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Partner Marian Rice has been appointed to sit on the NYSBA Committee on Professional Ethics and to Chair the Public Trust & Ethics Working Group of the Attorney Well-Being Task Force.

06.24.20

Partner Marian Rice has been appointed to sit on the New York State Bar Association Committee on Professional Ethics.  In addition, Ms. Rice has also been appointed as chair of the Public Trust & Ethics working group, part of the newly formed NYSBA Attorney Well-Being Task Force.

In response to the prevalence of mental and physical health challenges and substance use among lawyers, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) has launched an Attorney Well-Being Task Force to advance an innovative and comprehensive culture of wellness across all levels of the legal profession.

“Studies have shown rates of mental illness, fatigue, physical health problems, and substance use for attorneys that far exceed the national averages for other professions,” said NYSBA President Scott M. Karson. “We need to eliminate the stigma associated with mental health treatment and make it easier for all lawyers to seek out the help that they need. We all must recognize that the mental and physical well-being of attorneys is critical to the effective practice of law, protection of the public trust and the vibrancy of our profession.”

Hon. Karen Peters, former presiding justice of the Appellate Division, Third Department, and Libby Coreno, a Saratoga Springs attorney, will co-chair the task force, which will be comprised of nine working groups, each dedicated to a specific wellness issue. They are: Emotional Well-Being, Physical Well-Being, Substance Use and Addiction, Law Culture and Employment, Law Education, Bar Associations, Judiciary and the Courts, Public Trust and Ethics and Continuing Legal Education.

“The task force will examine factors that negatively impact the health and well-being of the legal community and develop a report detailing attainable, measurable recommendations for mitigation efforts, which can be implemented across New York’s legal landscape,”  Justice Peters said. “The task force’s final report will serve as a practical, evidence-based resource to educate, support and empower all members of the legal community – from law students through retirees.”

“The prevalence of mental health issues, stress related ailments and addiction among lawyers is deeply troubling and necessarily out of alignment with a profession charged with the public trust,” said Coreno. “In our profession, it is of paramount importance that NYSBA address these fundamentally important issues in a real, meaningful, and holistic way.”

The Attorney Well-Being Task Force’s nine working groups are based on areas identified by empirical data as impacting attorney well-being. Each will have its own chair and will independently develop recommendations in its respective area. The entire task force will then work together to synthesize information from each working group into a final report.

Additionally, to help cope with the additional stress and anxiety during these uncertain times brought on by the corona-virus pandemic, lawyers, judges and law students from across the state can participate in a free and confidential support group held weekly on Thursdays at 4 p.m. via Zoom. Click here for additional information.

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