Managing Your Work-Related Stress as a Busy Lawyer

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on January 06, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you went into the law because you were looking for something that was low stress, boy did you ever choose the wrong profession. It was well known before you attended law school that the law is a high stress, often thankless job.

Lawyers, at their worst, can be heart attack-prone pessimists. But we can also manage ourselves. Here are a few things to watch out for during your work day and solutions to help you manage your stress.

Take a Break and Set Goals

That feeling of helplessness can sometimes creep up on you and take over your mind. This is clearly a sign of stress. The solution? Move away from your work. Take a few hours -- yes, hours to just get away from it all. During your break, physical activity is recommended as a great stress reliever.

When you come back, write down on your device all the things you need to get done, but with the goals written in quick statements. This will help you reestablish your center.

Take on Meaningful Work

You're not working at the gas station anymore -- you can choose the clients. If you went into BigLaw, then you're a little stuck. But if you're at a smaller firm or even solo, you have an increasing amount of say as to whom you can represent and what you want to do.

A lot of stress-related work is tied to how meaningful the worker finds the work. If there is no meaning or purpose to the work, each day simply becomes a means to pay the bills. We hope that wasn't the reason you became an attorney.

Flex your autonomy and find work that excites you. This will, if nothing else, reduce your stress.

Find Support -- Emotional and Professional

Experienced lawyers tend to fall into two camps: those who are very friendly and helpful and those who are burnt out and are going through the motions. The latter are the kind that most likely were dragged through the mud by attorneys more senior than them who molded them that way.

The law is a tough profession. You'll need people who can sympathize with your stress and whom you can lean on. Find support in your coworkers, friends family members, and even in professional therapists when needed.

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