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Well, Well, Well: It’s Well-Being Week in Law 2022!

April 19, 2022

By Kendra Brodin, CEO, EsquireWell

Well-Being Week in Law is coming up May 2-6, 2022! Is your organization ready?

According to the Institute for Well-Being in Law, Well-Being Week in Law aims “to raise awareness about mental health and encourage action and innovation across the profession to improve well-being.” During Well-Being Week in Law, law firms, law schools, and legal organizations highlight the importance of well-being through activities, events, resources, and more. 

What is Well-Being Week in Law?

When Well-Being Week in Law (WWIL) started in 2020, it was called “Lawyer Well-Being Week,” and the initiative focused exclusively on the well-being of lawyers. In 2021, the name was changed to “Well-Being Week in Law” to include many others, including business professionals, support staff, law students, law school faculty, and anyone else working in the legal profession.

WWIL is scheduled for the first week in May to correspond with Mental Health Awareness Month. WWIL dedicates each day of the week to one of the dimensions of well-being (social, emotional, physical, spiritual, and occupational/intellectual (combined for purposes of the five days of Well-Being Week)).

When the first WWIL was scheduled in 2020, the activities were designed to be primarily in-person. Firms and organizations had to pivot quickly as most employers were working remotely by May 2020. Even though it was challenging to implement WWIL in 2020 given the unpredictability of COVID-19, the WWIL content and ideas were more important than ever as the well-being of lawyers and legal professionals was deeply impacted in the early weeks of the pandemic.

In 2021, all of the WWIL resources were built to be used in-person, hybrid, or remotely, and all future activity ideas will be flexible to make them accessible regardless of work setting. For 2022, the WWIL resources offered by the Institute for Well-Being in Law continue to be expanded, and more and more legal employers and organizations are planning WWIL activities, speakers, events, and initiatives. 

The Growing Emphasis on Well-Being in the Legal Profession

In August 2017, the landmark report, The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change by the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being, was published. Since then, we’ve witnessed exponential growth in awareness and action related to well-being in the legal profession. More and more, law firms, law schools, and other legal departments and organizations recognize how well-being in the profession is about helping people feel their best but well-being is also critical to performance and retention.  

“The Path to Lawyer Well-Being” report was based upon the findings of the 2016 study by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs. According to that study, “21 percent of licensed, employed attorneys qualify as problem drinkers, 28 percent struggle with some level of depression, and 19 percent demonstrate symptoms of anxiety.”

The Hazelden/ABA study and “The Path to Lawyer Well-Being” report made clear what had been suspected by many people for a long time – the legal profession is experiencing a well-being crisis. It is time to take action for the benefit of everyone involved, including lawyers, legal professionals, law students, and, ultimately, clients.

Why Well-Being Matters

In the last six years since the Hazelden/ABA study, there has been a tremendous and positive emphasis on how well-being is a critical issue facing the legal profession. Well-being as an organizational priority is becoming a “must-have,” not a “nice to have.” Not only is well-being the “right” and the kind thing to do, it’s also mission-critical for our organizations as increased well-being leads to greater productivity, increased engagement, improved retention, reduced errors, and better client service. 

Additionally, over 205 legal employers and organizations are now signed onto the ABA Well-Being Pledge. More and more legal organizations have realized that well-being is more than personal, individual responsibility. Organizations have a powerful role to play and a vested interest in the well-being of everyone on their team.

What to Do During Well-Being Week

If you are looking for ideas for WWIL, be sure to access the treasure trove of resources available to support your organization’s WWIL efforts through the Institute for Well-Being in Law: (WELL-BEING WEEK IN LAW - Institute For Well-Being In Law (

The WWIL website contains countless ideas for activities, webinars, trainings, initiatives, and ideas to support individuals and organizations as they use WWIL to highlight well-being. 

On the WWIL website, you’ll find suggestions for each day of the week and for each dimension of well-being listed in “The Path to Lawyer Well-Being,” with ideas for things to watch, read, and do each day.

While it is true that an emphasis on well-being must last more than just one week in May each year, WWIL is a terrific kick-off and way to showcase the importance of well-being to the legal profession and your organization. 

If you need additional ideas about how to plan for WWIL, fulfill the obligations your organization made as an ABA Well-Being Pledge Signatory, or build a well-being strategy at your firm or organization, be sure to reach out to others for ideas and help. 

There’s no better time to highlight well-being than WWIL, so take advantage of the well-being momentum happening across the legal profession during the first week in May.