07 February 2019

Art for law's sake

Reed Smith's firmwide 'arts for wellness' month promotes emotional and physical benefits of art, and part of signing the ABA wellbeing pledge.

Throughout the month, the firm’s US offices are offering a wide range of programming to firm employees in an effort to promote the mental, emotional and physical benefits of art.

Body of evidence

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, says ‘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.’ She explains, ‘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) wellbeing 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.


The ‘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. Ms Phillips proposed the wellness theme to firm leadership based on her own experiences with the benefits of art in relieving and reducing stress. She 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. Each US office will host an art show during the month to display drawings, paintings, craft and handmade projects by the firm’s attorneys and professional staff. In addition, each office also has a designated area for an ARTiZEN Pop-up Art Studio, where various art and craft materials will be available allowing firm employees to take a break during the day to draw, doodle, paint or work on a craft project.