How To Avoid Burnout In Your Legal Profession

how to avoid burnout legal profession stress lawyer fatigue attorney

Once a lucrative profession among the educated, the legal profession today, is currently under the grip of chronic stress induced burn-outs, mental illness and addiction. 

An increasingly competitive working environment that encourages and follows billable hour business models, coupled with factors like enormous student debts and lack of guiding leaderships in the profession have all led to lawyers experiencing high rates of anxiety and depression. 

A recent study claims that almost 85% of lawyers in Australia and New Zealand experience anxiety in workplace and 60 per cent of respondents had suffered depression. 

We at Astor Legal, as responsible members of the profession, believe that the situation has to change. While we encourage healthy competition that fuels growth and achievement, we do not believe that career success should come at the cost of a happy balanced life. 

As legal firms endeavour to create a working atmosphere that promotes work-life balance, many firms constantly monitor employees for signs of stress and try to prevent burn-outs early on in their professional lives. 

The Symptoms 

• A constant sense of fatigue, a feeling of exhaustion that runs deeper than sleep deprivation is an initial sign of burn-out. You feel tired and demotivated despite few day of rest and adequate sleep. 

• Sense of inefficacy takes over where you feel that though you have put in enormous efforts, you are not being recognised enough or making any progress. 

• A general feeling of disengagement engulfs a potentially burnt out lawyer. You feel cynical and without motivation for success. 

• Lack of attention 

Steps To Prevent Burnout 

- Take A Break – Figure out the least busy months for your firms and schedule your leaves to make time for yourself and your family. 

- Use Technology – Leverage the benefits of Artificial Intelligence and other innovative tools to save time and deliver jobs faster and accurately, while reducing work load and stress. 

- Find Meaning – It is important to look for meaning in the work that you do. Without a feeling of achievement, you will expedite burnout. Lawyers change lives, just like doctors. Talk to your clients and measure the positive change your work has brought to their lives. 

- Ease Up On Perfection – Letting go of perfection is often critical in avoiding burnouts, especially in cases of women professionals. Used to micro manage a perfect home and successful career, women lawyers tend to suffer more. 

- Seek Help – Navigate through the issues of social stigma while seeking help if you feel burnt out. Law firms play a big role in creating more resilient workforce and removing barriers to encourage help-seeking behaviour 

What Law Firms Can Do? 

Firms have to take critical steps towards promoting greater open feedback and transparency, make available resources that alleviate workplace stress including flexible work schedules and support groups. 

While legal firms are expected to do their bit to promote employee well-being to curtail turn over, the importance of individual responsibility to tackle burnout remains paramount.

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