Executive Summary: Pauses and preparation
Vol. 78, No. 6 / November - December 2022
Mischa Buford Epps
Can you believe 2023 is just a few weeks away? One of my favorite traditions this time of year is spending quality moments with cherished friends and family.
Whether baking cookies, decorating the house, or watching a holiday movie, being surrounded by your favorite people makes everything better. I hope that your seasonal celebrations, whatever they look like, are filled with fun, relaxation, and gratitude.
Holidays are also a great opportunity to pause and reflect. How can we stay grounded amid constant change? Are we taking time to focus on what makes us feel truly whole? How can we better take care of ourselves while we work to benefit others? I challenge you to take time to renew your energy as we move into 2023. Put down your phone. Take a nap. Read a book. Start a journal. Make time to invest in yourself.
You’ve probably noticed that lately The Missouri Bar has placed greater attention on lawyer well-being. Missouri lawyers actively participated in key events this year, such as Well-Being Week in Law and Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and we have shared even more wellness resources and tools on a more frequent basis. Special thanks to the dedicated volunteers who’ve served on the Lawyers Living Well Special Committee over the last 19 months. These efforts, and the conversations they spur, are not going away. And, judging by your responses, lawyers are thankful for these opportunities. Many of you have reached out with notes of appreciation and suggestions. Even more have attended learning sessions on sleeping better, supporting peers during a suicide crisis, and strategies for juggling work and personal life demands.
If you’d like to take better control of your own wellbeing, I encourage you to visit MoBar.org/Well-Being and keep an eye out for upcoming continuing legal education sessions focused on the matter, many of which qualify for ethics credit.
As you look to the new year, I also encourage you to think about ways to discuss our Constitution, our government, and the rule of law in your peer groups and community. As Supreme Court of Missouri Chief Justice Paul Wilson noted during his address at Annual Meeting: “The society we serve is more divided, more distrustful, more fearful, and more angry than it has been for a long, long time.” This provides us — lawyers — a unique opportunity and responsibility to help ease the divisions among us.
As members of the legal profession, we are well equipped to educate and foster a greater knowledge of and appreciation for our Constitution, governmental institutions, and how they work. By sharing about the many ways lawyers, judges, and the legal system as a whole help improve the lives of the people in our nation, we can plant more seeds of understanding and have a more informed society — one with a reestablished trust in our proven democratic structure.
The Missouri Bar provides spaces for these conversations, as well as ways for lawyers and judges to play a role in them. You can volunteer to be a speaker at your local school or civic group, discussing the importance of the Constitution and our legal system. You can serve as a leader or active participant in your community, supporting your city council, local commissions, school board, or myriad nonprofit organizations helping our fellow citizens. Renewing our focus on civic education, civility, and collaboration can help build relationships, dispel misinformation, and rebuild respect and trust of one another and confidence in our institutions. You, as a lawyer, can share your voice and play a critical role. We need you.
Best wishes as you pause and reflect on this year and prepare for 2023.