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The Institute for Well-Being in Law is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization that
evolved from the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being.
Catalyzing Positive Change
In August 2017, the Task Force published a comprehensive report titled The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change.
The release of the report resulted in a national movement among stakeholders in the legal profession to take action to improve well-being. In December 2020, the Institute for Well-Being in Law (IWIL) was formed to carry on the movement launched by the National Task Force.
IWIL is dedicated to the betterment of the legal profession by focusing on a holistic approach to well-being. Through advocacy, research, education, technical and resource support, and stakeholders’ partnerships, it is driven to lead a culture shift in law to establish health and well-being as core centerpieces of professional success.
Well-Being Week in Law May 2-6, 2022
Get ideas and resources for participating in WWIL 2022.
Providing news, research, resources, and strategies on topics related to the gamut of well-being issues in the legal profession.
Sign Up To Join The Movement
We’ve Come A Long Way
So much progress has been made since the Path to Lawyer Well-Being report was published in 2017. Still, there’s a long way to go. Cultural transformation will take sustained innovation and persistence. Every stakeholder in the profession has the power to take steps toward positive change and should embrace their responsibility for doing so. We all can make a difference.
Bree Buchanan President Institute for Well-Being in Law
The Well-Being in Law Movement Is Sweeping The Nation
The National Task Force report triggered a wave of concern and action across the country. Hover over a state on the map to find out what State Task Forces and Commissions are doing to promote thriving in the legal profession.
“We launched our firm at the onset of a pandemic with two primary objectives: superior representation and wellness. Being well is critical to professional competency and thriving on a personal level. Our program, Work Well, encourages open firm-wide discussions and one-on-one conversations. It includes treating everyone with dignity and respect as well as an inclusive and diverse environment where all views are welcome. Our success in a boutique firm setting implementing a formal program demonstrates that it is about acknowledgement of the issues — no large budget required! No matter what size firm, all should be embracing, and providing guidance and assistance, for wellness.”
Janine L. Pollack
Chief Wellness Officer, Calcaterra Pollack LLP
“Being a lawyer in any industry can be a very rewarding but stressful job. As the world evolves and technology allows us to be connected 24/7, it is important that we focus on recharging and taking care of ourselves. For some, this can be exacerbated if you are a working parent, caring for the elderly and extended family. We need to ensure that we are providing a culture of inclusion where these differences are considered and accommodations are made to allow everyone to excel without the sacrifice of their well-being. We must take care of people first if we want our business to have an impact and growth.”
President & CEO, Minority Corporate Counsel Association
“At Ogletree Deakins, we truly believe that nurturing open communication about mental and physical health will allow our attorneys to be the best resource for our clients and also the best version of themselves. We encourage our team members to utilize our employee assistance program to seek confidential consultations that support mental, physical, social, and financial well-being. And, in recent years, we’ve implemented more wellness-focused programing at our annual meetings, including yoga, mindfulness, and a 5K. We work hard to lead by example and prioritize well-being for attorneys and staff.”
Chair, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, PLLC
“Investing in our people is not only the right thing to do, it is an investment in the quality of our client service as well as a commitment to our culture of excellence. The ABA’s Well-Being Pledge is a powerful example of the profession linking arms to confront universal challenges and to come out stronger for having done so. Promoting well-being, destigmatizing issues around mental health and substance use and fostering discourse around the common struggles we all face will not only make the profession stronger, it will make its members better lawyers and better people.”
Global Head of Legal Personnel, Reed Smith LLP
“As a long-time solo and small firm attorney, no one carves out time for me to look after my own well-being. To be my best, it is up to me to put my health and happiness first. Quality time with family, intense daily workouts and a nice vacation on the horizon keeps me rejuvenated. Everyone needs to figure out their own well-being recipe because, as the saying goes, we can’t pour from an empty cup.”
Partner, Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC
“The legal industry is extremely demanding, and the needs of our clients and the technologically-connected world we live in puts ever more pressure on professionals – lawyers and business folks. The industry needs to be laser-focused on giving all of the support we can to help our talent stay healthy and be well. At Goodwin, we do so through our You@Goodwin program, because having well-adjusted professionals is good for our clients, our firm and our industry.”
Robert S. Insolia
“Fostering an environment that supports the well-being of our attorneys and professional staff is a top priority at Crowell & Moring. As a proud signatory of the ABA Well-Being Pledge, we are joining other firms in shedding light on the challenges attorneys and professional staff face and identifying resources and best practices that can make a real difference. Our profession must commit to a meaningful dialogue about mental health and how to support it.”
Chair, Crowell & Moring LLP
Chair, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
“Along with client service, our top priority should be ensuring that our people are engaged, fulfilled and able to meet the incredible demands of our profession. Clients come to us with their biggest, most complex, sensitive problems. The stakes are big, the demands significant and, in many cases, the time short. We can’t make the job less demanding, but we can provide our colleagues tools to help them thrive in a challenging environment. We can enable them to be in the best position to have professional and personal lives that are integrated and fulfilling.”
Chief Executive Officer, Katten
“As a firm leader, it is my job to be a role model and promote well-being as one of my firm’s core values. Working in a law firm in this era of intense competition and change poses well-being challenges for all of our people, not only lawyers. Core to my own well-being has been developing an understanding of how my career fits with the rest of my life—and also recognizing that my family, friends hobbies, and exercise provide fulfillment and balance that I don’t get from my law job.”
The Evidence is in on Lawyer Well-BeingWe can no longer ignore our profession’s well-being problem.
21-36% qualify as problem drinkers. Higher for men; under 30; private practice and solo practitioners.
28% report mild or higher depression symptoms. Highest for men and solo practitioners.
23% report mild or higher stress symptoms. Highest for women and solo practitioners.
19% report mild or higher anxiety symptoms. Highest for women and solo practitioners.
Ranked #8 in a study of suicide by occupation. Rate is 1.33 times the national norm.
This Affects All Of Us.
Too many lawyers are not thriving. A significant number struggle with mental health and alcohol use disorders. Many others, while not dealing with a diagnosable illness, still are not fully well. The result is that many lawyers are unable to be their best for their clients, colleagues, communities, and families.