For lawyers, stress is a part of the job description. From intense workloads to difficult clients, attorneys have to manage a lot of pressure on a daily basis. It takes a toll on their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. While stress is common in many professional settings, the pressure facing attorneys can be particularly high, and the consequences can be serious. Whether you’re a practicing attorney or still in law school, here’s what you need to know about the stress of being an attorney and how to cope.
One of the greatest sources of stress for attorneys is their workload. Many have to juggle multiple cases at the same time, and the demands of their jobs can seem to have no end. Research has found that, on average, working lawyers spend a whopping 13.5 hours per day in the office. This demanding schedule can lead to burnout, which is one of the most common reasons why attorneys switch firms or even change professions completely.
The stress of being an attorney isn’t just related to workload, though—it can also arise from difficult clients. Attorneys are often required to deal with difficult and, in some cases, irrational clients. No matter how hostile the environment, attorneys must stay professional and remain focused on the task at hand. However, this can be a challenge, and some attorneys may find it hard to handle.
In addition to external sources of stress like workload and difficult clients, attorneys may also experience stress from within. This is often the result of high expectations and personal doubts. All lawyers want to do a good job and give the best possible service to their clients. But sometimes there’s a fear of not being good enough, leading to additional stress.
Attorneys also may experience stress due to ethical or moral concerns. This type of stress often occurs when an attorney is asked to do something they don’t believe in. For example, if a lawyer is asked to argue a case that goes against their professional code of ethics, it can be very stressful.
So how can attorneys deal with the stress of their profession? The first step is to recognize the sources of stress and find ways to manage them. For example, attorneys can reach out to colleagues, friends, or family members for support, take breaks throughout the day, and prioritize self-care. When feeling overwhelmed, attorneys should take a step back and recognize that the situation is only temporary—eventually the pressure will subside.
In addition, attorneys can use a variety of coping strategies to manage stress in the workplace. Meditation, yoga, exercise, or any other activities that bring a sense of peace can help reduce stress. Attorneys can also learn to recognize when they’re feeling overwhelmed and find ways to de-stress.
Finally, attorneys should remember that they don’t have to be superhuman to be successful. Dealing with stress is a natural part of being an attorney. Acknowledging this and finding healthy ways to manage stress is the best thing attorneys can do for themselves as well as for their clients.
The stress of being an attorney can take its toll, but with healthy coping strategies and an understanding that mistakes and difficult situations are inevitable, attorneys can enjoy their career and provide an invaluable service to their clients. With dedication and determination, there is no limit to what attorneys can accomplish in their professional lives.