Akin Gump Joins ABA Pledge Campaign on Substance Use and Mental Health Distress in the Legal Profession

(New York) – Akin Gump is pleased to join the American Bar Association (ABA) in support of its innovative new campaign targeting substance use disorders and mental health distress among lawyers.

Called “The Pledge Campaign,” its goals are to raise awareness, facilitate a reduction in the incidence of problematic substance-use and mental health distress, and improve lawyer well-being through the use of an employer pledge. From education to policies to culture, the seven-point pledge identifies the core areas on which firms should focus and the concrete steps they should take as they seek to achieve those goals.

The campaign is organized by the ABA Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession. According to the ABA, recent studies have shown that lawyers struggle with these problems at levels substantially higher than both the general population and other highly educated professionals.

“Being a lawyer is a stressful job, and we all know lawyers who have struggled at different points of their careers,” said Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith. “We want to create an environment in which the prevailing philosophy is to make lawyers feel that they are not alone. The firm is fully supportive of the ABA’s efforts to confront and remove the stigma around these issues via efforts such as the Pledge Campaign."

Akin Gump has been highly focused on addressing the issue of mental health and emotional well-being among its lawyers and staff. Earlier this year, the firm announced its intention to expand its on-site behavioral health counseling program throughout the firm (read more here). The initiative, which successfully debuted as a pilot program in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, is part of Akin Gump’s firmwide holistic wellness program, “Be Well,” which launched in 2016 and is focused on improving the physical, emotional and financial well-being of the firm’s lawyers and staff.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 900 lawyers in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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