If you Google the phrase “unhappy lawyers,” the search results yield dozens upon dozens of articles. The articles mention common issues facing attorneys such as stress, depression, alcohol and drug abuse, burnout, and other stories of misery. This is a shame. From law school and throughout their careers, lawyers work extremely hard. They put in long hours under stressful conditions. At the same time, they build up successful practices and a life outside of work. The stress of the job can have a negative impact on the lawyer as well as others around him or her. While the Google results may cause one to think that being miserable goes with the territory, I disagree with the premise. I think that successful lawyers deserve to be happy too. Likewise, the people in their lives also deserve to be happy.
Is it the Job?
When I speak with successful but unhappy partners, I work with them to find out the root cause of their unhappiness. Sometimes, they just hate the work. They have grown tired of practicing law altogether. In this instance, I have resources that I can refer them to. They may need a coach instead of a recruiter. On the other hand, most of my discussions uncover different reasons for unhappiness. These partners still like the practice of law. However, there are certain aspects of it that make them miserable. And inevitably, unhappiness at work will span into other areas of one’s life.
Still Enjoy Practicing Law
After ascertaining that the law firm rainmaker still wants to practice law, we figure out exactly what needs to change to alleviate unhappiness. I just listen and never judge because the cause is personal and valid for each attorney. That being said, some of the common reasons for unhappiness that I hear include:
- The time wasted in the long commute has gotten old and exhausting.
- No work-life balance.
- Not enough support at the existing firm.
- Lack of confidence in management and/or absence of a firm succession plan.
- Not having a voice to make the current firm better.
- Inability to serve clients – no flexibility in billing rates/ practice areas gaps.
- Unfair compensation.
- Firm culture does not align with your values.
Again, these are some of the common themes arising from my discussions. As a Law Firm Matchmaker, I know that most of the time, you can eliminate the source of your unhappiness. How? By simply moving to a firm that will accommodate your needs.
In a previous blog, I discussed how your unhappiness impacts others in your life. As we mentioned in that blog, at the end of the day, happier people tend to be more productive. They also have deeper, more meaningful relationships. And, they tend to have better health than unhappy, miserable people. If your job is in the way of your happiness, rest assured, others in your life feel the impact. It does not have to be this way. Let me help you find a new law firm that will make you happier. It will also improve the lives of your clients, family, coworkers, and friends.
If you would like more information about finding a firm that will make you happier, please reach out and schedule a call with us! If you would just like some answers to questions you have, please fill out our confidential Q&A form so that we can give you the answers.