PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT John Adams Courthouse One Pemberton Square Boston, Massachusetts 02108
Jennifer Donahue/Erika Gully-Santiago (617) 557-1114
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 26, 2018
Supreme Judicial Court Announces Steering Committee on Lawyer Well-Being
BOSTON, MA — The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court today announced the members of a Steering Committee on Lawyer Well-Being that will explore ways to reduce stress on attorneys, help restore work-life balance, increase professional satisfaction and better support those who are confronting mental health and substance use disorders.
In his annual State of the Judiciary address in the John Adams Courthouse on October 24, 2018, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants spoke of the profound importance of lawyer well-being. An August 2017 Report of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being found that many attorneys are struggling with serious health issues that are exacerbated, if not caused, by the way that law is practiced today, including increased financial pressures, client and work expectations. A 2016 study surveyed nearly 13,000 practicing lawyers and found that between 21% and 36% qualified as problem drinkers; approximately 28% were struggling with some level of depression, 19% with anxiety, and 23% with stress.
The steering committee is coordinated by retired Supreme Judicial Court Justice Margot Botsford, who served as an associate justice on the SJC from 2007 to 2017. Committee members represent different areas of the legal community, including judges, bar regulators, legal employers, and representatives from law schools, bar associations, and the lawyer assistance program. They will be responsible for consulting with a diverse, representative group in their respective areas of practice or work, including lawyers in recovery, to learn what is currently being done to support lawyer well-being, to explore best practices, and to consider whether structural changes need to be made to better foster the health of the profession.
"I am confident that the committee members will work together and with the legal community to develop some practical solutions to the serious issues confronting the profession," said retired Justice Botsford.
The members of the committee are:
Honorable Margot Botsford, Supreme Judicial Court (Ret.), Coordinator
Honorable Gabrielle R. Wolohojian, Appeals Court
Denise I. Murphy, Esq., Vice President, Massachusetts Bar Association
Richard Page, Esq., Executive Director, Boston Bar Association
Marilyn J. Wellington, Esq., Executive Director, Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners
Constance Vecchione, Esq., Bar Counsel, Office of the Bar Counsel
Joseph Berman, Esq., General Counsel, Board of Bar of Overseers
David P. Rosenblatt, Esq., Burns & Levinson, LLP
Travaun Bailey, Esq., Law Office of William Travaun Bailey
Anna Levine, Esq., Executive Director, Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers
Mary Strother, Esq., First Assistant Attorney General
David A. Deakin, Esq., Assistant District Attorney, Suffolk County District Attorney's Office
Pasqua Scibelli, Esq., Staff Attorney - Appeals, Committee for Public Counsel Services
Christine Hughes, Esq., Vice President and General Counsel, Emerson College
Geraldine M. Muir, Esq., Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Boston University School of Law
Lyonel Jean-Pierre, Jr., Esq., Clinical Instructor, Harvard Legal Aid Bureau