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The Bar Plan is excited to participate in the First Annual National Lawyer Well-Being Week by being the first insurance company in the country to sign the ABA Well-Being Pledge, demonstrating our commitment to the well-being of the legal profession. Too many lawyers are not thriving and The Bar Plan wants to be part of the solution. We promise to continue to provide CLEs on this topic, content, and to continually evolve our business to support this cause. Below you will find relevant content on this topic, as well as tips and suggestions to implement each day of the week.

For more information on Lawyer Well-Being Week and how you can get your firm involved, we encourage you to visit the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being website.

Monday, May 4: Physical Well-Being

We all know exercise is an important part of maintaining physical and mental health. A morning workout – or even just a lap around the building – will improve productivity at your job. Increased productivity leads to better results, satisfied employers, happier clients, and a better life outside of work. But how can you get from “A” (knowing what’s good for you) to “B” (that positive outcome)? Thank you to our Guest Author, Chris Dandurand, who outlines, in lawyer speak, easy tips to incorporate working out into your busy day: We Can’t All Be Ruth Bader Ginsburg, But We Can Try.

Activity Suggestions:
  • Hold an “active meeting” challenge, encouraging attorneys and staff to do some or all of their Monday meetings while standing up, walking, using a stationary exercise bike or engaging in some other form of physical activity. Don’t forget to post about your experience on social media using #LawyerWellbeingWeek!
  • Remote fitness activity or class: Hold a “remote” 5k run/walk or a remote yoga or exercise class for your team this afternoon to get their blood pumping and their brains reengaged to tackle the workweek.
  • Technology Blackout: In order to enable and encourage attorneys and staff to really engage with the well-being efforts, ask them to take one or more days this week to disconnect from mobile devices for work purposes outside designated business hours to allow them more time to focus on family and self.
  • Healthy Eating: Encourage attorneys and staff to engage in a recipe exchange to share their favorite healthy meals, snacks and desserts. Post your successful healthy cooking efforts to social media using #LawyerWellbeingWeek!
  • Sleep Challenge: Getting enough sleep is an important and often-overlooked aspect of physical well-being. Coordinate a sleep challenge encouraging everyone to get at least seven hours of sleep per night. Consider keeping a sleep journal to learn what unhealthy sleep patterns you should work to break.

Tuesday, May 5: Spiritual Well-Being

The Bar Plan is hosting a well-being webinar at Noon on Tuesday, May 5. It is free to any interested attorney. Click here to register.

Click here to read an article on mindfulness and embracing your spirituality, provided by the ABA Journal.  

Activity Suggestions:
  • Seek out and share TED Talks or other videos to help your attorneys and staff understand the importance of finding meaning in each of their own lives.  One suggestion is this 2017 TED Talk about the difference between “being happy” and building a meaningful life.
  • Consider beginning a meditation routine and encouraging attorneys and staff members to do the same. Many meditation apps or services are offering reduced cost or free subscriptions during the COVID-19 outbreak, so now is a great time to begin this healthy habit.
  • Invite attorneys and staff to complete the Values Challenge Activity Guide to determine what values they hold dear and how to uphold those in their own personal and professional lives.
  • Encourage attorneys and staff to develop a Personal Mission Statement for their own lives, including personal and professional goals. Invite them to share these statements and goals with one another or via social media using #LawyerWellbeingWeek.

Wednesday, May 6: Career & Intellectual Well-Being

The worries of growing your practice affects lawyers in firms of all sizes. Growth strategies, business development and marketing are not necessarily focused on in the early stages of practice. Therefore, when it comes time to implement a law firm business development strategy, it can seem daunting to many lawyers. It requires time spent outside of practicing law, is easy to brush aside, requires patience, and trial and error. It is a different route for each attorney. But, instead of feeling like it’s an insurmountable task to conquer, here are ten easy-to-implement tips to enhance business development efforts, provided by Susan McCourt Baltz, The Bar Plan’s Director of Marketing.

Activity Suggestions:
  • Encourage attorneys and staff to engage in one or more of the following “optimal self” activities to help them discover their own character strengths and strategies to implement those to put forward their “best selves.”
  • Consider hosting a virtual “town hall” for all attorneys and staff where senior leadership answers questions and facilitates discussion about ways to remove obstacles and implement practices to promote health, happiness and work engagement among all team members.
  • If possible, permit attorneys and staff to take an extra hour or more of their day to focus on a professional skill each has wants to develop or improve. This can be done through personal self-study, online courses, TED Talk videos and many other means of remote learning.

Thursday, May 7: Social Well-Being

All lawyers understand the importance of having connections and building a network for business development and client services, but numerous studies have proven that meaningful social connections are just as essential to physical, mental and emotional well-being as a great Rolodex is to a firm’s financial health. In a time when many in the profession are working from home, staying connected may seem like a hopeless task, but there are strategies you can employ to bridge the virtual gap and reap the benefits. Click here to read How to Stay Connected in a Remote World, by The Bar Plan’s Risk Manager, Whittney Dunn.

Activity Suggestions:
  • Set up a virtual “social hour” to allow attorneys and staff to catch up with each other through video conferencing software without any set working agenda or obligations. Encourage them to share this experience on social media using #LawyerWellbeingWeek!
  • Ask attorneys and staff to consider engaging in the lost art of writing Thank You notes to someone for whom they are especially grateful this week. Expressing gratitude is a proven method of improving mood and well-being, and the recipient of the letter gets a boost too!
  • Seek out connection opportunities through local and state bar organizations like the new “Lawyers Living Well” online community through The Missouri Bar.
  • Encourage attorneys and staff to take advantage of videoconferencing technology to set up a video call with a friend or family member with whom they may not have spoken in a while.

Friday, May 8: Emotional Well-Being

Thank you to our Guest Author, Barbara Glesner Fines, Dean of UMKC School of Law, for providing us thoughtful content on Mindset Tools: How to Practice Positive Emotions.

Activity Suggestions:
  • Host a virtual “Bring Your Pet to Work” day where attorneys and staff are encouraged to show off their four-legged, feathered or finned friends during work videoconferencing. If this cannot be done, encourage circulation of funny pet photos and videos to boost energy and morale. Share your favorites on social media using #LawyerWellbeingWeek.
  • Suggest a “laugh break” during which time each attorney and staff member watches a television show or internet videos that always make them laugh. Encourage sharing of videos between colleagues that are appropriate for a professional setting.
  • Invite members to participate in a “Positivity Challenge” using one of the science-based positive emotion-boosting activities.
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