Lawyer Wellness

Institute for Well-Being in Law will host first virtual conference later this month

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People attending an online wellness conference doing various yoga poses

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A nonprofit formed to further the work of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being that the American Bar Association participated in will host its inaugural conference later this month.

The theme of the Institute for Well-Being in Law’s all-virtual event running from Jan. 19 to 21 is “Redesigning the Legal Profession for a Better Future.”

The conference features four different tracks: individual well-being, workplace well-being, law school well-being and leading law firm well-being.

“We hope that participants will take away a few doable, evidence-based strategies that they can work into their daily routines to support their own well-being as well as ideas for supporting the well-being of their colleagues and work teams,” wrote Anne Brafford, vice president of the Institute for Well-Being in Law, in an email.

The conference’s keynote speaker will be Martin Seligman, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and former president of the American Psychological Association. Seligman, who is known for his contributions to the field of positive psychology, has authored a variety of self-help books. His keynote will kick off the conference’s first day.

“He’ll offer insights about how institutions, organizations, and individuals can become stuck and languish without the confidence, optimism, and imagination needed to reimagine a new future and take steps to achieve it,” Brafford said. “This is very applicable to the legal profession right now as it tries to reimagine and create a new future in which more lawyers can thrive in all parts of their lives.”

Other speakers include Harvard Business School professor Ranjay Gulati, author Susan Fowler and author Donnie Hutchinson, according to Brafford, who has led the creation and planning of the conference.

The Institute for Well-Being in Law was created in December 2020 and aims to “lead a culture shift in law to establish well-being as a core centerpiece of professional success,” according to its website.

The institute evolved from the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being, a group featuring a mix of ABA entities and outside organizations that was created in 2016. The national task force released a report in August 2017 with a series of recommendations to strengthen the health and wellness of members of the legal profession.

At the ABA’s Midyear Meeting in 2018, the House of Delegates adopted a resolution stemming from the task force’s work that pledged support for the goal of reducing mental health and substance use disorders in the legal profession and improving the well-being of lawyers, judges and law students.

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