After rigorous studying through law school, undergoing an intensive interview process, and securing a lucrative position, many lawyers find themselves feeling exhausted and unfulfilled.
Lawyer burnout is quite widespread due to a lack of proactive education and prevention strategies. In fact, nearly half (47%) of surveyed lawyers said they’ve struggled with burnout.1 This is, in part, due to Big Law’s paradox of success: getting promoted often leads to more demanding workloads, rather than more freedom and flexibility.
Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent law firm burnout. Below, we’ll highlight its telltale signs and offer best practices for overcoming and preventing lawyer burnout so you can carve out a balanced, rewarding career.
To start, it’s important to identify why Big Law burnout develops in the first place. Some of its chief causes include:
Now that we’ve covered the causes of lawyer burnout, let’s take a look at its most common symptoms:4
If you can relate to any of these symptoms, it’s important to take a step back and address your lawyer burnout. Otherwise, it’s likely to get worse over time. Lawyers who ignore burnout can find themselves:
Whether you’re currently in the throes of lawyer burnout or you suspect you’re on the cusp of it, there are several prevention strategies you can employ:
Everyone deserves healthy boundaries—including lawyers. By carving out time for yourself, you can bring a better version of yourself to work.
Healthy boundary-setting may look like:
Many lawyers have more work on their plates than they can manage alone. While delegating work can be difficult, you must accept that you’re only human and have just 24 hours in a day. Evaluate tasks that could be delegated or conducted more efficiently. While these solutions can require more of an investment upfront, they often will save you time long term. In addition, part of your professional development includes your competency and leadership skills to efficiently manage others to whom you delegate work.
Engaging in hobbies can enhance your work-life balance and give you some much-needed time to rejuvenate. Discover or re-engage with hobbies that interest you or bring you joy.
Even if you try to keep burnout at bay, you may inevitably experience it from time to time. In these instances, try the following coping strategies to prevent lawyer burnout:
Some law firms are simply more demanding than others. As a result, you may need to switch law firms to banish law firm burnout for good. In addition, leaving Big Law may be the answer to achieving a more positive work-life balance.
If you’re ready for a change in the legal industry, working with experienced legal recruiters can help you find a new firm that’s a better match for your desired work-life balance.
At E.P. Dine, we can help you navigate your career change and keep your mental health at the top of the priority list, whether you’re seeking a law firm associate, law partner, or in-house counsel opportunity.
In summary, many lawyers face feelings of burnout at some point in their careers. The determining factor is how each lawyer decides to respond to the feelings of burnout when they occur. While lawyer burnout can be arduous, making the right adjustments can help.
One of the easiest ways to escape chronic burnout is to work with a recruiter who understands your need for a healthy work-life balance, like E. P. Dine. We’ll take the time to understand your goals, prepare you for interviews, and showcase your value to potential employers. Most importantly, we’ll prioritize your mental health throughout the recruitment process.
Ready to make burnout a thing of the past? Reach out to E. P. Dine today to find a healthier work environment.
1American Bar Association. Surveyed lawyers report they experience burnout in their jobs more than half the time.
2PracticePanther. Unveiling the Truth About Lawyer Working Hours.
3Science Direct. A snapshot of emotional harms caused by the litigation process – Qualitative data from Ghana.
4MayoClinic. Job burnout: How to spot it and take action.
At E.P. Dine, we are committed to delivering content that is not only relevant and insightful but also rooted in professional integrity and expertise. To achieve this, every article published on the E.P. Dine blog undergoes a meticulous review process by qualified professionals with deep knowledge and experience in the legal field and legal recruitment.