The Five Options for Unhappy Lawyers

by Alay Yajnik, Executive Career Coach at The Barrett Group and Law Firm Growth Expert & Founder, Lawyer Business Advantage

Life is short

Lawyers understand this better than most. Attorneys have higher rates of depression, substance abuse, and health issues than other professions. At some point, unhappy lawyers consider making a change. There are two primary reasons why lawyers can be unhappy: the nature of the profession, and the culture of law firms.

The Unhappy Culture of Law Firms

Traditionally, law firms were filled with dysfunction. Some firms were misogynistic, creating extreme stress for women. Some firms created a culture of long work hours and ground their employees down. And other firms had a focus on money and materialism. Many firms had a “cut throat” culture, pitting colleague against colleague.

Unfortunately, some law firms still have similar dysfunction today. Attorneys often find themselves having to choose between financial prosperity, career success, their health, and their family. This is particularly true for women who are attorneys.

The Unhappy Practice of Law

The practice of law deals inherently with severe problems. In some practice areas, these problems are simply severe (such as estate planning). In most practice areas, the problems are severe AND filled with conflict and confrontation. Attorneys work long hours steeped in these environments of problems and conflict. Oftentimes, these environments lead to unhealthy levels of stress and unhappiness, causing anxiety and depression in some cases.

If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably considered changing something about your situation. But change is tricky. And, as you probably advise your clients, it’s best to speak to an expert before making a big decision. The Barrett Group has guided hundreds of attorneys to get clarity on which of the five options is best for them:

  1. Fix their firm
  2. Change law firms / jobs
  3. Change their practice area
  4. Stop practicing law and do something else
  5. Do nothing

If you are an unhappy attorney, you owe it to yourself to contact us. We’ll discuss your situation with you, so you can get clarity on your next step.

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