President

Bree Buchanan is founding co-chair of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-being and is a co-author of its groundbreaking 2017 report, The Path to Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change. In December 2020, she was appointed Board President of the newly formed Institute for Well-being in Law, a new nonprofit dedicated to bringing about systemic change in the legal profession such that considerations of well-being become central to the practice. Ms. Buchanan served as chair of the ABA Commission on Lawyers Assistance Programs (2017-2020) and as director of the Texas Lawyers Assistance Program from 2013 until retirement in 2018. She is now Senior Advisor with Krill Strategies, Inc., providing consultation on issues related to lawyer well-being and impairment for major legal employers. Ms. Buchanan is co-host of the podcast, The Path to Well-Being Law, and has shared her own story of recovery as a featured guest on podcasts – as well as articles published – in the United States, Canada and the U.K.

 

Anne Brafford

Vice President of IWIL, VP Programming, Chair of Well-Being Week

Anne is a former equity partner at Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius LLP and the founder of Aspire, an education and consulting firm for the legal profession. Anne is the past Chair of the ABA Law Practice Division’s Attorney Well-Being Committee and was the Editor-in-Chief and co-author of the 2017 report of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being. As part of her role with the ABA’s Presidential Working Group formed to investigate how legal employers can support healthy work environments, Anne authored the freely-available Well-Being Toolkit for Lawyers and Legal Employers. Anne is the author of an ABA-published book titled Positive Professionals. Anne has earned a Master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and is nearing completion of her doctoral work in positive organizational psychology at Claremont Graduate University. Anne has served as a teaching assistant to both Dr. Martin Seligman and Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the co-founders of positive psychology. Anne’s research focuses on lawyer thriving and includes topics like positive leadership, resilience, work engagement, meaningful work, motivation, inclusion, and retention of women lawyers.

 

Secretary

Tracy L. Kepler is the Risk Control Consulting Director for CNA’s Global Lawyers Professional Liability Division.  In this role, she creates the content of risk management initiatives and collaborates with the underwriting and claims teams to develop and execute strategies for the profitable growth of the program.  Prior to joining CNA, Tracy served as the Director of the ABA’s Center for Professional Responsibility and has nearly 20 years of experience investigating and prosecuting attorney disciplinary matters with both the USPTO and IL ARDC.  Committed to the promotion and encouragement of professional responsibility and attorney well-being throughout her career, Tracy has served on the ABA’s Commission on Lawyers Assistance Programs,  and authored a portion of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being’s Report & Recommendations.  Ms. Kepler is an Adjunct Professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, Georgetown University Law Center and Loyola School of Law teaching Legal Ethics.

 

Robin Wolpert

Treasurer

Robin Wolpert is an accomplished appellate practitioner, business litigator, and white-collar criminal defense attorney at Sapientia Law Group in Minneapolis. Her 20-year career began in BigLaw, and she went on to serve as a prosecutor and Senior Counsel of Compliance & Business Conduct at 3M. Robin uses her unique blend of government, private-sector, and in-house experience to address legal, policy, leadership, and organizational challenges for a wide variety of clients. Before becoming a lawyer, Robin earned her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago. Her areas of expertise include constitutional law, judicial politics, cognitive and behavioral economics, and political and organizational psychology. Robin was Visiting Instructor at Georgetown University and Assistant Professor of Government & International Politics at the University of South Carolina. She earned her B.A. from Colby College and her J.D. from Cornell Law School. Robin is passionate about public service. She oversees Minnesota’s lawyer disciplinary system as Chair of the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board. Robin is Secretary of the National Conference of Bar Presidents, Member of the ABA House of Delegates, and past President of the Minnesota State Bar Association. She served on the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being from 2018-20.

 

VP Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Following his 2006 retirement as a Milwaukee County Circuit Court Commissioner,Lindsey D. Draper oversaw Wisconsin’s adherence to the mandates of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) as the state’s Disproportionate Minority Contact Coordinator and Compliance Monitor until his retirement in 2014.  Draper previously served as Chair of the ABA then-Standing Committee on Client Protection and a Trustee at St. Francis de Sales Seminary. He is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors at St. Charles Youth and Family Services in Milwaukee;  Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Milwaukee County Historical Society; a Director-at-Large of the National Client Protection Organization (NCPO); liaison to the Wisconsin Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being;  a member of the Wisconsin Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection Committee and a member of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility Continuing Legal Education Committee.

 

VP Fund Development

John Mudd presently serves as the executive director and acting general counsel of the State Bar of Montana. Prior to joining the bar in 2018, John was the director of development and alumni relations for seven years at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana. John helped direct the school’s record-setting capital campaign, which raised over $20 million. He also worked to help establish the Max S. Baucus Institute at the law school and secure the founding gifts for the same. The public policy institute is named for Ambassador Max Baucus, former U.S. ambassador to the People’s Republic of China.

John graduated cum laude from the Catholic University of American in Washington, D.C., where he was elected Phi Beta Kappa. He received his law degree from the University of Montana School of Law. During law school, John was an articles editor for the Montana Law Review and was a member of the school’s National Moot Court Competition team, which won the national championship.

After law school, John entered private practice in Missoula, Montana, during which he served a term as secretary of the Montana Senate. Prior to joining the law school, John served as executive counsel for the Montana commissioner of securities and insurance. He was selected as a Rising Star by Mountain States Super Lawyers before leaving private practice.

John currently serves on the boards of the Max S. Baucus Institute, the Montana World Affairs Council, and the Montana Justice Foundation, among others. He has been appointed as a “Montana Ambassador” by the governor of Montana.

John is also a frequent presenter on lawyer well-being topics, including for CoLAP, the State Bar of Montana, the Montana Defense Trial Lawyers, the Jackrabbit Bar, and the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. He lives in Missoula and Helena and is the very proud parent of a teenage daughter. In his free time, he enjoys fly fishing, sailing, painting, and drumming (all of which he reports need work).

*A note from Bree: To get a measure of the man, check out his blog: https://johnmudd.blog/.

 

VP Governance

Chris L. Newbold is Executive Vice President of ALPS, the nation’s largest direct writer of lawyers’ professional liability insurance, where he oversees business development, sales strategy and is ALPS’ chief liaison into the bar association. Additionally, Chris is a recognized strategic planning facilitator in the bar association and bar foundation worlds, a leader in the lawyer well-being movement and advises states/bar association exploring the merits of mandatory malpractice insurance or disclosure rules. Within the well-being in law arena, Chris has been at the epicenter of discussion nationally since 2016.  As co-author of the movement igniting report The Path to Lawyer Well-Being:  Practical Recommendations for Positive Change, his leadership as co-chair of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being, his participation on the ABA’s Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession and his role as co-host The Path to Well-Being in Law podcast, Chris has been at the forefront of a movement intent on creating a culture shift in the legal profession intent on advancing personal and professional satisfaction in all sectors of the legal field.

 

VP Policy

Heidi Alexander is Massachusetts’ first Director of the Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being. Before assuming that role, Heidi served as the Deputy Director of Massachusetts Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers and led its Law Office Management Assistance Program, practiced law at a small firm in Boston, and clerked for a Justice on the New Jersey Supreme Court. She is the author of Evernote as a Law Practice Tool, past co-chair of ABA TECHSHOW and founder of the ABA’s Women of Legal Technology initiative. Heidi is a native of Minnesota, a former collegiate goaltender for Amherst College Women’s Ice Hockey Team, and a graduate of Rutgers School of Law, where she was the Editor-in-Chief of the Rutgers Law Review.  Heidi attends to her own well-being by coaching CrossFit and girls’ youth hockey, competing in powerlifting, and most importantly spending time with her three young kids. She can be reached via email at heidi@lawyerwellbeingma.org, Twitter @heidialexander, or LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/heidisarahalexander

 

VP Research and Scholarship

Dr. Matthew Thiese’s research focuses on the overlap between a person’s job and their health.  This includes everything from musculoskeletal disorders like Low Back Pain or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, to motor vehicle crashes, to COVID-19, to mental well-being. He is interested in identification of potential risk factors, interventions to prevent injury or illness, evidence-based practice for both treatment and prevention, and assessments of worker health and safety fitness-for-duty.  His graduate degrees are in Public Health, specifically Occupational Epidemiology and Injury Prevention. He has coauthored 109 articles (29 as first author), 34 practice guidelines and 5 book chapters and is a tenured Associate Professor at the University of Utah.  He has mentored 19 PhD and Masters Students, and teaches 4 courses.  He has more than 10,000 hours giving guest lectures, consulting, and helping move his research into practice among law firms, businesses, governmental and non-governmental organizations and academic institutions around the world.  Dr. Thiese has extensive experience in designing and conducting epidemiologic and interventional research having worked with law professionals, first responders, healthcare providers, manufacturing, construction and transportation workers.  Some of his highest impact research to date includes research-analyzing relationships between driver health and subsequent crashes in a retrospective cohort of 90,000 drivers.  He has been part of multiple large prospective cohort studies evaluating relationships between musculoskeletal disorders and both job and personal factors.  He is currently working as an expert for the CDC regarding COVID-19 and am a co-investigator on the largest COVID-19 study regarding transmission rate and vaccine efficacy and conducting multiple epidemiologic studies.  Research specifically related to law professionals and students includes currently conducting research into the occupational relationships between hazards of law students and law professionals and their well-being to identify current trends and design effective interventions.  He can be reached at matt.thiese@hsc.utah.edu or on linked in at https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-matthew-thiese-43492a4a/.  His scholarly record can be accessed at https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=1ktZFjoAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/matthew.thiese.1/bibliography/public/

 

How It All Began: The Evolution from the National Task Force to the Institute for Well-Being in Law

While attending the 2016 ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, leaders of three national organizations commandeered an empty conference room and committed to the creation of a movement that would transform the well-being of the legal system. Their motivation stemmed from two new national studies that clearly demonstrated the unacceptably high rates of depression, anxiety and problematic drinking among U.S. lawyers and law students, along with the long-held knowledge that too many members of the profession were functioning below their ability.

Intent upon systems change, these organizations – the National Organization of Bar Counsel (NOBC), the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL) and the ABA Commission on Lawyers Assistance Programs (CoLAP), formed the core of the grassroots movement which was ultimately named the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being.

Over the course of the next nine months, other national organizations and thought leaders joined together to develop the groundbreaking report, The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change. In August 2017, the Report was published, and both the ABA and the Conference of Chief Justices passed Resolutions urging all states to review and consider the Report’s 44 recommendations.

The National Task Force grew to include 13 national legal associations that represent the judiciary, regulators, bar examiners, lawyers’ assistance programs, law schools, as well as individuals representing the risk-management and insurance industry and global law firms.

This initial work of the Task Force relied largely on dedicated professionals who volunteered their time and effort to the movement while having to focus primarily on their full-time obligations. For effective, ongoing change, the work of the National Task Force needed to evolve into a permanent model. To that end, the Institute for Well-Being in Law was formed as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in December 2020.  Its mission statement is as follows:

The Institute for Well-Being in Law (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, we are driven to lead a culture shift in law to establish health and well-being as core centerpieces of professional success.