Research shows that 70% of lawyers are unhappy, have regrets, and wish to change their career path. The recent survey carried out by CareerExplorer, whereby millions of people were asked if they were happy with their careers, shows that lawyers rated their happiness at 2.6 out of 5 stars, which is very low. Lawyers are said to suffer from depression more often than others by 3.6 times. According to the Guardian, UK attorneys are the second most stressed group of professionals in the country.In addition, the report from the American Bar Association shows that the ratio of self-murder among lawyers is very high compared to other professions as well as the rate of substance abuse. Also, one-quarter of lawyers experience psychological distress. However, looking at the statistics that show how unhappy lawyers are is depressing.
In the spirit of shifting the narrative of dissatisfied and unhappy lawyers,Here are five tips for developing and building a happy legal career.
As a lawyer who seeks to enjoy and build a happy legal career, you must discover your purpose as a legal practitioner. That is the exact reason why you decided to become a lawyer, despite the numerous career paths. You should have a deep thought as to what your motive is because it is important that you recognize your motive.Discovering your purpose makes you happy more than you can imagine. Happy lawyers are always clear and precise in their purpose. Your purpose could be making a difference, having positive impact on others , giving back to the Society, ensuring justice is gotten , rendering legal services to others at minimal or no cost at all (pro bono services )as well as maintaining close relationship with your clients . That is, you can invest your time and effort for the good of others without feeling that you are wasting your time and that you have meaningfully spent your time.
Attitude matters a lot, and it is neglected by many lawyers. Having a good attitude can help you build a happy legal career. A happy lawyer practices kindness, honesty, integrity, empathy, and gratitude despite all odds. A good attitude can be as simple as listening to your colleagues and clients and not just wanting to talk every time. Accepting that making mistakes is a learning process and you must respond to them positively instead of dwelling on your mistake, which in turn makes you sad and unable to profit from solutions. Also, you must have a good attitude towards work and be ready to learn because we learn every day.
As a lawyer, your health is as important as your career. And your mental health is as important as your physical health. The legal profession is a very stressful and tasking one and 80% of legal practitioners don’t take care of their health as they are supposed to. Healthy lawyers are healthy lawyers. If you are healthy, you will be able to function properly at work and be happy. Never take your health for granted because you only live once. As little as eating well, exercising, sleeping well, spending quality time with family and friends, amongst other things, can help boost your health from 0 to 70%. Good and sound health plays a major role in developing a happy legal career. Do not hesitate to seek professional help when the need arises in regards to your physical or mental health.
It is very normal to get tired and bored of doing the same thing every single day. It is the same thing with the legal profession. There is no doubt that lawyers can get tired and bored. However, since the legal profession is a very broad one, you can decide to explore other aspects of the law that you might have an interest in without falling out of love with practicing. Research shows that 85% of lawyers will switch jobs at least once throughout their careers. Also, manage and arrange your day-to-day tasks appropriately so that you can focus more on the responsibilities that make you happy.
In conclusion, despite all the depressing statistics about lawyers and how the majority of them are unhappy, you can still build a happy legal career by following the tips explained above. Everyone deserves to be happy, including lawyers. Therefore, do not let your career steal your happiness because it will affect every other aspect of your life as a person. According to the study by Krieger and Sheldon on lawyer satisfaction, the things like money and prestige, which lawyers think are responsible for their happiness in the long term in the legal profession, are the exact opposite of what they actually do to their well-being and it has no statistical correlation with happiness.
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