Professional development teams play an essential role in all types of businesses in keeping lawyers updated both professionally and personally. This month, PLI recognizes its opening PD recognition monthand for this year’s theme the focus is on wellness.
“Wellness” is everywhere in the legal community these days – and for good reason. Given the uncertainties in the labor market, remote working and schooling, and everyday concerns about the pandemic, lawyers and legal professionals may be stressed more than ever. In November, PLI will be debuting Boosting Professional Development 2020: Wellbeing in the Legal Industry Series. On the first three Thursdays in November, respected professional development and wellbeing leaders will address these important topics for law students, attorneys and professionals.
Kirsten Talmage, Senior Director for Product Strategy and Development at PLI, discussed the program and the importance of the PD community.
Why PD Appreciation Month?
PLI has always valued the professional development community. We work closely with the people involved and their consistent feedback has led to the development of new programs, products and other offers. For the past three years we have PD Center, which includes content created exclusively for the community, including ours PD Insider Interview series and PD Interactive webinars as well as resources for creating effective training and teaching designs. We felt it was important to develop the PD Center further by offering this community a special annual program and recognizing their tremendous efforts in leading the legal education.
How did PLI choose wellbeing as the focus of the opening program?
Over the past five years, we have expanded our lawyer wellness resources and programs. We have also identified and sought to respond to the rise in depression, addiction and suicide from attorneys, and believe that as an organization we can provide proactive resources that promote well-being and provide effective methods for healthier lifestyles and living to the legal community Understanding and dealing with stress and depression.
The PD community is uniquely positioned to promote and promote wellbeing at all levels of a business and to train and support their peers. Many companies now have committees and even departments devoted to the welfare of lawyers and professionals. So it was really an easy decision to focus on wellbeing.
What will the program cover?
We purposely split the program into separate panels to focus on three different demographics within the community: law students, attorneys, and corporate professionals. We felt it was important to address all three areas as wellness and the effects of wellness in a law firm begin in law school and continue into practice and involve everyone in the law firm.
The Board of Law will address the challenges of student and school wellbeing, and the role the profession can play in supporting the wellbeing of law students. The Panel on the Welfare of Lawyers focuses on best practices to motivate lawyers and employees to participate in wellness programs, as well as the (and least) effective live programs, coaching, apps and online programs. Finally, the wellbeing panel for professional staff will help them find value and fulfillment in the face of the attorney’s declining wellbeing, and provides tools for managing the increased stress caused by attorney’s always available technology, mental health or substance abuse problems, and attorney’s unrealistic expectations.
Who is the target group?
The program is aimed at all members of the PD community, regardless of experience or title. While we were planning the program for the PD audience, all lawyers will surely benefit from the three panels and gain a better understanding of why wellness should be important to them, the importance of well-being practices starting in law school, and its value they have the professional staff also assisted with their own wellness journey. We have purposely made the program free for all participants because we believe wellbeing is such an important issue.
What other resources does PLI offer that focus on wellness training?
PLI offers a variety of programs addressing the field of lawyer wellbeing and mental health.Advocate wellness and stress reliever“on our website. In particular our program from December 10th, Take Control of Your Wellbeing: Mental Health and Wellbeing for Lawyers, covers the very important issues of overcoming the stigma of mental health and substance use challenges in the legal profession, and shows how to take advantage of your legal organization’s wellness program and steps when your law firm doesn’t have one.
Note: The American Bar Association has a list of State aid programs who provide confidential services and support to those facing substance use disorders or mental health problems. If you or someone you know is having problems, contact a utility or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for immediate assistance.
The Practicing Law Institute is a non-profit learning organization that aims to keep lawyers and other professionals at the forefront of knowledge and expertise. PLI was chartered by the regents of the University of New York State and founded in 1933 by Harold P. Seligson. The organization offers high quality, accredited, ongoing legal and professional education programs in a variety of formats offered by more than 4,000 volunteer schools, including prominent lawyers, judges, investment bankers, accountants, business consultants, and US and international government regulators. PLI publishes a comprehensive library of papers, course manuals, answer books and journals, which are also available on the PLI PLUS online platform. The essence of PLI’s mission is commitment to the pro bono community. Check out the upcoming live webcasts from PLI Here.