A Business Insider article last week examined why so many lawyers are unhappy with their jobs. Reasons given included:
- crippling student debt
- it’s depressing
- lawyers must be cynical
- it’s boring
- it’s not fulfilling; and
- billing time sucks.
All these reasons have merit–at least from a litigation attorney’s perspective. I’ve always assumed that non-litigators are unhappy because they aren’t real lawyers. Just kidding.
Twenty years into my practice, I’ve identified a potential reason for unhappiness that I did not recognize five years ago: it’s a grind.
Maintaining a continual flow of business, staying on top of cases, communicating with sometimes irrational clients, dealing with opposing counsel who are stressed out themselves, worrying about whether judges and juries will understand and agree with our arguments, sometimes waiting for months or even years for judges to rule, running the administrative side of the practice,…. It adds up. And it’s not easy.
I must admit, practicing law is not as fun as it used to be. It’s the same job. I just have more mileage on the odometer. I seemed to like it more when I did not understand what a grind it is. Perhaps that’s the best thing about being a young lawyer–you don’t know how hard the practice is.
In addition, sitting at a desk for 8-10 hours a day, fifty weeks a year, is a physical grind. Ten years ago I would have laughed at this statement. Now I feel like sitting at my desk is the most unhealthy thing I do.