By Ashley Petersen
When Elizabeth Blair and I brainstormed an event primarily focused on wellness, we wanted to try something new. Rather than having attendees sit in a room all day without much opportunity to network or get up and move, we wanted to appeal to a broader, younger audience. Our goal was to shift the dynamic of what a legal conference could be.
We are excited to share that CLA’s Real Property Law Section will host its first-ever health and wellness retreat at the fabulous Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe, on April 22-24.
A retreat focusing on health and wellness has been a personal goal since I became very ill in December 2019 and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Receiving the news that I had a serious lifelong illness was devastating, and I was forced to stop all legal work for months to focus on healing since stress, among other things, was a major trigger of the illness. The doctors immediately put me on medication, but I knew I needed to make permanent lifestyle changes if I wanted to provide the optimum healing conditions for my body.
I turned to yoga, meditation, and walking, read every book on healing Crohn’s, listened to every podcast on natural healing strategies, and completely cleaned up my diet. I successfully got into a state of remission, symptom-free, within six months of diagnosis. Over two years later, I’m happy to report I’m still in remission. I’ve also taken steps to limit the amount of work I take on in my practice (which is hard to do as a solo attorney) and prioritize time for self-care and stress management (something we busy lawyers aren’t very good at).
We lawyers push ourselves to the limit and endure stress every day, thinking that we are immune to the adverse effects of stress and burnout, but we aren’t. Too often, we forget to focus on our health and well-being, which somehow gets brushed aside with our busy schedules. Our career doesn’t promote a healthy work-life balance, so we wanted to create this wellness retreat to be a fun and intimate get-away for attendees with a focus on health and stress reduction.
Attendees of the retreat will be able to partake in complimentary yoga, a “core” workout class, meditation sessions, guided hikes, happy hours, s’mores by the campfire, beer and wine tastings, and dinner on the Lake Tahoe ferry.
We are excited to have keynote speaker Michelle Galloway, an attorney presenting “Practice Competently: Calm Your Brain and Body, Regain Your Focus and Well-Being.” Her breakfast seminar will focus on managing stress-triggers in the modern world. We also welcome esteemed speaker Greg Dorst with the Other Bar, who will address substance abuse in the legal profession, and Megan Moore, attorney and professional coach, who will speak on time management skills for attorneys.
Our lunch keynote speaker is fitness professional Angel Chelik, who will speak about creating and leveraging healthy habits in life. In addition, we will have two substantive real property law topics presented by speakers Anna Liu and Jeremy Olsan.
We believe we can truly make positive change happen in our own lives and our legal profession through a bigger focus on health and wellness, and this Real Property Health & Wellness Retreat. We hope to see you there!
Ashley Peterson is a solo practitioner in San Diego and an advisor to CLA’s Real Property Law Section.