PBCBA BAR BULLETINS 0817 PB Bar Bully Sept PRINT - Page 3

President’s Message Live in THIS Moment … by Sia Baker Barnes At my office desk, I have taped onto my computer screen a slip from a fortune cookie- the slip reads “Live in THIS Moment.” No, I do not rely on fortune cookies quotes to direct every step of my life, but it is in some respects my daily reminder that even with all the stress, hard work, long hours and worry that comes with our profession, I still need to take time to remember all of the important parts of my life. As lawyers, we have an obligation to our clients, our law firms and agencies, to our professions and to our communities. For me, those responsibilities sometimes result in me neglecting my own personal mental and physical health, and forgetting to live in the moment. I am not alone. The American Lawyer online recently published an article about lawyers in large law firms, and the high rates of mental health problems ranging from stress-related medical conditions to suicide. The article cites a number of studies, including a 2016 study of US Lawyers and their overall health. The results demonstrated that 20.6% of lawyers were heavy drinkers and 28% suffered from symptoms of depression, rates that were much higher than those of physicians and the general population. The article references a 2012 Centers for Disease Control study finding that attorneys have the 11th highest suicide rate among US professions. As lawyers’ mental health rises to the forefront of discussion, many are asking when these problems begin, and some have concluded that they begin the moment the Associate hits the door. We have also learned that in addition to big law firm associates and partners, small firm, solo practitioners and public interest lawyers are also suffering. Why? Pressure. The pressures associated with learning to practice law, billing hours and generating revenue for the firm, the demands of clients, law firms and supervisors, to pressure of producing successful results at trial, civil and criminal, and the desire to become partner- all of these factors tend to lead to stress, depression, heavy drinking. These problem start early in our careers, and are compounded by the high numbers of young lawyers starting their own law firms, often with little to no experience or guidance. Add to these factors buying a home, raising a family, and the limited time that lawyers, especially new lawyers, have to deal with these issues and it’s easy to see the reasons behind the statistics. While there is no single solution to these problems, I am proud that we as a profession are beginning to recognize and study them and work on solutions. The Florida Bar has recently announced its Health and Wellness Initiative, designed to develop ways to improve the mental and September 2017 physical health of lawyers, and to help law firms, agencies and other legal organizations tackle these issues. Some examples include firm or agency-wide yoga classes, exercise challenges, and mindfulness exercises. Our own Young Lawyers Section pioneered this issue, designing programs to emphasize the importance of physical and mental health, including several non-alcoholic, family- friendly events. Finally, we have to take the time reflect on our own schedules, demands and evaluate whether we are truly living in the moment. For me, I find that the time I tend to reflect on this the most is when I arrive home from the office, especially after a long day. I try to take just 5-10 minutes, sitting in my car in the garage, to relax, take my mind off work, and remind myself that behind that garage door are the most important people in my life. They haven’t been at my office, they have no idea about the stressful phone call from the client or opposing counsel. All they know is that they have been waiting all day to see Mom. I try to think about that before I walk in the door so that just as I have given my clients, my firm, and my community my 150% all day, now, I remind myself that my children deserve to have their 150% Mom. It’s just one of the ways I try to live in each moment. NEW Board of Directors email address: [email protected] WWW.SABADELLBANK.COM Of all the banks in South Florida, only one has the distinction of being called “The Lawyers’ Bank.” For over 30 years, we have concentrated on providing law firms, their partners, associates, staff and clients with an uncommon level of attention and service. Which is why so many law firms in South Florida count on Sabadell United Bank. Whether it’s business or personal banking, or private banking, our goal is to make a measurable difference in all relationships through exceptional service, and constant focus on delivering measurable results to our clients. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CALL Doug Clevenger, SVP • John B. Apgar, SVP 561.688.9400 Sabadell® is a registered mark of Banco de Sabadell, S.A. used by Sabadell United Bank, N.A., a subsidiary of Banco de Sabadell, S.A. Sabadell United Bank, N.A. is a member FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender. FDIC insurance is provided solely under our legal name, Sabadell United Bank®, N.A. There is no separate FDIC insurance for service marks and trade names, or for divisions of Sabadell United Bank®, N.A. 2016 Sabadell United Bank®, N.A., a subsidiary of Banco de Sabadell, S.A. All rights reserved. Page 3