April Harris-Britt On Choosing Self-Care

This year’s NCBA Annual Meeting theme is wellness and how legal professionals can achieve it. In preparation for the event, we talked with speakers scheduled to present at Annual Meeting for a series of quick-read Q&As, including Jeena Cho, Stan Phelps, and Laura Mahr. Admission to all speaker presentations, including those for CLE credit, is included in registration.

NCBA Annual Meeting 2019
April Harris-Britt on Choosing Wellness for your Mind, Body and Best Life as an Attorney
Friday, June 21
1.0 hr of CLE credit
Find more details about Annual Meeting and registration here.

By Amber Nimocks

April Harris-Britt is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Durham. Her work has been featured on CNN, in Newsweek, on local television and radio news programs, and in the New York Times Bestseller, “NurtureShock.” She has held several board and committee positions for the NC Psychological Association (NCPA) and the American Psychological Association (APA). She received her doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Harris-Britt will present on “Choosing Wellness for your Mind, Body and Best Life as an Attorney.” Harris-Britt’s presentation will describe the unique challenges and factors that contribute to anxiety, depression and increased stress amongst attorneys. There will be an emphasis on the importance of, and ways to, purposely choose a self-care plan that optimizes mental, physical and overall well-being.

Q: Your practice has a focus on youth and families. How did you become familiar with the unique challenges to health and wellness facing legal professionals?

A: A large percentage of our practice focuses  on forensic consultations and evaluations and providing therapy to children and families of divorce. Thus, our clinical work often intersects with attorneys and other legal professionals. Thus, I have had a chance to observe firsthand, the unique challenges that attorneys face in supporting clients through stressful life events and trying to advocate for their clients at all costs.

Q: What insights have you gained from your work with legal professionals?

A: The legal profession is highly stressful in that every case require individualized and constant problem solving that if unsuccessful, will require the adoption of an adversarial position. There is a constant need to “fix” or “win” high-stakes issues which in of itself, creates more stress and anxiety for the attorney.

Q: In your experience, what keeps most attorneys from taking care of themselves?

A: In a time when most attorneys are still operating on the billable hour, attorneys can feel particularly pressed to take on large case loads of highly stressed clients who feel as though their attorneys should be readily available to address concerns and needs. This contributes to long work hours and more concerning, difficulty in establishing clear time boundaries for professional work and personal care. Thus, self-care is often pushed to the bottom of the list in priorities.