Being a lawyer can be stressful and taxing, even in the best of times, and the result can have severe and detrimental impacts on attorney wellbeing. There are many efforts to address this growing concern, including Lawyer Assistance Programs and initiatives such as the creation of Attorney Well-Being Week. Some states require attorneys to enroll in wellness-related continuing legal education courses in categories such as substance abuse and mental health. Most other states will accredit wellness programs as ethics credits.
Combating the epidemic of attorney fatigue requires structural change at law firms and other legal workplaces, and in the justice system writ large. For individual attorneys, however, there are skills you can learn to manage stress on an everyday basis. If you’re looking for some new strategies to manage and care for your own mental health, check out one of Lawline’s top five Attorney Wellness CLE programs, designed to be practical, enjoyable, and most importantly, to help you deal with the daily struggles every lawyer is familiar with:
- Overcoming Compassion Fatigue: Attorney Wellness When Working With Clients in Trauma. Many legal matters occur at times of acute stress, and attorneys who work with clients who have faced trauma frequently experience secondary trauma during their representation. This course provides techniques for preventing and managing secondary trauma, including specific advice on listening to traumatic stories, and self-care practices.
- Depression: An Occupational Hazard of the Legal Profession. This program goes beyond the statistics on lawyer depression and substance abuse, providing a comprehensive overview of risk factors and symptoms of depression and intervention strategies for attorneys with colleagues in need of support. It also outlines the resources that are available to attorneys who are struggling.
- Striving for a (Realistic) Attorney Work/Life Balance in 2021. Setting and maintaining a realistic work-life balance is particularly important for attorneys. Fortunately, this is a skill that can be learned. This course provides information on identifying the early warning signs of impairment and burnout, as well as well-being strategies that really work.
- Developing Resilience and Achieving Well-Being in Times of Challenge and Chaos. As law firms and other workplaces re-open, any “return to normal” must include a reckoning with the struggles and trauma of the last year, and this means building cultures of resilience and well-being. This course will use case studies to teach attorneys and law firm leaders specific techniques to develop mindfulness, resilience, and reduce workplace stressors.
- Stress Management for Attorneys: Ethical Traps for the Unwary. This informative and interesting course focuses on the effects of chronic stress and how these impair a lawyer’s ability to practice law. The program uses neuroscience to describe the impact of chronic stress and teaches evidence-based strategies to manage it. One viewer called it the “best and most useful ethics course I have ever taken.”
Interested in more Attorney Wellness content? Check it out here.
- Stress Management for Busy Lawyers: Six Strategies to Avoid Procrastination
- Saving Your Sanity: Four Wellness Tips from Leading Legal Educators
- Risk, Regulation & Resilience: Linking Malpractice, Competence, and Attorney Well-Being