Everyone knows that law firm lawyers suffer from high rates of burnout, right? This is a common belief. And it might be true. But there have been very few studies of burnout in the legal profession—and even fewer using a reliable, validated measure to investigate the question. So, in the Spring of 2021, IWIL conducted a survey (led by IWIL Vice President Anne Brafford) to investigate the frequency of burnout among participating lawyers and support staff as well as identify factors that contribute to burnout. Over 700 lawyers and nearly 300 support staff responded. This session will cover results of the survey and recommendations for alleviating burnout in law firms.
Burnout prevention is a promising addition to law firm well-being programs. Burnout has a significant relationship with depression, substance use disorders, and suicidal thinking. But burnout itself is a non-medical, more socially-acceptable label that has limited stigma. This could make burnout prevention a useful complement to legal employers’ efforts to prevent mental health and substance use disorders, which tend to be stigmatized.
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