Oddly, I remember the last time I saw her. It was a beautiful day in March. We bumped into each other on the sidewalk outside the Costello Courthouse. We agreed that soon, Jess, me, and her significant other would grab beers after work. Then, you know, the pandemic.
Had we met for drinks, I have no idea what we’d have chatted about. I don’t doubt I‘d have learned something interesting or funny about Jess. Alas, I doubt I’d have learned anything to make me more proud of her than an experience she recently shared with me via email.
I’ve long called for the legal profession to destigmatize help-seeking behavior. The process includes fostering an environment in which people are comfortable sharing the experiences that led them to seek help. I don’t think we’re there yet. That’s what makes me so proud of Jess: she just moved the needle.
A few weeks ago, Jess emailed me a link to a blog she’d posted on her website: Attorney Wellness In Vermont. Jess gave me permission to re-post it. Soon, I hope to interview Jess as a sort of follow-up. For now, read Jess’s post.
I’m serious. Read it.
It’s easy for me constantly to tell everyone that running helps me to de-stress. Or for others to advocate for yoga, hiking, crocheting or whatever. There’s no stigma attached to those activities.
Jess’s post is a courageous and brave step forward.
Moreover, Jess’s references to feeling numb and detached from her clients and environment are exactly what I was trying to get at in blog post last week, and again in a seminar I did the following day. Indeed, her post captures so many of the thoughts and feelings that, in my observation, are affecting more and more legal professionals with each passing week. Simply, Jess nailed it.
Again, read the post.
Here’s my favorite of Jess’s thoughts. Referring to her decision to try therapy, Jess wrote:
“Who takes two hours a week to have someone else help you process your thoughts? It turns out, well people do.”
Well people do.
Preach on Jess!
We must do everything we can to encourage legal professionals to do the things that well people do.
In the meantime, please join me in thanking Jessica Burke.