Track 1B
Making Partner—With Your Nervous System: A Lawyer's Manual of Stress-Busting Strategies to Beat Burnout and Protect Mental and Physical Health
Duration: 60 Minutes

This presentation combines findings and tips provided in texts such as Levine, S. The Best Lawyer You Can Be (2018), American Bar Association, and Brafford, A., Well-Being Toolkit for Lawyers and Legal Employers (2018), American Bar Association, with the Polyvagal Theory made famous by Dr. Stephen Porges and made accessible to mental health clinicians through texts by Deb Dana, LCSW. Christina Loftus is both a J.D. and an LMSW and is able to translate the clinical applications of Polyvagal Theory for the rational, logical mindset of attorneys. Directly citing material from The Best Lawyer That You Can Be, Christina will report on the 2015 study by Krieger and Sheldon that shows the top qualities that make attorneys happy:

  1. Authenticity
  2. Relatedness (a close second)

In addition, she will discuss how befriending our nervous system can help attorneys reach a happier state, leading to more resilience in the face of chronic stressors and preventing burnout.

Learning Objectives

  • Promote a higher sense of calm through practical exercises and tips.
  • Understand that by developing “vagal tone,” our ability to cope with external circumstances (stress) improves.
  • Relate to others with a heighted ability to connect, as opposed to automatically react.