Career Toolkit

Career Toolkit: Mental Health & Work-Life Balance

Type of Resource Resource Description
Book Time Management for Attorneys: A Lawyer’s Guide to Decreasing Stress, Eliminating Interruptions, and Getting Home on Time Poor time management habits lead to stress, frustration and a constant feeling of being out of control. It is possible for you to take control, gain more freedom and manage your time well…if you have the right tools and strategies at your disposal. Compiled in this book are all the time-tested techniques we have learned over the years and put into an easy-to-use guide just for attorneys. In it are real-life examples, exercises, and client case studies and a CD containing over 50 practice-specific forms.
Book The Happy Lawyer: The Art of Having It All Without Losing Your Mind You seem to have it all. A beautiful family, a nice house, new cars, and an enviable job. But now that you have it all, something feels… off. Your law career has become horribly soul-sucking. You’re managing your life, sort of, but you feel duped. Trapped. Your “good job” is affecting your health and relationships, and you’re just trying to keep all the plates spinning. Beverly Davidek has been there. Here’s the good news: You can find a job that helps you provide for your family while giving you happiness, satisfaction, and peace of mind. If you are still struggling to find a way to provide for your family without losing yourself, this book is for you. Part Ask and It Is Given and part What Color Is Your Parachute? (but written for lawyers), Happy Lawyer gives you the tools you need to get unstuck in your career and start living your dream.
Article Wellness, Mindfulness, Work-life Balance The American Bar Association’s compilation of articles on wellness, mindfulness, and work-life balance.
Commission Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs Mental health resources, events, podcasts, videos, research and reports, policy and rules, articles, and CLEs.
Video The Elephant in the Room: The Legal Profession, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse As lawyers, we are taught to be problem identifiers and solvers, adherents to logical analysis to create resolution for complex emotional and business issues. And yet, as a profession, we face significant problems in our own population with mental health and substance abuse. In 2016, a large study found that 21 percent of licensed, employed attorneys qualify as problem drinkers, 28 percent of lawyers experience depression, and 19 percent have anxiety symptoms. The study found younger attorneys in the first 10 years of practice have the highest incidence of these problems. In summer 2017, the New York Times published a remarkable piece describing the opiate addiction and eventual overdose death of a Wilson Sonsini partner, written by his ex-wife and our panelist, Eilene Zimmerman. The problems of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse reach across all tiers of our profession. The Center on the Legal Profession and the Office of Student Affairs sponsored this panel discussion led by Professor Joe Bankman and featuring Ms. Zimmerman, Professor Andy Benjamin of University of Washington, and Patrick Krill, former practicing attorney and now mental health consultant.
Video I’ve Got Your Back; You’ve Got My Ear: Suicide Prevention in the Legal Profession ABA panel on suicide prevention in the legal profession.
Podcast Voices of Recovery The ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs has produced a new podcast series about overcoming substance use disorders, mental health issues and addiction. The lawyers featured in this series have all agreed to tell their story in the hope that it will reduce the stigma surrounding these issues and encourage others to get the help they need.
Adult Coloring Book Lawyer Life: An Adult Coloring Book for Lawyers & Law Students Lawyers, you are legal wizards in disguise. Under stressful circumstances, you are wise and patient beyond measure. But let’s be real. All that self-sacrifice must give you daydreams of turning on the autoreply email service and heading straight to Mexico for vacation. Well, step away from the computer and pick up this Coloring Book for Grown-Ups instead! With each page you color, feel the exhaustion and stress melt away like so many ocean waves and margaritas.
Institute Institute for Well-Being IWIL is dedicated to the betterment of the legal profession by focusing on a holistic approach to well-being. Through advocacy, research, education, technical and resource support, and stakeholders’ partnerships, it is driven to lead a culture shift in law to establish health and well-being as core centerpieces of professional success.
Podcast Path to Well-Being in Law Lawyer well-being catapulted to a national discussion in legal circles with the publication of The Path to Lawyer Well-Being Practical Recommendations for Positive Change in 2006 by The National Task Force of Lawyer Well-Being. What started as a discussion has evolved into a national movement intent on creating a culture shift within the legal profession geared toward greater personal and professional satisfaction. The Path to Well-Being in Law podcast was designed to introduce cool people doing awesome work in the well-being space. Designed specifically for the growing based of well-being advocates, National Task Force co-chairs Chris Newbold and Bree Buchanan lead an entertaining, conversational podcast with recognized well-being pioneers from all sectors of the legal space, including legal employers, judges, law schools, regulators, bar associations, State Well-Being Task Forces and Commissions, professional liability carriers, lawyer assistance programs and wellness thought-leaders.
Program DC Bar Lawyer Assistance Program Learn more about how the DC Bar’s LAP can help you create a path toward wellness.
Apps 14 Apps That Can Help Improve Your Well-Being Apps to improve attorney and law student wellness.
Article Reining in Perfectionism Jordana Alter Confino is a lawyer and the assistant director of academic counseling at Columbia Law School. She is certified in applied positive psychology and advises aspiring lawyers on matters including time-management, work-life balance, and peak performance. In this article, she discusses how perfectionism is not excellence, and the pursuit of perfectionism may cause more harm than good.
Tedx Talk How to Tame Your Wandering Mind Amishi Jha studies how we pay attention: the process by which our brain decides what’s important out of the constant stream of information it receives. Both external distractions (like stress) and internal ones (like mind-wandering) diminish our attention’s power, Jha says — but some simple techniques can boost it. “Pay attention to your attention,” Jha says.
Podcast The Happy Lawyer Happy Life Podcast The rates of depression and unhappiness amongst the legal profession worldwide are far too high. Clarissa Rayward is a divorce lawyer based in Brisbane, Australia and is best known as ‘The Happy Family Lawyer’. Clarissa’s own challenges with unhappiness during her legal career have inspired her to launch this Podcast which explores how we can all find a positive way of being great lawyers while having a great life. Join Clarissa on the airwaves each week as she interviews many great lawyers worldwide who share their tips on finding happiness in law and life.
Book Lawyering From the Inside Out Law is a varied, powerful, and highly rewarding profession. Studies show, however, that lawyers have higher rates of alcoholism, divorce, and even suicide than the general population. Stress creates these poor outcomes, including the stress of dealing with other people’s problems all day, the stress of spending excessive amounts of time at work, and the stress of being disconnected to what is most meaningful in life. Through mindfulness and emotional intelligence training, lawyers can improve focus, get more work done in less time, improve their interpersonal skills, and seek and find work that will make their lives more meaningful. This book is designed to help law students and lawyers of all experience levels find a sustainable and meaningful life in the field of law. This book includes journaling and other interactive exercises that can help lawyers find peace, focus, meaning, and happiness over a lifetime of practicing law.
Podcast Digital Detoxing for Lawyers One estimate claims the number of lawyers with digital addiction could be as high as 40%, and lawyers’ need to constantly engage with technology makes it difficult to set boundaries. What can they do to unplug? In this edition of The Digital Edge, hosts Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway talk to Roberta Tepper about digital addiction in the legal profession and her tips for spending less time on mobile devices. Together, they discuss the signs and symptoms of addiction, caution against “text neck”, and talk about ways lawyers can mindfully put their phones down and reduce dependence, step-by-step.
Book The Best Lawyer You Can Be: A Guide to Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Wellness It’s no secret that individual lawyers are under siege in a profession with a high incidence of stress, divorce, substance abuse, and suicide. In this groundbreaking multi-dimensional collection, you can find tools and information that enable you to have both a successful career and a happy, satisfied life. These tools will teach you how to harness the transformative power of being more relational and less transactional. The earmark of happy lawyers is the development of emotional intelligence, resilience, and mindfulness practice. The book provides the keys to the kingdom, what is essential to thrive in the competitive environment of lawyering. The material comes from recognized experts who provide step-by-step behavioral guidance of what you need to do. The material is easily accessible. Each chapter has a summary and conclusion. Follow the wisdom and it’s guaranteed to change your life and career.
Publication What Makes Lawyers Happy? Transcending the Anecdotes with Data from 6,200 Lawyers Attorney well-being and depression are topics of great concern, but there has been no theory-driven empirical research to guide lawyers and law students seeking well-being. This article reports a unique study establishing a hierarchy of five tiers of factors for lawyer well-being, including choices in law school, legal career, and personal life, and psychological needs and motivations established by Self Determination Theory.
Website JDHD JDHD is a place for ADHD lawyers, whether they know they have it or not. JDHD helps lawyers learn about ADHD and how it shows up in their lives and their law practices. It helps people in and around the legal profession get diagnosed, get treated, and get to work in new and powerful ways. With its array of professional consulting services—including 1:1 executive consulting, intimate mastermind groups, a private Discord community, a podcast, CLE credit, and a novel approach to implementing “7 ADHD Fundamentals”—JDHD empowers lawyers to make ADHD easier. Law is hard enough. The legal profession has largely ignored lawyers with ADHD. But a better understanding of JDHDs and the powers they bring to the profession will move our profession forward.
Website Mental Health and Well-Being Resources Mental health and well-being resources for lawyers and law students, provided by the Harvard Center on Legal Profession.

The Committee welcomes feedback from the WBA membership about the Toolkit at careertoolkit@wbadc.org. If you have suggestions for resources to include, please use “TOOLKIT RESOURCES” in your email subject line.