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The Beacon

VSB Updates Its Occupational Risks Report

June 27, 2022
VSB Updates Its Occupational Risks Report

On June 8th, The Virginia State Bar (VSB) President’s Special Committee on Lawyer Well-Being (Committee) issues a 2022 Update to its 2019 Report “The Occupational Risks of the Practice of Law.”

Focus of the 2022 Update to the 2019 Report

The Committee focused on how occupational risks were impacted during the pandemic. They did not identify any risks not previously reported in the 2019 Report, determined that 20 risks identified in 2019 continued to be accurately reflected, and three were exacerbated by the pandemic and “impacted most by lasting and continuing changes.”

The three risks identified were:

  • Individual Work
  • Managing Legal Paradigms, and
  • Lack of Diversity in the Legal Profession.

The 2022 Update is a Supplement to the 2019 report and, as such, introduced a “Supplemental Matrix of Occupational Risks to Lawyer Well-Being” focusing on the three risks noted above. Below is a summary of the information provided in the 2022 Update.

Mental Health and Emotional Risks: Individual Work

Law was already a lonely profession. The pandemic simply exacerbated the problem.

Adaptation Risks: Changing Legal Paradigms

The pandemic forced the profession to change our way of doing business from in-office, in-person to online and on-video. The Update noted the two most prominent new challenges in this category of risk are “home office syndrome” and “Zoom Fatigue.”

Adaptation Risks: Lack of Diversity in the Legal Profession

Diverity and wellness have a “‘symbiotic’ relationship in that a lack of diversity in the legal profession [is] a cause of isolation, stress, anxiety, depression, and a feeling of lack of self-empowerment or professional achievement.”

Read the June 2022 Update

Read the 2018 (“The Occupational Risks of the Practice of Law”) Report

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