Lawyer Well-Being and Escaping the Hamster Wheel
Updated: Oct 31, 2019
The ABA released a report entitled: The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change in 2017; which identified “six key dimensions of behaviour” as referenced in an article on Psychology Today. Of the six “dimensions”, four stand out as being particularly relevant (in their correlation to how legal-tech can assist in cultivating the much sought after work-life blend): intellectual, occupational, physical and social. In essence: having the time to do more of the work that matters leads to job satisfaction. Being challenged and engaged - versus treading the midnight hamster wheel - imbues life with more meaning. Having the time and flexibility to step off said metaphorical hamster wheel and actually go outside, into the light, to exercise #IRL (in real life) leads to wellbeing and better sleep. Collaborating with co-workers and being able to make your child’s Jiu Jitsu competition fosters real connection.
“Even the most balanced and well-adjusted lawyer at some point eventually succumbs to the pressures of working in the legal field”, Psychology Today addresses in their article The Depressed Lawyer. The majority of lawyers are slowed down by repetitive administrative tasks, giving them lower job satisfaction, because the majority of their time is not actually spent practicing law. Clio’s 2018 Legal Trends Report states “the fact that lawyers miss out on nearly 5.6 hours of billable work each day should be a wake-up call for why efficiency is so important to law firms”.
“How can you feel confined when you're in touch with the universe?" begs MacGyver. Did we just quote MacGyver?! Oh yeah we did! The ABA report states: “we have the capacity to create a better future for our lawyers that is sustainable”. “Less time at the office means more time for family and interests outside work” exclaims Ronald Shechtmanin an interview for Law 360. According to a survey conducted by legal staffing and consulting firm Robert Half Legal, and the related article on Law Times “...flexible schedules and remote work arrangements are popular policies among lawyers looking to improve work-life balance.” Charles Volkert of Robert Half Legal says that “work-life balance has taken on a new meaning in recent years — in addition to allowing people to devote time to their families, more workers want the flexibility to work where and when they want.”
Cloud-based technology can “help with routine tasks, enable better collaboration and make it easier to work remotely, “for example, lawyers might look favourably on a firm that lets a parent take a couple hours off to watch a kid’s soccer game, even if they need to log on late at night to finish a job” Volkert continues. Lawyers went to years of school to practice law, to make a difference - not to tread water in a swirling vortex of low-level tedium. And lawyers deserve love too.