CASE BRIEF: Unhealthy Eating Habits v. Lawyers (2017)



Case: Unhealthy Eating Habits v. Lawyers (2017)

Facts: Lawyers have demanding schedules. Most days are saturated with emails, time-sensitive phone calls, 8:00 a.m. court appearances, quick recess requests to look through disclosure that the Crown forwarded only a short time ago, meeting with impatient clients, housekeeping, and then some.

Food barely makes the docket. And when it does it is often brief, inadequate and is adjourned to whatever supper is waiting at home or on a takeout menu. Lawyers tend to settle for coffee, coke and other caffeinated options for breakfast. In addition, their mobility is ongoing and as a result, they tend to lose the little energy that is meagerly digested. They'll snack throughout the day on junk and the rare sighting of mixed nuts, and occasionally splurge on a grease-filled, fat-filled, calorie-filled lunch that occurs about 4-6 hours since the coffee breakfast. The afternoon is coloured with more shades of liquids from a cup and after a decent dinner it's rinse and repeat for the remainder of the work week.

Issue: Do lawyers have to subscribe to unhealthy eating habits on account of their busy work life?

Holding: Vote (8-1) No: A healthy diet and a demanding lawyering schedule are mutually exclusive; one should not be neglected on account of the other.

Majority Opinion Reasoning:


  1. Timing is everything – spread your meals out to accommodate your hunger and replenish your energy supply
  2. Water should always be accessible – keep water by your bedside, at your desk, and in your briefcase.
  3. Pack small portions of healthy snacks – Small means easy to carry, easy to eat, easily effective
  4. Set your limit – Minimize your conspicuous consumption by purchasing less coffee and takeout


1. Your meals should be evenly spaced out regardless of your schedule. If you are unable to have full meals at each interval, aim for protein-filled, healthy snacks. The key to eating healthy and lawyering is to take advantage of the small moments of “nothing” (i.e. Waiting in line at the court house, waiting on the phone, waiting to pick up an Order, etc). Start your day strong. Convenience is a factor in the practice of law. As a result, grab breakfast that requires very little effort, but can leave a solid impression on your digestive system. A spinach or fruit smoothie consisting of berries, greens, and seeds can take less than 3 minutes to prepare and you can drink it while during your commute. A few grams of soy or whey protein can is a worthy kicker as well. Grab a banana for your potassium intake and throw some almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds in a sandwich bag. Finally, pack your lunch from the night before. Nothing saves time like preparation. If no one else understands that, lawyers should.    

2. Coffee takes time to make and purchase. Water is a simple twist and sip. If you place water all over your office, you'll be confronted with its consumption. Going into a meeting? Offer your clients water and take one for yourself. Further, the more water you consume (3-4L/day) the more you are able to tame your hunger. 

3. Downsizing isn't always a bad thing. Big meals can make you sluggish especially when they are high in sodium, sugar, and fat. In addition, once you've stuffed your face on an extra big lunch to compensate for the skipped meals and huge appetite, your work performance may decrease significantly. Fruits and vegetables are small but effective snacks. Throw some carrots into a sandwich bag and add a few grapes and strawberries to spice it up a bit. Snack-sized greek yogurt is also a small and quiet snack that you can down during a phone one has to know. Dinners also make great lunches. Save a decent portion for your Tupperware. 

4. Discipline goes a long when in healthy eating. Limit yourself to purchasing 2-3 coffees or takeout lunches per week. Once you've hit that quota, stick with your healthy options. Not all junk is bad junk, but overdoing it can lead to unwanted health risk factors. Know how to curb your conspicuous consumption. 

Concurring Opinion Reasoning: Not Applicable

Dissenting Opinion Reasoning: Lawyers can afford to have unhealthy eating habits because they can afford health care.

Obiter Dictum: No matter how busy you are, people make time for the things that are most important to them regardless of the cost, access to health care, or any other determining factors pertaining to healthy eating habits. If your productivity is your priority, your health will fall in the same line.

Author: Jamie-Lee, Founder & Editor-in-Chief