Attorney Wellness

The American Bar Association recently conducted a study which concluded that “too many lawyers and law students experience chronic stress and high rates of depression and substance use.” This conclusion raises serious issues for the profession and lawyer competence. Last year, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued a clarion call to our legal community, asking it to take a serious look into lawyer wellness issues and begin the process of addressing the growing crisis.

Last year, the HCBA formed a task force to actively engage in attorney wellness issues. The task force, led by Michael Boulette, was charged with making recommendations for how the HCBA can best promote and support attorney well-being through existing programs or through the creation of new programs, either alone, or in partnership with other organizations. After a year of engagement, the task force has issued its report to the HCBA Board of Directors. The board will now begin the work of determining how to implement the recommendations made in the report.

HCBA Attorney Wellness
Task Force Recommendations
1. Ensure that the HCBA’s commitment
to wellness is reflected in its
leadership at all levels (officer, board,
and staff).

2. Continue to prioritize opportunities
for members to build relationships,
reduce isolation, and increase
engagement in the profession.

3. Prioritize the HCBA’s current
relationship with Lawyers Concerned
for Lawyers (LCL) and increase
collaboration with the MSBA
Well-Being Committee.

4. Ensure LCL’s services are regularly
publicized at HCBA events and in

5. Encourage HCBA sections to prioritize
wellness in their programming.

6. Incorporate wellness and wellbeing
into the HCBA’s existing

7. Commit to regular, sustainable,
association-wide well-being

8. Deliberately include wellness topics in
HCBA’s existing communications.

9. Commit to a campaign to raise
awareness and reduce stigma.

10. Compile well-being resources for
members and offer those resources in
a variety of forms.

11. Collaborate with other stakeholders
for systemic change and

12. Continually evaluate the HCBA’s
current commitment to wellness and
well-being against best practices.

Clearly, the recommendations require a new role for the organization in working with our members to enhance the health of our legal community. We are being challenged to infuse wellness into the basic infrastructure of the HCBA. I am confident that our governing body can take concrete steps to address this challenge.

Professional organizations exist for the benefitof their constituents. There are times when issues confront a community like ours that require an awakening or a new mindset. I am confident that our board and staff will rise to the occasion and provide leadership to help our legal community in Hennepin County exist in a healthier environment. In addition, we will be there for our members in need of help. I ask everyone to join our effort to raise awareness of this issue and help us address it.

Managing Editor
Nick Hansen

Executive Editor
Joseph Satter