News and Information
May 23, 2019

President’s Committee Releases Report on Lawyer Well-Being

A special committee formed by VSB President Leonard C. Heath Jr. released its final report on lawyer well-being today. 

The committee was tasked with identifying specific aspects or characteristics of the practice of law that might serve as a risk to a lawyer’s well-being. President Heath refined a matrix of these risks, and the report adds substantive, narrative explanation of the risks. 

The occupational risks fall into four categories:

  • Physical Risks – those that directly affect a lawyer’s bodily health
  • Mental and Emotional Risks – conditions of law practice that harm psychological well-being
  • Adaptation Risks – related to the changing nature of law practice in the twenty-first century
  • Self-Actualization Risks – those that prevent lawyers from flourishing or reaching a state of contentment between their professional, social, and personal lives

The report also includes an extensive bibliography with further sourcing. 

Members of the committee – and contributors to the report – include former presidents of statewide bars, a law professor, a senior vice president of the Virginia State Bar’s endorsed lawyer professional liability carrier, staff from the Virginia State Bar, an employee of The Virginia Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (Lawyers Helping Lawyers), and lawyers representing a diverse cross-section of the legal profession.

“It is the committee’s sincere hope that this report will further the discussion concerning the well-being of the legal profession and that it will positively affect the personal lives and professional experience of those who read it and of those they hold dear,” the report reads.

The Virginia State Bar encourages lawyers to read the full report.

It will be formally presented at the VSB Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach on June 14 as part of the CLE entitled “Proactive Wellness: How to Identify, Understand, and Mitigate Lawyers' Occupational Risks.” 

The report’s release coincides with national Mental Health Awareness Month, which encourages those affected to seek treatment and talk about mental health issues.

Updated: May 23, 2019