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2019 National Conversation on Civility: Lawyer Wellbeing and the Relation to Diminished Civility

The legal profession is in the throes of a mental health crisis, with lawyers experiencing depression and substance abuse at unusually high rates and their struggles too often resulting in suicide or overdose. Lack of well-being in the profession not only has negative consequences for practitioners, their clients, and their employers, but also points to deep-seated problems within the legal profession. The distress of the legal professional, in other words, can be re-envisioned as a crisis of the profession itself, exposing a widening gulf between the ideals of the legal profession and its actual practice.

A number of reforms are critical to bridging that divide—a renewed focus on civility central among them. The breakdown of professional decorum and the deterioration of lawyers’ mental and physical health have been traced to common sources of stress and pressure. And, as a practical matter, their relationship is symbiotic: an uncivil work environment can harm lawyers’ well-being, and conversely, poor mental health may negatively affect lawyers’ conduct in a way that contributes to an uncivil environment.

But more fundamentally, the breakdown in professional civility, with its repercussions for the health of the individual lawyer, reflects a dissonance between the experience of being a lawyer in modern times and the profession’s conception of itself as rooted in values, grown through mentorship, and sustained through skills-based competence and confidence. 

The commonly accepted challenges in modern practice both to civility in the profession and to lawyer well-being is the focus of this year's National Conversation on Civility. Join us during Civility Month to explore the implicit connection between these two realms. 

Program and remarks are based on the essay "Lawyer Wellbeing as a Crisis of the Profession" winner of the 2019 Warren E. Burger Prize by Judge Cheryl Ann Krause, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and Jane Chong, Esq., Williams & Connolly LLP.

Date: Saturday, October 26, 2019
Registration Open & Breakfast Available: 8:00 AM 
Program Time:
9:00 - 10:30 AM (Eastern)
J.W. Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC
Eligible for 1.5 hours
Attend the live event then complete the course elements to earn your certificate in order to self-report in your jurisdiction for 1.5 CLE general or wellness credit hours.

Click here to access essay excerpt and speaker bios.