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Taking Control of Your Well-Being: Mental Health and Wellness for Attorneys

Speaker(s): Angela Han, Brian Cuban, Chelsy A. Castro, Diane M. Costigan, Jacquette M. Timmons, Janine Pollack, Jeena Cho, Julia Mercier, Kara Dodson, Laura Snodgrass, Mark Yacano, Meredith S. Heller, Okeoma Moronu, Ruchika Sikri
Recorded on: Dec. 10, 2020
PLI Program #: 309383

As Director of Learning, Development and Well-Being, Julia is responsible for the design and implementation of Winston University, the firm’s innovative training strategy designed to enhance the technical and professional skills of our attorneys and staff. Julia is focused on ensuring that all attorneys and staff receive world class, tailored training every step of their career. Julia is a former litigator, an executive coach, and a Mental Health First Aid Instructor. Julia is also co-founder of The Space for Good, a nonprofit training and talent development organization providing leading edge training and coaching programs to the nonprofit community.

Ruchika is the Head of Well Being Learning Programs and Strategy at Google. For over 20
years, her daily meditation and yoga practice is grounded in increasing clarity in mind, purity in
heart and sincerity in action. She believes these skills are increasingly needed to uplift humanity,
build genuine connections and increase respect for our planet. Her goal is to bring secular and
science based mindfulness and compassion learning to organizations and communities globally.

Ruchika has successfully architected several well-being and mindfulness programs for over
120,000 employees at Google. She helped establish a self-sustaining culture where tens of
thousands of Googlers regularly practice mindfulness for better well-being, healthier
interpersonal relationships and sustainable high performance. She leads a passionate
community of 350+ employees who volunteer their time to make this reach and impact possible
at Google.

Outside of Google, Ruchika is a board member and advisor to several nonprofits that are
involved in empowering women in shelters, supporting mental health of at-risk students and
providing a safe home to orphaned children around the world. She is a mother to 2 loving kids
and lives with her wonderful husband in Bay Area California

Impact Statement:

As Director of Coaching and Well-Being, Diane supports the firm’s comprehensive talent development and well-being strategies through positive interventions that impact the development, career paths and wellness of attorneys and senior professional staff. She leverages her various coaching certifications, consulting background, and more than 20 years of experience in the legal service industry to help attorneys and staff reach the highest level of performance and engagement, and provide stellar service to our clients.


Diane Costigan serves as Winston & Strawn’s Director of Coaching and Well-Being. As a seasoned executive and health coach, Diane works with all levels of attorneys and senior professional staff to drive performance, career and well-being related goals. Whether designing a coaching intervention at critical career points, such as a lateral integration or role elevation, creating strategies for identified areas for improvement, or simply providing support for a real-time challenge, Diane creates a culture of coaching and aligns the firm’s business objectives with individual career and performance goals.

Prior to joining Winston & Strawn, Diane was a partner and head of the coaching practice for a nationally recognized legal talent management consulting firm serving Global 100 law firms. She also spent 10 years at a Global 100 law firm overseeing Professional Development, Recruiting, Legal Personnel, and Diversity.


Diane was elected as a Trusted Advisor by the Professional Development Consortium. She has a certificate in Organizational and Executive Coaching from NYU and is an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) with the International Coaching Federation. In addition, Diane is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach (INHC) through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, as well as a certified Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT/Meridian Tapping) and Emotion Code© and Body Code© practitioner. Diane earned her M.A. in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University, and B.A., cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from the College of the Holy Cross. 

Thought Leadership:

Diane is a prolific writer and frequent speaker on talent development in the legal services industry. She has been quoted in Forbes, Law360, and Law Practice Magazine.

Laura Snodgrass is the Professional Development Counselor at Crowell & Moring LLP in Washington, D.C.  As a certified leadership coach and former Big Law lawyer, Laura supports associates and counsel firmwide with all aspects of navigating law firm life, to include time management and organization skills, improving communication with colleagues and clients, increasing self-awareness, navigating challenging work environments, goal-setting (including identifying a path to success/promotion), developing confidence and presence, giving and receiving feedback, work/life balance, wellness and well-being, and stress management and resilience.  Prior to joining Crowell & Moring, Laura was a healthcare compliance and white collar investigations attorney at King & Spalding in Washington, D.C. for eleven (11) years.  During that time, Laura also earned her certification in Leadership Coaching from Georgetown University and coached many of her former colleagues and other individuals before making the move to legal Professional Development.  Laura received a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and a B.S. in Commerce from the University of Virginia School of Commerce.  Prior to law school, Laura worked as a financial analyst at Lockheed Martin in Fairfax, VA.

Angela Han is a healthcare lawyer and a health coach for lawyers' physical, mental, and professional health. She coaches lawyers on their physical and mental health through her Fit to Practice Society fitness program, and she coaches lawyers on their professional health through her Side Hustle Accelerator business program for those who want to create more impact beyond their day job. She is also host of the Fit to Practice podcast, where she interviews lawyers all over the country on their health journey as legal professionals.

Brian Cuban is an attorney, author and mental health awareness and recovery advocate. He is the author of the best-selling book, The Addicted Lawyer, Tales of The Bar, Booze Blow & Redemption.

 He has spoken at conferences, non-profit events, colleges and universities across the United States and in Canada. He also writes extensively on these subjects. His columns have appeared on,, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, and in online and print newspapers around the world

Chelsy Castro is CEO and Founder of Castro Jacobs Psychotherapy and Consulting (CJPC), a firm specializing in lawyer well-being. An attorney turned psychotherapist and career strategist, Chelsy counsels individuals and the organizations they work for on how to achieve their goals in healthy and productive ways. Chelsy’s publications and CLE trainings focus on science-based skills and strategies for improving performance and increasing well-being in the legal profession.

Chelsy earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Miami with a triple major in Economics, Spanish Literature, and International Relations. She then simultaneously earned her Juris Doctor and Master of Arts in International Politics and Development from American University. After practicing law as a multilingual attorney in the field of international regulatory compliance, Chelsy later earned her clinical degree at the University of Chicago and shifted her focus to lawyer well-being. Prior to launching CJPC, she designed, developed, and managed clinical and outreach programs and provided psychotherapy for lawyers, judges, and law students as a Director and clinician for the Lawyers’ Assistance Program.

Now through CJPC, Chelsy specializes in improving lawyer well-being at both the individual and organizational level. As an expert on lawyer well-being, Chelsy has trained thousands of lawyers through CLE events for law firms, bar associations, and national/international conferences. She excels at equipping lawyers with practical, science-based well-being skills in pertinent areas, including productivity, perfectionism, emotional intelligence, stress management, working from home, and career satisfaction. Beyond this, her work also includes individual psychotherapy and consulting as a career strategist for lawyers.

Jacquette M. Timmons focuses on the human side of money. She works as a financial behaviorist and is committed to getting you to see that you don't manage money - you manage your choices around money.

In addition to being an author ("Financial Intimacy: How to Create a Healthy Relationship with Your Money and Your Mate”) and frequent blogger, Jacquette is also the creator of The Comfort Circle™ - a dinner series, where she hosts discussions about money, business and life over food and wine - and “In the Zone: How to Price Your Genius.” Whether ITZ is presented as a masterclass, 1-day small group retreat, mastermind or VIP Day, it is designed to help entrepreneurs and small business owners tackle the question, "What should I charge for this?," from all sides: the financial, the emotional, the personal, so they can price more confidently, strategically, and in such a way that propels their business and life forward. She is also the host of the podcast, "More Than Money."

When she's not providing behavioral-based financial coaching, she's traveling the country for speaking engagements on behalf of Fortune 100 companies, AM Law 200 firms, nationally known non-profits and conferences (large & boutique) to talk about the intersection of emotions and money. Her work has been featured on Minnesota Public Radio, SiriusXM, "Good Morning America,", CNN, HLN, FOX, Black Enterprise, NPR,, and the Wall Street Journal.

Jacquette holds an MBA in finance from Fordham University’s Graduate School of Business and an undergrad in marketing from the Fashion Institute of Technology. A combination she credits, in part, for being able to blend her analytical mind and creative spirit in service to helping her clients shift how they look at money; how they perceive its role in their life; and how they give it direction. She lives in Brooklyn, NY and can be seen running in Prospect Park most days of the week.

Janine Pollack, co-founder of Calcaterra Pollack LLP, has been a class action litigator for 30 years and has prosecuted cases that have secured hundreds of millions of dollars for defrauded investors and consumers over the course of those nearly three decades.  Her focus is on representing clients who seek redress from companies that employ deception in selling their products or services, including through false advertising.  Janine is routinely appointed by courts as lead counsel and to other leadership positions, including in data breach litigation.  As lead trial counsel, she has prosecuted jury and bench trials, and won a jury verdict against R.J. Reynolds for wrongful death in a tobacco case.

Janine currently serves as Co-President of the National Association of Shareholder & Consumer Attorneys (NASCAT), an organization of firms and attorneys which represents consumer and investor rights and supports the opportunity for consumers and investors to bring class action suits. As Co-President, she develops and advocates for national and state policies impacting the class action bar, securities litigation plaintiffs’ bar and consumer protection plaintiffs’ bar.  Janine is also the Chair of the Women’s Initiative at NASCAT, which assists in advancing women as lead litigators and fosters relationships and networking opportunities for its female attorneys.

Janine is the Firm’s Chief Wellness Officer (CWO). As CWO, she provides opportunities and resources on behalf of the Firm for its personnel to enhance their overall well-being and improve their physical and emotional health. The Firm is committed to supporting the wellness of its personnel both inside and outside of the law firm environment, including through work-life balance, positive reinforcement, personal growth, exercise, and nutrition. Janine engages in frequent public speaking on various issues, including time and stress management and wellness.

Janine is currently admitted to practice in the States of New York and New Jersey and in the Southern, Northern and Eastern Districts of New York and the District of New Jersey, in addition to the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the First and Ninth Circuits.

Calcaterra Pollack LLP is a WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise.


  • University of Pennsylvania School of Law (J.D., 1989, elected to Journal of International Business Law)
  • Rutgers University (B.A., High Honors, English and French, 1986)
  • New York University in France Semester Abroad, Paris (1985)

Jeena Cho is the co-author of the best-selling book, The Anxious Lawyer, An 8-Week Guide to a Joyful and Satisfying Law Practice Through Mindfulness and Meditation (ABA). She started her career as an Assistant State Attorney and also practiced bankruptcy law for ten years.

She teaches mindfulness and meditation to lawyers. She regularly speaks and writes about wellness, self-care, and mindfulness. She also works with lawyers and law firms on stress management, work-life balance, career transition, increasing productivity, and overall wellness.

Jeena started her meditation practice at the Himalayan Institute in Buffalo, NY. She has completed several classes in Mindfulness and Compassion Cultivation Training at a number of institutions including Stanford University and has attended numerous retreats on mindfulness at organizations including the Spirit Rock, Insight Retreat Center, and the San Francisco Zen Center. She has completed the teacher training practicum for Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

She is a regular contributor to the ABA Journal. She has also written for Above the Law, ForbesBloombergLawyeristMs. JD, and Huffington Post. She’s been interviewed on MSNBC and Wall Street Journal. Jeena is the author of the LexisNexis guide How to Manage Your Law Office where she wrote about starting, growing, and managing a solo practice including topics ranging from marketing to virtual law practice to social media. She holds a J.D. and B.A. from University at Buffalo.

Kara Dodson is a Coach and Consultant with Volta Talent Strategies. She has over twenty years of experience in the legal community and brings to Volta her experience as a practicing attorney and her leadership on the business side of the law. Kara started her career practicing employment law for a decade at an AmLaw 100 firm, where she also mentored summer associates and junior associates. Tapping into her passion for coaching and counseling, Kara transitioned to the business side of law as the Director of Recruiting and Professional Development at Young Conaway. Over the course of her seven years at Young Conway, Kara hired, developed and coached the firm's associates. In 2015, Kara joined Volta, bringing her together her experience of practicing law and working on the business side of law. At Volta, Kara coaches lawyers of all levels, in a variety of areas including business development, time management, effective communication, stress management, leadership, and delegation. Kara has also coached a number of attorneys through their partnership promotion process. She is a graduate of the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching, holds her PCC credential from the International Coach Federation, and is certified to administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

Kara is an established member and well-known in the Professional Development Consortium (PDC) and a familiar face at The National Association for Law Placement (NALP), where she served as the Chair of the Lawyer Professional Development Section and recently served on the Lawyer and Law Student Well-Being Task Force. While a member of the PDC, Kara served on the conference planning team. She enjoys public speaking and in addition to delivering multiple training programs to law firm clients, she has presented multiple times at the NALP Annual Conference, the NALP Professional Development Institute, as well as at a PDC Conference.



Mark Yacano is the host of the "Erasing the Stigma, Conversations About Mental Health in the Legal Profession" podcast.  He cares deeply about the well-being of attorneys and staff in the legal profession. He is passionate about addressing the systemic mental health issues that put the profession's members at risk. Because of those efforts, he is continuously engaging clinicians, advocates, authors, and wellness experts to find new ways to normalize mental illness and provide legal profession members with practical guidance on seeking help and staying well.

Mark's legal career spans more than thirty years.  In private practice, he was an accomplished product liability lawyer and a nationally prominent expert in eDiscovery.  Also, Mark co-managed a national litigation firm and guided it through a strategic merger. As a Managing Director in Major, Lindsey & Africa's Transform Advisory  Services Practice, he helps clients leverage both talent and technology strategies to deliver better results and create more meaningful places to work. Mark's core philosophy is that talent and technology must work interdependently to achieve operational excellence.

Meredith S. Heller, of the Law Office of Meredith S. Heller PLLC, practices criminal defense in both the state and the federal courts, including before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the New York Court of Appeals. She also focuses her practice on attorney ethics and discipline, counseling both attorneys in the grievance process and bar applicants in the admissions process.  Meredith is the past chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Professional Responsibility Committee, is a member (and former chair) of the Lawyers Assistance Program Committee, and is a former member of the Professional Ethics Committee.  She is also a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Attorney Wellbeing Taskforce (chairing the Emotional Wellbeing Subgroup) and the Professional Discipline Committee.

Meredith is a frequent speaker at CLEs on ethics and professionalism, including for newly admitted attorneys in the First Department, the Queens County Civil Judges, the Judges of the Appellate Division, First Department, the Judges of the Eastern District of New York, and the Bridge the Gap CLE for the Volunteer Attorney Program for New York County.  She also speaks about Character & Fitness to law students at Colombia Law School, Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School, Pace Law School, and CUNY Law School.

She is a member of the New York State Bar Association, New York City Bar Association, and the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Federal Bar Council, and the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers.

Okeoma Moronu is the host of the Happy Lawyer Project Podcast, an inspirational lifestyle podcast for lawyers looking to find happiness in life & law. Since its launch in November 2016 the podcast was been honored by the ABA as a top podcast for lawyers.

Okeoma graduated from Columbia University School of Law with a JD and the University of Amsterdam with an L.LM. in International Criminal Law. She started her career in New York as a BigLaw associate in the Global Capital Markets group. After giving birth to her second child she realized she needed to start being more intentional with her time and energy. She launched the Happy Lawyer Project Podcast to share the tips, strategies, and advice she was gathering along her own journey. 

Today Okeoma serves as Legal and Regulatory Affairs for Zipline, the world’s first national-scale drone delivery service, on a mission to provide every human on Earth with instant access to vital medical supplies. She splits her time between the US and Costa Rica where she lives with her husband, and two kids. In her free time, she authors an illustrated money book series for children called The Money Monsters.