Global law firm Reed Smith LLP continues its firmwide Wellness Works initiative this year, marking February as “Arts for Wellness” month. Throughout the month, the firm’s U.S. offices will offer a wide range of programming to firm employees in an effort to promote the mental, emotional and physical benefits of art.

Related Professionals: Casey Ryan Aleksandra (Sasha) Phillips

Paint brushes in a can

“There is a significant and growing body of evidence that supports the benefits of art and creative outlets to overall mental and physical well-being,” said Casey Ryan, Reed Smith’s Global Head of Legal Personnel and a member of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession. “A number of the firm’s professional staff and attorneys have artistic abilities and experience the benefits of artistic expression through these endeavors. Our hope is that we can spread that experience across the firm so that all of our employees can enjoy those benefits.”

Reed Smith is among the inaugural group of 13 law firms in the nation to sign and commit support for the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Well-Being Pledge, a seven-point framework to reduce substance use disorders and mental health distress in the legal profession. The ABA Campaign identifies seven core areas on which the signatories have agreed to focus. It also details concrete activities that law firms can take to achieve the Campaign’s goals.

Prior to that, Reed Smith launched its Wellness Works initiative in January 2018. The firmwide program comprises stress management, work-life balance, healthy habits, health mindfulness and substance use awareness. In addition to promoting wellness, the program addresses mental health and substance abuse issues by providing training and information on these topics and helping the firm develop and maintain a supportive culture focused on these and other challenges its global employees encounter.

“Arts for Wellness” month is the brain-child of Pittsburgh-based Reed Smith Associate Sasha Phillips, who was a professional artist before her legal career. Phillips proposed the wellness theme to firm leadership based on her own experiences with the benefits of art in relieving and reducing stress. Phillips turned to drawing as a means to deal with her own personal stress and sadness following the tragic mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue last October.

A highlight of “Arts for Wellness” events includes a presentation by Dr. Donna Betts, associate professor and research director in the graduate Art Therapy Program at George Washington University and president of the Board of the American Art Therapy Association. Betts will discuss the mental and physical health benefits of art in the firm’s Washington, DC, office. The program will be broadcast live to all Reed Smith U.S. offices.