Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 6

FROM OUR PRESIDENT

BeWell

"Be well. Do good work. And keep in touch." Those soothing words greeted me over the radio
waves for years during my early morning commutes and became a comforting ritual. For me, it seemed to
capture so succinctly three critical concepts in a very sensible order.

Connect
with Esther:
elim@dcbar.org

Two tiny words - "be well" - cover so much. Physical fitness, mental health, emotional stability, and
overall personal and professional well-being. Those two words when applied to the legal profession are
anything but simple in a service industry facing increasing client expectations and growing economic
pressures. Ubiquitous technology, evolving markets, and increasing globalization necessitate that lawyers
be accessible around the clock.
The unrelenting pressures of a demanding practice rob too many lawyers of wellness. According to
the American Bar Association, for instance, "as many as one in five lawyers is a problem drinker - twice
the national rate." Other substance abuse and mental health issues also plague the legal profession.
Compounding the seriousness of the troubling epidemic is the silence cloaking this ugly underbelly of
our profession. Lawyers who battle alcoholism, substance abuse, or mental illness often suffer in silence,
drowning in fear and shame. Friends and colleagues also shy away in awkward discomfort, not knowing
how to assist, confront, or intervene.

"Reaching out
for help is an
act of courage,
not a sign of
weakness."

The D.C. Bar Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) provides an exceptionally valuable resource in this regard.
It's a free and absolutely confidential program for lawyers, judges, and law students who are experiencing
problems such as addiction, mental health symptoms, or stress, which interfere with their personal or professional lives. To speak to an LAP counselor, one can call a confidential help line at 202-347-3131 or e-mail
lap@dcbar.org. Reaching out for help is an act of courage, not a sign of weakness.
If anyone is interested but hesitant about reaching out, read personal stories shared by fellow D.C. Bar
members and their incredible journeys chronicling how they had hit rock bottom, hopelessly struggled
alone, and then, with help, turned an overwhelming tide to regain wellness and achieve success.1 In this
issue, we feature more inspirational accounts from our members (see page 20) that are a testament to their
bravery and the resiliency of the human spirit.
Firms and corporations can do their part, too. Last fall, the ABA launched the Well-Being Pledge for Legal
Employers aimed at reducing substance use disorders and mental health distress in the legal profession.2
As of November 2018, about 40 law firms made the pledge, and 3M, led by its visionary general counsel
Ivan Fong, became the first in-house legal department to join forces.

NOTES
1 "'A Whole New Way of Life': The D.C. Bar Lawyer
Counseling Program," Washington Lawyer (Mar. 2005),
available at dcbar.org/bar-resources/publications/
washington-lawyer/articles/march-2005-lawyercounseling.cfm.
2 "ABA Launches Pledge Campaign to Improve
Mental Health and Well-Being of Lawyers," available
at americanbar.org/news/abanews/aba-newsarchives/2018/09/aba-launches-pledge-campaignto-improve-mental-health-and-well-b.

Throughout our careers, we all struggle to find balance and attain wellness. I'm often asked, "How do
you do it all?" The key is not doing it all at the same time. I prioritize. I select. I outsource. Mostly, I learned.
I've learned to let go. I've learned to say no. I've learned how to push through the crunch periods with focus,
but also how to restore and rebalance in between with quality rest, special time with my kids, or an extralong yoga practice. Even during a busy work week, I appreciate the simple pleasures such as an occasional
afternoon walk, a nice cup of tea, or the sound of raindrops on a gray day. Find whatever centers you.
As another year begins, I wish you physical and mental wellness in 2019. It seems fitting to end this message
echoing the words that comforted me for so many years at daybreak: "Be well. Do good work. And keep in
touch."

Photo: Patrice Gilbert Photography

6

WASHINGTON LAWYER

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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019

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http://www.dcbar.org/bar-resources/publications/washington-lawyer/articles/march-2005-lawyer-counseling.cfm http://www.dcbar.org/bar-resources/publications/washington-lawyer/articles/march-2005-lawyer-counseling.cfm http://www.americanbar.org/news/abanews/aba-news-archives/2018/09/aba-launches-pledge-campaign-to-improve-mental-health-and-well-b http://www.dcbar.org/

Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Career & Professional Development
Calendar of Events
Goverment & Gavel
Feature: Fighting the Stigma: The D.C. Bar Lawyer Assistance Program
Feature: The Road to Wellness
Feature: Taking the Stand: How Corporate Monitorships Rein in Misbehavior
Global & Domestic Outlook
Worth Reading & Media Bytes
Attorney Briefs
Ask The Ethics Experts
Disciplinary Summaries
Community & Connections
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 1
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 2
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 3
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 7
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - Career & Professional Development
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 9
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 11
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - Goverment & Gavel
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 13
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - Feature: Fighting the Stigma: The D.C. Bar Lawyer Assistance Program
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 15
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 16
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 17
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 18
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 19
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 20
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 21
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 22
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 23
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 24
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 25
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - Feature: The Road to Wellness
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 27
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 28
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 29
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 30
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 31
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - Feature: Taking the Stand: How Corporate Monitorships Rein in Misbehavior
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 33
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 34
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 35
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - Global & Domestic Outlook
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 37
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - Worth Reading & Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 39
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 41
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - Ask The Ethics Experts
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 43
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 45
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - 47
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - Last Word
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2019 - Cover4
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https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/october2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/julyaugust2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/june2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/June/July2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/March2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/February2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/december2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/November2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september 2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september 2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/july2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/June2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/february2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/december2016
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2016/
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/october2016
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september2016
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