Dealing With Career Burnout In The Legal Profession

November 3, 2021

Career burnout

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Overworked lawyers and career burnout in the legal profession is a serious problem. When ignored or unaddressed, burnout can have significant consequences, including impacting energy levels and mental health. Working in the legal industry can be incredibly stressful, not to mention that many lawyers find it challenging to find the right balance between productivity and burnout. As a certified coach-consultant for lawyers and law firms, I help lawyers dealing with career burnout in the legal profession. I wholeheartedly believe that a balanced work-life is the basis for a successful career.

Addressing burnout is also critical for your physical and mental wellbeing. Contact Charlène Gisèle to help you better understand how to deal with career burnout and find a strategy that works best for you. Send me an email to set up a virtual meeting or web conference.

What Is Career Burnout in the Legal Industry?

Many people in the legal profession do not recognize symptoms of burnout until it is too late. Career burnout is not just experiencing fatigue at the end of a long day. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines burnout as an occupational hazard that results from unaddressed chronic stress in the workplace.

There are five tell-tale signs of career burnout:

  1. Exhaustion or tiredness
  2. Energy depletion
  3. Detachment
  4. Diminished productivity or professional efficacy
  5. A sense of failure or self-doubt

While anyone struggling to cope with workplace stress can be at risk of burnout, people in the legal profession are particularly prone to suffering from this occupational hazard. In fact, burned-out and overworked lawyers are more likely to develop mental health problems.

According to a study by the American Bar Association, nearly 21% of licensed attorneys experience problems with potentially alcohol-dependent drinking, while 28% suffer from depression. High levels of workplace stress contribute to drinking problems, depression, anxiety, and other behavioral changes and mental health issues.

Causes of Lawyer Burnout

There are several reasons why lawyers are at extremely high risk for burnout:

  • Intense competition and job demands. The legal industry is more competitive than ever before. Every lawyer wants to attract more clients and ensure that their existing clients are satisfied with their services, which causes them to work longer and harder. However, when working longer and harder means working at the expense of health, lawyers are more likely to experience a high level of burnout.
  • Desk bound and tedious work. Working as a lawyer involves a lot of monotonous work that does not necessarily bring joy or excitement. Typically, lawyers sit in their chairs all day and stare at a screen for hours when reviewing and editing documents. The legal profession involves tons of paperwork, which can be incredibly tedious particularly when sat down statically for hours being ‘desk bound’.
  • Lack of resources. In addition to intense job demands, law firms often lack the resources to manage a successful legal practice. As a result, lawyers find themselves working more, which can add to their stress levels. Heavy workloads due to the lack of resources can lead to job dissatisfaction and career burnout in the legal profession.
  • Perfectionism. Many people working in the legal industry are perfectionists. However, striving for perfection can take a toll on your wellbeing and health in the long run, especially when you fail to achieve your goals.

If you believe that you suffer from job burnout, consider speaking with Charlène Gisèle, a former attorney turned certified health coach, to help you discuss what you can do to overcome burnout and regain the much-needed balance in your life.

How to Prevent Career Burnout in the Legal Profession?

Regardless of whether you are on the verge of career burnout or are already experiencing signs of job burnout, it is critical to act quickly. When left unaddressed, burnout can contribute to various physical and mental health consequences.

Follow these tips on how to prevent career burnout in the legal profession to get you started.

  1. Recognize the signs of burnout. Recognizing the signs of burnout early on can help you combat this occupational hazard more efficiently. It is important to be honest with yourself when evaluating yourself and determining whether or not you suffer from career burnout. Acceptance is always the first step.
  2. Replenish your physical and emotional energy. Everyone needs to recharge their batteries to feel and perform well, especially if you are a lawyer who works in a competitive environment. The best way to replenish your energy and prevent burnout is to get plenty of sleep and rest. Do not forget that you are a human, not just a lawyer.
  3. Set boundaries. Often, the root cause of lawyer burnout is the lawyer’s inability to set boundaries. Respect your own limits to protect your own health and wellbeing. Learn to say no and set rigid boundaries to guard yourself against burnout.
  4. Delegate some of the tasks to alleviate stress and reduce workload. It is practically impossible to do everything on your own as a lawyer. For this reason, it is essential to delegate some legal work to your teammates or other employees at the law firm to decrease the burden on your shoulders.
  5. Do things that bring you joy. Exercise. Go to the theater. Spend time with your family or friends. It is vital to do something that makes you happy. As a result, you will be more energized and productive to do your work when you return to the office.
  6. Talk to someone. If you are feeling emotionally exhausted or mentally drained, you need to talk to someone before your career success suffers. Have a chat with a coach-consultant to understand what you can do to address career burnout.

Speak with Charlène Gisèle Today

If you are feeling burnt out, do not push through burnout in the hopes that it will disappear on its own. You need to take proactive steps to deal with burnout before it ruins your career. As a certified coach-consultant and wellness expert, I can use my psychological and health expertise to help you overcome burnout and alleviate workplace stress.

As someone who worked in the legal profession, I know firsthand what happens when you ignore burnout. If you are interested in learning more about how you can beat career burnout in the legal profession, schedule a consultation with Charlène Gisèle by emailing me.

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