Lawyers and Stress;Causes, Effects, and Incredible Stress Management Techniques for Lawyers
 “Stress happens when you try to control your life experiences. Relax and remember the only real control you have is over yourself.” Anonymous
In today’s society stress is an epidemic.  Lawyers are termed to be one of the most stressed professions in the world. Since I’m a lawyer, I can tell you this, the lawyer’s stress begins from when a person is pursuing his/her law degree (LL.B), stress follows him/her in Law school and finally in his/her career.

The questions which might come to your mind right now are why lawyers are so stressed? How does stress affect lawyers and their careers? Is there an effective stress management technique for lawyers?



The good news is you will find the answer to all your questions concerning lawyers and stress here.

This post is for lawyers, other professionals and anyone who wants to know how to deal with stress and how to learn to relax. It explains what stress, causes, and effects of stress is to lawyers, when and how stress can be bad for lawyers and their career and it provides effective stress management techniques for lawyers.


    What is Stress?

    This post will be useless if it will explain the causes of stress, effects of stress and how lawyers can manage stress without telling you what stress is.

    Stress is a negative mental or emotional response resulting from undesirable or challenging circumstances.

    Why Lawyers Are So Stressed?

    “The major cause of stress is the inability of people to discover their real nature. Discover your gifts, follow them and you will never feel stressed.” Anonymous

    Stress to lawyers are mainly caused by two things. First is the profession pressure which includes competition, deadline, work overload, areas of practice, adversarial system, etc. and second is the lawyer’s personal behaviors which include perfectionism, workaholic traits, emotional unawareness, race, etc. 
    Causes of stress to lawyers

    The Following are the Causes of Stress to Lawyers Due To Profession Pressure.

    Competition

    Currently, competition in the legal profession is overwhelming. There are thousands of lawyers graduates from university and law school each year.
    Number of Lawyers/attorneys/solicitors/ in UK and USA
     


    According to the UK’s Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) there were 184,736 solicitors on the roll in September 2017 in the UK. From that number 142,515 solicitors were practicing.

    From that number you can clearly see that the massive number of lawyers in the UK is practicing the thing which entails a high level of completion in the legal realm.

    Further, according to the American Bar Association's National Lawyer Population Survey there were 1,338,678 lawyers in the USA during 2018 and the percentage of change in the number of lawyers in the USA from 2008-2018 (ten years) was 15.2%.

    From that data you can clearly see that the number of lawyers in the USA is increasing astonishingly.

    In estimation, there are Over 10,000 law firms in the UK and the USA.

    You may ask yourself where does the competition in the legal profession come from and how does it causes stress to the lawyer?

    Here is an answer basing on my experience. Most lawyers establish their law firm in major
    cities for the aim of attracting major clients. This causes floods of the law firm in these cities and solidifies competition.

    Thus the lawyer’s struggles to take off and become flamboyant, the struggle to establish his law firm brand and reputation, the struggles to attract major clients may lead to stress.



    Area of Practice

    When I say the area of practice, I mean the subject or category of law in which the lawyer is highly interested and knowledgeable hence practices it. It may Be Litigation, Corporate Law, Insurance Law, Family Law,  Banking Law, Human Rights Law, International law, etc.

    As a lawyer you cannot be the master of all subjects so a good lawyer focuses on the few areas of law which matters most to him.

    The truth is some areas of law are more complex and competitive than others, this may lead to so much stress to a lawyer when he tries to stand out to be the best his area(s) of practice.

    Adversarial Legal System

    There are two common legal systems in the world. One is the adversarial legal system and the second is the inquisitorial legal system.

    Common law countries use the adversarial legal system to determine facts in the adjudication process. With this system parties are adverse, they are competing against each other and Judge/magistrates act as referees.  

    In adversarial system winner wins all and loser lose all. It is hardly a competition-based system.


    Adversarial system creates enmity between parties, it has a lot of external pressures from clients, stakeholders, government, etc. and it has complex legal formalities. A lawyer has to do tremendous work to survive within this system thing which may lead to stress.

    ·         Read  Why ADR is better than Adversarial System

    Timeline Pressure and Work Overload

    Most of legal activities are connected with the timeline/deadline. It may be dealing with clients, preparing legal documents, filing a case to court, etc. and most of the timelines in the legal realm are set by law/statute.

    Further, sometimes a lawyer may face cases with urgent nature. Here the lawyer has to make sure he does the best to rescue the situation.

    Failure to meet a timeline has a significant impact. It’s may indicate the lawyer’s irresponsibility; it may lead to the case dismissal or any other inconveniences which may lead to stress.



    Lawyers are very busy. They have a lot of important work to do at once. When you take this busyness plus the timeline pressure as highlighted above is equal to stress.  Mathematically you can say work overload + timeline pressure = stress.

    The Following Are the Causes of Stress to Lawyer Due To Lawyer’s Personal Behaviors

    Workaholic Behavior

    Do you know this popular phrase German machine never cease? Some lawyers are German machines. They tend to work too much. They have this workaholic nature.

     They want to be in every activity. Lawyer like this is very likely to be stressful taking into account he has to face all professional pressure explained above.


    Perfectionism

    “Trying to be a perfectionist brings increased stress and hinders performance.” T. Whitmore
    No one is perfect and I think nothing is perfect too. A lawyer with perfectionism traits is likely to be stressed because sometimes in carrier things do not go as he wishes.

    Emotional Instability

    Some people are so emotionally soft. When I say soft I mean they can easily be emotionally affected with external factors. Lawyers with emotional softness are likely to be most stressed because the legal profession involves a lot of struggles, failures, pressure, and knockdowns.

    Effects of Stress To Lawyers

    Depression and Anxiety

    Depression and anxiety is a huge effect of stress.

    By definition, a depressed person experiences recurring negative thoughts that trigger negative emotions like sadness, anger, and guilt.

    An anxious person experiences chronic negative thoughts that cause negative emotions, such as fear.

    Depression and anxiety is often at least partly caused by an inability to manage stress effectively.

    Drugs and Alcohol

    Many people use drugs and alcohol to eliminate stress. This is a very bad approach. Stressed lawyers also fall under this trap.
    Effects of stress to lawyers-drugs and alcohol
    Alcohol is not the answer, it only makes you forget questions



    Isolation

    I think you may wonder it is lawyer’s isolation which leads to stress or it is lawyer’s stresses which lead to isolation? Hahaha! My answer is whatever! But the fact is isolation and stress are two sides of the same coin.

    Effective Stress Management Techniques for Lawyers

    The best way to manage stress as a lawyer is to avoid it. Don’t let stress to enter into your mind. Because of it much easier to avoid stress than to remove it.

    The big issue then is how can you avoid it? Or generally, how can you manage it? Relax and continue reading

    Control Your Thoughts




    Effective Stress Management Techniques for Lawyers-thoughts control
    “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” William James
    I will prefer to call it ‘emotional intelligence’. This is the most effective way of avoiding or managing stress. Stress cannot enter or control you without your permission. To avoid or to control stress requires emotional intelligence.

    What is an emotional Intelligence?

    When I say emotional intelligence I refer to an art or science of controlling your emotions through your thoughts. This will enable you to be emotionally aware and stable.

    Don’t easily be emotionally affected by external factors. Choose only positive thoughts to dominate your brain. When you face stressful thoughts immediately replace them with positive thoughts.

    That may be simple but not easy. However, it is very possible. You may consider reading a wonderful book titled As a man thinketh so he is by James Allen for more insights.

    Improve Your Working Environment

    Good Working environment is a must when it comes to avoiding or managing stress. It includes the outside and inside the physical surroundings of your office. 

    Make sure you are surrounded by things that inspire and motivate you. 

    This will trigger the positive thoughts in your mind and increase work morale.

    Further, the working environment goes up to your colleagues and associates. Make sure you have the right team. Associate yourself with positive people.

    “The fact is you are an average of three people you spend the most time with”

    The wrong people can be stressful.

    Do yourself a favor, be in a good working environment and choose the right association to enjoy a stress-free life.


    How lawyer can improve working environment
    Don’t stress. Do your best. Forget the rest




    Delegate and Automate
    Why and How lawyer can automate and delegate


    Do you know Pareto Principle? Alternatively known as 80/20 rule. This principle simply states that 80% of the results are due to 20% of efforts.

    As the lawyer your goal should not be to work hard but to work smart or to work hard smart or to smartly work hard. When I say working smart I mean work to archive more with fewer efforts. 

    How can you archive that? It is through delegation and automation.


    Make sure you delegate every task/activity which is not necessarily being done with you. Things like conducting legal research, drafting legal documents, filing documents, and any other minor tasks. To effectively delegate make sure you have a winning team.

    Hey Mr. Lawyer! do you know a computer? It may help you when it comes to automation. Let it automatically help you with things like taking notes, setting appointments, case calendars and reminders, emails and so much more. With the current trends of science and technology automation made easier.

    With Delegation and automation you will effectively manage stress because they will help you to get space to focus on major things with major impact. They will also reduce workaholic behavior and gives you more control over your career.

    Exercise, Relax and Sleep Well

    I can’t emphasize enough the importance of ‘taking a break’ in managing stress.  

    Exercise makes your body active, relax relieve you from world distractions, sleeping well will take you to another world. Do you want more? I think it is enough.



    Conclusion
    Uuh! It was a a very long journey but I hope you find this post useful! Before you leave please spread the knowledge by sharing this post.  Say no to stress.

    For further query please comment below.


    4 Comments

    1. It is the best article, I attained knowledge from this so I have power now, am very pretty sure that stress will no longer be my guest, Much appreciations to the Author of this gorgeous articles, be blessed

      ReplyDelete
    2. this is nice information for me thank you for sharing this good information sir ,

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. thank you Rupali! I Appreciate your feedback

        Delete

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