Capitalizing on Healthy Lawyers: The Business Case for Law Firms to Promote and Prioritize Lawyer Well-Being

59 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2019 Last revised: 15 Sep 2020

See all articles by Jarrod Reich

Jarrod Reich

University of Miami - School of Law

Date Written: August 15, 2019

Abstract

This Article is the first to make the business case for firms to promote and prioritize lawyer well-being. For more than three decades, quantitative research has demonstrated that lawyers suffer from depression, anxiety, and addiction far in excess of the general population. Since that time, there have been many calls within and outside the profession for changes to be made to promote, prioritize, and improve lawyer well-being, particularly because many aspects of the current law school and law firm models exacerbate mental health and addiction issues, as well as overall law student and lawyer distress. These calls for change, made on moral and humanitarian grounds, largely have been ignored; in fact, over the years the pervasiveness of mental health and addiction issues within the profession have persisted, if not increased. This Article argues that these moral- and humanitarian-based calls for change have gone unheeded because law firms have not had financial incentives to respond to them.

In making the business case for change, this Article argues that systemic changes designed to support and resources to lawyers will avoid costs associated with lawyer mental health and addiction issues and, more importantly, create efficiencies that will increase firms’ long-term financial stability and growth. It demonstrates that this business case is especially strong now in light of not only societal and generational factors, but also changes within the profession itself well. As firms have begun to take incremental steps to promote lawyer well-being, lasting and meaningful change will further benefit firms’ collective bottom lines as it will improve: (1) performance, as clients are demanding efficiency in the way their matters are staffed and billed; (2) retention, as that creates efficiencies and the continuous relationships demanded by clients; and (3) recruitment, particularly as younger millennial and Generation Z lawyers—who prioritize mental health and well-being—enter the profession.

Keywords: well-being, wellness, legal profession, law firms, business, psychology, mental health, health, depression, anxiety, stress, addiction, substance abuse, alcohol

JEL Classification: K19, M14, M21

Suggested Citation

Reich, Jarrod, Capitalizing on Healthy Lawyers: The Business Case for Law Firms to Promote and Prioritize Lawyer Well-Being (August 15, 2019). 65 Villanova Law Review 361 (2020), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3438029 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3438029

Jarrod Reich (Contact Author)

University of Miami - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 248087
Coral Gables, FL 33146
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
281
Abstract Views
1,364
rank
148,966
PlumX Metrics