The ABA Journal report that Big firms have long been reticent to openly address addiction and other mental-health problems, despite research showing lawyers face higher rates of substance abuse, depression, and suicide than the wider population,” the article says. “Law firm leaders say the need to keep up appearances in a competitive industry has contributed to the resistance. That attitude, however, is slowly changing. Read the article.
Whether you’re Biglaw or SmallLaw or government law or stay-at-home-parent law, there are a few things that are important to pay attention to every day. Keeping a positive outlook is one of them. Attorney Garry T. Ross offers up some great ideas on how to do just that. Read his blog here.
Lawyer and law firm consultant, Paula Davis-Laack writes, “Autonomy, connection to others, and competence are important because they drive motivation and engagement. For those of you focused on the bottom line, it has been shown that engaged employees perform better on a daily basis, and the higher a person’s level of engagement, the higher their objective financial returns.In addition, levels of employee engagement were positively related to business performance in the areas of customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, and productivity. That is, higher employee engagement translated into higher customer satisfaction and loyalty, higher profitability, and more productivity. Read her blog.
Lawyers face challenges unlike those found in many other professions. The combination of long hours, time away from family, pressure to find (and keep) clients, stress, and the ever-present focus on the bottom line does not leave much room for balance or a general sense of well-being. This article analyzes why the journey into the legal profession can be difficult and provides research-based solutions to move toward a culture of positive professionalism. The goal is not to present a jaded, self-help view of how to fix the unhappy masses, but rather, to present an empirical, research-based framework to initiate a new conversation within the legal profession. Read the blog.
Lawyer Ruth Carter blogs at Attorneyatwork.com: “Captain Kirk, in a TV episode of “Star Trek,” says, “The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play.” Playing is not something I do easily or often. Even in my youth, it was easier to get me to eat brussels sprouts than do something purely for fun. However, I’ve come to accept that playing is a necessity for sanity, to offset the high-stress lawyer lifestyle. Sometimes I wonder how other people have so much room for downtime when my nights and weekends are filled with errands, chores, working out and writing blog posts. Where does everyone find time for frivolity?” Read the entire blog.
Jenna Cho, lawyer and author of the book, “The Anxious Lawyer” writes, “The ability to gently let go of negative looping thoughts has been perhaps one of the most powerful and unexpected benefits of having a regular meditation practice. Research indicates that meditation can help us process and decrease the impact of negative emotions, such as anger. If you find yourself stuck in an endless negative thought loop, here are three practices that you may find useful.” Read the entire blog here.
Lawyers Weekly reports: “Drawing on the expertise of contributors from a number of disciplines, the Being Well in the Law pocketbook provides tips on how to manage the pressures of work and life. The free book offers a combination of positive psychology techniques and insights, which the authors point out can help “shape attitudes and build a sense of hope for the future”.Emily Ryan, the new president of NSW Young Lawyers, commended the publication in a recent Christmas message to members.“This toolkit … offers ideas to help everybody, young and old, deal with depression, anxiety, and stress and learn to better manage the business and pressures of work and life,” Ms. Ryan said. Read the rest of the story.
Legal Recruiter, Harrison Barnes writes: “After a long day at the office, the other day talking to attorneys about their jobs who did not seem the least bit excited about practicing law, I had a refreshing phone call with a woman practicing law overseas. The woman is an American but has never practiced with a US law firm. During our conversation, she seemed quite simply to be the happiest attorney I had ever spoken with. “The weather is so nice here today!” she gushed. “I cannot wait to go outside for lunch and take in some sunshine! It’s also my secretary’s anniversary here today! I ordered her flowers. She is going to be so excited!” I’ve been a legal recruiter most of my career. Did this woman know what was going on and how tough being an attorney really was? Had she discovered some unknown antidepressant that was making her immune to the horrors of practicing law?” Read the rest of the story.
Lawyer Monica Zent writes in The Huffington Post, “Associate attorneys may have the highest salaries but, in a recent survey, they were rated as having the “least happy” jobs, perhaps because of the long hours and lack of work/life balance. Greater “balance,” however, might not be the answer. According to Wharton Professor Stewart D. Friedman, ‘A commitment to better ‘work/life balance’ isn’t the solution… A more realistic and more gratifying goal is better integration between work and the rest of life…’ As boundaries between work and home continue to blur and work/life balance becomes increasingly elusive, the future lies in integrating career and life in a more seamless, less structured way”. Read the rest of her article.