During the weeks since my October post, I have been busy working with the Cincinnati Bar Association on a Health and Wellness program for its members. I have been meeting with area professionals to form an advisory group for the new Health and Wellness intitiative. I suggested the CBA adopt such a program after a friend/partner of mine lost his battle with depression in May. My own battles with the demands of my practice and the stress I see in those around me has made me accutely aware of the downside of the legal industry.
It has been wonderful and interesting meeting with other professionals and connecting with other attorneys who feel the way I do about the practice of law. The reaction has been by and far positive. However, there is a fair amount of education for those not in the legal arena. Perhaps the idea that law students and lawyers have higher rates of depression and anxiety seems difiicult to comprehend unless you are inside the profession. Of course, when I discuss the ideas with other legal professionals I am met with enthusiasm and support which reinforces my feeling that most lawyers are people first and lawyers second. In other words, there is a human side to us all which must honored and respected by ourselves and others.
So far, I am proud to have met with and received support of the CBA’s Executive Directory, John Norwine, Dimity Orlet, the CLE coordinator and Julie Borths the CBA Report editor. Outside the CBA, Patrick Garry of the Ohio Laywers Assistance program, Dr. Richard Sears (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction specialist), Lawson Wulsin of UC Medical School, Dr. Doug Mossman, of UC Psychiatry and Law Program, Ellen Wolf, Magistrate in Hamilton County Municipal Court, John Francis of Centerpoint Health, Tony Dattillo of Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health, Stu Schloss of Ulmer and Bearne have all been receptive to serving in an advisory capacity. I reached out last week to professor Jennifer Jolly Ryan of Chase College of Law and hope to bring in their participation as well as UC Law School. I still have a few additional people to speak with but I am very thrilled to have so much interest so far. It is a great group with a lot of diversity.
Now that we have this advisory group, our first task is to start developing a program. So, I am meeting with the CBA folks, and Pat Garry on the 20th to get the ball rolling as they say. So, excited about the chance to get valuable information to law students and lawyers alike. No, I don’t think we will reach 100% of the lawyers, but I do think having information available to people is so important and a good first step of creating a support structure for the people who are in the legal profession. The task ahead may seem “like climbing Mt. Everest”, but nothing ever gets accomplished unless you start. Or as Henry Ford once said “Coming together is the begining, keeping together is progress. Working togther is success.” May the CBA move toward progress and onto success.
I will post further details as the program develops….