Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 23

FEATURE
Denise Perme, manager of the D.C. Bar Lawyer Assistance Program and
creator of the D.C. Bar Law Firm Wellness Consortium. Currently with 47
members from 27 law firms, the consortium brings together law firm
wellness leaders to share ideas and best practices and to participate
in educational workshops. "Stigma is a deeply rooted psychological
response people have to asking for help. They think of it as a weakness."
If the legal community was quiet about mental health before, it's less so
today. Some 150 firms have signed the ABA pledge, and many have put
those signatures into action with formalized wellness initiatives.
"There's no other profession like the law," says Robin Belleau, the recently
hired director of well-being at Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Belleau was a litigator
for eight years before finding her calling as a licensed clinical professional
counselor. Now she leads the firm's Wellbeing Program, which offers education and dialogue across three core dimensions: resilience, connection,
and fitness/nutrition.
"We are the problem solvers, but somehow we're not allowed to have
problems ourselves," Belleau says.
Belleau is right that lawyers are hired to solve problems, but the resolution isn't always cut and dry. In fact, a case can at once be clouded with
emotion, combativeness, and stress or filled with joy and happiness.
"You're constantly fighting people or you're negotiating contracts.
There's a winner and a loser," she says. "Very few clients come to lawyers
in a good mood. Something has gone wrong and they're upset. They
have huge expectations and want things to go quickly, but they don't
want it to cost a lot."
Tack on extensive work hours, heavy caseloads, and the pressure to
perform and it's no wonder attorneys feel stretched and strained.
As part of Kirkland's program, attorneys and professional staff can
schedule a therapy session with Belleau. An assessment is completed,
followed by a plan of action to get them on the road to recovery.
"Our lawyers need to be great issue spotters, but be able to leave that
skill at work," Belleau says.

FROM ART TO YOGA
An increasing number of firms are bringing on professionals like Belleau,
partnering with external therapy practices, or appointing wellness directors from inside the firm to create a more nurturing and enjoyable environment for staff members. From yoga classes to meditation workshops
to stress-management presentations, law firm leaders are getting smarter
and more creative about employee self-care.
Sasha Phillips, an attorney at Reed Smith, saw an opportunity to bring
creative expression to the firm's well-being program, and it became a
bona fide hit. Her brainchild, Arts for Wellness, is now part of the firm's
Wellness Works initiative, a monthly offering of themed wellness activities
highlighting stress management, work-life balance, healthy habits, mindfulness, and substance use awareness.
"As a theme, it was a no-brainer. Art should be as much a part of anyone's
wellness program as a proper diet and exercise," says the Pittsburghbased Phillips, who was a professional artist before practicing law.
It makes sense, since research on art therapy has found it to be beneficial
for treating depression, dementia, PTSD, anxiety, and eating disorders.

For the inaugural Arts for Wellness event, each of Reed Smith's U.S. offices
put their own spin on the idea. One office took music lessons, while
another had a cookie-decorating workshop. Staff in the Washington, D.C.,
office created quilt squares for a textile art project. As a finale, more than
100 staffers from all Reed Smith offices participated in a virtual art exhibit
filled with photography, clothing designs, knitworks, flower arrangements,
and audio recordings of songs that were made available on the firm's
website. Phillips submitted a painting of her daughter playing the flute.
"It became this interactive bonding tool, too. I've been able to form relationships with people I've never talked to before," she says.
The month also included a presentation by Dr. Donna Betts, associate
professor and research director at the graduate Art Therapy Program at
the George Washington University and past president of the American
Art Therapy Association board.
"Law firms are nothing but their people," says Casey Ryan, Reed Smith's
global head of legal personnel who painted the cover of her favorite
book, The Great Gatsby, for the exhibit. "Taking care of your people is an
obvious investment to make."
In many cases, law firms were engaged in wellness activities prior to the
ABA pledge. But law leaders say the recommendations helped them
broaden and organize their offerings in a more cohesive way.
For example, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP had established a successful
remote working program, offering staff members the flexibility to work
from home one to two days a week, and a program called Ramp Up,
which supports associates returning from an extended leave, such as
primary caregiver leave.
Around the time the firm signed the ABA pledge, Jennifer Breen,
deputy managing partner in the Washington, D.C., office, had a wellness
concept in the works as part of a Harvard Law Center capstone project.
The pledge provided inspiration and a push forward, she says. "Because
of the pledge, we decided to do it a little differently. We wanted to know
what our people wanted and needed from a wellness program. We
wanted to make sure we were rolling it out and talking about it in the
right way," Breen says.
Launched in March 2019, the ML Well program is led by Krista Logelin,
the firm's first director of employee well-being. It interweaves elements
of intellectual, physical, emotional, and occupational health, with an
emphasis on engagement and community.
In the initiative's early days, Morgan Lewis invited Patrick R. Krill, an
authority on addiction, mental health, and well-being in the legal profession, to speak in person and virtually to attorneys in the firm's offices. "We
wanted to bring him in to foster a conversation, to talk about the stigma
that exists, and to offer strategies so that we can support our colleagues,"
Logelin says.
Morgan Lewis employees also have access to an online portal with tools,
resources, and information on wellness-related topics. A regularly released
curriculum of on-demand courses supplements the platform. A global
working group of "ML Well champions" also was appointed in each office
to make sure the firm's programming efforts are useful and relevant.
"What we do is hard," Breen says. "This has given us an opportunity to
prioritize our well-being. We can only serve our clients when we put our
own oxygen mask on first."

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

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WASHINGTON LAWYER 23



Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Calendar Of Events
The Opioid Litigation Wars
The Art Of Wellness: Law Firms Get Creative
Combating Secondary Trauma
Debating The Path Forward On Health Care Reform
Taking The Stand
On Further Review
Member Spotlight
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Speaking Of Ethics
Disciplinary Summaries
Community & Connections
Special Section: Counting Down To The 2020 Conference
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 5
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 7
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 9
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 11
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Calendar Of Events
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - The Opioid Litigation Wars
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 18
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - The Art Of Wellness: Law Firms Get Creative
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 22
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 24
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Combating Secondary Trauma
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 28
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 30
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Debating The Path Forward On Health Care Reform
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 34
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 36
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 37
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Taking The Stand
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 41
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 43
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 44
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 46
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Speaking Of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Special Section: Counting Down To The 2020 Conference
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 53
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 54
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 55
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Last Word
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Cover4
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