The Atlanta Lawyer February / March 2019 - Page 20

Under Pressure: The Creation of a Committee with a Cause By Minerva A. Steele, Esq. Jones, Steele, & Booth LLC As a brand-new lawyer, I endured endless CLE meetings the first year after law school. At every meeting, part of the curriculum included a video about attorney suicide. “How to Save a Life” 1 played in the background as sto- ries were recounted about loved ones lost to suicide in the pro- fession. I remember having the attitude, shared by most of my 1 Slade, Isaac, “How to Save a Life” How to Save a Life, Epic, 2005, track 1. 20 February/March 2019 newly minted class members, that the video was both cheesy and depressing. “Why do they keep showing this to us?” Five years later, I get it. The pres- sures of the profession weigh heavily on my (relatively) young shoulders. The first four years af- ter law school I worked for a busy plaintiff ’s practice, where my hours were 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM, mandatory. I handled hundreds of cases by myself and rarely talked to anyone who wasn’t a lawyer about anything other than work. A year and half ago I started a firm with two partners, and the stress only increased from there. In addition to handling a heavy case load and working long hours, I am also an administrator, legal secretary, paralegal, accountant, and marketing guru rolled into one. I also do a little lawyering on the side. That is my story. Many lawyers