The ABA released a comprehensive report in the 2020 Journal of The Professional Lawyer which “survey[ed] more than 1,000 judges across the United States suggests job stress has become a serious health concern in the state judicial ranks, with about one-third or more reporting fatigue and low energy, sleep disturbance or disturbed attention and concentration.”
“The report, Stress and Resiliency in the U.S. Judiciary, is considered the most comprehensive review of well-being of its kind for the judicial ranks and builds on an ABA 2016 study of lawyer well-being and a separate law student well-being study that same year.” (View Source on ABA Website)
The report is co-authored by LCL Executive Director Joan Bibelhausen.
National Center for State Courts Judicial Resources
In 2022, the National Center for State Courts National Judicial Task Force to Examine State Courts’ Response to Mental Illness published a series of brief articles about well-being practices and tools for judges. Judicial Wellness is available here.
Confidential Assistance for Minnesota Judges
Judges may call the Minnesota Judges Helpline for free and confidential assistance on any issue that is stressful. Judges have called for help for themselves, for a family member, or because they are concerned about a lawyer who has appeared before them. LCL has made connections with mentors, with treatment or other professional assistance, and with counselors. The response always depends on the facts offered, and confidentiality is key. The assistance offered often includes advice on how to approach a lawyer or another judge about whom the judge is concerned, and it may include tips for arranging an intervention. The response also depends on the willingness of the caller to move forward. Sometimes a chance to talk through a situation is all that is needed.
Give us a call if:
- You are concerned about a stressful situation experienced by another judge, including personal or professional grief and loss, even though there may be no outward signs of distress. We can coach you on how to extend the hand of support.
- You are concerned about behavior or conduct that is out of the ordinary or inappropriate. If you are seeing it, so are others, and they’re talking about it. No one benefits from a news story about a judge’s behavior. We can have a confidential conversation about possible responses.
- You find yourself feeling unusually angry, sad, or uninterested in your work, or you are concerned about the amount you drink, gamble, or any other behavior that you engage in to relieve stress.
- You see a lawyer who is exhibiting signs of impairment in court. LCL has developed a Desk Reference for Minnesota Judicial Officers that may be helpful in identifying concerns.
- You have a family member who needs help and you are looking for resources and options.
Help is available confidentially with access to a professional counselor 24 hours a day.
Partnership with MDJF Judicial Resource Committee
LCL collaborates with the Judicial Resource Committee of the Minnesota District Judges Foundation. Contact LCL to learn more about these initiatives >
An informal mentor program. The program pairs judges with other judges who are willing to share their own experiences with personal and professional issues. Judges volunteer for general support and on the following topics:
- General Stress
- Emotional Cases
- Time Management
- Election Stress
- Ethical Issues
- Implicit Bias
- Personnel Issues
- Family Issues
- Diversity Issues
- Marital Challenges
- Retirement Transitions
- Managing Retirement
- Ethics Response Team. If a judge is facing an ethical challenge, there are other judges available for an informal discussion of what to expect. Legal advice is not offered.
- Judicial Handbook Materials. The MDJA Judicial Handbook now includes a resource page that provides information about LCL services for judges and their families and answers to frequently asked questions.
Confidential National Helpline for Judges Helping Judges
A network of volunteer judges from across the country is available to serve as a resource for judges who prefer to seek help outside of their own jurisdiction: 1-800-219-6474
American Bar Association
Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs
Judicial Resource Committee