Press Release

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

For immediate release:
7/18/2019
  • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
  • Massachusetts Court System

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

Jennifer Donahue and Erika Gully-Santiago

BOSTON, MAThe Supreme Judicial Court today announced that the Steering Committee on Lawyer Well-Being has submitted its final report to the Justices. The Court established the Steering Committee in September 2018 to explore and make recommendations regarding the state of lawyer well-being in the Commonwealth, following the publication in August 2017 of the Report of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being, which found, based on nationwide surveys of practicing lawyers, judges, and law students, that many “are struggling with serious physical and mental health issues that are exacerbated, if not caused, by the way that law is practiced today.”

"We are extremely grateful to the Steering Committee members for their thoughtful work and comprehensive analysis," said Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants. "The SJC will carefully study the recommendations the Steering Committee has provided in its report and develop a plan of action to set this important work in motion."

The members of the Steering Committee represented different types of legal practices and work, including lawyers in solo and in small firm legal practices, lawyers in large law firm practices, lawyers practicing in the public sector, in-house corporate counsel, legal services attorneys, judges, law students, bar associations, and the entities that in Massachusetts regulate legal practice and assist Massachusetts lawyers. Each Steering Committee member worked with lawyers in the same type of practice or field. Those subcommittees sought to identify the most significant issues that interfere with the well-being of many in that field and may underlie “the chronic stress and high rates of depression and substance abuse” that had been identified in the national lawyer and law student surveys. Building on the work of the subcommittees, the Steering Committee’s Report discusses those issues and makes recommendations to address them. The recommendations are addressed to the particular institutions, entities, or organizations with the power and authority to implement them.

According to retired SJC Justice Margot Botsford, chair of the Steering Committee, “every member of the Steering Committee believes that the legal profession in Massachusetts is facing serious challenges to the well-being of its practitioners. These challenges have a profound and negative impact not only on the lawyers themselves but also on their clients and the public interest that the legal profession is committed to serve. The work represented by this Report is just a beginning. One of our recommendations is that the Court establish a standing committee that would be able both to examine more fully the issues interfering with lawyers’ well-being, and to begin to implement recommendations to address those issues.”

The members of the Steering Committee included: 

Honorable Margot Botsford, Supreme Judicial Court (Ret.), Chair
Dorothy Anderson, Acting Bar Counsel
Travaun Bailey, Law Office of William Travaun Bailey
Joseph Berman, General Counsel, Board of Bar of Overseers
David A. Deakin, Deputy Chief, Criminal Bureau, Office of the Attorney General
Christine Hughes, Vice President and General Counsel, Emerson College
Lyonel Jean-Pierre, Jr., Clinical Instructor, Harvard Legal Aid Bureau
Anna Levine, Executive Director, Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers
Geraldine M. Muir, Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Boston University School of Law
Denise I. Murphy, Vice President, Massachusetts Bar Association
Richard M. Page, Jr., Executive Director, Boston Bar Association
David P. Rosenblatt, Managing Partner, Burns & Levinson LLP
Pasqua Scibelli, Staff Attorney, Committee for Public Counsel Services
Mary Strother, First Assistant Attorney General
Marilyn J. Wellington, Executive Director, Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners
Honorable Gabrielle R. Wolohojian, Appeals Court

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

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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