MCLE: Social Fitness + Competence

Social Fitness: Why Human Connection is Crucial to Lawyer Health and Competence

Presented for the Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California and Nevada, ADC Summer Session

August 26, 2023 | 9 to 10 am PT | Olympic Valley, CA

Summary: Strengthening “social fitness” can enhance mental and physical health, foster trusting relationships, and improve overall well-being. This program offers insights into detecting disconnection, understanding the consequences of loneliness, and creating a people-centered lifestyle to combat stress in the legal profession.

California MCLE: 1 hour, Competence Issues

Social connection is as fundamental to our mental and physical health as food, water, and sleep. It affects our performance and productivity at work and in our communities. Humans are wired for social connection.

Despite living in a hyperconnected world of smartphones, remote work technologies, and social media, we’ve become more isolated over time. In the wake of the pandemic, our strained legal profession may be disproportionately affected by the mental health impacts of loneliness and social isolation.

Recent research finds that lonely lawyers are nearly three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts. Lacking social connection is as dangerous as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. The experience of feeling alone drives addiction, depression, stress, burnout, and relationship turmoil.

By strengthening social fitness, attorneys can improve heart and brain health, reduce the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, boost their immune systems, and lower the risk of depression. This session will provide information on:

  • Identifying and detecting the sources of social disconnection among attorneys;
  • Understanding the negative impacts of loneliness and positive effects of social connection on mental and physical health;
  • Why the U.S. Surgeon General believes we have an obligation to prioritize investments in promoting social connection, similar to how we have invested in addressing tobacco use, obesity, and the addiction crisis;
  • How to reframe networking, collaboration, and business development as social fitness;
  • Designing a self-care plan, supportive care skillset, and people-centered lifestyle.

About one-in-two adults in America report experiencing loneliness. By taking small daily steps to strengthen our social ties and building skills for supportive care and connection, lawyers can temper the hazards of loneliness, leading to trusting client and colleague relationships that feel seen, valued, and cared for in the workplace and beyond.

Speaker: Jennifer Forester is a business development coach and LinkedIn trainer. Her path in the legal field spans more than two decades in sales, marketing, and business development roles for media companies and inside law firms. As a coach, she helps lawyers with mindsets, systems, and strategies for business growth. Jen lives in El Dorado Hills with her husband, a family law attorney, and two Boxer dogs. Connect with Jen: