Oklahoma Bar Journal

The Back Page | Let’s Take Care of One Another

By Margaret Travis

Today, I am locked in my house. Again. Due to winter weather. About the time I think spring has arrived, winter sits up and says, “Hold my beer!” and we’re stuck in the house again binge watching Hill Street BluesSeinfeld and Tales of Wells Fargo. It feels like we are getting weather whiplash, and my brain is turning to mush.

Somehow, this year, it seems worse: the pandemic, inflation, weather, war in Ukraine. Lots of stressful things are going on these days. People are struggling. Being a lawyer is stressful: deadlines, statutes of limitations, demanding clients, judges and opposing counsel – the list seems to never end.

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There are a few things you can do to help with this and keep you well.

  • Sleep. It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that my sleep is important. If I don’t get sufficient sleep, I cannot function at my best, and
    I’m no good to anyone.
  • Eat right. This one is a no-brainer for most of us. Eating well-balanced meals that are good for me beats a burger and fries from Braum’s any day.
  • Exercise. If you get out and move a little bit every day, you will feel better.

Often doing something for someone else will improve your own sense of well-being. Handle a divorce for someone who can’t afford an attorney. Work the pro se divorce docket, assisting the court by making sure the litigants have the correct documents. Volunteer at the eviction clinic. There are organizations around the state whose mission is to provide free legal services to the poor, elderly or veterans: Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma Inc., Oklahoma Lawyers for America’s Heroes, Oklahoma Lawyers for Children, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, to name a few, rely upon volunteer attorneys to assist their clientele. Most organizations have simple matters that can be handled by a novice and will provide forms to help you move the process along. They will assign you a case or allow you to work a particular docket for an afternoon if you don’t feel like committing to taking a case.

Something else you can do is show mercy, compassion and forgiveness to those around you. We are all doing the very best we can. Sometimes a deadline gets past us. Discovery doesn’t get docketed. A birthday is forgotten. There is always something. Before you file a motion, place a call, send an email, but reach out. Ask for grace when you need it. Grant grace when you can. None of us live in a vacuum, and we will all need grace at some point.

As we slide on into spring, remember the words of Michael Conrad as Sargent Phil Esterhaus on Hill Street Blues, “Let’s be careful out there.” And I’d add, “Let’s take care of one another.”


Ms. Travis is a staff attorney for Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma Inc. 

Oklahoma Bar Journal – OBJ 93 Vol 4 (April 2022)