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The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change

Level: Intermediate
Runtime: 94 minutes
Recorded Date: October 16, 2017
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  • Suffering in Silence
  • General Recommendations
  • Recommendations for Judges
  • Regulator Recommendations
  • Recommendations for Employers
  • Recommendations for Law Schools
  • Recommendations for Bar Associations
  • Recommendations for Professional Liability Carriers
  • Recommendations for Lawyers Assistance Programs
Runtime: 1 hour and 34 minutes
Recorded: October 14, 2017


In this program, speakers will provide information on two recent studies that revealed the high rates of substance use and mental health disorders among law students and lawyers, statistics that served as catalysts for the report. They will present recommendations to multiple legal stakeholders, including legal employers, regulators and bar associations, on what they can each do to institute a culture change so that well-being becomes a priority. Much of the focus will be placed on ABA model rule 1.1, competence, and the recognition that well-being is an essential aspect of competent and ethical practice. Speakers will present information on how all members of the profession can work to promote lawyers' well-being, thereby ensuring fitness to practice, competent representation and ethical engagement.

This program was recorded on October 16th, 2017.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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James C. Coyle

Attorney Regulation Counsel
Colorado Supreme Court

Jim Coyle is Attorney Regulation Counsel for the Colorado Supreme Court. Mr. Coyle oversees attorney admissions, attorney registration, mandatory continuing legal and judicial education, attorney discipline and diversion, regulation of the unauthorized practice of law and inventory counsel matters. Mr. Coyle has been a trial attorney with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel or successor Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel since 1990. Prior to that, he was in private practice. He earned his law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1985.

Mr. Coyle is actively involved on a national level with the National Client Protection Organization (NCPO), the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), National Organization of Bar Counsel (NOBC), and the International Conference of Legal Regulators (ICLR). He served on the NOBC board of directors from 2014 – 2016. He also served as NOBC liaison to the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL) Committee on ABA Model Rules on Advertising. Mr. Coyle was co-chair of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-being.

Recent committee work includes being a member of the Advisory Board for the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs, programming work on and hosting the first ABA Center for Professional Responsibility (CPR)/NOBC/Canadian Bar Association Regulators Workshop on proactive, risk-based regulatory programs, in Denver in May 2015, and in planning workshops in Philadelphia in June 2016, Washington, D.C. in September 2016, and St. Louis in June 2017; acting as co-chair and organizer of the First ABA Standing Committee on Client Protection UPL School in Denver in August 2013; and member of the planning team for the Second UPL School in Chicago in April 2015; participating in the NOBC Program Committee and International Committee, including as Chair of the Entity Regulation Subcommittee now known as the Proactive Practice Management Programs Committee; and NOBC Aging Lawyers and Permanent Retirement subcommittees. Mr. Coyle is also an active member of the Colorado Chief Justice Commission on Professional Development and its mid-career working group, the CBA/DBA Professionalism Coordinating Council and its subcommittee on a professionalism rule, the Supreme Court Standing Committee on the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct, and the University of Colorado Law Alumni Board’s Diversity Committee.

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Bree Buchanan

Senior Advisor
KRILL Strategies

Bree Buchanan draws upon her extensive professional knowledge and experience to help legal employers excel in creating a culture of well-being. She is the founding co-chair of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being and is a co-author of its groundbreaking 2017 report, The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change. Bree is chair of the ABA Commission on Lawyers Assistance Programs (2017-2020), which works to ensure assistance is readily available for those in the legal community experiencing issues related to substance use or mental health issues.

Prior to joining Krill Strategies, she was the Director of the Texas Lawyers Assistance Program, where she regularly worked with individual lawyers experiencing behavioral health issues, and with legal employers who were seeking resources and support for their staff. Her tenure with that program followed a two-decade legal career which included positions as a litigator, lobbyist and law professor. As Senior Advisor with Krill Strategies, Bree provides consultation on issues related to lawyer well-being and impairment for major legal employers.

Ms. Buchanan is a frequent speaker for international and national law-related organizations, as well as global law firms on strategies for lawyer well-being and impairment. In 2018, she was awarded the “Excellence in Legal Community Leadership Award” by Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. She has shared her own story of recovery as a featured guest on podcasts in the United States and Canada. Ms. Buchanan’s writing has appeared in Law Practice Today, Judicature, The American Lawyer, and Family Lawyer Magazine, as well as Lawyer Health and Wellbeing: How the Legal Profession is Tackling Stress and Creating Resiliency (Ark Group, 2020).

In 2018, she graduated from the Seminary of the Southwest with a Masters in Spiritual Formation, where she honed a deep interest in the intrinsic link between meaningful work and personal well-being, as well as in assisting individuals with vocational discernment. Ms. Buchanan tends to her own well-being by engaging in a regular meditation practice, cycling, rowing, and being willing to ask for help when she needs it.

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