This page contains recordings of colleagues’ stories, brief vignettes with coping strategies, and VJLAP presentations/CLEs.
VJLAP Guided Meditations:
VJLAP’s Southwest Program Manager has recorded several guided meditations to help listeners ease into using meditative practices to lower our stress and improve our focus with guided meditation scripts shared with us by Max Highstein, “The Healing Waterfall” (the healingwaterfall.com). Thank you Mr. Highstein.
Stories from Our Colleagues:
In this series, “Stories From Our Colleagues,” you will see stories from real people – legal professionals just like you, who have experienced mental health and substance abuse issues and are in recovery from these conditions. By sharing their stories they are shining a light on problems that are often in the shadows and giving hope to others who may need a beacon of hope and light to shine on their own difficulties.
- “One Question Made All the Difference:” JB was successful attorney and all things appeared “normal” to outsiders but was struggling inside. He sought refuge through alcohol which did not affect his work but progressed into his primary outlet. One evening, when finishing a brief with a colleague, he was asked a simple question. The answer surprised him. It was the right time and he wouldn’t change his answer for anything. Listen to JB’s Story.
- “When Others Expressed Concern, She Opened Her Mind To Help:” Anxiety a mental health diagnosis Margaret learned to manage, until it became unmanageable and showed itself in unexpected ways. Luckily, her friend’s and professors were paying attention; and she was willing to listen. Listen to Margaret’s Story.
- “We may not like what we hear but we may need to hear it:” Sometimes it takes hearing something more than we would like to come to terms with a problem. That is something we cannot change once it happens, but we can be grateful later on that we finally listened. Listen to Joey’s story.
- “We Must Take Care Of Ourselves and Support Others:” Once the statistics revealed our profession at risk, action was needed systemically and individually. She saw this and has done and is doing what she can to support prevention, support, and intervention to reduce stigma and protect the lawyer, profession, and clients.
Listen to Judge Talevi’s Story.
CLEs/Presentations (recordings are not eligible for CLE Credit):
- “Addiction is Not a Moral Failure; It Is a Disease Impacting the Legal Profession” (May 7, 2021). This session reviews how understanding addiction can benefit members of the legal profession; provides an understanding of addiction from a limbic system/frontal lobe perspective; identifies the role of the brain and amygdala in substance use concerns; and emphasizes the importance of seeing emotion wellness as an essential part of recovery. Learn more about the presentation. Watch now.
- “Identifying and Managing the Risks to Wellness In the Practice of Law” (May 5, 2021). Five current, former, and future Virginia State Bar Presidents (i) identify a risk to wellness within the practice of law (See, “The Occupational Risks of Practicing Law”); (ii) how the risk manifested at different parts of their careers (in self or colleagues); and (iii) what practice pointers have worked to address it. Learn more about the presentation. Watch now.
- “Managing Attorney Stress and Building Resilience” (May 3, 2021). This webinar provides participants with tools to identify (i) the influences on stress levels; (ii) the impact of stress on well-being; (iii) stress’s evolution into burnout; & (iv) how to manage stress & strengthen resilience. Learn more about the presentation. Watch now.
- “Depression and Suicide: How the Legal Profession is Impacted” (April 8, 2021). This presentation reviews the signs and symptoms of depression and suicide, debunks the myths surrounding suicide and suicide prevention, provides skills for approaching a colleague or client who may be experiencing problems with depression or contemplating suicide, and presents tips for de-escalating and managing a situation where you are concerned for yourself, a colleague, or a client. Learn more about the presentation. Watch now.
- “Lawyer Wellness: How to Identify and Managing Stress & Anxiety“ (November 18, 2020). This presentation reviews (i) the individual, occupational, and environmental influences on stress; (ii) the impact of stress on physical, mental, and emotional well-being; (iii) what it means when stress evolves into burnout; (iv) how to build and support resilience; and (v) science-driven techniques for managing stress. Learn more about the presentation. Watch now.
- “Resiliency Under Stress: A Lawyer’s Guide to Successfully and Ethically Navigating the Practice of Law” (October 28, 2020). This presentation explores the basics of resiliency in the legal profession and the impact of a lawyer’s ability to manage through challenges (within the profession, our communities, in our personal lives) on one’s ethical requirements and competency to practice law. Resilience is a person’s capacity for stress-related growth, and lawyer personality research reveals that lawyers as a population tend to be quite low in the trait. This presentation specifically addresses (i) the specific needs and difficulties for legal professionals to develop and maintain resiliency and (ii) how increasing resiliency enhances many critical performance skills in the practice of law. Learn more about the presentation. Watch now.
- “Interrupting Implicit Bias to Improve Mental Health in the Legal Profession” (October 16, 2020). This presentation examines the role that implicit biases play in decision-making and explores how attorneys can slow down our thinking, notice these often unconscious biases, and interrupt them before they negatively impact our behaviors. This real talk session will examine the language we use to talk about common mental health problems, and how that can perpetuate stigma. Learn more about the presentation. Watch now.