10:10 AM

Pillars of lawyer well-being

A short self-audit


MOLAP's Anne Chambers shares some questions to consider as part of a well-being audit.

by Anne Chambers, LCSWMissouri Lawyers’ Assistance Program Director

The Well-Being Toolkit for Lawyers and Legal Employers defines well-being as a continuous process in which lawyers seek to thrive in each dimension of their lives. The toolkit lists the six dimensions of lawyer well-being as occupational, intellectual, spiritual, physical, social and emotional. Some resources add a cultural aspectIndividuals may struggle in some areas and find strength in others. This model challenges us to seek something positive, moving beyond the absence of illness to the presence of satisfaction. Here are descriptions of each of the pillars:  

  • Occupational – growth, fulfillment and stability 

  • Intellectual  ongoing learning, taking on challenges and monitoring cognitive wellness 

  • Physical  physical activitynutrition and recovery, minimizing use of addictive substances, seeking help as needed 

  • Social  cultivating a support network, having a sense of connection and belonging, contributing to groups and communities 

  • Emotional  managing stress to support mental health, reach goals and make healthy decisions, seeking help when needed 

  • Spiritual – recognizing meaning and purpose in your work 

Based on this framework, here are some questions to consider:  


  • How are you growing professionally?  

  • Are you satisfied with the work you do? 

  • How does your work enrich your life?  

  • Are your finances stable?    


  • How are you continuing to learn and sharpen your skills?  

  • Are you pursuing a challenge that fosters growth?  

  • How is your concentration?  


  • Are you engaging in regular physical activity?  

  • Are you nourishing yourself well?  

  • How do you allow yourself time for rest and recovery after a busy week?  

  • Are you minimizing the use of addictive substances?  

  • Are you reaching out for help to improve your health when needed?  


  • Do you have a sense of connection or belonging at home or work?  

  • Do you have a support network you can count on?  

  • How are you giving back to a group or community?  


  • Are you managing strong emotions in a way that strengthens your mental health and helps you make solid decisions?    

  • Do you seek help for mental health when needed?  


  • Do you have a sense of meaning and purpose in your work?  

  • Where do you derive it?  


  • Are you fulfilled in practicing your traditional celebrations? 

  • Are you pursuing outside interests you enjoy?  

 Summing it up 

  • Which domains of lawyer well-being are strengths for you?   

  • Which ones are a challenge right now?  

  • What ideas come to mind?  

If you see areas of well-being you would like to address, please contact the Missouri Lawyers’ Assistance Program at 1-800-688-7859 for free, confidential counseling to reach your goals. 


Brafford, Anne M. Well-Being Toolkit for Lawyers and Legal Employers, American Bar Association, https://judicialstudies.duke.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Panel-5-ABA-Legal-Employers-Toolkit.pdf, August 2018.