A recent article in The New York Times highlighted how work-related stress can cause physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomach aches, physical exhaustion and fatigue, as well as difficulty sleeping, depression and anxiety. Lawyers are particularly vulnerable to this type of stress, according to Amanda Koplin, Martin M. Shenkman and Karen M. Davila in their article “Addressing Lawyer Mental Health Issues in Your Practice,” p. 27. They note that the highly technical issues lawyers deal with, along with the need to meet strict deadlines and the risk of personal liability, all contribute to mental health issues. Their article goes on to list symptoms to look out for and ways for lawyers to get help.
Although their article focuses on lawyers, we know that those in other wealth-related professions, like fiduciaries, also face stressful situations on a daily basis. The articles in our Fiduciary Professions Committee Report help illustrate why. The cases described in “Fiduciary Law Trends,” p. 43, by Michael Sneeringer and Michael M. Rubenstein show how fiduciaries can end up in court, facing personal liability for their decisions. They must also make difficult decisions when it comes to environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing. In “Taking the Next Step With ESG Investing in Trusts,” p. 50, Gerard F. Joyce and Bryan D. Kirk advise trustees on adopting an ESG strategy while complying with the prudent investor rule. And in “Considering Quiet Trusts in the Larger Picture of Family Governance,” p. 36, by David A. Diamond, we learn the complexities involved in deciding to use a quiet trust (that is, trusts that permit keeping the existence of the trust or information about the trust from the beneficiaries) and whether there are better alternatives.
As for me, playing a game of “Wordle” or “Spelling Bee” while I have my morning coffee provides a calming start to my day.