Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 9

TOWARD WELL-BEING
To Foster Wellness,
First Be Authentic
By Tara Antonipillai
A
fter participating in a recent
panel on well-being for an
organization of lawyermoms,
I polled the group
with this prompt: Do you have a
story about a leader who inspires
well-being?
One law firm associate spoke about her
practice group leader who has led with compassion
and was a steady source of support for
others during the pandemic. She noted that
effective leaders set a compassionate tone. The
associate and her colleagues found that the
group leader's consistently gentle demeanor, as
well as respect of family and other obligations,
contributed to their well-being. Hearing about
a leader who improved lawyers' well-being
through compassion made me wonder about
other qualities of a successful well-being leader.
I spoke with the well-being program leaders
at two large law firms to find out how they
are helping their firms move toward greater
wellness for attorneys and staff. In these interviews,
and in my own work with legal organizations,
three components surfaced as key for
successful well-being leadership.
LEADING WITH IMPERFECTION
The most effective initiatives begin with
leaders bringing their authentic self to the
effort, which often comes with a healthy side
of vulnerability.
Diane Costigan, director of coaching and wellbeing
at Winston & Strawn LLP, shared that the
firm's most successful well-being programs
incorporate firm leaders' personal and professional
experiences as imperfect humans.
Winston & Strawn emphasizes mindfulness by
providing the Calm app upgrade as a resource.
" To get some stickiness to our mindfulness
program, I tried to find lawyers in leadership
positions who meditated, " Costigan said. She
then asked the lawyers to share how meditation
helped them maintain balance at work
and at home. Costigan said the effort was
effective because firm leaders authentically
shared their personal experiences.
Krista Larson, director of employee well-being
at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, also emphasized
the importance of authenticity in leadership.
The firm's chair, Jami McKeon, heads the
development of programs focused on lawyer
wellness and regularly speaks to the importance
of creating a culture of well-being
through personal engagement. Managing
partner Steve Wall walks the talk and exemplifies
courage and vulnerability when he shares
his personal journey with substance use and
recovery in periodic talks with new hires.
CULTURE OF CONNECTION
According to numerous studies, social support
is a fundamental component of overall health
and well-being. Programs that foster social
connection and mutual support are crucial to
any well-being initiative. Ideally, this culture of
connection starts at the top.
At Morgan Lewis, Larson said there is a strong
sense of community due in part to the firm's
commitment to volunteerism and pro bono
work. Costigan also echoed the importance of
a positive culture of caring and pro bono work
in creating social bonds at Winston & Strawn.
Both Larson and Costigan said they consider
their firms' " step " challenges a huge success.
Winston & Strawn's challenge not only gets
people moving, which is good for physical and
mental health, but it also encourages them to
join collaborative teams, Costigan said. Team
members utilize funny bitmojis and friendly
competition to encourage a sense of community.
Similarly, Morgan Lewis's Moving Together
initiative is a way to increase interconnectedness
and collegiality as well as exercise.
Larson recently launched wellness-focused
team-building sessions for affinity and practice
groups at Morgan Lewis. Although the training
content is important, she considers the overlying
social element even more so. A chief
objective of the team-building sessions
was to encourage fun, casual interactions
that are often missing in our current virtual
environment.
LEADERSHIP IS A TEAM EFFORT
Another common element in successful wellbeing
efforts is collaboration among leaders
and teams. Costigan said well-being is not relegated
to any single senior leader. Winston &
Strawn has a team of five people from Learning
& Development and Human Resources leading
the firm's well-being initiatives. In the past
year, despite the pandemic, collaboration has
increased across the firm in implementing its
Mental Health First Aid program.
That team dynamic is important, not just in
how well-being programs are implemented,
but also in how well-being is understood.
Morgan Lewis holistically defines well-being as
" what it takes for people to thrive in all aspects
of life. " This informs the belief that everyone
at the firm can impact their colleagues' wellbeing,
even if they have no direct responsibility
for well-being programs.
Great well-being leadership includes a commitment
to programs and resources, but, more
importantly, to qualities like compassion,
authenticity, positive relationships, and collaboration.
Tara
Antonipillai, who earned her JD at
Georgetown University, is the founder of Cultivate,
helping professionals find calm, control, and
connection at work. She is a member of the D.C.
Bar Lawyer Assistance Committee. Email lap@
dcbar.org or visit dcbar.org/lap for assistance in
navigating well-being challenges.
JULY/AUGUST 2021
* WASHINGTON LAWYER 9
http://www.dcbar.org/lap

Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Election Coverage
Practice Management
Toward Well-Being
A Conversation with Chad Sarchio feature
Ready for Reentry feature
LSC's Ron Flagg feature
Leadership Academy feature
DC Bar Annual Report
DC Bar Budget
Taking the Stand
On Further Review
The Learning Curve
ABA Delegate's Corner
Member Spotlight
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Disciplinary Summaries
Speaking of Ethics
The Pro Bono Effect
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 1
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 2
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 3
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Election Coverage
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Toward Well-Being
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - A Conversation with Chad Sarchio feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 11
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 12
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 13
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Ready for Reentry feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 15
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 16
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 17
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - LSC's Ron Flagg feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 19
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 20
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 21
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Leadership Academy feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 23
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 24
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - DC Bar Annual Report
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 26
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 27
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 28
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 29
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Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 33
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 34
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 35
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 36
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - DC Bar Budget
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 39
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - ABA Delegate's Corner
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 43
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 45
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 47
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 50
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 52
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 53
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - The Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - 55
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2021 - Cover4
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