Welcome to the Gwen S. Cherry Black Women
Building on Our Legacy: Developing the Whole Lawyer
Our country and our profession have experienced many exciting and trying times in recent weeks and months.
On the side of good we have Summer Vacation 2017, family reunions, graduations, weddings, baby showers, college send-offs and the like. Also on that side of the ledger, many have attended amazing annual conferences for various bar associations, including the installation of my law partner and our friend, Hilarie Bass, Esq., as ABA President; our friend, Michael Higer, Esq., as Florida Bar President; and our friend, Joe Drayton, Esq., as National Bar Association President, along with many others.
On the opposite side of the ledger, under “trying times”, we’ve experienced Charlottesville, Paris, Houston, and other life experiences that take us to our limits in terms of human capacity to cope, understand and recover.
With all the ebb and flow of life, there comes a time when each of us must admit we need “a minute”. Call it a “Mental Health Day”. Call it “Girls’ Night Out!” Call it whatever you would like. The reality of the matter is that each of us gets to the point where we cannot write another summary judgment motion. We cannot answer another email, take on another mediation, close another mission-critical deal or attend another commission meeting. Rather, from time to time, we have to consciously create the space we need to experience what we need to experience and process in order to get to higher ground.
This too is about developing and nurturing the whole lawyer.
So what can we do to reach that higher ground? Reach out!
Nationally, the new report, “National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change”, released August 14th, has a wealth of information and resources. Initiated by the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs, among others, it outlines recommendations for taking action toward improving and maintaining lawyer well-being. You can read the Task Force Report here. Additional ABA resources designed to assist lawyers and their supporters during times of need can be found through its #Fit2Practice-Mental Health portal.
The Florida Bar has also taken notice and action, having created the Special Committee on Health and Wellness for Florida Lawyers. Approved at the July 21st Board of Governors’ Meeting, the Special Committee on Health and Wellness will focus on quality of life issues for attorneys. In the meantime, check out the myriad exciting resources at Florida Lawyers Assistance.
The Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association, like many of the local voluntary bars, will also tackle the issue of mental health and wellness via programming later this year. Stay tuned for more on this front.
In the interim, please know that you are not alone. We are here for you, and we care. We do not posit to have all of the answers to what ails you. We do promise that you have willing and able friends and collaborative partners in us.
Through these moments, the Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association continues to build on our legacy of developing the whole lawyer – heart, mind, body and soul.
Nikki Lewis Simon