Wellness Wednesday: an action plan

On March 3, 2016, I posted my first blog on attorney wellness: Lawyers Helping Lawyers.  Since, I’ve raised the issue as often as possible on this blog and at continuing legal education seminars.  Today, I’m pleased to report that the Vermont Commission on the Well-Being of the Legal Profession recently issued its State Action Plan.

The Vermont Supreme Court created the Commission in response to a report from the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being.  That report, The Path to Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change, made a series of recommendations in response to a study that found staggering rates of behavioral health issues among lawyers.  Relevant to my job as bar counsel, the national report noted:

  • “To be a good lawyer, one has to be a healthy lawyer.  Sadly, our profession is falling short when it comes to well-being.  The two studies referenced above reveal that too many lawyers and law students experience chronic stress and high rates of depression and substance abuse.  These findings are incompatible with a sustainable legal profession, and they raise troubling implications for many lawyers’ basic competence.”

Competence is the first professional duty set out in the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Again, Vermont’s state action plan is here.  When you have time, give it a read.  Here’s the concluding paragraph from the introduction:

  • “Our profession has a duty to deliver competent legal and judicial services that will serve to uphold the integrity of the justice system. We recognize that the recommendations that follow may impose costs on the profession. We are certain, however, that the benefits of these proposals outweigh the modest cost of implementing them. Neglecting the truths of the national report that issued and its focus on the elevated risks for mental illness and substance abuse will, we believe, impose greater, more damaging costs—both on our profession, the public and its confidence in the rule of law. We hope that these proposals will be recognized as responsibilities fundamental to the privilege of practicing law.”

I agree 100%  We cannot neglect the issue.  As a profession, we must follow-up on the action items.  We cannot congratulate ourselves on the Commission’s fantastic work only to relegate the plan to the digital equivalent of a shelf where it collects electronic dust until that long-off day when someone finds an archived version and says “Wow.  Great ideas. I wonder what ever became of them?”

Wellness

If you’re new to this topic, here are my various posts:

 

 

 

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Legal Ethics & The Water Cooler

Yesterday, the ABA Journal posted its “Top 10 most-read legal news stories of 2018.”  The intro notes that “[l]awyers busy with research, conferences and other high-concentration tasks sometimes need a break. So it’s no surprise that the most-viewed articles on our website tend toward water-cooler topics . . .”

That’s consistent with the stats for this blog.  The most-read posts are the #fiveforfriday legal ethics quizzes.

Still, I find it interesting that 3 of the ABA’s most-read stories relate to legal ethics/professional responsibility, even if in a water cooler type of way.  So, I thought I’d share them, along with a personal note on a topic that we must move beyond the water cooler.

1. ‘Making a Murderer’ lawyer acquitted on stalking charge; he did ‘meow randomly,’ court told.

This was the most-read legal news story on the ABA Journal in 2018.

I’ve not blogged often on Making a Murderer.  To the extent I’ve mentioned it here or during CLEs, it’s been to note that Ken Kratz’s law license was suspended for 4 months for conduct unrelated to the prosecution of Steven Avery & Brendan Dassey.  Rather, the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended his license in response to Kratz “sexting” a victim while prosecuting her ex for domestic abuse.  The order is here, with a CBS News story on the case here.

Anyhow, the ABA Journal’s most-read story of 2018 did not involve Kratz.  It involved Len Kachinsky.  Kachinsky is the lawyer who, among other things, agreed to let law enforcement interview Dassey without him (Kachinsky) being there.  A federal judge eventually concluded that Kachinsky’s representation of Dassey was “inexcusable both tactically and ethically.”

Earlier this month, Kachinsky was acquitted of felony stalking charges.  Per the ABA Journal, Kachinsky’s lawyer informed the jury that Kachinsky was quirky and “would be heard to meow randomly occasion,” but that some people found him “endearing.” Apparently the jury agreed.

In Vermont, a lawyer’s felony conviction violates Rule 8.4(b).

5. Utah bar ‘horrified’ over email blast sent with photo of topless woman

This was the 5th most-read legal news story on the ABA Journal in 2018.

For years, I’ve blogged on tech competence.  Indeed, earlier this month, the Vermont Supreme Court adopted the so-called “tech competence” comment to Rule 1.1, the rule that requires lawyers to provide clients with competent representation.

I don’t think that anyone at the Utah Bar violated the ethics rules.  Yet, “human error” resulted in an email to all active Utah lawyers including a photo of a topless woman.

Oops.

Many years ago, I was prosecuting a lawyer. I can’t remember the charge. I do remember that, on the day of the hearing, the lawyer sent an email to the hearing panel stating that  she would not drive to the hearing because her car’s “check engine” light had come on.  She purported to attach a picture of the “check engine” light.

It was a picture of her cat.

Tech competence is a thing.

9.  Lawyers rank highest on ‘loneliness scale,’ study finds

This was the 9th most-read legal news story on the ABA Journal in 2018.

Per the story, lawyers are lonelier than other professionals.  Here’s a quote from the post:

  • “Houston-area lawyer Scott Rothenberg tells the ABA Journal that loneliness and isolation may be a root cause of many lawyer issues. ‘There are these disparate problems like depression and suicide and substance abuse, in many respects tied together,’ he says.”

This is another topic upon which I’ve often blogged: lawyer wellness & well-being.  The ABA Journal story makes me think of “impostor syndrome.”   Remember, if loneliness or depression makes you feel like an impostor, YOU ARE NOT.

Yesterday, my dad’s wife sent me a gut-wrenching email.  Her son, my step-brother, died this summer.  His name was Todd.  For many, many years, Todd fought valiantly against troubles caused by substance abuse & mental health disorders.

In the e-mail, my dad’s wife mentioned that she’d been meaning to tell me that, coincidentally, on the day I posted the blog on “impostor syndrome,” she’d been reading through Todd’s journal.  She added that she wanted:

  • ” to tell you how accurate your post was in relation to the feeling of loneliness, due to the fact that Todd had lived for years trying to be someone who he really wasn’t, and feeling the need to lie, to pretend.”

She concluded by noting how sad it is to know that there are so many people who struggle with the same self-doubt & fear on a daily basis, tricked into feeling that way by behavioral health issues.

She’s right.

Attorney well-being is a topic that we, as a profession, must ensure remains at the forefront, well beyond “water cooler talk.”

 

 

 

 

Wellness Wednesday: STOP IT!

For those of you who remember Wellness Wednesday: EnoughI’m guessing that today’s post will be different than what you might expect from the headline.

For me, sometimes “wellness” is as simple as a smile or a laugh. And today’s story gives me both.

As reported by the ABA Journal, Houston Chronicle, Above the Law and other outlets, Judge Vanessa Gilmore issued a fantastic order this week.  Here’s the first line:

Whiny Lawyers

For those of you who skip straight to the end upon receiving a much-anticipated court order, here are the final few lines:

Whiny Lawyers 2

Not surprisingly, the order issued in response to a discovery dispute.  I can’t tell you how many complaints & inquiries I’ve received that are remarkably similar.

Judge Gilmore: I feel your pain!! Thank you for contributing to my wellness this week! Hopefully your order deters behavior that, in my view, is a gateway to the stress & frustration that detracts from wellness and drives good lawyers from the profession.

Oh, and on a more serious note, here’s to TJ Donovan, Rob McDougall and the lawyers & staff in the Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Division.  Yesterday, they took time to contribute to the wellness of others by volunteering at the Good Samaritan Haven in Barre.

Thank you TJ, Rob, and team!

Image may contain: 10 people, people smiling, people standing

 

 

Wellness Wednesday: “N O” is “O K”

The holiday season is upon us and, with it, invitations to parties & gatherings.   Enjoy them!  More importantly, let others enjoy them as well . . . on their own terms.

Those who know me know that I’m all about holiday cheer.  Actually, that’s not entirely true.  It’s paltering.  Rather, it’d be more accurate to say that those who know me know that I don’t limit my cheer to the holidays.

But remember this: it is perfectly okay for a lawyer at your firm’s holiday party to choose not to drink.

I first wrote about this two years ago in my post No Objection to “No, thank you.”  It bears repeating.

As bar counsel, I’ve dealt with lawyers who’ve told me that one of the keys to their wellness is to avoid situations that will tempt them to make, if you will, “unwell decisions.”  For example, some avoid events that include alcohol.

I totally get it.

But may of them want to be social.  They want to go to bar events or holiday parties.  They want to see people, chat, have fun.  The interaction helps their wellness.

What they don’t want is to deal with comments like “what? did you quit for the holidays? nobody likes a quitter!!”

I know this is preachy.  But, my message is this: when someone says “no” to a drink at a holiday party?  Don’t object.

“N O” is “O K.”

Wellness

 

Wellness Wednesday: You’re not an impostor.

Regular readers know that I find it difficult to embrace winter.  As a card-carrying member of No Shoes Nation, the season does little for my “wellness.”

See the source image

Indeed, my favorite winter was 2016.  It’s the year I ran the Surf City Marathon, collected this swag

Surf City.jpg

then spent a few days with this view.

San Diego

Last weekend, however, I decided to give winter a try.  So, on a fantastically sunny Saturday, I ventured to Trapp Family Lodge for my first attempt at cross-country skiing in nearly 30 years.

Let’s leave it at this: it’ll be quite a while until I’m mistaken for a competent skier.

I ran into Liz & Eric Miller in the parking lot. I should have hired them on the spot.  That way, my follies that followed would forever remain confidential & privileged.

Which gets me to the point of today’s post.

On the trails, I’m an impostor.  In the law, you are not.

Attorney Gabe MacConnaill took his own life in October.  He was married to Joanna Litt.  A few weeks ago, I blogged about Joanna’s heartbreaking letter in response Gabe’s suicide.  Joanna’s letter mentioned that her husband:

  • “felt like a phony who had everyone fooled about his abilities as a lawyer and thought after this case was over, he was going to be fired—despite having won honors for his work.”

There’s a name for what Gabe was feeling: impostor syndrome.

Last week, the ABA Journal posted Neha’s Sampat’s response to Joanna’s letter.  In it, Attorney Sampat challenged lawyers, firms and the profession to address the syndrome, referring to it as a “hidden source of attorney distress.”  Give it a read.

Some of the saddest cases I prosecuted as disciplinary counsel involved lawyers whose practices had cratered.  More often than not, those lawyers seemed, in a sense, relieved.  The gig was finally up.  They no longer had to pretend to be someone who, in their minds, they were not.

We need to discourage that mindset.

Summary judgment motions get denied.  Hearings don’t go exactly as planned.  People  – a group that includes the subset known as “lawyers” – make mistakes.

These are not signs that you don’t belong.

I’m no expert on how to address impostor syndrome.  Some resources”

To me, it comes down to this: be kind to yourself.  Nobody is perfect.  And not only that, we don’t expect you to be.

Keep on keeping on.  Sometimes the trail to this view includes stumbles along the way.

Ski 3

 

Wellness Wednesday: Meet Heather Moreau

I’d like to introduce you to Heather Moreau.

Heather Moreau

Heather is the firm manager and a senior paralegal at Maley and Maley.  She’s also a legal professional who understands the importance of work-life balance and makes wellness a habit. For that, I’m focusing on Heather in this week’s installment of Wellness Wednesday!

I don’t remember how I met Heather, but there’s one thing in particular that I’ll never forget about her.

A few years ago, Heather decided to run a marathon.  She dedicated herself to the requisite training and was ready to accept the challenge.  Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate.  You see, for her first marathon, Heather had chosen the 2016 Vermont City Marathon.  That was the year that extreme heat forced organizers to halt the race. Heather was among those who were forced to leave the course without finishing.

Knowing how much effort and sacrifice goes into training for a marathon, I couldn’t imagine her disappointment. It’s Heather’s response to that disappointment that I’ll always remember about her.  As you’ll see, she didn’t let it beat her.

Last Saturday, Heather completed the Route 66 Half Marathon in Tulsa.  It’s part of her #halfcrazy50 goal.  On her way home, she was kind enough to answer some questions for today’s post.  Here are excerpts from our exchange.

MK:   Since I’ve known you, I’ve followed your running hobby. What stands out to me the most is how you bounced back from what must have been a horribly disappointing experience in your first marathon – the year they stopped it because of the heat.  Talk to me about your path since then, mainly how you went from that to #halfcrazy50.  Also what is “ #halfcrazy50” ?

Heather:  Ahhhh, the race that “wasn’t to be” for me was the Vermont City Marathon in May of 2016.  I had been doing half marathons up until that point and had a handful under my belt.  My daughter found my motivation sweet spot for attempting my first half marathon back in 2013, when I mentioned that I might like to sign up for the Disney Wine & Dine Half.  She was a high school junior and at that time in her life, everyone was “old.”  She didn’t hesitate to express that I was probably “too old” to start running, especially for 13.1 miles.  That’s all it took for me to train hard enough to beat my 3-sport high school athlete daughter in the Disney half and inspire a new lifelong love for running.  About three years later, Karen Allen* very convincingly encouraged me to step up my game and sign up for a full marathon.   Of course, after months of training for the 26.2 miles, the Vermont City Marathon  course closed because of heat – just as I was passing through mile 16.

Not having met the goal, I signed up for another full marathon.  It was about a year later in Newport, Rhode Island.  I found that the time commitment to full marathon training, the second time around, changed my love for running. In the weeks before the race, I realized I was only half trained.  Switching my registration to a half marathon felt like smart choice, yet I felt like I had failed somehow.  I told myself that I had to keep training and keep running.  A few weeks after Rhode Island, I signed up for another half. This time the race was in Austin, Texas where my daughter lives (what better excuse for a visit?).  Running Newport’s ocean course was an amazing experience and Austin in January of this year was a personal record.  The goal of completing a half marathon in every state, which combines my love for running with my love for travel was born during that Austin race. The hashtag #halfcrazy50 was also born.

  • Karen Allen is the same Karen Allen who is a regular member of this blog’s #fiveforfriday Honor Roll in Legal Ethics!

MK:  Every state! That’s awesome! I have the same goal for marathons, but I’m only up to 8!  So, this past weekend, you completed the Route 66 Half.  From your Facebook posts, it looks like it was a fantastically fun race.  Tell us about not only the race, but the earlier trip that you and your daughter took on Route 66.  In my mind, it’s a trip that is exactly what we’re talking about when we talk about wellness.

Heather: I’m all about working hard and then playing hard.  Quality time with my daughter is at the top of my priority list.  There is no one that can make me belly laugh like she can. A few years ago, we did a 15-day mother-daughter road trip on the Pacific Coast Highway and at the end of the trip, she asked me what was on deck for our next trip.  When your adult daughter wants to “hang” with Mom, there are no second thoughts.  After two years of planning, last July we ventured out for 18 days of experiencing the approximately 2,500 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica along Route 66. We biked along Lake Michigan in Chicago, did a running tour under the Arch in St. Louis, and hiked in three national parks – Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree.  I can tell you that there’s nothing like listening to the Joshua Tree U2 soundtrack while trekking through the National Park. Why do I run?  Because saying “I’m in” has to trump “I can’t” when she asks, “Mom can you… “

“Fantastically fun” is a perfect description for the Route 66 race last Sunday.  I signed up for this Tulsa race seeking the chance to set foot along the Mother Road again.  The race was billed as a “party race” and sounded different than what I had done previously.  I had no idea what I was in for during the course.  At mile 2.5 I was offered my first beer.  I knew at that moment it was decision time:  do I run this race for time like I’ve always done or do I throw caution to the wind and accept the beer?  I opted for a little fun and took the beer.  Then at mile 6, there was a table of red and blue Jell-O shots.  Mile 7 held fireball.  Mile 8 tempted me with a mimosa.  Mile 9 presented a Tiki Bar.  And the list went on.  Sure there was a point when I questioned if sipping a mimosa while running a half was completely crazy, but (as you can imagine) there was also a point when I just didn’t care and was living in the moment of each mile.  The Route 66 half was one of the best “cocktail tours” I’ve ever been part of and as I crossed the finishing line, I was disappointed the race was over. Trust me, when I say – I’m always glad a race is over.  Regrets? Not one.  The sense of accomplishment was there.  I survived 13.1 miles and a tequila shot to boot.

Image may contain: Heather Moreau, smiling, standing

MK:  You are inspiring me to “let go!” I can remember being when UVM students used to pass out small cups of beer at Mile 25 in VCM. I was too “into my time” to stop and enjoy the moment.  Next time I get the chance, I will!  Ok, so it looks like you’re up to 13 half marathons.  What’s next on the list?

Heather:  Type A people always have a plan, so yes, I’m signed up for race number 14.  Three of my best friends are heading down to Delaware with me in the spring to run in the Coastal Delaware Running Festival in Rehoboth Beach.  Running is a perfect excuse for a girls’ weekend.  Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville and Zion National Park halves are on my bucket list, but this year I’ll likely end up going to places I would not otherwise go and that’s among the best parts of this goal.

MK: I agree! Running has given me an excuse to travel to places I’d not otherwise visit. Now, speaking of places I’d not otherwise visit, if I had my choice, I’d never see the inside of a health club.  Running is my “wellness” activity, but I prefer it to be outside.  The past week has been a challenge.  And I can’t stand the treadmill! How do you stick with it in the dark & the cold?

Heather: I can’t stand the treadmill either and the alternative experience means I’ve had my water bottle freeze and my phone die from the cold on long winter runs.  It’s tough. There is no way around it.  I have a map of the 50 states in my house that holds spaces where I can insert photos of the races I’ve completed.  Near the map is a hand painted sign that I bought after a race in New Orleans.  It says: “Live More, Worry Less.”  I know that my #halfcrazy50 goal is not really about running in 50 different cities.  It’s really about staying healthy, meeting new people, experiencing unique places, and fully living life.  It’s pretty strong motivation.

MK: “Live more, worry less, stay healthy.” It’s like you’ve read my blog! It strikes me that your firm does a great job incorporating wellness. For example: time off for your trip with your daughter; you and Carie run;  Chris plays basketball and swims.  Are those nonlawyerly things an important part of the firm culture/attitude?

Heather: Working very hard goes without saying, but our firm culture provides the flexibility to fit in what’s important outside of work.  Beyond what you said, John works out everyday during the lunch hour.  Come to our office at 11:50 and you can bet you will see him leaving with his gym bag.  Lizzie (our legal assistant), Carie and I make it a point to run together.  Trudging up the College Street hill is something that is better done in a group.  I’d also bet on us to compete in the Vermont City Marathon relay again this year. Last year we competed as the “Maley and Maley – In It For the Long Run” team and Carie made sure I had the last leg so that I could finally run through the VCM finish line.  So much team building happens when you are out sweating miles together.

It’s also part of our culture to celebrate individual and firm successes.  The whole Maley and Maley crew steps out of the office every now and again.  You may spot us laughing and toasting one thing or another.

Image may contain: 2 people, including Heather Moreau, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

MK:  The glory leg! Very kind of Carie! Last question – and speaking of Route 66 – I’ve run in Chicago and I’ve run in Santa Monica.  I love both.  But, let’s imagine there’s a rule that says you can only run ONE 13.1 mile section of Route 66. What section do you choose and why?

Heather: You saved the toughest question for last.  Choosing one 13.1 mile segment of 2,448 phenomenal miles is quite a conundrum.  Each section is unique and an experience in American history and culture.  “Get Your Kicks on Route 66” is a coined phrase for a reason.  It was surreal to stand on a corner in Winslow, Arizona** and would be pretty awesome to do a race down Route 66 that started on that corner.  I can also imagine running along 66 in the Painted Desert that’s part of the Petrified Forest or the views while running the hilly curves of Sitgreaves Pass as Route 66 leaves Arizona and enters California.

But for only one stretch of 13.1 miles, I’d run through Tucumcari, New Mexico for an iconic Route 66 experience.  Running down this strip would mean seeing the heart of the Mother Road up close. Tucumcari is a great example of the prosperity that was granted to a town when Route 66 was formed and the devastation that was left when Interstate 40 was built, bypassing all the neon signs, motor courts, gas stations, mom & pop diners, and cheesy touristy draws. Traveling Route 66 is a lesson in the human impacts of progress.  Running through Tucumcari in the Land of Enchantment would bring that point home all too well.  For me, interacting with locals and seeking an understanding of an area is what travel is all about and my “half crazy 50” plans are serving that goal while allowing me to keep pace with my 26 year old daughter when she says “Mom, can we…”

**MK:  Thank you Heather! And nice Eagles reference Heather! I’d definitely like to run a race and notice a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford slowing down to take a look at me.

Anyhow,  I’m most struck by Heather’s final words: “mom, can we . . .”  My guess is that whether your child is 26 years old or 26 months old, you might hear the same question.  For those of who don’t have kids, there’s still plenty of people in our lives who ask if we can make time to do something.

Next time you’re asked, think about Heather Moreau.  Lawyer Wellness includes answering “yes, of course we can.”

Thank you Heather!

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

 

 

Wellness Wednesday: Enough.

Usually I use this column to highlight lawyers doing nonlawyerly things.

Sadly, suicide is becoming a lawyerly thing to do.  As we know, over the past 4 years, at least 5 Vermont attorneys have taken their own lives.  I know a sixth whose death technically was not a suicide.  But it was.

We must continue to work to make the profession a healthier place.

Ten years ago today, Joanna Litt married Gabe MacConaill.  Gabe was an attorney.  He’s not here to celebrate his anniversary.  He took his own life last month.

A few days ago, The American Lawyer published a letter from Joanna.  It’s here.  The Tax Prof Blog has it for free here.  Reporting on the letter, Above The Law has Jill Switzer’s  post on how lawyer suicides are becoming too frequent.

Joanna’s letter is heartbreaking.  It should make us double our resolve to destigmatize a lawyer’s decision to admit that he or she needs help.

Sometime in the next few months, the Vermont Commission on the Well Being of the Legal Profession will issue a state action plan.  I expect that the plan will reference, if not incorporate, aspects of the ABA’s mission to convince legal employers to pledge to commit to a healthier work environment.  My post on the pledge is here.

Consider the pledge.

In the meantime, odds are that many of us know a lawyer who is fighting the fight that Gabe fought.  Let’s do what we can to encourage that lawyer to seek help.

So that his or her Joanna doesn’t have to write a letter.

Free, confidential services are available 24/7 for people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress and for those around them. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). A crisis text line is at 741-741.

Wellness

 

 

Wellness Wednesday: Family Time

It warms the cockles of my heart to use the word cockles in a sentence.

Whoops, what I meant was that it warms the cockles of my heart to hear from lawyers on wellness!

I’ve often encouraged lawyers to find time for non-lawyerly pursuits that tend to improve emotional & physical health. One such pursuit: spending time with family.

I can hear you now:  “Mike! Family??  Surely you can’t be serious!  Aren’t the holidays enough?”

I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.

Last week, the Vermont Commission on the Well-Being of the Legal Profession met.  The legal employers committee presented an update on its work.  The update include mention of different ways to encourage firms to foster workplace environments that allow employees to tend to their emotional and personal well-being.  Or, at the very least, environs that don’t penalize or stigmatize proactive wellness.  A thought that emerged: what if lawyers left work a bit earlier every now & then to spend time with family?

The next day, I posted a blog about Judge McCaffrey.  Yes, he was committed to helping others.  But he was also extraordinarily dedicated to his family.  It made me think.

Yes, I’m all about lawyers finding non-lawyerly hobbies.  Running, yoga, whittling, a book club, an instrument . . . you get the picture.  But, don’t forget family.  The hour you spend with family might not be billable, but it’s worth far more than any hour you’ll ever bill.

On that note, a big thank you to Chris Pelkey and Nicole Killoran for sharing family moments!

Chris is an attorney at Valsangiacomo Detora & McQuesten.  An example of  his ability to persuade? Bucking the Tide and somehow convincing Rusty to hire a U-32 kid.

Anyhow, Chris and his wife, Kristin, ran the Heady Trotter 4-Miler. I failed to notice and, as a result, failed to include Chris in my post that featured pictures of lawyers and our Heady Trotter hats.

No, I don’t have a picture of Chris in his hat. Likely because he never gets to wear it!

Chris reports that their kids have commandeered the hats he & Kristin received. Indeed, if any of you spotted a teenage mutant ninja turtle sporting a Heady Trotter hat on the Halloween Express, it was Chris’s kid!  Talk about family wellness!

Pelkey

Nicole is a professor at Vermont Law School.  She’s also a regular member of this blog’s #fiveforfriday legal ethics honor roll.

Nicole and her family make time for what matters by finding adventures on the rivers, meadows, and woods that surround their house.  Per Nicole, their adventures include “bugs, turkeys,martens, hawks, crows, deer, wildflowers, and blackberries by the bundle.”

That’s perfect!  And perfect proof that wellness need not be complicated. Here are Nicole and her kids on one of their adventures:

Killoran

 

I love the pictures that Chris & Nicole sent.  Each reflects time well spent.  And time well spent is what wellness is all about.

Wellness Wednesday

Another week, more examples of lawyers engaging in proactive wellness!

But, first, happy birthday Jennifer Emens-Butler!  Jennifer is the VBA’s Director of Communication and Education and has done a fantastic job communicating to and educating the bar on many topics, including lawyer wellness.

Jennifer – may your birthday and the next year include the pursuit and realization of happiness!

Sunday marked the 1st Annual Heady Trotter 4-Miler.  I’ll get this out of the way right now:  yes, the race was at a brewery.  For any of you who think that running a race that’s sponsored by a brewery is the antithesis of attorney wellness, I submit that you have no idea what we’re talking about when we talk about wellness.

Anyhow, Sunday dawned grey & chilly in Stowe, but that didn’t deter lawyers from getting their wellness on.  Not only did I spot a few on the course, I tracked them down and forced them to pose for pictures in the fantastic hats that runners received as swag.

Samantha Henchen let me barge into her office for a picture with our plaques recognizing us as “founding runners.”  Next: I’ll get her law partner, and my former foe on the basketball courts, out there for a race with us.

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Kevin Lumpkin is a fellow member of the VBA’s Pro Bono Committee.  We loved our hats so much that we wore them to Judge Toor’s bench/bar meeting:

Image-1

Finally, at least Sunday’s race was flat.  The first time I ran 4 miles with Jordana Levine, it was straight up the Killington access road!

IMG_0980Why she didn’t get a hat for Igor is beyond me and likely a violation of some sort of rule!

IMG_1998

If you ran and I missed you and your hat, send me a pic!

Want me to get a picture of you doing something active, relaxing, non-lawyerly or, preferably, all 3?  Let me know and I’ll show up to document it for a future edition of Wellness Wednesday.