Brook Greenberg – Mental Health, Substance Use and an End to Suffering in Silence (#18)

Suffering in silence by yourself is the worst thing we can all do.  ~ Brook Greenberg

Brook Greenberg (@b_greenberg) is a partner at Fasken where he practices in the area of complex commercial litigation. He is also an adjunct law professor at UBC’s Allard School of Law and an Elected Bencher of the Law Society of British Columbia, where he serves on a number of task forces and committees. 

Brook is passionate about raising awareness of mental health and substance use issues in the legal profession. He also serves as chair of the Law Society’s Mental Health Task Force, leading some concrete changes in this area on behalf of the regulator. 

One of the most important things you’ll take away from this conversation is the need to talk more openly about mental health and substance use so people don’t have to suffer in silence. After hearing Brook talk about the numbers of lawyers experiencing some of these challenges, and the inherent risks in our profession, you’ll understand why it’s important too. 

Even if individual lawyers, firms and regulators make only small changes, it can have a big positive impact. Listening to Brook’s passion and humour makes it easy to accept these challenges and take the first steps to action.

Topics Covered

  1. Stigmatization of mental health and substance use
  2. Mental health and substance use in law schools
  3. Frequency and types of mental health and substance use issues in the legal profession
  4. Comparative reflections on mental health and substance use in among different professions
  5. Mental health, substance use and applications for admission to legal practice
  6. Characteristics among lawyers and law practice that increase risk
  7. Regulator steps to address mental health and substance use issues
  8. Tips for lawyers, firms and regulators to address mental health and substance use issues

Listen to “18 Brook Greenberg – Mental Health, Substance Use and an End to Suffering in Silence” on Spreaker.

The Quiz for this episode is here

Pre-approved by the Law Society of BC for 2.0 hours of CPD credits.

Are you a member of a law society outside BC? Try here.

Show Notes

5:40 How Brook describes his day job

7:00 Brook’s path into law

8:10 What Brook would say in an email back in time to himself on the 1st day of law school

11:30 The Law Students Legal Advice Program

13:40 Clinical programs in law schools

17:50 Stigmatizing language, shame and substance “use” vs “abuse”

19:45 How Brook became interested in mental health and substance use issues

20:45 Students, mental health and Law Society Admission questionnaires 

27:00 Representing students dealing with the fallout of answering mental health & substance abuse issues in the affirmative

32:00 Law students who use various supports prior to law school stopping those supports in an effort to avoid having to deal with the regulator on it

34:00 What Brook would say to a student who is experiencing mental health or substance use issues in law school 

38:20 Suffering in silence

39:20 The Enemy of the Good (PDF) by Brook Greenberg

39:55 Statistics on lawyers experiencing mental health and substance use issues

43:00 Comparing mental health and substance use issues between law & other professions

46:30 Reasons why the experience for lawyers might be different 

55:20 Imposter syndrome, self-doubt and pessimistic perfectionists

1:04:22 Big Law Killed My Husband 

1:07:25 Lawyers with the traditional markers of success are at higher risk of mental health and substance use issues

1:13:15 Reward structures for lawyers

1:14:30 Compensation as a central aspect of rewards and recognition

1:16:15 Blue Sky changes Brook would consider for the legal profession 

1:19:00 A coaching approach for lawyers 

1:21:25 Brook’s work as a Law Society of BC Bencher

1:21:49 Second Interim Report of the Mental Health Task Force (PDF) First report here

1:23:00 Evidence-based approaches to the problem

1:25:00 Recommendations in the Mental Health Task Force Reports

1:27:00 The lack of effectiveness of “mental fitness” questions

1:29:20 Lawyers Assistance Program (BC) and Lifeworks 

1:31:00 Mandatory reporting under the Code of Conduct 

1:36:00 Evidence-based policy reform

1:40:45 Thoughts on the frame of “work-life balance”

1:46:48 How Brook defines success for himself 

1:50:25 A tough choice or sacrifice required to get where he is today

1:51:30 How Brook would do a week’s worth of work in 3 hours

1:52:30 Special things Brook does to look after himself

1:54:10 Where to go if you’re too busy to spend time learning about these issues – BC Law Society Mental Health Task Force

1:55:15 Before my work in the law is done, I want to…

1:56:10 Best books Brook read in the last year: From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle; Homes by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah & Winnie Yeung

1:55:20 CBC Radio Canada

1:56:45 Brook’s page on Fasken’s site and the Law Society of BC

1:57:00 Brook on Twitter

1:57:50 Brook’s asks or calls to action

Comments are closed.

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑