Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

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Is Your Lawyer Happy In His/Her Work?

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | October 18, 2015

No. 1,227

Summary:  While some lawyers are subject to depression due to stress, there are many who enjoy their work and achieve satisfaction from helping people and solving problems. Happy lawyers do good work for their clients.

Image: work.cron.com

Image: work.cron.com

I ran across a short post from Time Magazine last night called “High Paying Jobs That Will Make You Miserable.”

Predictably, one of them was lawyering, which the article claimed (without citing any authority) was one of the groups most prone to suicide. We lawyers are also alleged to have a very high rate of depression and alcohol addiction. The not so subtle implication is that young people are lured to the legal profession by the siren song of money, only to be dashed on the rocks.  It almost makes you feel sorry for the poor bastards.  Almost.

Without a doubt, there are many lawyers who hate their job.  Typically, lawyers work long hours under unrelenting stress and deadlines.  If they are junior members of a law firm, they have little or no choice of cases and are expected to meet rigid billing requirements. Understandably, many of these firms have high turn over.

But not all lawyers are unhappy, even in large law firms.  Many derive great satisfaction from helping people in crisis and solving problems. Some have, over time, reinvented their law practice to address new issues and establish new competencies. Even happy lawyers have bad days and are required to perform tasks they dislike. On balance, despite all the negatives, they enjoy what they do and it shows.

Does it make a difference to the client?  Absolutely. A happy lawyer is enthusiastic.  A happy lawyer is always looking for a new idea or a better approach to an old conundrum.  Although she can’t bill time for “thinking”, a lawyer who enjoys her work often thinks about her cases while off the clock. She is proud of her achievements.  Like a professional athlete, winning gives her joy.

Of course, sadness, sickness, frustration and a host of other maladies come to us all. These factors can temporarily keep us from achieving our  goals. But a person who loves his work can overcome adversity. And so it is with all of us, no matter what we do in life.


Afterthought:  Somerset Maugham observed that only the mediocre are at their best all the time.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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