The legal industry today can present unique challenges as the stresses and pressures within it can be particularly high and overwhelming. Two character traits — perfectionism and pessimism — that make lawyers good at their jobs can also predispose them to high levels of stress and anxiety.
Perfectionism helps lawyers succeed in their law practice because the profession is excessively detail-oriented. In a well-known Johns Hopkins study, optimism outperformed pessimism — except in the legal profession. Lawyers are hired to always be on the lookout for what can go wrong. This only compounds our built-in negativity bias, by which we give more psychological weight to bad experiences than good ones. The burden of that weighs heavily on professionals.
In addition, high-performers may be even more susceptible to work related stress. As the “go to” workers, they are often the most sought-after employees, willing to be involved and take on more projects. This “always on” quality, however, can turn what began as a positive intention into an overpowering avalanche of overwhelm.
The costs of these realities are enormous, from the impact on employee well-being to the consequences for the firms, clients, employees and families. Firms are further challenged by the resulting reduction in retention, productivity, and revenue. When good people burnout or leave, the performance of the entire firm suffers. Because the greatest assets of a law firm are its dedicated and talented lawyers, staff and clients, organizations must be proactive in cultivating a climate that support the well-being of the Whole Professional.
Using a wide variety mindfulness and coaching tools, we work with law firms and individual lawyers to:
help improve focus and efficiency;
foster improved communications;
improve resilience and well-being.