Transcript:

CHRIS NEWBOLD:

Hello, well-being friends and welcome to the Path to Well-Being in Law podcast, an initiative of the Institute for Well-Being in Law. I’m your co-host, Chris Newbold, Executive Vice President of ALPS Malpractice Insurance. Most of you are listeners. For those of you who are new to the podcast, our goal is pretty simple. It’s to introduce you to thought leaders doing meaningful work in the well-being space within the legal profession and in the process to build and nurture a national network of well-being advocates intent on creating a culture shift within the profession. I want to introduce my co-host, Bree Buchanan. Bree, how have you been doing?

BREE BUCHANAN:

Wonderful, Chris. Great to be here. How are you?

CHRIS:

Bree, I think I heard that you had just come off some vacation doing some bicycling in my neck of the woods. Tell us a little bit more about where you went and why.

BREE:

Yeah. So I got to go with a group of friends out over to your neck of the woods in Montana, the Trail of the Hiawatha and the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes and got to get some cycling in, which was just really wonderful.

CHRIS:

Awesome, awesome. Glad to hear you get off the grid and that’s such an important part. My vacation is next week where I’ll be with my family on a lake, just relaxing, and we all know that, that’s an important part of recharging and being our best selves.

BREE:

Absolutely.

CHRIS:

Yeah, so we are again, super excited for today’s podcast. We are wrapping up a three-part series looking at the interconnection of well-being in law schools. We have had Linda Sugin from Fordham Law School, we have had Jennifer Leonard from Penn Law, and today we are so excited to welcome Janet Stearns from the Miami School of Law. Bree, I know that you have a personal relationship with Janet, a friendship. I would love it if you could introduce Janet to our listeners.

BREE:

Absolutely. I’m delighted that we’ve got Janet here today. I’ll give you the official introduction to Janet, but from a personal standpoint, Janet and I have been sort of on the front lines of working in this area, gosh, Janet, I don’t know, six, seven years starting back with the ABA’s Commission on Lawyer’s Assistance Programs. Janet has been a true leader in that space. So let me give you the full introduction, and then we’ll go ahead and hear more from Janet.

BREE:

Janet Stearns is the Dean of Students and a lecturer in law at the University of Miami Law School. Has been there since October 1999. In 2007, she was appointed Dean of Students. Since 2011, she’s regularly taught professional responsibility. Last year, she received NALSAP’s CORE Four Annual Award recognizing the competencies, values and ethics of the very best law student affairs professionals, and I absolutely agree with that. She is the immediate past chair for the AALS Student Services Section, and as I know her, a member of ABA CoLAP, and not only an advocate for wellness programming in the law schools, but has also been the Chair of the Law School Committee and has led all of those efforts for, I’d say at least five years. Since she became the Dean of Students, she has been passionate about wellness initiatives there at Miami, including the Fall Wellness Week, Spring Mental Health Day, and a weekly Dean of Students constitutional walk around the campus. Finally, I’m proud to say that she won the CoLAP Meritorious Service Award in November 2020. So Janet, so glad to have you here. How are you doing today?

JANET STEARNS:

Well, Bree, that’s such a generous introduction. So I’m blushing a little now, but I am delighted to be here with you and Chris and looking forward to chatting.

BREE:

Great. So Janet, because I know you, and I know how dedicated you are to this, I think that you’ve probably got a really good answer to this question that we ask all of our guests because we know that people that are committed to the well-being movement often have a real passion for the work. So what experiences in your life are the drivers behind your passion for being such a leader in the well-being movement in law?

JANET:

Well, Bree, I think I’ve often, for a long time been really interested in my own personal well-being. As I think back on my own experience in law school, a classmate of mine, we decided to decaffeinate together in law school. Not many people do that, but we did. We went off coffee cold turkey and really just recognized it made us less jittery and that we could actually feel better and be more present for what was happening around us. I tell students that’s just one example of how we can actually use the law school experience to think about our own well-being.

JANET:

But I think that certainly my work here at the University of Miami has brought me into a space where I have had to work and counsel way too many students who have been struggling. Struggling with drugs and alcohol and suicide.

JANET:

I have spoken many times about a student of ours, Katie Corlett, who died just shortly after her graduation, really, I think about the week before the bar results came out. In a time, many of us can remember and relate to of incredible and stress, and she died of a drug overdose, and it had a huge impact on me because I had worked so hard with her to get her through law school. I had gotten to know her parents so well, and the time that we spent shortly after the overdose visiting her in the hospital and just thinking of the huge opportunity that was lost for her and for us. That has stayed with me. I often do say, as I talk to other law schools about our programming and our more institutional initiatives, we do not want to have any more Katies.

BREE:

Right.

JANET:

We want to do everything possible so that we can see our students graduate and be happy and not have any more Katies.

BREE:

Yeah, absolutely. Wow. That’s powerful.

CHRIS:

Yeah. I mean, as the Dean of Students, you certainly get a window into some of those challenges. Janet, tell us a little bit about … We’re all creatures of our own experience and we all recall our own law school days … Give us a little flavor of Miami Law. The location and the size, the focus, anything that you find particularly unique about the culture that you’ve worked to build at Miami Law.

JANET:

Okay, Chris. Well, Miami Law, we are actually in Coral Gables. We are not in Miami. But Coral Gables is a suburb of Miami, and the University of Miami Law School has typically been on the larger side of law schools. This year we’re probably going to be welcoming just under 400 students, 1L new students to our law school, but we have about 1,300 students. So we have JD students, and we also have a very large population of LLM students in many different programs, but our international LLM is bringing students from all over the world with a particularly large focus on Latin America. So it is a school where we have a lot of international diversity. Miami is just a very, at its nature, multilingual community, but there is a lot of Spanish that is spoken and Portuguese and other languages.

JANET:

We have a lot of first-generation students, Chris, and working families, first-generation students from our community. As we know, Miami has been all over the news for various reasons. But it is certainly a very dynamic community with a lot of temptations, cultural temptations, drug, alcohol, late-night partying. Miami Beach goes around the clock. It’s against that backdrop that we are trying to encourage people to really both focus on their studies and focus on their well-being.

BREE:

Yeah. So over the time … You’ve been at Miami Law a little bit over 20 years … What are some of the mental health and well-being issues you’ve seen your students face? I mean, certainly Katie that you talked about is the worst case scenario, but just from my experience, I imagine you’ve seen a lot of other things that don’t lead up to such a tragic end.

JANET:

Right. Well, Bree, I do think that Miami is a community where there is a lot of opportunity to focus on well-being, the good and the bad, as I said. There are, I think a lot of stresses and temptations, but I think there also are a lot of an incredible amount of natural beauty here. Beaches and opportunities to get into the outdoors and enjoy the tropical climate, the Everglades when people take advantage of that. We really work hard to model that for our students.

JANET:

I think that we have gone through certainly over time, our students face a lot of challenges. I do think that being in such an active and vibrant place and such a, from my perspective, a city that never sleeps, we have to work really, really, really hard from the beginning of orientation to try to model limits. Limits on your time, learning how to say no, learning the value of sleeping, learning the value of focus. The fact is that you’re not going to be at every single event or movie or social or networking opportunity. There’s just too much. So I think learning how to set limits from the very beginning is actually one of the things I talk about in our orientation message.

JANET:

I do think another well-being issue and one we were just discussing some, it is an expensive city. There is a lot of opportunities to go out and spend a lot of money. There’s a lot of variation in housing that’s expensive. So we have to work very early to try to help people to understand their financial budget and how to plan for their law school years in a way that will make sense and leave them where they still can feel in control as they graduate and move into the legal profession. So financial literacy is another important aspect of well-being and one that we try to also talk to our students about from the very beginning.

BREE:

Yeah. I’m glad you brought that up because that’s not something that we really talked about. There’s the six dimensions of well-being, but that financial piece of it, that financial dimension, can be such a heavy burden for the students. Sure.

JANET:

Right. Right. Then of course, I mean, Miami Law and the whole world has had the opportunity, I would say through this pandemic, to even talk more about well-being. Right, Bree. I know that when I was sent home in March 2020, the first thing that I brought home from my office with me was I have a framed copy of The Serenity Prayer next to my desk.

BREE:

Right. Wonderful.

JANET:

In March, there were many, many calls with deans and faculty and students, “What about this? And what about this?” I just said, “We’re going to say our Serenity Prayer. We are going to try to figure out what we can control here and what we cannot and how to distinguish those things.” I think actually as we model that, because our students and people around us see our own process of trying to figure those things out and yet trying to stay calm and make decisions through the pandemic, I think we’ve really taught some valuable lessons.

BREE:

I think The Serenity Prayer should be standard issue with your law school diploma.

JANET:

Absolutely.

BREE:

That would be helpful.

JANET:

It always does the trick for me.

CHRIS:

Janet, I’m curious, as you think about kind of the state of well-being in your law school, has it become more challenging? Has it improved? I mean, you have the context of kind of stability and seeing it over a longer period of time, but just curious on your reflections on at least within your school what kind of trends that you’re seeing as it relates to well-being.

JANET:

That’s such a great question, Chris. I think what’s interesting if we go back, I don’t know … I think when I started to work with Bree with the CoLAP but I would say we’ve been involved in planning … I probably have done a Fall Wellness Week since I first became Dean of Students in 2007. I had been working with the ABA CoLAP and the ABA Law Student Division on the Mental Health Day Initiative now for, I don’t know, five, six, seven years.

JANET:

There was a point I think when we would announce Mental Health Day and everybody would be like, “What is that? Why?” I would say in the last few years, what I’m noticing is I have a lot of people around the country, deans of students at other schools, they’re like, “When are you going to announce the Mental Health Day plans? When is it coming? What’s the theme this year because we’re putting it on our calendars.” I think people are very, very eager to talk about this right now, Chris, at some level. Of course, then we just have to reflect on the events of the last week of the Olympics. I mean, it just feels like we are truly having a national conversation, thanks to the courage of Michael Phelps and Simone Biles and others.

BREE:

Absolutely.

JANET:

We are having a national conversation, and people are eager to have this conversation with us. So there is a level of attention and focus that can only be a good thing right now for the work that we’re doing.

CHRIS:

Yeah, for sure. Talk to us about some of the well-being initiatives at Miami Law that you’re most proud of. I mean, you talked about Fall Wellness Week. Talk to our listeners about some of the things that you have initiated and instituted there that you think are actually driving results.

JANET:

So I do think that the Fall Wellness Week has become a great catalyst, and we try to have a very intentional conversation … I was actually talking with some CoLAP colleagues yesterday about this, about when. When is the most effective time to raise these issues? My view has been orientation is not always the best time. I think your students are a little bit deer in headlights and it’s a little bit too early, but we have been doing … Recently we moved the National Mental Health Day to October. Now we try to program around October 10th. So for many of us, that’s about six weeks into the school year, give or take. I think people are really receptive. They’re starting to feel the stress. They’re starting to feel some of the anxiety and self-doubt as they’re trying to work their way through, and it’s a really good time to come in and try to do some positive programming.

JANET:

We try to both do some national programming, but many schools are also using that to do school-based programming, often in partnership with the LAP in the state, everything from healthy smoothie happy hours, constitutional walks, yoga, physical fitness, and sometimes some actual conversations with thought leaders around the value of sleep as something that actually promotes your learning or the worries of study steroids. So we have used the Fall Wellness Week, I think, to maximum effect for a lot of programming.

CHRIS:

Do you keep that programming broader in terms of different areas of focus or do you actually look at kind of a 1L track, a 2L track, a 3L track? I’m just kind of curious on the structure of how you do that.

JANET:

Well, that’s a great question. I would say right now the Fall Wellness Week has been broader for everybody.

CHRIS:

Okay.

JANET:

I think that we are actually starting to have some more conversations. We have been doing some 3L specific sort of pathway to the bar exam kinds of programming. I actually think there’s a lot more that we can be doing in that regard. I think the ABA Law Student Division is also interested as we think about bar success and wellness. I think that there is some 3L targeted work that we have been doing, but I think that we could be doing more around that Chris, from my own perspective.

JANET:

But I think that point is well taken. I do think that we find by and large that if we were to hold a program either around suicide or around study steroids, or pick your topic, depression, and we just said, “Show up for a program,” law students by and large are not going to show up for that program. They don’t want to walk into a room and be identified and tagged as the person who’s thinking about suicide. But if you can market your program, and I think we’ve thought hard about this, whether it has to do more broadly with mindfulness, well-being, success in law school, happiness in the profession, I think if you can market that program, you can deliver the same content, but you can get people in the room and then get the buy-in and really get much broader participation. So I feel very strongly about that.

JANET:

I just also wanted to highlight that I think over this last year, we have also tried to be a lot more intentional … I’m not sure we weren’t doing it before … But about the crossover between the struggles over racial injustice that we are all experiencing, and certainly that some of our students in various affinity groups are experiencing with well-being. Last year’s Mental Health Day highlighted my colleague, Rhonda Magee, who spoke about her fabulous book, The Inner Work of Racial Justice. We then had several follow-up programs that students found really, really impactful, where we were really focusing on the impact of well-being on targeted communities of color.

JANET:

We’ve had a lot of, I think, requests for some more programming targeted with our first-generation students around well-being. I think there is a huge outcry for doing more programming of this sort as we move forward.

BREE:

What advice do you have for others who may be working at a law school and are listening to this? Maybe they’re faculty or administration and who want to enact some of their own initiatives. Do you have some advice for them? How to get it started and how to make sure it’s successful?

JANET:

Well, Bree, I think, as you know, because you and I have talked about this a lot, I do feel that right now the vast majority of law schools in the country are doing positive things around well-being. Many want to do more. Some of us are doing it differently. Some have more resources than others to do this kind of programming. But I think there’s a huge interest, and in fact, I think a demand to have well-being programming in law schools right now and to really connect this for our law students. This is one of the things I say to students all the time, “You’re coming to us not only to learn about contracts and torts, you’re coming to learn how to become a future professional. Some of the skills that we can teach and model for you about your personal well-being and learning to set limits and finding balance between yourself and your work, these are some of the most important skills and probably the most important skills we can teach you in law school.”

BREE:

I think of sort of the fancy word for that, professional identity formation. Is that?

JANET:

We are all talking about professional identity formation. Exactly. Exactly. And this is a critical element of this. I think that the well-being community and the professional identity community have found a great partnership and shared interest. These are things that we are working together to message, and we’re messaging them in all parts of the law school. We’re messaging them in clinics and in externship programs. We are messaging this in all kinds of core courses, including professional responsibility. This is all a part of our shared mission right now.

CHRIS:

Janet, it’s great to hear that. I mean, again, with your perspective. When I think of law schools and well-being, I think of you because I think that you’ve been kind of at the epicenter of kind of looking at what’s been going on in the law school environment. It’s encouraging to hear that your sense is that the vast majority of law schools have kind of leaned in on this particular subject. I’m just curious about maybe the why. Why we find ourselves in a significantly better position today than say we did 10 years ago?

JANET:

Well, I think first of all, I do believe as I both talk to people at Miami Law but people around the country, in fact, Chris many of us are experiencing issues or challenges around mental health and substances with our own families, with our friends. We have faculty … In fact, I was on the phone the other day with a faculty member and she said, “My child is in the process of being hospitalized.” So I think we are actually at a point where … I have another faculty colleague … Fabulous, very, very smart person who lost his wife to suicide. I’m coming to the world at this point. I think this it’s not a Democratic issue, it’s not a Republican issue. This is an issue that affects all of our families and things that we hold near and dear to us. I think people are being a little more open about that.

JANET:

I think as all of the work and certainly, Bree, all of the anti-stigma work that you and others have been doing for so long, I think this is seeping in, and I think people are coming forward and saying, “This affected my family. This affected my child. This affected my brother.” I think faculty are also a little more willing, and I’m not saying everybody, but to be a little more vulnerable themselves with their students. I think some of this happened during the pandemic. I think there was something very equalizing about all of us being on Zoom.

BREE:

That’s a great point.

JANET:

Struggling with Zoom, and I saw some faculty members, and then I heard about it from students who said, “I’m really struggling here. I haven’t been able to see my parents. I’m divorced and I haven’t been able to visit my child. And this really sucks right now. So I appreciate that this is really a confusing time for all of you as students and the faculty. Where it’s like, “Oh my gosh, that torts professor’s a real person.”

JANET:

I view this as some of the, I like to call it the gifts of the pandemic, but I think that there were people who became a lot more real with each other. And that includes faculty members becoming a little more real with students as well.

CHRIS:

That’s such a great observation. I’ve always been prone to say that we are obviously human beings before we are a law student, a lawyer, a professor, a judge. It feels like we’re kind of getting more back to some of those kinds of basic levels of empathy and kind of all on the same trajectory of just kind of trying to live our best life.

JANET:

Right. Absolutely.

CHRIS:

Let’s take a quick break here. We’ll hear from one of our sponsors, and we’ll be right back.

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BREE:

Welcome back everybody, and we’re here with Dean Janet Stearns from the University of Miami School of Law. Janet, so one of the things that I really want to dig into with you because you sit at such a unique position of this nationally, and that is some of the policy initiatives that are occurring across the country to really try to change this circumstances for law students. I want to hear, and this is particularly in your spot as Chair of CoLAP’s Law School Committee, could you tell us about some of the initiatives that you all are working on? In particular, I’m thinking about the whole character and fitness process, which has had such a detrimental impact on students’ willingness to ask for help. And then also to dig into some of the changes you guys are seeking for the ABA standards.

JANET:

Well, thank you, Bree. I have to say, I think it has been a tremendous honor for me to be able to be involved with the American Bar Association CoLAP because you really feel the capacity to make change, to be in a room with people who are not only passionate about these issues, but who actually have some policy vision and the power to then act upon that vision.

JANET:

So we have been working through the CoLAP on several national projects that we think can really shift the conversation on health and well-being for students. As you mentioned, the first has to do with character and fitness. Why is this so important? Because in surveys that have been done and the preeminent survey by Jerry Organ, David Jaffe and Kate bender, looking at law student well-being, we learned the very scary high numbers of students who are experiencing depression, suicidality, substance use/abuse. We also learned that a very small percentage of those students were willing to come forward and ask for help from deans of students like myself. And the primary number one reason they told us they would not come ask for help is because they were afraid that they would have to disclose it on their bar application.

JANET:

So this became a huge cultural issue for us. How can we shift that culture so that people understand that when they need help, they actually indeed must ask for help, that we are here to help them, and that the bar character fitness doesn’t become a barrier to that. So we have been working on trying to both evaluate what states are doing around the country and advocating for change, and specifically trying to either eliminate questions in the character and fitness process asking about mental health history or history of substance use disorders or narrowing those questions in time and scope so that people understand that their first duty is to take care of themselves and get help, and it will not stand in their way of ultimately being able to become a lawyer.

JANET:

We have had, I think we both, there has been, I think some policy conversations, we’ve been able to do some writing in this field, but as we know, in 2020, one of the great gifts of the pandemic was that early on the State of New York removed their questions relating to substance use mental health. Anything outside of conduct is no longer asked by New York.

BREE:

That was huge.

JANET:

That was huge. It was huge. So many people came together including great advocates in Massachusetts, which had been doing this for a long time that made possible the change in New York. Shortly after New York, I think in March, literally as we were moving into the pandemic, Michigan removed its questions. Again, thanks to a lot of great advocacy by Tish Vincent and others involved with the LAP in Michigan, the law schools in Michigan, and a month later, Indiana followed Michigan’s suit just after the pandemic had started.

JANET:

The Chief Justice in Indiana, who I just think is one of … My Ruth Bader Ginsburg I tell her … Justice Rush, who really was so eloquent in recognizing the importance of this issue. The Supreme Court took very quick action under her leadership to remove the problematic character and fitness questions in Indiana. Then by the summer, New Hampshire also followed suit. So those were four states all in 2020. I feel like there’s a great momentum there, Bree, and I continue to remain hopeful that we can continue to make progress in other states, particularly where we have some matching of an active law school community, an active bar well-being community, a judiciary, and we know that there are other State Supreme Court justices that are very, very enlightened on these issues, that we can work together to have more states implement reform in the character and fitness process.

JANET:

I feel strongly also where we can, if we can get either frequently asked questions or preambles, things that we can use as educational materials with students as they enter law school, as we talk about bar admission, so that they are very clearly told that this should not in any way keep you from accessing mental health or other counseling resources when you need it.

BREE:

Right. I mean, that’s one of the things also is to include very explicit language in the introduction to the questions of the application process or somewhere, we want you to get help. That can be helpful too. I know that the Institute for Well-Being in Law is going to be joining in the policy efforts there too around trying to bring about state by state change on those character and fitness questions. So we’re going to have a good group of advocates working on this around the country.

BREE:

I know another thing that CoLAP has been doing, and you’ve been a leader on really, and I can’t imagine how many, maybe hundreds of hours that you’ve spent writing and working on this, Janet, but that is around the ABA standards for law schools. Can you talk a little bit about that? What you’ve been working on and the progress that’s been made?

JANET:

Well, thank you, Bree, and this truly has been a labor of love. So the CoLAP Law School Committee, hand-in-hand with the ABA Law Student Division, has been seeking changes in the ABA accreditation rules to recognize the integral role of well-being in law schools, student services, and law school curriculum. As you know, all accredited schools are subject to the ABA accreditation standard. These standards are voted through the Council on Legal Education, through the ABA, and then ultimately approved by the House of Delegates.

JANET:

And so we have asked for several years for some language on well-being. We didn’t get very far the first two years, but this year, I think again, another gift of the pandemic has been the incredible focus and importance of well-being. The Council in fact, did put out some draft language. It was not all that we wanted, but it did include a recognition that every law school needed to provide some well-being resources to its students, either directly or in collaboration with university resources, LAP resources, looking as well at financial well-being, emergency funds, and other essential resources that every law school must do. So the ABA Council recommended this language. We then had a large comment period. We are currently in the middle of a second comment period on proposed language. We hope to hear more in this month of August as to whether or not the package of proposals will be pushing forward by February to the House of Delegates.

JANET:

I will note that the package right now also has some other very significant changes on professional identity education in law schools, and it also has a large package of proposals that have to do with diversity and inclusion and core curricula requirements in law schools around diversity inclusion initiatives. There is a very rich package of proposed revisions to the standards. We are going to remain hopeful that these can get to the House of Delegates this year. But I think the fact that we finally have well-being in a draft proposal as an essential part of every accredited law school, that is institutional change, and I’m very proud of how far we’ve come with this so far.

BREE:

Absolutely. And Janet, if our listeners, if somebody wanted to dig in further and learn more about that, can they go to the ABA website or how could they learn more or track what’s going on in that area?

JANET:

All of the proposed changes and indeed all of the comments that have been received are all on the website for the ABA Section on Legal Education, as well as the notices of … There will be a meeting as we’re recording this, we are in the week of the ABA Annual Meeting … But my understanding is August 19th and 20th, the Section on Legal Education will meet again, we understand, to discuss next steps on these standards. Of course, if that is a problem, anybody is free to email me at the University of Miami. We have a large community of friends across the country who are in a very close conversation about continuing to advocate for these changes to the standards. Please join us.

CHRIS:

Let’s talk a little bit about the future as we kind of look ahead. Obviously we’ve made a lot of progress through the efforts of you and other folks who are keeping a close eye on this. You talked about the fact that there’s more awareness, more eagerness, more focus, but we also know that culture shifts in our profession, they don’t happen overnight. I’m just kind of curious on your perspective of what’s on the horizon. What things do you see in the future being done by law schools to continue to move the needle on improving the well-being of law students? Because we obviously know that you’re preparing the next generation in some respects. There are general generational aspects to the improvement of the profession. So I’d love for you to break out the crystal ball, so to speak, and kind of talk about what you see kind of coming down the road as we continue to maintain an emphasis on this issue in the law school environment.

JANET:

Well, thank you, Chris. I’m not very good with a crystal ball, but let me try here. So I do believe, and I think at the CoLAP level, first of all, I believe that we need to work hard to make sure that not just student services folks, but faculty and administration do need to be trained on mental health first aid, which is a course, i an eight-hour course, to make sure that they have basic skills to be prepared to have conversations with people. This course, this mental health first aid course is not only for law schools, this is being done in law firms, it’s being done with police, it’s being done all over the country right now so that people are more equipped when they come in contact with a client or a patient or a student or a colleague or a child that they have some more basic skills to be able to triage the situation and feel prepared to understand what somebody is going through. So I do think we need to continue to push that course out, number one.

JANET:

I think number two, that we need to have some more institutional structure for keeping these conversations going, as you’ve said, Chris. I would say at the University of Miami, I have formed some great partnerships with other people at our university. I would include the people, my friends at the medical school. I think that our medical education and legal education in our student populations, there’re strengths and there’re weaknesses. There’s a lot of overlap. So I’ve tried to partner closely with the medical school, our counseling center, other people at the university so we have some institutional structure for continuing a conversation. I think that’s incredibly important because me, one person, I get busy and distracted by other things. But when you know that people are coming together at regular intervals to have a conversation that is empowering. That creates accountability,

JANET:

I think we also get a lot of accountability by working with the LAPs in our state. We just, this summer, just last month, the Florida LAP got all of the law schools in Florida together for a program. I know that these regional meetings are taking place right now in other states. That also creates a catalyst for change. Also when you’re working with the State Supreme Court on the character and fitness topic. I think there is a strength in numbers when we can bring people together, whether it’s under the auspices of a well-being committee or whether it’s just again, a time of coming together to support one another, share, and then try to again, begin to imagine ways that we can work together to create change.

BREE:

Absolutely. I’ve always felt that in regards to these policy initiatives and the work around the well-being movement, get passionate people together sitting around a table, you have a bunch of lawyers, they’re brilliant, they’re creative, they’re solution-focused. We can figure this out. And so Janet, thank you for being there at the head of the table in these discussions, in this work around law school.

BREE:

I want to thank our listeners for joining us. This is the third and the final of our miniseries on initiatives and innovations in law school space. Please join us for our research miniseries, where we’ll have three episodes digging in and talking with some of the lead researchers and thought leaders in the lawyer and well-being space movement. So want to thank everybody for joining us again today. We will be back with you in the next couple of weeks with more episodes. In the meantime, be well. Take care. Thank you all.

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