Well-Being in Law Week, May 2-6, 2022, focuses on the importance of well-being for professors and law students, lawyers, and members of the judiciary and people who work with and provide services to them. In recent years, the discussion has moved from a reactive approach to a proactive one, from conversations that address stress, substance abuse, mental health challenges, and decisions to leave the profession to a recognition that well-being is crucial in sustaining the profession.
Lindsey D. Draper, Marquette 1975, is vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion of the Institute for Well-Being in Law, and a member of the Task Force on Wisconsin Lawyer Wellbeing. He has worked as a court commissioner, assistant state public defender, and Milwaukee County assistant district attorney. Later he oversaw Wisconsin’s adherence to the mandates of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act as the state’s Disproportionate Minority Contact Coordinator and Compliance Monitor through the Wisconsin Department of Justice. He is currently chair of the boards of the Milwaukee County Historical Society, St. Charles Youth and Family Services, and the Alma Center in Milwaukee; a director-at-large of the National Client Protection Organization; and a member of the American Bar Association’s Center for Professional Responsibility Continuing Legal Education Committee. Draper received the NCPO 2021 Isaac Hecht Award for Client Protection.
Since the 2017 publication of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well Being report, Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change,1 significant progress has been made in recognizing the importance of and improving lawyer well-being. The report identified emotional, occupational, intellectual, spiritual, physical, and social dimensions and has helped frame many subsequent conversations and studies. Supporters of the task force’s report include the Conference of Chief Justices, the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates, and many state supreme courts and state bar associations. The ABA developed a Well-Being Template for Legal Employers, and many leading law firms have adopted the ABA Well-Being Pledge.2 Much national leadership in the area has transitioned to the Institute for Well-Being in Law,3 whose mission since its founding in 2020 has been betterment of the legal profession by focusing on a holistic approach to well-being.
Like many other states, Wisconsin established a task force, which studied challenges and strengths within the state’s legal system and released a report with recommendations for improving and sustaining well-being among lawyers and other legal professionals.
The report of the Task Force on Wisconsin Lawyer Well-Being4 recognizes exceptional foundational programs such as the Wisconsin Lawyers Assistance Program (WisLAP) and initiatives at Marquette Law School and the University of Wisconsin Law School. The State Bar of Wisconsin continues to provide significant support for and exposure of the issue; the challenge that remains is to build on the progress and achievements of the past five years.
Issues of well-being are vitally important to every lawyer, whether the attorney is a solo practitioner, in a small or medium-sized firm, or part of a corporate or government practice or has another kind of law-related position. Identifying and addressing the factors that can adversely affect the well-being of an attorney – and as a result, the interests of the clients – are an important part of the work of the movement. Please join me and other members of the State Bar of Wisconsin in celebrating Well-Being in Law Week from May 2 to May 6.
Issues of well-being are vitally important to every lawyer, from small firms to big firms, from corporate to government practice and other law-related positions.
Meet Our Contributors
You’re a very busy person. What do you do simply for pure fun?
The return of the Brewers to town opens one of my favorite opportunities – attending games with friends. The games provide a block of time to catch up on what has happened since we were last together and to enjoy the game while doing so. I initially bought a weekend package so my godchildren could get the bobbleheads distributed at many of the games, and now I have quite a bobblehead collection myself.
Before the pandemic, I presented at several institutes for middle and high school teachers of civics, history, and government on topics related to U.S. history and the Constitution. The institutes were mainly attended by teachers from Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Because I lived in the South during many of the significant events of the civil rights era, I have vivid recollections of conversations at our home at a time my father drove people to work during the Montgomery bus boycott. I always added time to my travels to the institutes to visit related historic sites. I hope to be able to resume those trips soon.
Lindsey D. Draper, Wauwatosa.
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2 Well-Being Template for Legal Employers and ABA Well-Being Pledge, available at www.americanbar.org/groups/lawyer_assistance/well-being-in-the-legal-profession/.
» Cite this article: 95 Wis. Law. 80 (May 2022).