Small law firms face challenges when trying to attract new clients. With limited resources and…
If you’re a lawyer, you know that the legal profession is a demanding one. Lawyers often work long hours and are likely to be contacted by clients and colleagues at just about any time. Lawyers are expected to perform at the highest level while often working on complex, high-stakes cases.
The level of stress varies from practice areas within the legal field. For example, corporate law and litigation are two of the most stressful areas, but the pay is higher. Estate planning and real estate are among the least stressful areas, the pay is usually lower, but the personal reward is high. Intellectual property law is relatively low stress, and the pay can be significant.
Stress affects each of us differently. Some people internalize stress and become quieter and more despondent. Others express their frustrations more outwardly, becoming angry and temperamental. Still, others lean on unhealthy crutches, such as alcohol, drugs, or tobacco. There are ways you can mitigate work-related stress and even avoid it.
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Know That You Are Not Alone
Work-related stress is common in many professions, especially the ones with high stakes. Even seasoned professionals must deal with tense situations from time to time. It can be helpful to remember that stress is normal and doesn’t mean you can’t be a great lawyer.
Being open about workplace stress is a good way to work through it. If you think you can talk with your colleagues about the source of your stress, then you should. You may find they are feeling overwhelmed too. By working together, you can help each other find a solution.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking with your colleagues about workplace stress, talk with family or friends. They may not be able to empathize with you, but they can offer an outside perspective and remind you that your life extends beyond the office walls. Professional advice is another option, letting you vent your stress while affording some privacy.
Find a Law Firm with a Supportive Culture
Before looking for a law firm to join or switch to, write down the values and criteria of your ideal law firm. Learn as much as you can during the interview process. Read reviews online and talk with employees at the firm if you can. Find out what the expectations are so you know more about the work environment and if it’s compatible with your lifestyle.
The culture of a workplace plays a big role in the well-being and success of all employees. Finding a firm that shares your values and offers engaging work in a supportive environment helps you feel more valued and leads to a happier and more productive career.
If you are the partner or owner of a small firm, regularly check in with your other attorneys and staff members to gauge stress levels. Listen to their concerns and feedback. Knowing that they have a voice at the firm will help them feel more respected and valued.
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Create Processes and Automate as Much as Possible
Workplace stress is often caused by having too many things going on at the same time. While this is sometimes unavoidable, you can reduce the frequency and severity by creating streamlined processes. This will help everyone at the firm work more effectively and allow matters and cases to flow through the system more easily.
Adding automation to your law firm’s processes can help reduce the workload, errors, and time needed to fix them. Some areas that lend themselves well to automation are timekeeping, billing, and client intake.
Hire a Paralegal or Outsource Help
Don’t try to do everything yourself. Hire people, either as employees or contractors, who can share the workload. If you need help with your law firm’s marketing and communications, contact Law As a Business (LAB). We help practitioners and firms run efficient, profitable law firms through creative solutions.
Create a successful maintenance plan for your firm’s clients!
Attorneys know that elder law and estate planning are designed for a snapshot in time. However, life is not static, and those worries change and evolve over time. The answer to making sure clients’ plans evolve with them is establishing regular communication to update or modify their plans. Watch this video and learn how to develop ongoing long-term relationships with your clients through a maintenance plan, so they know you’re still available and ready to help them with legal issues that come up down the road.