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ADR Section to offer a six-part webinar focusing on health and wellness

Senior Editor Top Stories

Patrick RussellIn addition to COVID-19, Florida lawyers are facing another potential contagion — society’s skyrocketing anxiety.

“There’s people losing their jobs, there’s riots, there’s an election, there’s all kinds of things going on, and it’s out of control,” said Miami attorney and mediator Patrick Russell. “As legal professionals, we’re dealing with agitated clients.”

So the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section is offering a digital vaccine: A six-part webinar series focusing on health and wellness.

Russell is the ADR vice chair and chairs the section’s Health and Wellness Committee. He said the series is in final planning and should launch in September.

“Everybody has their presentations in, their panels are assembled, I’m gathering the dates two months out, so that we have enough time to market it and get the CLE approval,” he said.

The series will feature prominent lecturers, including University of Miami Law School Professor Scott L. Rogers, director of UM’s Mindfulness in Law Program, and Paula Black, a nationally recognized lawyer coach and author of “A Lawyer’s Guide to Creating a Life Not Just a Living.”

The section partnered with Legal Services of Greater Miami to produce the webinars, and topics range from “The Ethical Considerations When Using Alternative Dispute Resolution to Bridge the Justice Gap,” to “Balancing Wellness and the Ever-Present Demands of Technology.”

The webinars offer practical tips for maintaining mental health and emotional well being, Russell said.

“They’re all from very unique perspectives, with some really good leading personalities and experts for each webinar,” he said.

Lawyers take on their clients’ emotional burdens, and they can’t be good advocates if they don’t safeguard their own mental health, Russell said.

“If you’re not resolving your own internal conflicts, demons and monsters, if they take over your life, you’re not going to do a very good job helping others.”

Russell sets aside time every day for physical exercise and meditation, but he still finds the monotony of pandemic life a challenge.

“Every day seems to blend into the next, and it’s really difficult to deal with,” he said.

The proliferation of remote technology has a troubling downside for lawyers, Russell said.

“I’m getting emails and text messages at all hours of the day and night because I think people are now losing their sense of boundaries from when work ends and when it begins,” Russell said. “And I think that’s dangerous.”

Florida Bar President Dori Foster-Morales, a mental health and wellness champion, has agreed to appear in a videotaped introduction.

With the Florida Lawyers Helpline, the emphasis is on ‘help’In June, Foster-Morales and former President John Stewart accelerated the launch of the Florida Lawyers Helpline, a confidential, toll-free line staffed by mental-health professionals who serve as a gateway to free mental-health counseling, financial counseling, elder and child-care services, and a host of other resources (833-FL1-WELL).

Russell said lawyers shouldn’t hesitate to use the helpline when they are feeling overwhelmed.

But the webinars are designed to make that phone call unnecessary, he said.

“These are practical tips and solutions to resolve your own conflicts before you get to that point,” he said.

For more details, see below:

Mindfulness, Social Connection and Well-Being: Resolving Inner Disputes and Reaching Resolution

We live at a time of great disruption and social isolation, physically, emotionally, and economically. This session explores insights associated with the effect of isolation and feelings of disconnection — whether occasioned by COVID-19 or aspects of the practice of law — and offers various practical approaches to well being and healing.

Panel Members: Dean Janet Stearns, Joshua Rooks, PhD., Gilbert Squires, Esq., and Professor Scott Rogers.

Changing the Paradigm of Who We Are

An online discussion examining the conflicts between the left-brained realities of the legal system and the right-brained nature of human beings; how this conflict affects us, and how we can reconcile the two.

Moderators: Deborah Corbishley and Janet Seitlin.

Navigating Lawyering and Life: A Roadmap

Learn how to navigate and balance work with your life and ultimately enjoy your career while doing the same.

Panel Members: Bruce Blitman, Esq., Paula Black, a nationally recognized lawyer coach and author of “A Lawyer’s Guide to Creating a Life Not Just a Living,” and Maia Aron, Esq. and Karen Lapekas, Esq., who used Paula as a career coach.

Ethical Considerations When Using Alternative Dispute Resolution to Bridge the Justice Gap

This program will address practical and ethical issues that often arise when mediating a case with an indigent party and strategies for successfully handling them. The impact that alternative dispute resolution can have on cases involving indigent clients. Discussion on opportunities for pro bono mediation.

Presenter: Jayme Cassidy — Legal Services of Greater Miami.

Balancing Wellness and Ever Present Demands of Technology

An overview of the need to balance wellness with the demand to be “connected,” especially considering the impact of working from home during the pandemic. The course will cover best practices for setting technological boundaries and leveraging technology tools to support balance and wellness.

Presenter: Illenia Sanchez-Bryson — Legal Services of Greater Miami.

Happiness For Lawyers Guaranteed…or Your Misery Back

A presentation for how happiness is actually a choice and practical tips for enhancing mental health and wellness.

Presenter: Mark Eiglarsh.

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