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ANALYSIS: Well-Being Pledge Signatories Cite Hardships and Hope

May 4, 2021, 9:00 AM

In preparation for this year’s Well-Being Week in Law, Bloomberg Law reached out to signatories to the ABA’s Well-Being Pledge to follow up on organizations’ progress and what improvements need to occur to move the needle on well-being. To create lasting effects, organizations can focus on improving well-being by creating a sense of community.

We recently reported that lawyers generally feel their organization is prepared to address well-being; however, feelings of preparedness have declined compared to last year. At the organizational level, our ABA Well-Being Pledge Follow-up Survey found that 82% of responding organizations say the pandemic has created barriers to the success of their well-being initiatives, and more than two out of five (41%) report that lawyers do not have enough time to engage with these offerings. And pandemic-initiated challenges—as well as increased hours and workloads—are exactly the types of challenges that lawyers say they are experiencing, which can lead to decreased well-being.

Additional survey results indicate that organizations are aware of major challenges, such as stigma surrounding well-being and mental health, and that the billable hour is in direct conflict with the practice of self-care. Although the billable hour likely will not go away without major industry overhaul, organizations can create momentum for change by working toward reducing stigma.

Despite their struggles, many organizations say their initiatives have already started to reduce stigma and create change by developing a sense of community among employees and a safe space for conversations on well-being and mental health. As organizations actively work toward shifting the narrative on well-being, the impact will be felt in the legal industry overall as well.

If your organization signed the ABA Well-Being Pledge and has not yet responded to our survey, please contact us at

Bloomberg Law subscribers can find related content on our In Focus: Lawyer Well-Being, Surveys, Reports, & Data Analysis, and In Focus: Lawyer Development resources.

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