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ABA releases comprehensive survey report revealing key drivers of judicial stress

CHICAGO, Dec. 23, 2020 — “A comprehensive report released today in the 2020 Journal of The Professional Lawyer surveying more than 1,000 judges across the United States suggests job stress has become a serious health concern in the state judicial ranks, with about one-third or more reporting fatigue and low energy, sleep disturbance or disturbed attention and concentration. In addition to identifying sources of stress, the report also devotes a section to strategies for judges to promote self-care and enhance resiliency and makes recommendations to ease the road to better well-being. The National Judicial Stress and Resiliency Survey, designed by the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP), asked judges to rate their sources of stress, effects of stress, stress management and resiliency, and alcohol use under such categories as workload, safety and security, interpersonal stress, trauma exposure, staffing issues, ethical concerns and court procedures.

A total of 1,034 of the nation’s 18,000 judges participated in the survey, with about eight of 10 on state courts, with others mostly on the local or state administrative levels. The survey was conducted prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the study notes that judges and the judicial system have “been subjected to stress and tests of their resiliency like never before.” The report, Stress and Resiliency in the U.S. Judiciary, is considered the most comprehensive review of well-being of its kind for the judicial ranks and builds on an ABA 2016 study of lawyer well-being and a separate law student well-being study that same year….”

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