Hon. Kay M. Hanlon, (Ret.), senior mediator and arbitrator at ADR Systems, recently shared advice with young lawyers about personal and professional well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic as a segment guest on the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section’s Talk Legal webcast. The segment was hosted by Micah T. Reeves, Esq., Kralovec, Jambois & Shwartz.
Attendees were encouraged to brainstorm hobbies and wellness practices they can incorporate into their schedules that invigorate them, cultivate work-life balance and help to maintain their physical and mental health.
“I know that there’s a high degree of stress about moving cases along. I hear that. You’re all doing everything you can to move the system along,” Judge Hanlon said during the segment. “But I really want to emphasize that you need to take care of you. No matter what your other roles are in life in addition to being a lawyer – and we all have them – take the time to be good to yourself. Do it for you.”
Judge Hanlon’s advice to young lawyers responds to issues of mental health, personal well-being and work-life balance that are at large in the legal profession: A 2016 study found, for example, that 28% of lawyers experience depression and 19% experience anxiety, with the prevalence of potential alcohol abuse among lawyers at a higher rate than in other professional occupations. Further, the legal profession’s culture of long hours, high stakes, and hefty client demands have already taken their toll on millennial attorneys, who are interested in transforming the business of law for the sake of personal, long-term well-being: According to the 2019 Millennial Survey Report, approximately 75% of millennial attorneys would exchange a portion of their salary for additional time off, a more flexible work schedule or a cut in billable hours.
Judge Hanlon reminded viewers that day-to-day wellness practices like meditation and weight training are accessible through numerous free, downloadable apps on smart phones. She shared that she has been making time to work with a personal trainer remotely for an hour before her morning cases.
“It helps place me in a relaxed, concentrated mindset before a long, busy day,” Judge Hanlon said. “Since everything is online now, there’s really no excuse not to take care of yourself. You can just go on any app to take care of yourself. You have to find the balance. That is key”
Hon. Kay M. Hanlon, (Ret.) has expertise in resolving personal injury actions such as medical malpractice, mass torts and product liability. Counsel who appeared before Judge Hanlon find her to be perpetually prepared, ready to listen attentively.
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