Contrary to public perception the day to day life of a lawyer goes beyond the 9-5. Most people are surprised that, on average, an attorney at a large law firm can work more than 50-60 hours a week.
A lawyer’s day is primarily shaped by the area of law in which the individual focuses their practice. Most lawyers are typically very punctual and early risers. When they are not in court, they catch up on memos from paralegals, prepare for cases by doing research and drafting motions, negotiate pending cases, or respond to clients.
So why are lawyers unhappy?
Lawyers have an incredible amount of influence over our society as a whole, and of course, their clients’ lives. They deal with unpleasant scenarios and sometimes, people. Oftentimes, lawyers are tasked with obtaining favorable outcomes based on less-than-favorable facts. Such a job requires attention to detail, creativity, time value, and unyielding confidence. It’s easy to see, then, how such a demanding career can be taxing on the psyche.
According to a recent study, Twenty-eight percent of lawyers experience mild or higher levels of depression, 19% experience anxiety, 23% experience chronic levels of stress, and 20.6% of participants struggle with problematic drinking. Some reports suggest as many as one in five attorneys struggle with problem drinking, including binge and heavy drinking. This is twice the national rate. According to the CDC, Lawyers ranked fourth when the proportion of suicides in that profession is compared to suicides in all other occupations in the study population (adjusted for age). They come right behind dentists, pharmacists, and physicians.
What can be done about this issue?
Simply put, bring awareness to the mental health issues that lawyers face. This is why our team at Loebsack & Brownlee has decided to participate in National Lawyer Well-Being Week. At L&B, our lawyers work diligently every day to bring the best outcomes for our clients and to provide education to our industry. We can only have peak performance for our clients and the industry we serve by paying attention to our mental, physical, and emotional health. Many often believe that being a lawyer is all glitz and glamour: fancy cars and suits, charging exorbitant rates, and using legal jargon to tap dance around their clients. That is not the case! So let’s do what we can to erase the stigma and make kindness to lawyers the norm.
Click here for Directory of Lawyer Assistance Programs.