2018 is the year for wellness in the legal profession. Following the release of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being’s Report published last fall, lawyers are making strides to improve the health and wellness of lawyers in the United States.
Starting with the law students, the American Bar Association’s Law Student Division implemented the first annual Law School Mental Health Day. Just last month, the Law Student Division partnered with American Bar Association’s Commission on Lawyers’ Assistance Programs (CoLAP) to host a twitter chat discussing wellness in our law schools.
Even llinois made headlines announcing its development of a Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being. The Illinois Task Force hopes to develop an app, law school curriculum, a program for attorneys undergoing career transitions, and more.
A few short weeks after Illinois’s announcement, West Virginia is also jumping on the bandwagon.
This March, Chief Justice Margaret Workman of the West Virginia Supreme Court entered the order establishing this new lawyer wellness task force in their state. The 18-person group is charged with “providing guidelines to implement recommendations from a national report to improve support mechanisms” for lawyers and judges in West Virginia.
The West Virginia Task Force hopes to identify roles legal employers can play in decreasing toxicity in the profession, actively seeking ways to end the stigma tied to legal professionals who seek help from lawyers’ assistance programs.
West Virginia Supreme Court Justice, Justice Beth Walker will chair the state’s task force comprised of lawyers, judges and other legal officials in the state, including:
- Robert E. Albury, Jr., executive director of the West Virginia Judicial and Lawyer Assistance Program.
- Honorable Michael J. Aloi, United States Magistrate Court judge.
- Charles F. Bagley, III, Campbell Woods, PLLC.
- Gregory W. Bowman, William J. Maier, Jr. Dean of the West Virginia University College of Law.
- Rachael L. Fletcher Cipoletti, chief lawyer disciplinary counsel, Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
- Honorable Bridget F. Cohee, judge, 23rd Judicial Circuit, based in Berkley County.
- Dana F. Eddy, executive director, West Virginia Public Defender Services.
- Mark Gaydos, McNeer, Highland, McMunn & Varner, LC.
- Brian A. Glasser, Bailey & Glasser LLP.
- Michele Grinberg, Flaherty Sensabaugh Bonasso PLLC.
- P. Bradley Hall, MD, medical director, West Virginia Medical Professionals Health Program.
- Karen E. Kahle, Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC.
- John R. McGhee, Jr., Kay Casto & Chaney, PLLC.
- Christopher L. Newbold, executive vice president, ALPS Corporation, ALPS Property & Casualty Insurance Company, member of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being.
- Madeleine J. Jaeck, bar admissions administrator, West Virginia Board of Law Examiners.
- Meshea L. Poore, The Law Office of Meshea L. Poore.
- Debra H. Scudiere, Kay Casto & Chaney, PLLC.
- Teresa A. Tarr, chief disciplinary counsel, Judicial Investigation Commission
The West Virginia Task force will report its findings to the state supreme court by the end of the year on December 31, 2018.