Stress comes for everyone. It comes in every form, with a new form of stress seemingly generated each day. To be blunt, the stress in someone's daily life is not going to end any time soon. You can organize your email, and your desk, and even try to organize your life into neat little bundles of to-do lists, but that stress will still follow you. In the legal world, not only is stress part of the job, it is something that society and the field ingrain into attorneys long before they set foot in any law school. You can look to statements such as: “they argue like a lawyer” or “you argue so much you should be a lawyer." Law school is a pressure cooker, with each student trying to learn the new language of law while making it through a gladiator-like first year. Once law school is survived, then it’s off to the six weeks that can make or break entry into the career you just spent 3 years working for; studying for the bar exam. The bar exam is the stress-inducing struggle every law student must endure, but on steroids. Once you make it through the quagmire that is the bar exam and you can proudly call yourself a lawyer - you feel that the world is new and fresh..., that is until you realize you know very little about how to "practice" law. But be rest assured there are a very strict set of rules regulating and always watching you in your "legal journey." Ahhhhh more stress!
As you continue your career and get more time under your belt, you are tasked with an ever-increasing caseload of more and more difficult cases…and sometimes more and more difficult clients. But don’t worry, once you have that system down, you are now expected to walk down the partnership path or eventually “hang your own shingle” depending on what the personal life goals of the lawyer are.
Whether it is the partnership path or going out on your own, you must add two additional layers to the “stress cake”. Marketing to generate new business, because what is a law firm without clients, and management of staff. Both of these responsibilities can bring on new challenges, but it certainly brings on new “stresses”. If luck is on your side, you can navigate the challenges of running (or being part of) a successful firm. Then you can finally come out, see the light of day, and reintroduce yourself to your family - who have probably missed you for the last 15-20 years lol.
The road a lawyer travels every day is one that is filled with stress on the way there, during the “legal” ride, and even after retirement, but it is also a profession that can be filled with a great sense of accomplishment. An accomplishment only had by helping people navigate difficult legal issues, especially in a system that is not always the most consumer friendly. I have only the perspective of someone who has been practicing law for close to eighteen years, but I know that there are many many many professions in all aspects of life that are filled with the “stress pressure cooker.”
How a person deals with the stress of life, their job, and their family is deeply individual and I would give you a long list of ways to deal with that stress, but it well may cause you even more stress reading about it, sooooo I will leave that to the experts and the all-knowing internet.
The practice of law is far different, and just like any field of study, you can only learn so much from a book – it is a whole different ball game to actually take action and experience what it’s like a day in and day out. For all the current law students and up-and-coming lawyers out there, I can tell you this: enjoy the growth, learn from your mistakes, and keep working hard. There will be ups and downs, but keep an open mind, and be ambitious! Good luck!
Now let me get back to cleaning my desk of all these papers…If you have some stories of stress in your given career. I am always interested to hear - so check me out on social media or hit me up at email@example.com, I promise to make it as stress-free as possible.