After having her second child, Southern California litigator Erin Giglia worked part-time for law firm Snell & Wilmer, but fellow associate Laurie Rowen had different plans for work when her baby girl was born 16 days after Giglia’s daughter.
Rowen always knew she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, while continuing to do legal work on an extremely part-time basis. It took nearly a year for Giglia to jump on board, but when she did, the pair co-founded Montage Legal Group, a new legal business model especially attractive to women.
Montage and firms like it have proven a good match for all sorts of lawyers who want to set their own work terms, but they have become particularly popular with lawyer moms who want to dramatically reduce their hours after they give birth, but who also want to stay in the legal game. The part-time experience at these kinds of firms also eases the transition back into the profession full time, if they choose to, when their children get older.
It’s a well-known fact that lawyers suffer at high numbers from mental health and substance abuse problems, and a new book on lawyer wellness drives home a point that might motivate many attorneys to take action.
When wellness permeates an attorney’s life, there’s a positive impact on his law practice, clients, judges and juries, said Stewart Levine, editor and curator of the recently released book, “The Best Lawyer You Can Be: A Guide to Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Wellness.” Levine, whose book is published by the American Bar Association, recruited lawyers and wellness experts to pen chapters that serve as a guide toward lawyer wellness, suggesting things such as practicing yoga in the office, eating nutritiously, exercising and giving back through pro bono and volunteerism and building resilience.
The book is part of an ongoing trend to push wellness into the legal profession in the wake of eye-opening research over the past few years that showed how pervasive mental health and substance abuse issues are among lawyers.
On a three-week family vacation to Greece and Croatia, Andrew Giacomini left his phone in his room to disconnect from his litigation practice.
Although Giacomini, the managing partner at Hanson Bridgett in San Francisco, checked emails, his colleagues probably didn’t know—because Giacomini never responded. He billed zero hours during his 21-day trip and focused on recharging.
“I have the philosophy: Balanced lawyers give balanced advice,” Giacomini said. “You’re not going to be offering the best advice to your clients with burned-out lawyers.”
Giacomini’s strategy is part of wider recognition within the legal profession that true downtime for lawyers is crucial. With mental health problems and addiction percentages higher among lawyers compared with other professions, some firms are acknowledging that lawyers truly need to detach from the office to recharge.
Two Houston law graduates who defied tough odds to succeed in law school have inspired people across the country.
Other law students can learn about resilience and the power of priorities through the stories of May graduates Ieshia Champs of Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law and Shartory Brown of South Texas College of Law Houston.
Both Brown and Champs were homeless at times during their childhoods and became teenage mothers. Tragedies and heartache could have derailed their lives—yet they persevered through college and law school, all while raising multiple children. The two women share so much in common that they became good friends while interning together at the Harris County Attorney’s Office in the spring of 2018.
In the midst of a hurricane season capable of producing half a dozen or so hurricanes, having a disaster recovery plan is tantamount for firms operating on the East Coast and gulf—whether you’re a solo lawyer or a big law firm.
As Houston still recovers from Hurricane Harvey, several panels at the State Bar of Texas annual meeting in Houston tackled the steps that lawyers and firms need to take to prepare and recover from disasters, of any variety.
State Bar of President Joe Longley issued a call to arms for Texas attorneys to put their minds together and find a way to reunite immigrant children with their parents and protect their rights to due process.
Just after taking the oath of office to become this year’s bar president—a historic event, as Longley is the very first state bar president elected by seeking lawyers’ signatures on a petition—Longley said that the family separation crisis has become a national disaster in his view.
“We have got to figure out a way as lawyers and members of this noble profession to give honor to the words on the statute of liberty: ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,’” said Longley to applause. He showed an image of a toddler girl wailing as an officer arrested her mother shortly after they crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico to Texas.