Lawyer Well-Being Newsletter • NJLAP •
• 2021• Well-Being Issue #34


For lawyers, Balance  has a special meaning.

The Scales of Justice is an important symbol to Law professionals, representing the opposing sides of a case, weighed out impartially by an often-blindfolded Lady Justice— signifying fairness. But unlike in a legal case, lawyers want their Scales of Life not to tip too much to one side or the other.
 
NJLAP’s mission is to help lawyers achieve that balance. This newsletter is part of that vision.
Taking Some Time to Reflect on
Why You Became a Lawyer
 
The start of a New Year often feels like the time to refresh both personal and professional plans, goals, and direction. With so much thought devoted to the future, it is also a good idea to reflect on the past – not for errors or even successes – but back to the very basic dreams you had as a younger person. For attorneys in particular, what drew you to the practice of law? What is your story?
 
I once worked for a nonprofit service organization that provided services that had recently been enhanced by new technology. All the messaging was about the technology, how it worked, how it was created, how easy it was to use, etc. However, this pitch just wasn’t inspiring donors. As part of the Strategic Communications team, we had recently been noticing a lot of attention being given to the “storytelling” aspect of getting a nonprofit’s message out, and we switched gears.
 
For the next year, I was flying with a video crew from one end of the country to the other, capturing the stories of the nonprofit’s clients discovering and using the new technology, and the wonderful effect it had on their lives. I was especially moved by the story of a wounded Marine and his journey, and consider telling his story as one of my most important career projects.
 
What does this have to do with NJLAP? You can read all about our services on our web page. We can quote all the national statistics about the need for Lawyers to enhance their well-being in order to help avoid personal and professional problems. We can share stories from around the country about Lawyers interacting with their local programs, and how that played an important part in recovery, stress management and work/life balance. What we would love to add are your stories. How a personal interaction with staff, or a program or written material from us affected your life. Not to pat ourselves on the back, but to help us tell other New Jersey Lawyers that we are here and that we care.
 
Below are links about the importance of storytelling – not only for those you are telling the story to, but for yourself. We look forward to hearing from you!  
 

Resilience and…..4 Benefits to Sharing Your Story
5 Ways You Benefit From Sharing Your Story Of Struggle
 Recovery: Why it Is Important to Share Your Story
7 Ways Sharing Your Story Will Change Your Life
Connecting Team Members on a Deeper Level through Personal Stories
Our Stories Matter: Use Your Voice To Share Your Workplace Lessons



and some caveats:
TMI: Are You Oversharing At Work?

 Are You an Oversharer Struggling in Pandemic Isolation?
 
Here’s a link to our testimonial video from NJLAP’s 25th Anniversary Celebration


 

Noreen Braman
NJLAP Program Communications & Technology Manager


Lawyer Stories
An Online Resource for Sharing Your Story
 
In 2017, attorney Benjamin Gold realized that it wasn’t discussing recent cases with other lawyers that resonated with him. What he found meaningful was “asking about their inspiration and motivation along the way to become attorneys, challenges they have encountered and their views about the legal profession.”
 
He began asking for stories on Instagram, and  “since then, the community has evolved into a global network of diverse lawyers and law students connecting and sharing their stories on a social media platform that is developing into a truly inspiring community.” I found Lawyer Stories at https://www.thelawyerstories.com/ and reached out to Ben for more information.
 


NJLAP: It appears you may be meeting a need that lawyers may not even know they have. Why is it important for lawyers to share their stories with each other?
 
BG: Sharing our stories humanizes the legal profession and digs deeper beyond displaying our credentials and accolades on our resumes and office walls. One of the reasons the legal profession is unique is that many of us are sociologists at heart and we care about societal issues.  Lawyer Stories has evolved into a global community and it is important to share our experiences; @lawyer_stories on Instagram provides opportunity for connection between, for instance, someone from New Jersey who shares his or her story and the person in Egypt reading it who has a similar experience and can relate to his or her story. I know of at least one instance where two attorneys (who hadn’t known each other prior) read each other’s stories and have since become close friends who are now working together!
 
NJLAP: Is there a particular story or stories that come to mind as especially inspiring or thought provoking?
 
BG: All lawyer stories are unique!  We share stories of immigrants becoming attorneys, individuals who were charged in the criminal system who overcame their legal challenges to become lawyers, and students whose teachers said they weren’t academically gifted enough to pursue their paths.  We’ve shared stories of individuals who were on reality TV before becoming attorneys. We also have stories of individuals who always knew they wanted to be lawyers because law is their family business!  We all have a story.
 
NJLAP: Recent studies and reports from the ABA and the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs have revealed concerning numbers of attorneys struggling with substance use or mental health issues.  Do you think that taking some time to reflect on one’s own reasons for becoming a lawyer, and reading the stories of other lawyers could be helpful in coping with today’s stressors? What might be good questions for an attorney to think about?
 
BG: I think it is very important to know the reason(s) why we decided to enter the profession (even if it was because you just wanted to earn a good living!) and to remember the passion.  I encourage everyone to listen to our podcast or to scroll through the Lawyer Stories Instagram or Facebook gallery and read the stories of individuals all over the world to find that most people have an inspiration, challenge, and motivation for becoming attorneys.  You may find that someone has a similar story or almost identical issue to yours!  Individuals who are featured on Lawyer Stories likely want to connect with other attorneys as well.  Think to yourself, why did I go to law school and how did I get here?  Is this truly my passion, and if not, can I change course?
 
NJLAP: How can NJ attorneys read your current collection of stories, and possibly share their own?
 
BG: To read the stories shared by Lawyer Stories you can find us on Instagram @lawyer_stories and on Facebook at lawyerstories.com/facebook
 
We encourage New Jersey attorneys to contact us at
BGold1218@GMail.Com for instructions or by direct message on Instagram @lawyer_Stories.
 
 
NJLAP: Is there anything else you would like to share?
 
BG: We have a podcast!
 
The Lawyer Stories Podcast with Benny Gold is now available at the following links:
 

YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRS4SwTYOMxvkVpz5GljxZg
 
Apple: 
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-lawyer-stories-podcast/id1505091268
 
Spotify: 

https://open.spotify.com/show/7AX5a6JwguK9XfutFod6mL?si=YFphp0ssSMuK8cMmk9ly5Q
 

Note: NJLAP will be adding links to the Lawyer Stories Podcast on our video/podcast page at www.njlap.org
 

 

Information and Registration Links
to Upcoming NJLAP Online Presentations
 

 
If you missed any of the sessions, or would like to view them again, you can catch the recorded version on NJLAP's YouTube Channel
 

If you are reading this newsletter on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and would like to get it delivered directly to your email box, please request to subscribe by emailing info@njlap.org.

As always, our email lists and your correspondence with us, are kept completely confidential. We look forward to hearing from you!

“It's like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head.
Always. All the time.
That story makes you what you are.
We build ourselves out of that story.”

- Patrick Rothfuss, author

NJLAP
One Constitution Square
New Brunswick, NJ
800-246-5527
www.NJLAP.org
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