Thrive in Law, Thrive in Life

Resources

inSIGHT

Our quarterly publication, inSight, includes educational information, personal stories, details about OAAP events, and many more resources. InSight is mailed to all active members of the Oregon State Bar. If you are not an active member of the OSB and would like to receive inSight, contact an OAAP Attorney Counselor.
 

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Thriving Today

On our blog, Thriving Today, the OAAP attorney counselors share their personal and professional experiences to bring you current information to enhance your well-being and provide you with tips and food for thought.
 

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The Next Chapter: Planning for Retirement

Contemplating retirement often causes attorneys stress and leads to procrastination, because many view it as the end of the road and disconnection from their identity as a lawyer.

09/21 Details

Jackson County Bar/OAAP/PLF Free MHSU CLE and Reception

Join our upcoming CLE, “Canary In The Coal Mine: Recognizing and Mitigating the Effects of Burnout”. A social hour and reception with fellow county bar members and the PLF Board of Directors will immediately follow the presentation.

10/6 Details

Resources by Topic

Learn more about a particular topic, get expert advice, and see how the OAAP can help:
Topic Overview

The pressure in our legal profession to perform well and succeed can be immense. It drives many of us to work long hours, to over commit our time, and to make ourselves available around the clock. Our body’s natural response to stress can help prepare us to perform well and meet daily challenges at work and at home.  However, sometimes we may experience significant stress that becomes harmful to our well-being. We might have trouble staying engaged at work. We may start to notice physical symptoms such as insomnia, headaches, tight muscles, or digestive issues. We may have difficulty concentrating or making decisions; our lives may feel out of control; our social connections may feel strained; we may isolate ourselves from others; and/or we may feel alone. If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed by stress, OAAP attorney counselors can help. We can help you explore ways to reduce your stress, manage your time, and achieve a healthier work-life balance. If needed, we can also provide referrals to other health professionals to make sure you get the help you need. Your call is confidential. 

Helpful Links

 

THRIVING…Despite Challenge: A Brief Roadmap for Lawyers

By Douglas S. Querin : It is no surprise that each of us responds differently to life’s changes and challenges: the birth of a child, the death of a parent, a good job obtained, a good job lost, a financial success, a financial setback. No two of us react in exactly the same way. That’s natural and to be expected.

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Inspiration: A New Breath

By Karen Neri : It turns out that the word “inspiration” comes from the Latin word “inspiratus,” which essentially means “breathe into.” It has been said that, before this literal meaning, the word inspiration had a theological basis that predated this definition. It initially referred to the influence of a divine entity on a person. I like to think of inspiration as the occurrence of both breathing life into and as something ethereal.

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Topic Overview

Reaching out for help can be a big step and is often the first step to feeling better.  Rest assured that your call to us is completely confidential.

Every day we receive calls from lawyers, judges, and law students who want to improve their lives. We are here to help.

All OAAP attorney counselors have experience practicing law and training as counselors. Our goal is to help you achieve greater well-being. We offer a wide range of assistance, including helping you to acquire the tools you need to manage stress, overcome problematic substance use, attain a satisfying career, achieve and maintain mental health, live a healthful lifestyle, and much more. For more information about our services, click on Services on the menu at the top of this page.

When you call, we’ll work to connect you with the attorney counselor who is the best fit for you. We can meet with you in person or by telephone.  We’ll talk about what you are experiencing and help you develop a plan to use your strengths to address your concerns. Often, change can happen in a few meetings.  If needed, we can refer you to outside services for longer-term help and continue to support you while you connect with those resources.

All communications with the OAAP are completely confidential and will not affect your standing with the Professional Liability Fund or the Oregon State Bar. No information will be disclosed to any person, agency, or organization outside the OAAP, without the consent of the person accessing the program. Contacts with us are kept strictly confidential pursuant to ORS 9.568, PLF Policies 6.150 – 6.300, Oregon State Bar Bylaws Article 24, Oregon Rule of Professional Conduct 8.3(c)(3), and Judicial Code of Conduct for United States Judges Canon 3B(5).  The only exceptions are: (1) to avert a serious, imminent threat to your health or safety or that of another person and (2) to comply with legal obligations such as ORS 419B.010 and ORS 124.060 (child abuse and elder abuse).

Helpful Links

Resilient Lawyer: Managing Stress and Anxiety

The program will help increase awareness of the relationship between the mind, brain and body especially during times of distress. Learn techniques or tips to address threat-based thoughts, regulate emotions and cultivate self-care and community care practices, including asking for help.

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Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?

By Douglas S. Querin : The other day I had something of an epiphany. For me, these are intuitive perceptions or insights into the meaning of something or, more frequently, how to do (or not to do) something. Of course, they are not really epiphanies in any true sense; most often, they are just sporadic breakthroughs of common sense. Most of these aha moments, when the light comes on, have to do with me recognizing some better, faster, easier, or smarter way of doing something...

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Topic Overview

DIAL 988 if you, or someone you know, is experiencing a mental health crisis.

If you feel overwhelmed by the long hours, constant stress, high demands, and higher expectations of the legal profession, you are not alone.  Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health concerns in the United States. Research shows that lawyers (and law students) experience these conditions at significantly higher rates than the general population. Sleep disturbances; fatigue; procrastination; isolation; excessive worry or intrusive thoughts that will not go away; feelings of pessimism or hopelessness; or changes in mood or physical health can all be symptoms of anxiety or depression.

However, there is hope. Sometimes, just talking to someone about how you feel can help minimize symptoms of depression or anxiety.  Often, making changes to reduce or eliminate highly stressful situations can help.  Other times, healing comes from talking to a therapist and/or accessing appropriate treatment under a doctor’s care.

Sometimes, emotional pain and hopelessness can become overwhelming, leading to thoughts of harming oneself. It is an unfortunate fact that the rate of suicide among lawyers is greater than among the general population. 

 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1.800.273.TALK (8255) (available 24/7)

Possible Suicide Warning Signs

  • Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
  • Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
  • Talking about feeling hopeless, seeing no reason for living, or having no sense of purpose
  • Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities – seemingly without thinking.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or feeling in unbearable pain – like there is no way out
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Isolating and/or withdrawing from friends, family, and society
  • Giving away prized possessions or other personal belongings, or taking unusual actions to put personal or work affairs in order
  • Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep or sleeping significantly more than usual
  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes

How to Help a Colleague Who Exhibits Warning Signs

DIAL 988 if you believe someone is in imminent danger of harming themselves.

If you believe a colleague may be at risk for suicide, encourage them to seek help.  Take expressions of suicidal thoughts or behaviors seriously.  Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline recommends the following when someone is threatening suicide:

  • Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.
  • Be willing to listen. Allow expressions of feelings. Accept the feelings.
  • Be non-judgmental. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong or whether feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value of life.
  • Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
  • Don’t dare the person to do it.
  • Don’t act shocked. This will put distance between you.
  • Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
  • Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance.
  • Take action. Remove means, such as guns or stockpiled pills.
  • Get help from persons or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1.800.273.TALK (8255) (available 24/7)

  • Call the OAAP by dialing 503.226.1057 or toll free 800.321.6227. An attorney counselor is available by telephone 24/7.  We can help you assist your colleague and/or help your colleague directly.

If you are concerned that you, or someone you care about, are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, or exhibiting warning signs of suicide, OAAP attorney counselors can help or, if needed, refer you to other health professionals to make sure you get the help you need. Your call is confidential.

Helpful Links

Topic Overview

Practicing law can be stressful.  The long hours, looming deadlines, and clients and colleagues dependent upon our expertise can make it difficult to balance the demands of work, friends, and family.   It is not unusual to turn to unhealthy or unsafe behaviors such as gambling; pornography; or problematic use of food, the Internet, or sex to try to manage feelings of stress.  Further, feelings of fear, guilt, or shame can make it difficult to reach out for help.  If you are engaging in a behavior that you would like to stop, we can help.  OAAP attorney counselors can provide confidential counseling, ongoing support (including recovery support groups for lawyers, law students, and judges), or referral to other health professionals to make sure you get the help you need.  Your call is confidential.

Helpful Links

What's on Your List? Developing Healthy Ways to Calm and Soothe

By Shari Pearlman : Lawyers and students often leave healthy relaxing activities and rituals at the door of the profession, starting when they arrive at law school. As we get closer to Law Student Mental Health Day on October 10, 2020, I want to encourage law students to practice well-being, but I also want to help lawyers and students find ways to calm and soothe themselves.

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Getting Unstuck from in the Uncertain Place

By Shari Pearlman : Living in the “place between no longer and not yet” (a phrase coined by Victor Turner, anthropologist, writer) can make us feel stuck. We all find ourselves living with uncertainty, and the unknowns can create a level of anxiety within us that has us freeze and then at times feel stuck.

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Topic Overview

Having a career that promotes personal satisfaction, growth, challenge, and engagement is a predictor of lawyer well-being. What may be a perfect fit for someone else may not be right for you. Even if your job fits you well, it is sometimes difficult to balance the demands of family, friends, self-care, your personal interests, and work. Sometimes, you may feel “burned out.” If you are looking for assistance navigating the world of work and your place in it, we can help. Whether you are new to the practice of law or an experienced attorney, the OAAP provides workshops, seminars, individual counseling, and other resources that can help you with your career path or transition.

Helpful Links

Lawyer Well-Being Week Kickoff

By Shari Pearlman : The OAAP welcomes you to Lawyer Well-Being Week!! Watch our blog each day for new opportunities to take care, connect, be inspired, and inspire others.

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Engage and Grow: Career and Intellectual Well-Being

By OAAP Post : Welcome to the 2021 Well-Being Week in Law! The OAAP is excited to celebrate this event and provide support for the well-being of members of the Oregon legal community. Each of the five days in Well-Being Week will focus on one dimension of well-being, and our daily blog post will include activity suggestions to “watch,” “read,” and “do” to enhance your well-being in that area. Let’s continue the week with career and intellectual well-being!

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Topic Overview

Your life circumstances may give rise to unforeseen challenges that affect your legal career. These may include managing a sudden or chronic illness; physical or cognitive decline; separation or divorce; or grieving the loss of a loved one. If you or someone you care about are struggling with any of the challenges below, OAAP attorney counselors can help. If needed, we can also provide referrals to other health professionals to make sure you get the help you need. Your call is confidential.

  • Cognitive Decline
  • Chronic Physical Illness
  • Grief
  • Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
  • Compassion Fatigue
  • Trauma or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Other mental health issues (such as social anxiety, panic disorder, bipolar disorder)

Helpful Links

Gratitude: Now More Than Ever

By Kyra Hazilla : As the months are stretching longer and the days are growing shorter, many of us are looking for strategies to help buoy us for the long haul. One of the techniques that I find exceptionally helpful for these challenging times is GRATITUDE.

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Why Compassion Matters

By Bryan R. Welch : Normally, the purpose of this blog is to talk about ways in which we can be healthier, happier lawyers. So my original plan for this post, when I thought about it weeks ago, was to write about a self-care topic – some little tidbit that would help better manage the daily stress of being a lawyer. But honestly, in this moment, that seems trite, a little patronizing, and frankly, a bit tone-deaf.

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Topic Overview

We sometimes find that our most important and meaningful relationships are adversely impacted as we work toward satisfying our obligations and responsibilities as lawyers.  When we experience relationship issues such as marital discord, divorce, disagreements with family members, conflicts with friends or colleagues, or family stress, it can interfere with our ability to function effectively. These experiences can be particularly exacerbated when our response to the stresses and demands of our work is to excessively use alcohol and other substances. Maintaining positive, healthy relationships and a solid support system are essential to lawyer well-being. If you, or someone you care about, are seeking to strengthen personal or professional relationships; need help navigating through a difficult family change, including a divorce or separation; or need help addressing interpersonal conflicts at work, OAAP attorney counselors can help. We can provide a comfortable and confidential opportunity to talk about your relationships. We can help you strategize ways to address your concerns and strengthen your connections. We will support you during the process. Your call is confidential.

Helpful Links

Meaningful Social Connections and Building a Community

By Karen Neri : If there are aspects of our human experience that many of us yearn for and thrive in the most, it would be meaningful connections and community.

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Success Tips for Joining a Firm

Advice, techniques, and strategies for starting a career at a law firm.

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Topic Overview

Recent research shows that attorneys are at a heightened risk to develop problems with substance use. Misusing alcohol, prescription medication, opiates, stimulants, marijuana, or other substances can threaten health and productivity, can interfere with jobs, school, and relationships, and can lead to substance use disorders.  Alcohol and other drug disorders are progressive, chronic diseases that only get worse over time without help.  Fortunately, when properly addressed these conditions can be successfully managed and treated, often before you experience significant consequences.  If you are concerned about your (or someone else’s) relationship with alcohol or other drugs, the OAAP can provide confidential counseling, ongoing support (including recovery support groups for lawyers, law students, and judges), or referrals to other health professionals to make sure you get the help you need. OAAP counselors can also assist with other challenging behaviors such as gambling, pornography, and problematic use of food, the Internet, or sex. Your call is confidential.

Helpful Links

THRIVING…Despite Challenge: A Brief Roadmap for Lawyers

By Douglas S. Querin : It is no surprise that each of us responds differently to life’s changes and challenges: the birth of a child, the death of a parent, a good job obtained, a good job lost, a financial success, a financial setback. No two of us react in exactly the same way. That’s natural and to be expected.

Read More
FEEL WELL: EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING

By OAAP Post : Welcome to the 2021 Well-Being Week in Law! The OAAP is excited to celebrate this event and provide support for the well-being of members of the Oregon legal community. Each of the five days in Well-Being Week will focus on one dimension of well-being, and our daily blog post will include activity suggestions to “watch,” “read,” and “do” to enhance your well-being in that area. Let’s cap off the week with emotional well-being!

Read More
Topic Overview

Burnout has long been an issue in the legal community. With long hours, heavy caseloads, and other problematic aspects of legal culture contributing to high rates of burnout before the pandemic, the past two years have seen burnout increase to record levels.

Helpful Links

Now Might Be a Great Time to Start a Meditation Practice (It’s Easier Than You Think)

By Bryan R. Welch : In his article, “Why Leaders Need Meditation Now More Than Ever,” in the March 22, 2020, edition of the Harvard Business Review, Dr. Matthias Birk talks about the value of meditation for increasing empathy, analytical decision making, and creative thinking. These are traits needed by business leaders, and, I would argue, everyone else, during this time of change and uncertainty.

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Getting Unstuck from in the Uncertain Place

By Shari Pearlman : Living in the “place between no longer and not yet” (a phrase coined by Victor Turner, anthropologist, writer) can make us feel stuck. We all find ourselves living with uncertainty, and the unknowns can create a level of anxiety within us that has us freeze and then at times feel stuck.

Read More
Topic Overview

Vicarious trauma is one name for the concept that helpers can experience trauma as a result of working with people who are suffering. Exposure to other people’s trauma can result in a profound shift in the helper’s worldview and sense of self that is both cumulative and permanent. This process has many names, including compassion fatigue, trauma exposure response, empathic strain, secondary traumatic stress, or, as we know it – the cost of doing business in a profession in which we are exposed daily to other people’s pain. Do you think that vicarious trauma is affecting you? Find a self-test here.

Helpful Links

Vicarious Trauma in the Time of COVID-19

By Kyra Hazilla : How does the vicarious trauma caused by exposure to our clients’ suffering intersect with the stress and anxiety many are experiencing right now due to a global pandemic? If you have ever attended one of my CLE presentations, or met me in person, it is very likely you have heard me talk about vicarious trauma. I hope these discussions and others like them have helped us recognize a familiar experience for many of us in the legal community.

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On Healing Racial Trauma

By Karen Neri : It may be difficult, perhaps seemingly far-fetched, to consider that race and trauma coincide, or that they even exist in our individual or collective bodies. However, because of the manner in which our nervous system processes information and experiences of race and racism, both of which are so much a part of our American history and culture, it would be neglectful from a mental health standpoint to discount the mark that a societal history of racialization leaves in all our bodies.

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Topic Overview

Heavy workloads, grades, and competition contribute to law student stress.  Being intentional about your self-care is key. When you feel overwhelmed, it is not unusual to turn to unhealthy coping strategies such as substance misuse; procrastination; gambling; or problematic use of food, the Internet, or sex to deal with feelings of stress.  Getting help early to work through these issues will help you be healthier and more effective in law school and throughout your legal career. OAAP attorney counselors can help you develop strategies to navigate the stress of law school or, if needed, refer you to other health professionals to make sure you get the help you need.

Helpful Links

Welcome Law Students

By Bryan R. Welch : It was twenty years ago now, but I still remember what it was like showing up at law school that very first week or so.  I didn’t know anybody, and I felt a little bit like a fish out of water, because it had been a while since I’d been in school.  I was the first person in my family to become a lawyer, and I didn’t know what to expect, so I was pretty nervous.  But I was also excited! 

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THRIVING…Despite Challenge: A Brief Roadmap for Lawyers

By Douglas S. Querin : It is no surprise that each of us responds differently to life’s changes and challenges: the birth of a child, the death of a parent, a good job obtained, a good job lost, a financial success, a financial setback. No two of us react in exactly the same way. That’s natural and to be expected.

Read More
Topic Overview

Retirement can be an exciting milestone. Yet, the decision to retire – and when – is often a difficult one to make.  For some, it is difficult to imagine what life might be like beyond the practice of law.  For others, finalizing your plan to leave your law practice, crucial health care considerations, and financial planning can seem daunting.  OAAP attorney counselors can provide individual counseling, workshops, and other resources to help you prepare for life after law.

Helpful Links

Resources for Lawyers Planning to Retire

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Nuts-and-Bolts Issues for Smoothly Closing Your Law Practice

Whether you plan to transition another lawyer into your practice or plan to close your doors, this CLE will guide you through how to create a plan; implement your plan; communicate with your staff, clients, and colleagues; tie up practice-related financial matters; decide what records to retain; and embrace your new beginning!

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