Sounds strange, but boredom at work can be the very motivator you need to get ahead in your career. However, it is important to understand boredom with the tasks you are completing and being absolutely over your job. They are very different. Knowing the difference is integral. But even if you are new to the legal field or have been lawyering for 30 years, there will be times that you will be bored at work regardless of how much you love the law. Whether you call it “paying your dues” or “a rite of passage,” it will happen, but there are ways to take advantage.
Every profession has its own challenges. Whether in construction, software development or internal medicine, all professionals face challenging situations on a daily basis. In addition to the usual complexities common to every legal practitioner, one is often underestimated: the ethical burden.
Stress and performance have become such a serious problem that in 2015, former Chair of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Law Practice Division Tom Bolt successfully advocated for the creation of a new Attorney Well-Being Committee. Because of this committee, ABA president Hilarie Bass formed a Presidential Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession.
Legal professionals have existed for centuries defending the ideals of the written law and legal precedents. Since the beginning of time attorneys have been the voice of justice for those without a voice of their own advocating for people and their rights. It is a proven fact that lawyers suffer from tremendous stress, outrageous weekly schedules and a great amount of anxiety. These circumstances have driven law school students and young lawyers away from litigation or working for big law firms. The promise of big paychecks and the possibility of having their last name on the door does not have the same seducing effect as before. Lawyers are now disrupting several industries as they do not have the dream of being part of the Biglaw sector.
Being a lawyer means dealing with client's problems, facing challenges even in the simplest of cases, battling other attorneys as well as a slow-moving judicial system. It is hard to imagine how someone working in this type of environment can find personal happiness and career satisfaction. Short of quitting the law, there are reasonable steps most attorneys can take to bring calm to their hectic lives. Because the goal of wellness at work is not to make your career something out of a Disney movie, but to create happiness and peace in your environment.
Many of us grow up watching great shows like Suits, Goliath, How To Get Away With Murder, to name a few. These television shows, while entertaining, show the most exciting parts of working on a case. These attorneys wear fierce suits, the women run around in heels all day, and they make it look super exciting. But aside from the glamour, the expensive suits and outrageous timepieces, legal practice inside the biggest and most prestigious law firms are far from whatever Shonda Rhimes' beautiful mind shows us. These shows brainwashed many with the idea that working at one of these firms is a dream come true.
We don't have to say we're great because you already know it. The topic is old, tired and has has been served for decades. We do it all and you know it. There is nothing further that can be said about gender equality in business and in the legal world. Instead of taking a stand, the following highlights the unique traits and approach that women bring to the legal industry.
We continue the conversation from last week leaving off with saying that anxiety can be self-inflicted. The pressure of ascending the corporate ladder inside legal firms can be devastating. In addition, the relationship and rapport between senior partners and junior associates are far from friendly. It almost resembles a dictatorship instead of a healthy, mutual growing supervision. The legal industry is already stressful, there is no need to exacerbate and worsen conditions by bossing and belittling novice or younger lawyers. However, the same pattern repeats itself on every hierarchy level.
It is to be expected that after years of providing legal services, companies, law firms, and specifically the attorneys that work on their cases build a relationship. The level of closeness between the organization, firm and attorney is part of the natural symbiosis of mutual growth through the problems, cases, and claims that they've fought against. It is also quite normal that CEO’s and leading attorneys to meet on informal occasions, like holidays and social events. Some may say that after years of working hand in hand they have become friends. The problem with this situation is that the relationship is built with the leading attorney in charge of the entire legal needs of the company and not with the firm. The moment the contract of this lawyer is terminated, or they decide to go to another firm or create their own, the relationship is in jeopardy.
Litigation is a synonym of war. This idea is reinforced by the fact that client/lawyer agreements often include a fixed rate for the lawyer/firm based on the received compensation and amounts paid from the case. While there is nothing wrong about fighting for what’s right, whether a fair compensation for a client or proving intellectual property infringements, going to war for every case and every client may result in negative outcomes.