Oklahoma Bar Journal

From the Executive Director | New Year, Good Intentions

By Janet Johnson

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The beginning of a new year is a natural time for reflection and goal setting. For lawyers, it offers a unique opportunity to approach our practice with renewed purpose and positive intentions. As legal professionals embark on a fresh chapter, setting good intentions can pave the way for a more fulfilling and successful year in this demanding profession.

Cultivating a mindset of empathy and understanding is a powerful intention for any lawyer. In a profession often characterized by rigorous arguments and intricate legal strategies, it's easy to lose sight of the human element. This new year, legal practitioners can resolve to approach each case with empathy, acknowledging the unique challenges and emotions of their clients. By prioritizing compassion, lawyers not only enhance their client relationships but also add professionalism and civility to the profession.

Another valuable intention for the new year is a commitment to professional growth and learning. The legal landscape is constantly evolving, with new precedents, legislation and technologies shaping the practice of law. Lawyers can set the intention to stay abreast of these changes by engaging in continuing legal education and seeking opportunities for professional development. This could involve attending CLE programs or even presenting a CLE program, getting involved with sections and committees or looking for bar leadership opportunities. A dedication to ongoing learning ensures that lawyers remain at the forefront of the profession and can provide the best possible representation for their clients.

I would be remiss to not stress the importance of work-life balance. Lawyers often face demanding schedules and tight deadlines, leading to burnout and stress. Setting the intention to prioritize well-being and establish a healthy work-life balance is crucial for long-term success. This may involve scheduling regular breaks, taking time for self-care and establishing boundaries to prevent professional obligations from encroaching on personal time. By fostering a balanced lifestyle, lawyers can enhance their overall happiness and effectiveness in their legal practice. If you find yourself needing any assistance in this area, please check out our Lawyers Helping Lawyers Assistance Program.

I will leave you with this: Starting the new year as a lawyer with good intentions involves a conscious effort to infuse one's practice with empathy, a dedication to continuous growth and a focus on work-life balance. By setting these positive intentions, lawyers can create a foundation for a year marked by professional growth, personal well-being and a lasting impact on the lives of their clients. As the legal community embraces the opportunities of a new year, the ripple effects of these good intentions will undoubtedly contribute to a more resilient, compassionate and effective legal profession. Happy New Year!


To contact Executive Director Johnson, email her at janetj@okbar.org.    

Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar JournalOBJ 95 No. 1 (January 2024)

Statements or opinions expressed in the Oklahoma Bar Journal are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Oklahoma Bar Association, its officers, Board of Governors, Board of Editors or staff.