. Quincy and Champ are well-trained and loveable mutts. Every time our dogs enter the office, they make sure to greet anyone who wants to say hello. They sleep at my feet, in their bed, or near anyone with treats. During the day, I often take the dogs for walks on the nearby trail system – sometimes while I conduct calls. We love our office dogs!
Greg Colburn
Colburn Law
The folks who come into our facility are high-functioning adults. These are people who have knocked it out of the park in one area of their life, whether it’s being an entrepreneur, a lawyer or a physician. And they think that somehow because they have this debilitating disease called addiction that they can just tackle it on their own. And because they have been successful in life it doesn’t translate over.
Lewis Finch
Welwynn, A Treatment Facility
We work very hard with the board of law examiners to make sure that episodic counseling does not have to be disclosed because it was such a deterrent when I started as dean. Students would not go see a counselor because the bar was very ambivalent about the extent of disclosure you had to make to avoid a character and fitness examination. I say at orientation, ‘Go see a counselor,’ you do not need to report it to the board of bar examiners.
Practicing law is, for the most part, difficult and stressful. I have found that always doing my best, and always being prepared, helps to curb a lot of the unnecessary stress. If I do my absolute best and still get an unfavorable result, I spend a lot less time stressing and beating myself up over it than I do if I underperformed or was underprepared.
Tara J. Rose
Hahn Loeser & Parks
I start each day with a workout. A good workout is good for the heart and body and helps with the mind before I tackle a day of legal projects. Our Portland office is located one block away from the Tom McCall Waterfront Park along the Willamette River. The park is filled with walkways and bike paths, and on occasion, since Portland is such a bikeable city, I’ll commute to work on the bicycle.
Aaron Tillmann
Tillmann Law
The way I stay centered is by having a morning and evening routine that includes something physical (exercise), something spiritual (meditation) and then something for the mind (reading). I definitely feel the difference in my day if I don’t cover all three.
Staying motivated while working from home has been challenging. I find it most helpful to signal the start and end of the work day with a routine. Walks with the dog, cooking with the family and mental relaxation have been key to keeping me productive when I need to be.
Aston O'Halloran
Hahn Loeser & Parks
Early morning me-time. Taking time to enjoy nature daily. Checking in with my (adult) kids! They always make me feel energized and loved.
Elise Buie
Elise Buie Family Law
Staring at an open Word document, hearing the sound of pings alerting me to new emails, all while I am trying to put out little fires left and right. I still have personal errands to run and my kid has his own obligations. Sometimes, it’s the simple things that can recenter my balance—just breathing. As I learned in therapy, I slowly breathe in through my nose, and slowly exhale out through my mouth.
Tammy Allison
Tammy Allison
Tammy Allison PLLC
Since having my girls, I have learned so much about myself and my life’s priorities, specifically my roles as a mom, wife, lawyer, boss, friend, daughter and all the other hats working attorney moms wear. It is truly a balancing act. But, I never allow myself to forget that I am a mom first, a wife second and an attorney third. I am not afraid to say that.
Lindsay Tygart
Lindsey Tygart
Our profession is filled with conflict. It's hard not to absorb some of that when you are deep in litigation. When I feel down about a case, I reach out to my close colleagues and mentors. They help me shift my perspective—reminding me that clients' problems are not our own, and often cannot be "solved" other than guiding them competently through the legal process. Being mindful of this, helps. Also, getting enough sleep and exercise!
Finding and maintaining work-life balance is what I find the most challenging about having a law practice. I make it a point to be intentional about making time for the things and people that matter most. I find that focusing on mindfulness keeps me centered and not so focused on the stresses of having a busy practice. I am grateful for the busy practice, nonetheless. The next steps are to onboard multiple associates to help with the caseload as it increases.
Christina A. McKinnon
Christina A. McKinnon
McKinnon Legal
The one major flaw in the legal profession is that the profession is not necessarily conducive to a good family life, especially now when you are expected to be constantly connected to work. I have been blessed to have a wonderful wife, Kathy, and an amazing family. We have been able to have a good family life. A strong faith in God and a lot of prayers have certainly kept our family strong, especially when the demands of the profession have put pressure on the bonds of the family.
David Stanush
David Stanusch
Clark Hill Strasburger
It is hard to find the proverbial ‘work-life balance’ when your calendar is dependent upon the court’s calendar. My practice requires not only time spent on cases and responding to client needs, but also significant time marketing and maintaining client relationships. The firm supports these efforts through providing resources for marketing and being a leader in providing technology to work from home or other locations.
Christine L. Tuft
Arthur Chapman
I find it helpful to take spontaneous trips to silent, isolated places, like New Mexico or Death Valley to recharge.
Tanaz Salehi
Tanaz Salehi
Salehi Boyer Lavigne Lombana PA



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Share your tricks to staying sane throughout your work day or your strategies to balancing life and a busy law practice. 

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