William & Mary Law Review Online


Alex B. Long


Perhaps the central theme in all of the lawyer well-being literature is the profession's need to create a culture in which lawyers are proactive about taking care of themselves. This necessarily involves reducing some of the stigma associated with mental health issues so that lawyers feel comfortable to seek help when needed and to otherwise be mindful of their own well-being. The trick, obviously, is adopting an approach that meaningfully addresses the problems of mental health issues within the profession without further stigmatizing mental health issues more generally. This Article argues that despite its admirable efforts, the legal profession has generally fallen short of this goal. Whether in formal ethics opinions dealing with the issue of lawyers with disabilities or reports such as the National Task Force's The Path to Lawyer Well-Being, the lawyer well-being movement has sometimes perpetuated harmful stereotypes concerning disability. This Article suggests that in order to effectively improve lawyer well-being, the organized bar should look more carefully at the text of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as the policies that underlie it. This abstract has been adapted from the author's introduction.