Take Action

Be Like The Hundreds of Organizations That Already Are Making a Difference

Because too many legal professionals aren’t thriving, multiple initiatives have been launched to catalyze positive change. In 2017, the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being (renamed the Institute for Well-Being in Law in 2020) published its comprehensiveThe Path to Lawyer Well-Being report that included a call to action to organizations across the profession.

Many already have responded in a variety of constructive ways:

  • Nearly 200 legal employers have signed the ABA’s Well-Being Pledge since 2017
  • 71% of AmLaw 100 firms have signed the ABA Pledge
  • In 2021, Vault.com first added “Wellness” as a category in its Best Law Firm associate survey–30 large firms  and 25 midsized firms achieved a ranking
  • A recent Mercer survey found that 99% of participating law firms offer some type of well-being program
  • A growing number of law firms have hired dedicated coordinators of their well-being programs
  • Over 60 legal employers have signed the Mindful Business Charter to promote well-being in attorney-client relationships
  • And much more

Don’t be left behind. Be a leader at the forefront of change.

PSYCHOLOGICALLY HEALTHY WORKPLACES

The goal is to create psychologically healthy workplaces which achieve financial success while, at the same time, actively protecting and promoting organizational members’ mental and physical well-being. In such workplaces, members believe that mental health is prioritized at least as highly as productivity and business objectives. Alignment of organizational and individual goals and needs enables them to grow and thrive together.

BUILD A HOLISTIC WELL-BEING PROGRAM

Your organizational efforts to enhance workplace well-being can encompass upstream or downstream strategies:

Primary
Secondary
Tertiary

Well-being strategies aimed at all three levels can
take many forms—including, for example:

So far, most well-being programs in the legal profession have focused mostly on secondary strategies (e.g., meditation, resilience training, stress management) and tertiary strategies (e.g., mental health literacy, lawyer impairment policies). These strategies are a great place to start. But to build sustainable workplace well-being, it also will be important to explore primary strategies that seek to root out cases of stress and poor mental health.

Foster Psychologically Healthy Workplaces

Psychosocial workplace factors powerfully influence individual well-being. These are elements within an employer’s influence and responsibility that can impact people’s psychological well-being and optimal functioning—both positively and negatively. Examples of major evidence-based psychosocial workplace factors are described below—many of which overlap and are interdependent.

Get Started Building A Healthy Workplace During Well-Being Week in Law

To encourage you to start exploring ways to root out causes of poor mental health and build sustainable workplace well-being, Well-Being Week in Law (WWIL) has added an organizational track. For each day of WWIL, we’re providing information, resources, and activities about one of the major psychosocial workplace factors. Our aim is to get some ideas percolating during WWIL and then to provide additional year-round support for the long-term process of building sustainable workplace well-being in the legal profession.

Featured Resources

Bar Association Guide 2020

Activity Ideas

46 Activity Ideas 2020

Remote Participation Guide 2020

AGA Well-being Pledge

Take The ABA Well-Being Pledge

The ABA has launched a Pledge Campaign inviting all types of legal employers to: (a) recognize that substance use and mental health problems represent a significant challenge for the legal profession and acknowledge that more can and should be done to improve the health and well-being of lawyers; and, (b) pledge to support the Campaign and work to adopt and prioritize its seven-point framework for building a better future. Learn more about the Pledge Campaign here and download the Pledge Infographic here. Contact Theresa Gronkiewicz with any questions or to pledge your support: Theresa.Gronkiewicz@americanbar.org.

Toolkit: Definition of Healthy Workplace

Toolkit: Policies and Practices Audit Guide

Toolkit: Assessment Options

Toolkit: Education & Development Ideas

Toolkit: Online Resources & Technology

Toolkit: 8-Step Action Plan

Toolkit Worksheet 15: Positive Leadership

Toolkit Worksheet 18: Appreciative Inquiry

Building the Positive Law Firm (Thesis)

Positive Professionals Book

The Best Lawyer You Can Be Book

Lawyers as Managers Book

ABA Employee Impairment Policy Template

Tristan Jepson Healthy Workplace Guidelines for the Legal Profession

MONDAY: Recognition & Rewards

Perceived efforts/contributions are fairly balanced with perceived rewards provided by the employer (e.g., compensation, esteem and social rewards, job security, career opportunities).

TUESDAY: Balance

Our culture supports members ability to maintain good health and functioning while feeling fully engaged in and satisfied with their contributions to their work and families and themselves without perceiving too much conflict among those roles.

WEDNESDAY: Effective Leadership

Our leaders seek to positively impact members’ well-being through their leadership style, creation of a psychologically healthy work culture, management of mental health matters in the workplace, and support for workplace wellbeing programs.

THURSDAY: Inclusion

Our organizational members feel supported and valued for their unique, individual traits and talents; feel a sense of belonging; and have access to and feel fairly treated by the organization’s structures and processes.

FRIDAY: Culture of Trust, Fairness, & Transparency

Our work environment is characterized by the shared values of trust, honesty, transparency, and fairness.