Morgan Lewis Offices of Morgan Lewis in downtown Philadelphia. April 9, 2018. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)

As more law firms work to tackle issues of attorney mental health and well-being, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius is launching a new initiative and adding an executive position focused entirely on employee wellness issues. 

The firm on Monday debuted ML Well, combining educational programming with physical health and community engagement initiatives, all designed to support employees’ “intellectual, physical, emotional, and occupational health.” The effort includes the launch of an online portal, also called ML Well, to help employees keep up with and take advantage of new and existing offerings. 

The firm has also brought on consultant Krista Logelin as its first-ever director of employee of well-being.

“We see ML Well as the platform to reach all employee groups with different types of well-being initiatives and curriculum for continued learning,” said Logelin, a former consultant with Korn Ferry who specializes in applied positive psychology.

Morgan Lewis’ chief engagement officer, Amanda Smith, said the firm recognized the importance of adding a dedicated professional to oversee the effort. “We knew, especially given the size of the firm and the scope of the things we wanted to try to tackle, that we needed to make sure that it was properly supported within the firm, that it wasn’t one-quarter of somebody’s job,” Smith said.

Krista Logelin

“It’s going to help us sustain a well-being program out past launch or past a month or past a year,” she added. 

Patrick Krill, an advocate for lawyer mental health who was instrumental in developing a pledge campaign with the American Bar Association last year to improve attorney wellness, will also provide the firm with regular educational programming focused on how employees can find meaning and fulfillment in their day-to-day work. 

Studies have shown that the legal profession is associated with high rates of substance abuse and other mental health issues, and Morgan Lewis’ new program is one of several similar efforts launched recently by Big Law firms to help combat the stresses of life in Big Law.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, in addition to its “Be Well” program, added an on-site behavioral assistance counselor to spend one day a week in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office to provide therapy sessions its attorneys. Reed Smith launched a firmwide program, Wellness Works, last January in order to support, promote and sustain the well-being of its lawyers and staff.

“The legal profession is as challenging as it is rewarding, and we must come together to create a supportive community,” Morgan Lewis chair Jami McKeon said in a statement.

“Well-being is a central focus of our culture at Morgan Lewis, and we are devoted to ensuring an environment that fosters our values. ML Well provides a vehicle to do even more in this arena,” McKeon added.

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