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How do lawyers handle stressful situations?


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Jon’s Answer

Hi Jessica!

First off, different lawyers may experience different types/levels of stressful workplace situations. For example, a litigation attorney (i.e. those who prepare documents for and go to court) will face different situations than a transactional attorney (i.e. those who draft contracts for clients), and there will be differences between attorneys who work for law firms vs in-house vs public sector.

In terms of how attorneys handle stressful situations, I would say it's no different than how anyone handles the stressful situations that life throws their way. I'm an attorney and, for me, it's about (1) finding the right life-work balance and making time for what matters in my life outside of work, (2) setting the right boundaries and values that dictate that justify being stressed out about, (3) being active/healthy, and (4) being able to talk to someone about certain stresses. If those are workplace stresses, of course confidentiality may prevent (4) somewhat. Again, this is just what works for me, but I think this advice is applicable to not just attorneys, but to other careers.

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Richard’s Answer

Everyone is different. My wife is an attorney. She said that there is a high rate of alcoholism in the profession unfortunately. Her healthy outlet for stress is to run.

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Jonathan’s Answer

Unfornately many lawyers do not handle stress well. The biggest issue in the legal profession is substance abuse drugs and alcohol. Lawyers in law firms get stressed out due to long hours silly and sophisticated work, client pressure, pressure to make partner or being asked to leave. Many partners have the reputation of being screamers. I have seen lawyers being screamed into oblivion and forced because they can’t take that abuse despite being eager and talented. I was fortunate I can that I have only known three lawyers that the great as lawyers and were horrible people. I have tales lawyers hiding under from their bosses or crying untrollably. Tales of lawyers begging headhunters to get them out of their firms. Law is a hard profession these aren’t stories from average law these were great accomplished legal minds at prestigious law firms. Many waters get into the law leave for these. Approach your legal career with caution.

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Lucas’s Answer

I think a lot of it comes with experience as well. I interned at a law firm as was able to witness some things first hand. The profession draws parallels to doctors, in which part of accepting the job and the responsibilities is accepting stressful situations that are not always going to be easy. Separating work from home is a huge part, you might do long hours at the firm but be able to stop and not check emails or take calls when you are home with family or out with friends is a huge thing that lawyers learn how to do.

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