Today we meet Sara Ellis, an attorney from Nashville, TN, who has parlayed her experience as a commercial litigator to a role of serving other lawyers as executive director of the lawyer depression project. To do this work, Sara has supplemented her legal education with a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Tennessee.
Founded in New York, the Lawyers Depression Project is a non-profit providing free and confidential online peer support group for legal professionals. Weekly meetings, group chats, and discussion forums are hosted in support of, and for the benefit of, participating lawyers. Sara’s work focuses on those lawyers in private practice as studies have shown practicing attorneys experience higher usage rates of alcohol and substance abuse as well as anxiety, burnout, and isolation or loneliness in their work.
Let’s explore how and why this work has meaning to Sara. What life events prepared her for serving her colleagues in the profession? Also what impact does she believe positive stimuli have on practicing lawyers in search of an escape? These are the human things that show up in Sara’s work, but we’re happy to follow her lead in today’s conversation.