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NJWLA: Agenda for Why Embracing Self-Care is the Best Way to Avoid Professionalism & Ethics Pitfalls

On December 14, 2021, Kirsten Scheurer Branigan was a panelist on an important program entitled, “NJWLA Agenda for Why Embracing Self-Care is the Best Way to Avoid Professionalism & Ethics Pitfalls: Putting on our Own Oxygen Masks Before Helping Others.” She joined Moderator & Panelist: Susan Schleck Kleiner, OGC Solutions; as well as panelists Anna Levine, Director, New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program and Jewel McGowan Watson, The Prudential Insurance Company of America. The program addressed the 2017 Task Force Report, The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change. The Report emphasizes that well-being and ethical conduct are interconnected, with a particular focus on Rule 1.1. This presentation examined some of the Rules in NJ and other jurisdictions, and the ABA Model Rules, and highlighted how an emphasis on self-care can improve professionalism. The panel shared perspectives on managing stress from a legal practitioner standpoint.

Some key topics included:

  • Regardless of what sector you work in, why lawyers struggle to ask for help.

  • How do you function in a high stress job with demands of time of concentration when you have a personal crisis or are suffering from anxiety/depression?

  • What do lawyers do when substance use or mental health impairs their ability to function competently for their clients?

  • Summary of employment laws (NJ LAD, FMLA, ADA) and how leaves of absence and accommodations can be utilized.

  • How can we work collectively toward removing the stigmas associated with mental health and substance use challenges?

This summary is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. This information should not be reused without permission.