One common estimate of the effects of impaired competency due to addictions and mental illness (and suicide) is that something like 60-70% of state bar investigations into lawyer misconduct involve clients that have been injured from behavior-related transgressions.
The advantages to a carrier are both economic and humanitarian.
- The intangible benefit of helping people to be happier and more peaceful. Not all companies, including insurers, are run by people who care about the well-being of their policyholders. To the extent the leadership of an E&O carrier does care about the wellbeing of its lawyers in terms of personal satisfaction with their law career, family relationships, and life in general, then this is the time to address the sad state of affairs of the legal profession. As much as the organized bar and its leadership would like to reduce the growing statistics of lawyer unhappiness in this country, something new is needed because the paradigms that have become the norm have made no headway. Being part of a new solution is an intangible advantage to joining this cause.
As Albert Einstein famously said: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Something new is needed if we are to make practicing law a more satisfying career.
- It will cost a pittance. The cost of a subdomain for an E&O carrier is less than one cup of coffee per year for each lawyer, which means that for less than a small coffee at Starbucks, every insured can have a full year of a digital clearinghouse of wellness information at their fingertips, loaded with proven tools for improving their own wellbeing. The content will include articles, videos, podcasts, and book reviews across all disciplines that are concerned with good health. Moreover, for that one cup of coffee, each insured gets a private Dashboard on which to save their own favorites.
- The carrier will save money. All evidence indicates that content developed by experts to influence troubled professionals to get help for their sicknesses does work for many people. Everyone who gets help had to be persuaded sometime. The greater the exposure to sound reasons from recovering lawyers to change bad behaviors, for example, the earlier a person’s recovery can begin. Exposing struggling lawyers who may be ignoring signs of serious trouble to stories of survival and overcoming addictions can change the course of their lives – for the better. How often do people hear a personal story and decide to change their own life.
Hence, it is very likely that this Library will lead to changes that will result in fewer claims being made by unhappy clients whose insured lawyer lost control of the case due to addictions or mental illness. Saving merely one claim each year will more than cover the cost of the subdomain for E&O carriers. For a mutual company owned by its policyholders, one claim saved translates into the potential for dividends in that amount.
- Analytics. Each carrier can design its own analytics to capture on its Dashboard. There will be a broad landscape of content that will provide valuable feedback and information to the carrier in terms of underwriting and lowering risk of claims.
- Free campaigns. Regardless of the cost of designing campaigns, this Library will allow the carrier to publish all campaigns (or articles they would like to share with their insureds) on their subdomain without charge. Thus, if a carrier learns of a case affecting malpractice, they can give it a special spot on its monthly subdomain and make it twice as likely that its insureds will see it. Marketing gurus tell us that the greater the exposure, the greater the awareness of the information. Every carrier has important things to say to their insureds, and coming inside this Library, which is being designed to be engaging and enjoyable, will be an additional exposure to their own content.
- Advertising to uninsured lawyers. Every carrier that takes a Legacy Carrier position on the pre-launch site will also be making a statement to uninsured lawyers that this carrier cares about the well-being of its lawyers, and want to help them avoid claims. No promises, of course, but uninsured lawyers do often decide to become insured, and any carrier that joins as a Legacy Carrier will be advertising on the pre-launch site, which will go to many uninsured lawyers.
Likewise, Wellness Library, Inc. itself will be the holder of a subdomain for uninsured lawyers, should they wish to be a member (free) of that subdomain. Legacy Carriers will be entitled to advertise on Wellness Library, Inc. subdomain for uninsured lawyers – as a way of thanking those Legacy Carriers for helping us get the pre-launch site up and running.
- Being a part of expanding the help that lawyers need to manage the stress and anxiety that is always a part of practicing law. Professional liability insurance is a for-profit business (benefiting the owners of the company, be they shareholders or policyholders) but having a profit motive doesn’t mean the company doesn’t care about the well-being of its insureds. Lawyers who live balanced lives will have fewer claims, which means good health is an economic benefit for an E&O carrier. But the leadership of an E&O carrier can also feel glad to being part of a solution that brings better health, of body, mind, and spirit, to all lawyers than has been true of our profession for the past 150 years. Being part of a new solution to a severe social problem is a cause worth supporting – in addition to whatever economic benefit it might bring to a company.
- Diversity and inclusion. This Library is actively seeking to raise the volume on important conversations affecting the well-being of lawyers in marginalized groups across this country. As all studies indicate, lawyers in marginalized groups face special considerations when it comes to managing stress and anxiety. Diversity results in bias that results in difficulties for those belonging to that diversity. This is an undeniable truth. As with all things, practicing law will be friendlier and more compatible with a balanced life if bias was replaced with awareness and comradery. The way to achieve that kind of friendship among diverse groups is to share thoughts about the differences and deal with them, so as to change attitudes. Towards that good goal, this Library will give associations that represent lawyers in marginalized groups a way to share their concerns and views more broadly than they can within the confines of their own membership. The goal is to cross-inform about differences, so they are understood and more readily accepted.
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