What is Wellbeing?

  1. The report THE PATH TO LAWYER WELL-BEING: Practical Recommendations For Positive Change (THE REPORT OF THE American Bar Association NATIONAL TASK FORCE ON LAWYER WELL-BEING (14 Aug 2017) ), noted that lawyers who are engaged at work enjoy good job satisfaction, which leads to greater retention, high client satisfaction, higher productivity, good professional performance and ultimately, greater profit.
  2. So how does engagement at work arise? The report stated that "engagement arises when a person’s resources (i.e., positive individual, job, and organizational factors, like autonomy, good leadership, supportive colleagues, feedback, interesting work, optimism, resilience) outweigh demands (i.e., draining aspects of the job, like work overload and conflicting demands)."
  3. A lawyer's lack of sense of control over her portfolio of work, types of cases taken on and the allocation of resources required to complete the work causes depression, loss of wellbeing and alcohol or substance abuse.
  4. To address concerns of lawyer engagement and wellbeing, the report recommended reviews of the following in legal practice:
    • tight deadlines for completing a large volume of work;
    • refusal to permit trial lawyers to extend trial dates to accommodate vacation plans or scheduling trials shortly after the end of a vacation so that lawyers must work during that time;
    • tight deadlines set by clients that are not based on business needs;
    • senior lawyer decision-making in matters about key milestones and deadlines without consulting other members of the litigation team, including junior lawyers;
    • senior lawyers’ poor time-management habits that result in repeated emergencies and weekend work for junior lawyers and staff;
    • expectations of 24/7 work schedules and of prompt response to electronic messages at all times.