[Podcast] RL 81: Megan Zavieh— Mental Health: Investing Time Today to Avoid Malpractice Tomorrow

 

 

 

In this episode, I am excited to have Megan Zavieh on to talk about mental health and well-being, and how to pick up on symptoms and handle yourself appropriately.

Megan Zavieh is a lawyer for lawyers, saving careers through attorney discipline defense. She also advises bar applicants on moral character issues and takes moral character appeals to trial. Megan is the creator of The Playbook: The California Bar Discipline System Practice Guide, the only practice guide for defending discipline cases in California. The Playbook is an innovative online platform through which self-represented state bar respondents can meet each other, obtain sample court filings, and access the practice guide.

In addition to defending lawyers, Megan also advises them when they want to expand their practices in new business models or through new methods of delivering legal services. She is also a speaker on legal ethics and a prolific writer. Her work can be found on Lawyerist, Attorney at Work, and her own blog CaliforniaStateBarDefense.com.

 

Topics Covered

  • The spectrum of mental health issues that plague lawyers, from addiction to depression and more. She also delves into the emotional trauma and baggage that comes with being an effective lawyer.
  • Telltale signs of mental health issues and how mental health issues are sometimes handled within the attorney discipline system (sometimes “help” is worse than not seeking it).
  • How mental health symptoms begin to show at work and how you can stop the spread of problems before it gets too bad for you and your clients. She also talks on thinking about treating time for mental wellness as an investment: a poor mental state can lead to a higher risk of losing clients or malpractice which can have detrimental effects on your career.
  • Do’s and Don’ts when facing disciplinary action, and resources for attorneys facing a mental health crisis.

For more information on Megan, find her at the following links:

Twitter
Blog
Podcast

 

 

Questions? Comments? Email Jeena! hello@jeenacho.com. You can also connect with Jeena on Twitter: @Jeena_Cho

For more information, visit: jeenacho.com

Order The Anxious Lawyer book — Available in hardcover, Kindle and Audible

Find Your Ease: Retreat for Lawyers

I’m creating a retreat that will provide a perfect gift of relaxation and rejuvenation with an intimate group of lawyers. Interested? Please complete this form: https://jeena3.typeform.com/to/VXfIXq

MINDFUL PAUSE: Bite-Sized Practices for Cultivating More Joy and Focus

31-day program. Spend just 6 minutes every day to practice mindfulness and meditation. Decrease stress/anxiety, increase focus and concentration. Interested? https://jeenacho.com/mindful-pause/

Check out this episode!

Transcript

Jeena Cho: [00:00:02] Hello my friends, welcome to another episode of The Resilient Lawyer Podcast. In this episode, I’m so happy to have Megan Zavieh, who is a lawyer for lawyers. She is saving careers through attorney discipline defense. She also advises bar applicants on moral character issues and takes moral character appeals to trial. Megan is a creator of The Playbook: The California Bar Discipline System Practice Guide, the only practice guide for defending discipline cases in California. She is a speaker on legal ethics and a prolific writer.

[00:00:39] Before we get into the interview, in case you haven’t heard by now, the Mindful Pause program is up and running and going out into the universe. It’s a 31-day program to help you develop and cultivate a mindfulness practice. Every module is just six minutes long for the very busy lawyers out there, and I’m sure Megan and I will chat about the importance of maintaining our mental well-being. Mindful Pause is designed for lawyers like you, to fit into your very hectic schedule. Think of it like taking your daily vitamins to boost your well-being. Head on over to JeenaCho.com to learn more, or check it out in the show notes. And with that, here’s Megan. Megan, welcome to The Resilient Lawyer podcast.

Megan Zavieh: [00:01:25] Hi Jeena, thank you for having me.

Jeena Cho: [00:01:27] So let’s start by having you give us a 30-second introduction to who you are and what you do.

Megan Zavieh: [00:01:34] Well what I do is I help lawyers who are facing bar discipline, that’s the biggest part of what I do. I also deal with the fallout of personal crises of lawyers through, whether it’s a moral character issue, when a lawyer tries to move into another state, or simply a discipline problem or trying to get reinstated after a discipline problem that led to disbarment. But basically all of my work is about saving lawyer’s careers, and so whatever facet of the discipline system or regulatory system they end up falling into, I try and help my colleagues come back from things that have plagued them.

Jeena Cho: [00:02:16] And what are some of the common issues that you see that plague lawyers?

Megan Zavieh: [00:02:22] Well one of the biggest ones is depression. And that’s one that we do not talk about enough, if you ask me. A lot of our fellow lawyers suffer from it. It’s also not always necessarily clinical depression, but burnout. I tend to put them in one category, but they’re not synonymous. But the overwork and the lack of taking care of themselves, which leads to lawyers being overburdened. There’s also a huge financial component to that. Lawyers who have struggled to maintain their practices profitably end up sort of in a downward spiral. And that’s a very common thing in my cases, where lawyers were financially struggling so they took work they really shouldn’t have. Maybe they couldn’t handle the work for whatever reason, but the finances are why they took it. Then they fall off their duties, not being able to fulfill what they need to do for their clients, which leads to depression and other psychological problems. Which leads them to fall even further behind on their clients, ultimately leading to discipline.

Jeena Cho: [00:03:30] So how does that cycle typically begin? I don’t know if you’re sort of involved with the lawyers early enough to be able to say, but is it that they feel overworked and then that leads to depression, or is it that they’re already suffering from depression, therefore they can’t handle their caseload?

Megan Zavieh: [00:03:49] I think a lot of us, its depression caused by the profession. So some certainly come into the profession already struggling, you know particularly military veterans who are suffering from PTSD who then get into law, which is incredibly stressful. And the two don’t mix well. But I think an awful lot, they begin with profession-related problems. So for example, if you practice in a particularly emotional and stressful area, the substance of the work can be the source of the original problems. Family law certainly comes to mind in that respect. If you are daily dealing with child custody issues, perhaps child abuse issues, some really deep emotional problems that your clients are suffering from, it’s hard not to internalize that. Being a good lawyer requires us to internalize it to a certain degree. And so a lot of times I see lawyers who were in that kind of practice area, who started suffering from depression definitely derived from the work. Others, it’s the work load. You know, we kill ourselves for our clients sometimes. The number of hours we’ll take on, the number of cases we’ll take on, the fear of not having another case come so you take one more, even though you really don’t have the capacity for one more.

[00:05:21] So the profession, not so much substance-wise but procedure-wise, dumps onto lawyers too much sometimes, more than we can handle and that can trigger the breakdowns, the burnout, and you know ultimately the depression.

Jeena Cho: [00:05:37] I think it’s so interesting the way that lawyers are trained and taught that despite whatever your clients may be going through, a child custody issues or some horrific injury if you’re a personal injury lawyer, that we’re supposed to be robots. That if we allow the clients to impact us in any way, like I meet with a client, the client tells me this horrendous story and now I can’t stop thinking about the kid that my client lost or whatever it may be, that somehow we’re like bad lawyers. Thoughts about healthy ways of coping with all the emotional trauma that comes with the territory of being a lawyer and practicing?

Megan Zavieh: [00:06:24] Well, I think that we do have to empathize and relate to our clients on an emotional level. If we don’t, for one thing we are not as effective as lawyers, but we turn ourselves off emotionally when we’re too robotic. When you’re dealing with something that taps into your human side, that really gets under your skin emotionally, but you insist it won’t and you’re actually battling your natural inclination, I think you’re doing more harm than good. You actually end up in an emotional state where you don’t feel anymore. And when you don’t feel, that leads to depression. I mean right there, if you talk to someone who’s seriously depressed, they will frequently say things like, “I don’t feel anything, and I don’t feel pleasure. And now I don’t even feel pain anymore.”

Well I think that as lawyers, if we tell ourselves we’re not supposed to feel, that we’re not supposed to feel compassion or emotion relating to our client’s underlying issues, then we’re just setting ourselves up to become like that; to become robots who don’t feel. And that seeps into your personal life, you know your spouse isn’t going to be very happy with you if you can’t feel anymore. It just spirals, you know a downward spiral in so many ways. So I think that the first step really has to be acknowledging that it’s okay and even beneficial to feel when it comes to your clients. Let yourself take on some of their emotional burden.

Megan Zavieh: [00:07:54] I still relate back to this article, and I think I mention it probably more frequently than Sam Glover ever intended for anyone to.  But Sam wrote a piece on Lawyerist years ago that had to do with why lawyers are not overpaid. And the thrust of the article was that we take on our client’s problems; we take them on as our own, we lose sleep at night, and we now are more effective as council, we help them by them not having to worry as much because someone else is taking it on. And I love that idea, but it has to also be done in a healthy way. You have to have some emotional boundaries for yourself, and that’s a healthy practice. So admit that you need to take on some of their burden. Admit that it’s okay to have those emotions when it comes to your client, but then you need to set some boundaries. If you find yourself obsessing as if it really were your life, you’ve probably gone too far. So you need healthy outlets and I think we need people to talk to about this. So that would be my second thing, is finding the boundary. And the third thing, finding an outlet.

Jeena Cho: [00:09:04] When you say setting boundaries, what does setting healthy boundaries actually look like on a day-to-day basis? What does the actual practice of setting boundaries look like?

Megan Zavieh: [00:09:18] Well I think a lot of it comes down to being very mindful and present. And so I think a huge boundary that we have to establish is when we are at work and when we are not. And you’ll hear me say in other contexts that the line between work and home is incredibly blended now. My work travels with me; you will find me sitting at the gym while my kids work out on my computer or on the phone for work. So there’s not a physical barrier anymore, it’s not that kind of a boundary. But there has to be an emotional one. You’ve got to find a way where you say to yourself, “Right now I’m not at work. And so this particular client’s problem that I have been ruminating on all day, that I have been working on, that I have been feeling this compassion for the client and really working hard to solve this problem for them, I can’t think about it right now.” And to me the way that you do that isn’t a negative view of, I’m not going to focus on that. It’s a matter of being present and saying, I am going to focus on where I am now; I’m cooking dinner with my family, I’m eating dinner with my family, I’m putting my children to bed. I’m at the gym and I’m focusing on my dead lifts, whatever it is. Finding a way to be present, and I think that’s a lot of the stuff that you talk about with mindfulness. Finding a way to be present by itself creates that emotional boundary, so that you’re not allowing the stress of work to constantly nag at you.

Jeena Cho: [00:11:00] And also, I think it’s important to just say that it’s not an easy thing to do, you’re making dinner for your family and your brain is thinking about your client John and all the stuff that he went through, and you may feel sadness or whatever, the whole range of emotions. It’s kind of hard to be like, okay brain we’re cooking, so let’s focus on the cooking.

Megan Zavieh: [00:11:25] That’s true. It’s not easy, but if you never even think about it, if you never say to yourself, I want to try and be more present, I want to try and establish a boundary in my head and my heart for when I’m at work and when I’m not, then it’ll just seep in all the time. And you’ll be cooking and you’ll be thinking about clients, and you’ll somehow probably think its good, that you’re a good lawyer because you’re so devoted, and you don’t even realize that what you’re doing is harmful to you. That you’ve crossed that line from how effective advocate because you care into lawyer setting themselves up for burnout because they never step away.

Jeena Cho: [00:12:07] Yeah. What are some telltale signs of mental health issues that someone may be struggling with?

Megan Zavieh: [00:12:15] Well judging from the discipline cases that I see, which are usually things that have festered long enough that someone’s been either really harmed or at least very angered to reach the point of a discipline case. If we go back in those cases and trace the relationship between the attorney and the client and see where it started to break down, some of the biggest warning signs are when client communication falls off. And I’ll see it repeatedly, where the lawyer maybe hasn’t even made a substantive mistake yet, but they stop returning phone calls, they stop communicating with the client. I think that tends to happen before the real misconduct happens. So for example, I’ll have a client who agreed to represent one of their clients and they’re hired, they start to do the work. The deadline is still three weeks out, whatever the first project is they haven’t missed a deadline yet, they haven’t screwed it up. But the client calls and the lawyer says, “I just don’t want to talk to this person.” And maybe they don’t even really know why, but probably the reason why is that something’s going on with them where they’re starting to burnout, or they’re starting to suffer from early symptoms of depression. And they don’t return the calls.

[00:13:42] And then eventually because they haven’t returned the calls, it’s gotten to be too long and now if I call them back, they’re going to be so angry. I really don’t want to hear it, so I’m still not going to call them back. Then the deadline comes closer, and as the deadline comes closer they go, I really need to talk to the client to do the work, to meet the deadline but I don’t want to talk to the client because now they’ve been calling me for two weeks and I haven’t called them back. And so then it just keeps going.

[00:14:07] So I would say that initial failure to communicate or unwillingness to communicate is a really big early warning sign, that some lawyers maybe can be aware of on their own, or if you have people in your office who work with you or even an answering service that maybe you let keep tabs on your phone logs, that you actually returned calls or not. Those are warning signs that someone, an outside person might notice. Another warning sign would be financial warning signs. If you start to see the firm finances are falling off and you’re not making payroll or you’re not making rent, and this unfortunately is very common in small solo practices that literally go month of invoices to month of invoices; because you’re not paycheck to paycheck, because we don’t have them. That’s a really big warning sign as far as mental health goes, even though they might seem not directly related, when the financial pressures get to be too great, lawyers start to fall into depression.

Jeena Cho: [00:15:21] So if you’re an outsider and let’s say this is a colleague of yours that’s starting to miss deadlines. Maybe you referred a case to this attorney and now the client calls back and says, “You know she’s not really doing what she should.” What can you do as an outsider to try to help this attorney, or is that even really possible?

Megan Zavieh: [00:15:45] Is it really difficult. I would say it’s not impossible, but it’s extremely difficult. Oftentimes the lawyers who are suffering are not willing to admit it. If finances are a part of it, they are not willing to give up any work that they have because they’re afraid of having to refund money or give money to a new lawyer to take over a case. So they will deny that there’s a problem. It’s really difficult. I would say that the ones who I’ve seen be effective in approaching someone have been very close friends who have approached with a tremendous amount of love and patience and have often also approached with financial solutions. I’ve seen it where a lawyer was suffering from severe mental illness and their bar license was on the chopping block, they were going to be done. And friends approached with a tremendous amount of care and a financial solution to obtain help for the depressed lawyer.

Jeena Cho: [00:16:59] Yeah. I can imagine that can feel very threatening, for someone to come to you and be like, you’re not..yeah. I remember I worked at a firm where we all knew that one of the attorneys had a serious drinking problem, like if you wanted this attorney to do anything you knew you had to get him at like 8:00 or 9:00 AM because by after lunch he was going to be, not drunk but definitely intoxicated. And no one really did anything and it was just shocking to me. And of course as a baby lawyer, I didn’t dare I say anything. But what do you do in those kinds of situations, where there’s some sort of substance abuse?

Megan Zavieh: [00:17:45] It’s so hard to help someone if they’re not looking for you to help them. And you know, you think about especially substance abuse in families, where families have interventions to try and help someone. There are things you can do like that in a professional context, if you’re close enough. If you’re financially beholden to someone, such as a law firm partner and the other partner is putting you at risk; not only your income if they’re falling off the job, but if they’re putting you at risk. Such as the alcoholic lawyer right, they’re putting the whole firm at risk because they are likely to commit malpractice. So in that situation, you sort of have the leverage to approach the person in I guess the intervention sort of sense and say, “We don’t want to be your partner anymore if this is going to continue.” So if there’s a financial incentive I can see it being more effective. In just the, ‘I’m really concerned about my friend, the lawyer,’ it’s tough. It’s really tough to get someone to listen.

Jeena Cho: [00:18:52] You know, it always seems like there’s this weird tension that happens in our profession where of course we should, and I even hesitate to say put our clients first, because it always seems like it’s a choice between putting myself and my family first or putting my client first; as though somehow those two things are not intimately intertwined and interdependent. When I feel at my best physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, I’m actually able to be my best lawyer self. That there is no inherent conflict between the two, but it often feels like there is in the minds of so many lawyers. And I think part of that is because we bill by six minute increments, so there’s this constant drive to bill more. So if I take an hour to go do my yoga class or go for a walk, then I’m somehow taking an hour away from my clients. Do you run into that mentality, and if you do how do you address it?

Megan Zavieh: [00:19:54] I definitely do run into that mentality. A lot of my clients bill by the hour, and so they’ll have that same idea, “I had to take on this one more client, or I couldn’t stop to do this healthy thing for myself because I had to get this done and earn that money.” And this fee, and they equate like you said, taking an hour for a yoga class as well, that’s $400 dollars an hour as my billing rate, so that’s a $400 yoga class. And it’s really not. I’ve tried a few different approaches to reach people, because with what I do I see the underbelly of the profession, right? One of my colleagues says that we’re the trash collectors of the profession, because we’re taking out all the bad stuff that happens to lawyers and we see all the worst sides of it. But I do sometimes try and get across to people that if you don’t take that time, if you don’t take care of yourself or find a way to separate work from home at times, to be present, to do all of these healthy things for your own sanity, then it’s no longer going to be a $400 yoga class that you’re going to be thinking about. You’re going to be facing severe sanctions; you’re going to be facing time away from work measured in months, not in one hour increments. A pretty small sanction from the State Bar Court would be a 30-day suspension, that’s really on the low end of things. Think about what you earn in a month, stop thinking about what you earn in an hour and say, “Do I have the time to invest to keep myself healthy so I don’t lose a month?”

[00:21:39] If you put it that way and you think about, that’s not the one hour yoga class, it’s a one month bit of work that you’re going to miss if you’re not healthy, I think the financial angle starts to change in the analysis.

Jeena Cho: [00:21:57] For the lawyers out there that maybe haven’t committed some sort of malpractice but they can kind of sense they’re on this trajectory, like maybe they just don’t feel as enthusiastic about their life, maybe they just feel tired all the time and they just feel disengaged, or they don’t feel that sense of aliveness, what are some things that they should consider doing in order to get help?

Megan Zavieh: [00:22:27] I definitely think taking stock of what they do in the course of a week for themselves is a very important question. I recently met with someone who is advising lawyers. She’s a lawyer but not practicing, what she does is engage with other lawyers to consult and help them grow their business. We met for coffee and we had this great conversation about podcasting and about article writing and growing business. And at the end, it was the most amazing thing to me because no one’s ever said this to me, she goes, “And after all that, what are you doing for you?” It was kind of out of the blue because I wasn’t expecting it, it wasn’t part of the conversation’s thrust. And when she said it I go, “Oh okay..” and I did have an answer, and I was happy I had an answer, and she was surprised that I had an answer. But I thought yeah, that’s something that lawyers need to be doing. They need to look at their week and say, is there any point during that week that I do something that’s just for me? Not for my kids, it’s not for my clients; it’s not for my law partner. Something that is really just for them.

[00:23:39] And so if they’re starting to feel that sense of burnout, the lack of caring, starting to just not love what they’re doing anymore. I think the very first step is look at what you’re doing for yourself, and if there’s nothing or there’s not enough, pick something and try it. Find an hour of every week where you’re going to do something just for you. And start to invest in yourself, start to detach and find something that’s just entirely pleasurable, maybe has no benefit to anyone else. You know you really have to take it that far. Just something that is going to start to spark that sense of well-being again.

Jeena Cho: [00:24:21] Yeah, that self-care is so important. And sadly in our profession we tend to really frown upon it. Like no one in your work is ever going to come to you and say, “You know Megan, you worked really, really hard last month. You had that trial and all these things, take a day off.” It just seems like we really have to be very diligent about caring for our well-being and being like, no sorry. I am leaving at 5:00 to go to my yoga class, or whatever it is that you do and not feel lessened. It’s almost like shame you know, to say I need to go for a run or whatever it is, I need to do for my own.. or even just to say, I need an hour to go and see a therapist. There’s so much stigma around just seeing a therapist, whose job is to help you maintain your mental and psychological well-being. It’s very strange.

Megan Zavieh: [00:25:21] I totally agree with you. In fact I have a good story that that plays into that. When I was an associate in New York, I was taking the MCAT to go to medical school. I didn’t end up going, but I was studying for it. And it was coming up, I think I had something like six weeks until the exam and I realized that I needed some quiet time for myself, to get myself in a better frame of mind. Because this was really difficult for me, I’m not science-minded and I spent all day doing law. You know all day and all night oftentimes. So our office was literally directly across the street from the Y and they had yoga classes in lunchtime or thereabouts, maybe between 11 and 1. And so I made a promise to myself that for that period of time, I was going to spend every lunch hour over at a yoga class. And our version of lunch hour was five associates go downstairs, grab food, go back to their desks, continue working, there was no lunch hour. So I’m not even sure where I got the idea I had a lunch hour.

[00:26:29] But I would sneak out every day, and I had a gym bag and I ran to the elevator, press the button feverishly. When I came back, I would like dart around the corner and throw my bag under the desk and hope no one noticed. But that was the mentality, here I was actually trying to do something good for myself, but I knew it was not going to be accepted. And that was probably the best law firm I ever worked at, and so if anywhere was going to accept it it would have been there. And I’m quite certain that it would not have been well-received. And I think that’s terrible, that that’s what our profession has come to.

Jeena Cho: [00:27:09] Yeah, yeah. And I think shifting that workplace culture is really worth thinking about, and probably a discussion for another time. You know, one of the things that I often get asked about from law students who don’t feel like they need to go get help. Maybe they’re two factors you know whatever it is but there is this fear that if I go get help that I have to disclose it on you know the moral character fitness for the bar. And they’re just terrified about the fact that they’re not going to be admitted to the bar, so they don’t get help. So thoughts on that.

Megan Zavieh: [00:27:55] You know, whether the state bar is going to ask about it or not is sort of a different issue. I don’t think that they should, it doesn’t mean that they won’t. We’ve got 50 states and everyone wrestles with that question, so I can’t say that they won’t ask. What I would say though is that I would far rather fill out a moral character application where I had to say I’ve been treated for depression, then to fill out a moral character application which says I was accused of academic dishonesty when I didn’t finish my work. And I panicked on an exam and I looked at the next person’s paper. Depression and mental health issues, they all lead eventually to some form of misconduct. You are so likely to fall down in a more dramatic fashion because you failed to get help then whatever consequence there will be of having gotten it.

Jeena Cho: [00:28:53] Yeah, yeah I totally agree with you. And I think it’s also very problematic the way the question is often phrased on the bar application. Also, who gets to decide if you’re mentally fit to be a lawyer of not?  A bunch of lawyers sitting around a room to me, are not qualified to make that determination. That’s another completely bizarro area of our profession that I haven’t quite figured out, but yeah. Great advice.

Megan Zavieh: [00:29:23] I think it’s strange enough that a committee of lawyers gets to decide if we are morally fit, they should not be sitting around deciding if we are mentally fit.

Jeena Cho: [00:29:34] Right, at least have a therapist in the room. Like ok, how do you know if the treatment was sufficient to get over depression or whatever it is? It’s very strange. Any last thoughts or parting advice to lawyers about, if they’re facing a disciplinary action what are some definite do’s and what are some definite don’ts? Or anything else you’d like to share before we wrap things up.

Megan Zavieh: [00:30:04] Well that’s a perfectly fair question. I think I’ll answer that in two parts. One is sort of last advice to people is, keep in mind that being well and being mentally healthy and emotionally healthy is a long game. It’s kind of like going to the gym to get physically fit. You don’t go in one day and come out of your workout going, Hey I just lost all the weight I needed to lose, I look fantastic. It’s a long-game. You got to keep going, and you see the benefits later. The same with being mentally well in terms of being a lawyer. You don’t necessarily realize the benefits right away, and maybe you never will quite see them but you won’t necessarily recognize them. Because what’s happening is you’re avoiding a problem in the future. Just like staying physically fit, you might never realize that you escaped three heart attacks because you were physically fit, right. You don’t get a notice going, if you hadn’t been going to the gym for the past few years, today was going to be your day. You were going to have a heart attack today. You don’t see it.

Megan Zavieh: [00:31:10] Well same with being fit mentally in the profession. You don’t necessarily realize that because you’re being physically or mentally healthy, you end up avoiding future problems with your clients; bar complaints, disciplinary matters, malpractice claims. So it’s a long game, and it’s one that you might not see tangible benefits to as you go through. But guaranteed if you don’t take care of yourself, you’re going to end up seeing the opposite. Just like if you gain all the weight and never go to the gym, you’re probably going to have a heart attack someday. If you don’t take care of yourself in the profession, you are probably going to end up facing a bar complaint, or a malpractice action. So don’t think you’ve got to have some immediate benefit to it to invest in yourself. And then the other part of your question, as far as if you do end up finding yourself the subject of a bar complaint. And I’ll confine my answer to one that stems in part from you having mental health or burnout issues; I’d say you need to get help from someone who’s experienced in those issues, and in discipline in your state. Because a lot of lawyers go into the discipline system self-represented. And if you look at any of my materials out there, you’ll see I don’t always think that’s a bad idea. I think a lot of lawyers are capable of handling their own defense. I do not think lawyers who are suffering from depression and burnout and mental health issues that lead to bar complaints are capable of handling their own discipline defense.

[00:32:45] The fact that these issues are there make it so that you really need help. And within the bar there are resources, there’s lawyers assistance programs throughout the country. But those don’t necessarily make for the first place you want to turn if you’ve already gotten a bar complaint. And so I would say for anyone who needs some representation after a bar complaint stemming from mental health issues, needs to go find someone experienced in this area.

Jeena Cho: [00:33:20] Megan before I ask you my last question, for folks that want to learn more about your work what are the best places for them to do that?

Megan Zavieh: [00:33:30] Well you can find me on Twitter at @ZaviehLaw and I’m always on there and commenting on these sorts of things. I blog at CaliforniaStateBarDefense.com, and I now podcast on a show called Lawyers Gone Ethical, where we talk about a lot of ethics issues.

Jeena Cho: [00:33:47] Wonderful, thank you so much. And my final question to you is, the name of this podcast is called The Resilient Lawyer. What does it mean to be a resilient lawyer to you?

Megan Zavieh: [00:33:59] Well that’s a really good question, I like that. To me, being resilient as a lawyer and in the context that we’re talking about today is that you can bounce back from having fallen off the wagon and gotten yourself in a place where you’re not mentally and emotionally healthy. If you’re overcome with client burdens and you’re feeling the stress of the profession and you’re feeling really burned out, you can come back from that by simply focusing your attention on wellness and turning around the focus in your practice so that you being healthy and competent becomes a priority. And I have seen it happen with clients and with colleagues who have really fallen down in the dumps and struggle as lawyers, coming back and being some of the most successful ones. And that’s because of their focus.

Jeena Cho: [00:34:51] I love that. Megan, thank you so much for your time and for sharing your knowledge and wisdom.

Megan Zavieh: [00:34:58] Thank you for having me Jeena.

Closing:  Thanks for joining us on The Resilient Lawyer podcast. If you’ve enjoyed the show, please tell a friend. It’s really the best way to grow the show. To leave us a review on iTunes, search for The Resilient Lawyer and give us your honest feedback. It goes a long way to help with our visibility when you do that so we really appreciate it. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you next week.