Recover From Lawyer Stress
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9 Ways to Beating Lawyer Stress

Let’s face it. The statistics are grim. Lawyer stress is a big problem in our profession. Study after study states that there are high rates of mental disorders and substance abuse within our profession. Sadly, a lot of lawyers think that it is just the way it is and there is nothing we can do about it. I say bogus to that!

The problem is most lawyers do not know that there is a better way. The statistics are sadly, very illuminating. Despite most bar associations saying they are dong something about it, the lawyer stress statistics continue to rise. 

Jump to 9 Ways to Beating Lawyer Stress

As just one example, the Law Society of British Columbia established a mental health task force in 2018 to:

  • Identify ways to reduce the stigma of mental health issues; and
  • To develop an integrated mental health review concerning regulatory approaches to discipline and admissions of the Law Society of British Columbia.

So, what does this mean practically for lawyers on the front lines of practicing law? Well, as far as we can tell, not very much. Despite their task force and mandate to implement mental health being a concern relating to disciplinary issues, as far as I can tell, for the average lawyer on the street, not much has changed. 

I happen to be picking on the Law Society of British Columbia because they happen to be my current governing body. However, if you are a lawyer who practices pretty much anywhere, lawyer stress is a common theme throughout all areas of practicing law. 

The point is this, as lawyers, we can’t wait on our governing bodies, or bar associations to help with our stress. Managing our stress and creating a happy and peaceful existence is up to us, nobody else.

Lawyer Stress and You:

Are these some of the things that cause you lawyer stress?

Let’s face it, unhappy lawyers are everywhere, but you don’t have to be one of them.

  • Conflict:  Many lawyers (hello, this is me) don’t even like conflict, yet they are embroiled in it all day long. 
  • Long hours: Many lawyers think there is no choice but to work long hours. Spoiler alert, this is a myth created and perpetuated by our dysfunctional profession. 
  • The need to be perfect:  Making mistakes can be profoundly embarrassing. I know because I have made about a kabajillion of them. Although you can never guarantee that you will never make mistakes, you can “up” your game significantly by putting great systems and strategies in place so that the mistakes you make are few and far between. 
  • Not enough time for self-care:  A very wise person once said to me that if you really hate your job, there is no amount of self-care in the world that is going to make you happy or remove your stress. If you love what you do, take time for self-care. If you don’t love what you do, get the heck out of the kind of law you are practicing. 
  • Deadlines:  Deadlines don’t need to freak you out if you organize your calendar and schedule in a way that ensures you have scheduled your time so that you get everything you need to be done.
  • Client demands:  Are your clients a source of lawyer stress for you, or are they a source of joy? If clients are too demanding, that is often a symptom of the fact that you have not managed their expectations well enough, have not had good communication with them, or have not moved their matter forward in an organized way that the client can see. You can put systems in place to alleviate this type of lawyer stress.
  • Billing pressures:  Ask yourself, where do these billing pressures come from? Are they from you? Your firm? The managing partner? Are you in competition with others? Or is it that you do not have a proper billing system in place? As I write this, I just spoke to a lawyer yesterday who does not have a regular system in place for billing her clients. Guess what?! Weeks and sometimes months go by before she gets around to doing the billing. Have a system in place that ensures your billings happen automatically. Have a system in place absolutely everywhere you can in your practice. It makes things run very smoothly so you can focus on, well, the stuff that you are good at.
  • Disciplinary Proceedings:  Despite us attempting to do our best work, there is always the possibility (remote or not) of a client complaint or disciplinary proceedings. As I write this, I have been involved in disciplinary proceedings that have lasted more than seven (yes seven!) and a half years! 

As lawyers in this profession, we cannot wait until our governing bodies take the time to implement whatever their task forces have decided. Combatting lawyer stress has to come from us as lawyer practitioners.

So, how do we combat lawyer stress? 

Sure, we can all agree that lawyer stress is an occupational hazard. It is an expected part of our profession. 

If you think about methods to combat stress that we hear about over and over again, it applies to lawyer stress also.

What are these things?

The usual advice for combatting lawyer stress:

Now, my dear friend, how do you beat that lawyer stress?

Well, here are some of the old glib strategies “self-care” stuff we hear over and over again. We have all heard about these strategies to beat lawyer stres but how many lawyers do you know to implement any of them?

  • Have a regular exercise routine
  • Yoga 
  • A healthy diet 
  • Meditation
  • Avoid unhealthy habits (drinking, smoking, taking drugs, eating junk food, bingeing on television), you know the stuff that most lawyers engage in to reduce stress and relax! 
  • Laugh more 
  • Connect with others 
  • Get enough sleep 
  • Keep a journal 
  • Get counselling 

Sure we all know this list.

The question is how many of us have the time, energy or inclination to actually incorporate any of this stuff?

Check out If Lawyer Work-Life Balance is actually a myth here.

So, you might be thinking like I used to think “Oh, great, now I am not only completely stressed out, but I get to feel guilty and like I am a bad person because I don’t follow the advice that will beat lawyer stress.”

Related pages you may like:

Don't Be An Unhappy Lawyer

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The problem, my friend, is this:

NO matter how much you incorporate 

"self-care, meditation, exercise, eating well, and sleeping well",

NO amount of self-care is going to beat your lawyer stress,

expand your happiness, save your health, or improve your relationships if you walk into a stressful, chaotic, high-conflict law practice each and every working day of your life.

Here are the 9 ways to Beating your Lawyer Stress:

That is why the real way to beat lawyer stress has everything to do with running a successful law practice. You want to Start To Grow Your Family Law Practice, Efficiently and Effectively. Although you might want to start with the Five Top Strategies for Successful Family Law Firm Practice Management know that the real way to beat lawyer stress is to stop creating stress for yourself everyday!

  1. A dispute resolution-based law practice.
  2. You incorporate efficiencies wherever you can by using checklists, precedents and standard operating procedures.
  3. You attract great quality clients to your law firm, clients wanting to pay you, who listen to your advice and who appreciate your guidance.
  4. You get the best software for efficiency. Learn the recommended Family Law Software to Grow Your Practice.
  5. Once you get the best software, use it to its maximum potential!!!
  6. You protect and use your time strategically so that you always have the energy not only to do great work but to have a life with room for enjoyment. Find out if Lawyer Work Life Balance is a Myth.
  7. You turn your clients into raving fans every time.
  8. You expand your team (little by little is fine!).
  9. Learn and incorporate the “who not how” concept of delegating! If you can get someone to show you how to do something you need to do, hire them to show you. Think of your hourly rate and how best to spend your time, energy, and expertise!

Ready to start your family law business? Choose the right journey for you!

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