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For the third consecutive year, the CBA’s Young Lawyers Section is hosting its Most Fit Lawyer Competition. Lawyers will compete against one another in six events testing cardiovascular fitness, strength and flexibility.

Chicago attorney Jill Eckert McCall, chair-elect of the CBA group and director of the ABA’s Young Lawyers Division, came up with the idea after her sister won a fitness contest at a local gym. Then at a different meeting, she overheard two fellow lawyers jousting over who could do the most push-ups, and the idea was born.

This year the contest is open to all comers; previously only section members were eligible to compete. And the field already is looking tough.

Among the expected competitors are suburban Chicago solo Carolyn Welch and Chicago appellate lawyer Chris Keleher.

Welch is going for a three-peat while Keleher is competing for his second title—but neither thinks victory is certain. “There were some good competitors last year, but I eked out the win,” says Keleher. “On a couple of the different exercises I won fairly easily, but on others I had my lunch handed to me.”

While Welch and Keleher like the competition, both also say the contest underscores the need for lawyers to maintain a healthy lifestyle. “Regular exercise and healthy eating are important for everyone,” says Welch. “Fitness is particularly important for lawyers, however, because of the high levels of stress we often have to manage.

“I find that exercising and eating right helps me to handle stress in a more productive and positive way.”

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