President's Message

May 2023

Rhonda Griswold

Hawaii State Bar Association President

Earlier this month, the HSBA Well-Being Committee hosted a variety of Well-Being in Law Week activities, which ranged from mindful meditation to yoga to bench-bar walks to book clubs to a lacrosse clinic! I want to thank Chair Jasmine Wong and her entire committee for their coordination of these events and their dedication to fostering healthy environments where we can de-stress and reconnect with one another. I joined the Honolulu bench-bar walk with Justice Sabrina McKenna and others on Wednesday afternoon and found it to be a welcome and invigorating break from the office. The bench-bar walkers meet every Wednesday at 4:45 pm at the Iolani Palace gate on King Street. I highly recommend that you join them for a good walk and conversation.

But focusing on our well-being cannot be just a once-a-year event. We must take care of ourselves daily. Law is a challenging profession that tests our character, our intellect, our resilience, and our stamina each and every day. Law can strain our relationships and bring out the worst in us (and thankfully also the best in us). A recent survey of the New Jersey Bar Association found that 28% of the state’s lawyers have considered leaving the profession because of stress, burnout, and other mental health issues and 10% had experienced suicidal thoughts. I appreciate that we are not New Jersey and are lucky we live Hawai‘i, but we cannot be complacent about the stresses of our profession. That is why our HSBA Strategic Planning Committee, with input from the Well-Being Committee, will be considering what services and mental health tools the HSBA might be able to provide to its members. If you have any thoughts about the services we could provide, please reach out and let us know.

And thanks to Christine Beck-Millan who took the time to share her well-being tips. Christine practices yoga in the mornings and lifts heavy weights after work. She monitors and regulates her breathing in order to keep her cool and she is one of those organized people who cleans off her desk everyday before she leaves (or at least organizes her paperwork) so that she comes to a clear workspace each day. Great tips, Christine! You get the Starbucks card!!

As for me, I try to exercise every morning, whether it is a run or a boot camp or a yoga-sculpt class. During my runs I let my mind wander and sometimes I am able to solve my own problems as well as those of my clients. That is what works for me, but it is important that you find things that work for you and include them in your daily routine. Let’s take care of ourselves!

Next month is graduation season, so let’s talk about one of my favorite Hawai‘ian traditions – giving lei. Tell us about your favorite lei to either give or receive. Orchid? Pikake? Haku? Cigar? Yarn? Money??? Send your responses below! The winner will receive $10 to use at their favorite lei shop.


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