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How Can Lawyers Avoid Burnout While Managing Their Practices?

A lawyer posted a question about how to feel less burnout managing your law practice. So many lawyers and law firm owners experience burnout. I have been there. When you are there, you feel hopeless and like quitting your job and becoming a housewife…… or at least that’s how I used to feel.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Here is my response:

  1. Hire highly competent people and then do all you can to refrain from micromanaging them/unnecessarily inserting yourself which escalates your stress and makes them less productive.
  2. Delegate the work that causes you to stress out. For the stressful work that remains on your plate, do everything in your power to feel curious rather than dread prior to stressful attorney/client interactions. Try to laugh in your head about obnoxious/disrespectful behavior from opc, clients, etc., and set strong boundaries in writing regularly.  
  3. Do not immediately respond to bullies. Less is more. Shorter, less immediate, more direct communications with less frequency will give you more power and space from the stress.
  4. Be curious when it comes to interactions with your staff and do all you can to not take things personally. How you are treated is a reflection of them not you personally and improving your management style will only improve your interactions and lower your stress.
  5. Start weekly therapy or coaching to learn coping strategies for not allowing yourself to become so emotionally affected by work.
  6. No matter how much value you add to your clients’ lives and how much you genuinely love what you do, you must train yourself to remove your ego from the business. It’s a mule you feed to operate. It makes you money. The less you see it as a reflection of you, the more you can separate your heart and soul from your lawyer life and change your focus on the activities that bring you the most bliss. Also, the more you can separate yourself from the business the more value you will provide to your clients from the systems you set up and the people you hire/train. If it starts and stops with you, how can you continue to provide the highest level of service to your clients when you are on vacation, sick, in labor, or simply not feeling your best? You can’t and thus will inevitably burn out.