I’ve felt plenty of anger over my twenty-five years as a litigator.
Sometimes, and thank God they were few and far between, I would blow up at opposing counsel or a client. More often, my anger would sometimes simmer just below the surface. This is an all too common reality for today’s lawyer. “By definition, the adversarial system is conflict-ridden, and conflict creates certain types of emotions like anger, guilt, and fear, which causes stress, says Amiram Elwork, Ph.D. author of the book, Stress Management for Lawyers: How to Increase Personal & Professional Satisfaction.
According to Chicago litigator, Shawn Wood, the “nature of civil litigation involves two lawyers (often Type A personalities) squaring off against one another under circumstances where there will be a winner and a loser, and part of each lawyer’s job will be to capitalize on any possible error in judgment that the other side makes.” I really don’t buy into this completely. Many lawyers that I know aren’t “Type A” personalities. They are usually hard working and successful. But, it can take a tremendous toll on their mental and physical health. They struggle with the simmering variety of anger.