A Successful Law Practice and Strong Mental Health Is Possible

You can be a successful attorney and take care of your mental health. I believe this to be true. And lucky for you, so does one of our outstanding speakers at this year’s The Future Is Now: Legal Services conference.

Her name is Kara Hardin. If anyone is qualified to present a CLE on attorney mental health, Kara is.

Kara is a former practicing corporate and securities lawyer who is now a registered psychotherapist and mental health educator. She is the founder and CEO of The Practice Lab, which specializes in training high-achieving, high-pressure organizations on how mental health is linked to performance.

Lawyers have demanding jobs that can make us exhausted and irritable. Kara gets that.

Her goal isn’t to tell us that what we’re doing is wrong, but rather to discuss how the ways we manage and care for our mental health impacts how we perceive, understand, and interact with the world.

How are you really?

In preparation for her Future Is Now talk “High-Performing and Highly Stressed: How Attorneys Can Prioritize Mental Health” and town hall discussion, I have had planning calls with Kara. One of my favorite parts of these calls has been the way she starts them.

Before jumping into our agenda, Kara asks me, “How are you really?” She stresses the word really and then is silent, patiently waiting for my response.

The first time she asked me, it caught me off guard. It was clear that she genuinely wanted to know the answer… I am not used to that. Most people who ask how you are expect the answer, “I’m okay,” and then quickly move on to the next topic.

Not Kara: she really wants to know. She doesn’t rush you; she listens to and follows up on your answer.

As attorneys, mental health is not just the absence of illness. It impacts every email, court appearance, and meeting we attend. How many of you have started an email with “Per my last email” or “As I stated before”? Or become so frustrated with opposing counsel that you just let them have it?

Do you think there is a correlation between these actions and your mental health? During her talk, Kara will provide you with tools to keep you at the top of your game, but hopefully less tired and easily agitated.

How can organizational changes support mental health?

In a recent study done by the Workforce Institute at UKG, 69% of people surveyed said that their managers had the greatest impact on their mental health, which is on par with the impact of their partner and greater than that of their doctor (51%) or therapist (41%).

Mental health isn’t just a personal challenge. For the sustainability of our careers and the profession, it must also be addressed at an organizational level.

While Kara says that we are our own best experts when it comes to mental health, she believes organizational and professional cultures play a big role too. During her talk, she will discuss new ways of structuring our businesses – including simple tweaks – that prioritize attorney mental health and boost effectiveness.

Earn mental health CLE

I will go on record and say that this is one of the best ways to earn your one hour of mental health and substance abuse CLE this year. Don’t just pick a CLE to check it off the list. Use your valuable time on something impactful.

As someone with a last name beginning with V, I am especially talking to all my N-Z attorneys who must report MCLE hours at the end of June.

I invite you to check out Kara’s talk and the rest of the virtual Future Is Now conference on April 20, 2023, from 12 – 4:20 p.m. CDT. Attendees will earn four hours of professional responsibility CLE credit, including one hour of diversity and inclusion and one hour of mental health and substance abuse credit.

Register here.

The virtual conference will be held on the HopIn conference platform.

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