The California Lawyers Association recently announced their avant-garde research to promote measures for the physical and mental well-being of lawyers.
The project is scheduled to launch in the last weeks of March and will be primarily work on the findings by the previous ABA, Hazelden Betty Ford study.
Patrick Krill, ‘attorney mental health and well-being expert’, along with his associate, Dr. Justin Anker, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota, are currently working on devising a questionnaire to predict the current state of ‘mental health problems and substance abuse among licensed attorneys’. The experts will then use the data to find the causes behind the prevalent problems.
The confidential surveys will be incognito, mainly focusing on the risk factors causing the problems – which might include “stress sensitivity, early life adversity, impulsivity, sleep, diet, exercise, social and financial health, burnout, personality disorders, drinking to cope with negative emotions”. Furthermore, the surveys will also evaluate traditional and work-place triggers, including, “stress in environment, incivility, toxic goals, incentivized and rewarded behaviors, attitudes towards substance use and self-care, availability and utilization of support resources”.
The questions will mainly ask the audience about their views on the problem and possible solutions for getting rid of it.
According to the Executive Director and CEO of California Lawyers Association, Ona Alston Dosunmu, “As the bar association for all California attorneys, CLA is excited to participate in this important research project. The health—including mental health—and well-being of our members is critically important to us. We hope the findings from this critical survey will provide insights into ways to better serve and assist our members and the profession.”
The main idea behind the research is to promote a healthier work environment for the lawyers and use strategic planning to improve their mental health.
Krill talked about the subject saying, “The legal profession has made great strides in the realm of mental health, substance use, and well-being over the last few years but, in many ways, our work is just beginning”
He further continued, “increased knowledge and understanding of the problems are vital to our ongoing efforts towards a long-term cultural change that will truly improve the health and well-being of lawyers. We need to move beyond prevalence data alone, and to shed light on the many risk factors that exist on both the profession-wide and individual level. I am incredibly grateful to the CLA for its enthusiasm for this work and its desire to lead on this front”
If everything goes according to plan, the D.C. Bar – “largest unified bar in the country”, will be a part of the population receiving the survey. This would add diversity to the research, along with increasing the subject pool and improving the quality of the results.
Even though, the surveys would be taken in the end of March, the official results will come out months later, once the findings have been properly studied and submitted for publishing.
About California Lawyers Association (CLA)
CLA is a “member-driven, mission-focused” and non profit organization for the lawyers in California. It was established in 2018 and works for promoting high quality work and diversity in the field.
According to the website, the organization’s mission includes “Promoting excellence, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and fairness in the administration of justice and the rule of law.”