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Well-Being Week in Law

How It All Began: The Evolution from the National Task Force to the Institute for Well-Being in Law

While attending the 2016 ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, leaders of three national organizations commandeered an empty conference room and committed to the creation of a movement that would transform the well-being of the legal system. Their motivation stemmed from two new national studies that clearly demonstrated the unacceptably high rates of depression, anxiety, and problematic drinking among U.S. lawyers and law students, along with the long-held knowledge that too many members of the profession were functioning below their ability.

Intent upon systems change, these organizations – the National Organization of Bar Counsel (NOBC), the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL), and the ABA Commission on Lawyers Assistance Programs (CoLAP) – formed the core of the grassroots movement which was ultimately named the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being.

This task force grew quickly, leading to a groundbreaking report, The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change. In August 2017, the Report was published, and both the ABA and the Conference of Chief Justices passed Resolutions urging all states to review and consider the Report’s 44 recommendations.

This volunteer-led task force developed into a permanent model which formed into the Institute for Well-Being in Law (IWIL), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, in 2020. Its mission is dedicated to the betterment of the legal profession by focusing on a holistic approach to well-being. Through advocacy, research, education, technical and resource support, and stakeholders’ partnerships, IWIL is driven to lead a culture shift in law to establish health and well-being as core centerpieces of professional success.

This mission led to the creation of Well-Being Week in Law, which will take place this year from May 3rd through 7th. Keep a lookout on social media throughout the week as NALA will be featuring information, tips, and tools to promote well-being for those in the legal profession.