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  • November 19, 2020

    At Work: The Task Force on Wisconsin Lawyer Well-Being

    The recently formed Task Force on Wisconsin Lawyer Well-Being is at work to research ways to better address substance abuse and mental health issues that affect lawyers. James Casey, a member of the task force, provides an update on its work.

    James J. Casey

    2020 Wisconsin Legal Innovators 

    In her swearing in ceremony in June 2019, State Bar Past President Jill Kastner highlighted the role of the Wisconsin Lawyers Assistance Program (WisLAP) in providing services that help lawyers prioritize their well-being.

    WisLAP is only one part of the well-being solution for Wisconsin lawyers. As a self-regulating profession, all Wisconsin lawyers have good reason to promote the well-being of their colleagues to prevent impairment than can cause harm to clients.

    Well being is increasingly recognized as a core component of attorney professional responsibility.

    As a result, a diverse group of lawyers and law students were asked to serve on the Task Force on Wisconsin Lawyer Well-Being (Task Force) to review the current state of lawyer well-being in Wisconsin and develop recommendations for improvement and reform.

    James Casey James Casey, Dayton 1990, focuses on privacy and antitrust matters with Casey Privacy Contracting in Washington, D.C. He is a member of the Task Force on Wisconsin Lawyer Well-Being and a delegate to the ABA House of Delegates.

    The Task Force chair is Judge Todd W. Bjerke, La Crosse County Circuit Court. WisLAP Manager Mary Spranger is the lead State Bar of Wisconsin staff member, and the National Task Force liaison is Lindsey Draper.

    The work plan for the Task Force derives from a 2017 report issued by the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being. Just as the National Task Force report provided a framework for addressing the question of Lawyer Well-being, the Wisconsin task force has been tasked with identifying specific needs of the Wisconsin Bar in working toward the well-being of its members, and to make recommendations based on those needs. The members of the Wisconsin task force are positioned to identify what is needed and how we can work to improve the well-being of all Wisconsin lawyers, including nonresident lawyers.

    Since the establishment of the Task Force earlier this year, the full Task Force has met a couple of times and established subcommittees. I serve on the regulatory subcommittee, which is chaired by State Bar President-elect Cheryl Daniels. The subcommittee met for the first time recently to consider specific improvements. Subcommittee work will continue over the next several months. Updates will be regularly shared with members of the Nonresident Lawyers Division.

    The goal is to have tentative recommendations to the State Bar support team – Spranger and WisLAP Coordinator Jason Magill – by mid-to-late February. They will then draft a report which, on approval by the Task Force, will be submitted to the State Bar of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

    Find out more about the task force and see a list of members in “Working to Promote Lawyer Well-Being in Wisconsin,” InsideTrack, Oct. 21, 2020.​

    This article was originally published on the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Nonresident Lawyers Blog. Visit the State Bar Divisions page or the Nonresident Lawyers Division webpage to learn more about division membership.

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    Nonresident Lawyers Blog is published by the Nonresident Lawyers Division and the State Bar of Wisconsin; blog posts are written by division members. To contribute to this blog, contact Emily Kelchen and review Author Submission Guidelines. Learn more about the Nonresident Lawyers Division or become a member.

    Disclaimer: Views presented in blog posts are those of the blog post authors, not necessarily those of the Section or the State Bar of Wisconsin. Due to the rapidly changing nature of law and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the State Bar of Wisconsin makes no warranty or guarantee concerning the accuracy or completeness of this content.

    © 2024 State Bar of Wisconsin, P.O. Box 7158, Madison, WI 53707-7158.

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