Press Release

Press Release Supreme Judicial Court Announces Steering Committee on Lawyer Well-Being

For immediate release:
10/26/2018
  • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
  • Massachusetts Court System

Media Contact for Supreme Judicial Court Announces Steering Committee on Lawyer Well-Being

Jennifer Donahue and Erika Gully-Santiago

BOSTON, MAThe 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

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Media Contact for Supreme Judicial Court Announces Steering Committee on Lawyer Well-Being

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court 

The Supreme Judicial Court is the Commonwealth's highest appellate court.

Massachusetts Court System 

The Massachusetts court system consists of the Supreme Judicial Court, the Appeals Court, the Executive Office of the Trial Court, the 7 Trial Court departments, the Massachusetts Probation Service, and the Office of Jury Commissioner.

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