So, heading up to Orlando for the Bar’s annual conference. I sit on the Standing Committee on Professionalism, which has been a real treat for the past three years. Looking around the room at the men and women serving on the Committee and Commission on Professionalism, you get the sense of what the Bar should and could be – dedicated individuals who really want this to be a profession, rather than a trade. Right now, the Commission’s focus is on law schools and hopefully addressing the issues that make us the most stressed, depressed, and addicted profession in the country before they have a chance to really get started. I’ll also get to say hi to people on the bar staff and Board of Governors who strongly support FLA (as well as talk with some who don’t), and thank them for “putting their money where their mouth is”, especially in these tough economic times. More will be revealed……..
Archive for June, 2009
Monitor reports can now be completed online at either the FLA web site or the monitor’s Affinity web site (we would prefer you use the Affinity site) and sent directly to FLA. For those of you wishing to continue mailing or faxing your forms, downloadable copies of all three forms are still available under the Forms tab. If you have any questions about using the FLA or Affinity site filing procedure, feel free to contact the FLA staff.
We’ve become accutely aware over the past 6-9 months of the severe emotional impact the current economic situation is having on the legal profession. Calls to FLA from attorneys dealing with stress and depression resulting from financial conditions have spiked significantly during that time period, and our Clinical Director, Dr. Weinstein, is dealing with more serious cases (some suicidal) than any of us can remember. Attorneys facing the loss of a position they’ve held for a number of years, or not being able to find work upon admisssion, or seeing their income drop precipitously actually seem to suffer emotional distress to a greater degree than other members of society, due to the fact we’re supposed to be the “strong” ones who help others and don’t show that kind of weakness. Take a look at this article in Adam Smith, Esq. for information.
What can we do about it (other than hope the downturn comes to an end relatively quickly)? Well, lawyer assistance programs around the country are developing support systems to help legal professionals both emotionally and practically. A number of states, such as Oregon and Washington, have produced multi-day workshops to help lawyers work through difficult financial transitions and learn how to weather the storm. FLA and the Florida Bar Center for Professionalism are developing a similar workshop which will hopefully be presented in November 2009. The ABA has taken a very proactive position on helping members of the profession by preparing and making available a number of practice aides, teleconferences, and materials – links to those ABA resources can be found on this site under the Links tab.
Please feel free to comment on this subject with your own experiences, good or bad. Certainly, suggestions on how to deal with the emotional and economic impact of the current recession will be appreciated, and represent the best of “lawyers helping lawyers”.