With August coming to a close, law schools are officially back in session. In Illinois, the Commission on Professionalism welcomed 1Ls at seven of the nine local law schools. At each Professionalism Orientation, Justices, Judges, Deans, facilitators, Commissioners, and even our very own staff stressed the importance of wellness. Why?
It’s no secret, the legal profession has been battling with issues tied to alcoholism, stress, and an overall job dissatisfaction for years. In fact, lawyer wellness was a major topic of discussion at this year’s ABA Annual Meeting.
Therefore, in response to the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being report: “Creating a Movement To Improve Well-Being in the Legal Profession” and the recent change to the professional responsibility CLE requirement in Illinois, the Commission saw it fitting to address incoming and current law students on how to tackle the many issues of wellness in law school, and more importantly, provide each student with the tools they need to become a happy, healthy lawyer.
Below, Michelle Silverthorn, Mark Palmer, and Jayne Reardon each provide their own piece of advice on how tomorrow’s lawyers can better serve themselves and their clients.
- Build Up A Network of Strong Relationships – For Michelle, lawyer wellness goes above and beyond how to manage stress and substance abuse. In her eyes it starts and ends with your relationships.
- Seek Out Feedback from Peers and Professors – Mark advises using feedback to change your mindset in how you approach your work and your colleagues. Feedback is most effective when the recipient is open and willing to hear others’ perspectives on your performance.
- Get A Good Night’s Sleep – Failing to get enough rest is a major detriment to your physical health and cognitive functioning. Avoid pulling “all-nighters”, and make sleep a priority. Facing adversity when you are physically exhausted is far more challenging.
If you or a peer is struggling with a wellness related issue, do not keep it to yourself. Turn to a friend, professor, medical professional, or your state’s Lawyer Assistance Program for guidance and support. Know that you are not alone.