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Why are so many lawyers unhappy with their jobs?

published January 27, 2014

By Follow Me on
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We know there are a number of attorneys who are not happy with their jobs. So we decided to ask attorneys why so many lawyers are unhappy with their jobs. There are a variety of reasons why lawyers are unhappy, but the most frequent answer was that they didn't know what they were getting themselves into. Another potential reason is that they thought becoming an attorney was as glamorous as it was portrayed on film and television.
 
Why are so many lawyers unhappy with their jobs?

I run the blog Leave Law Behind (http://www.leavelawbehind.com) and I write for and coach many attorneys who are unhappy practicing the law in ways to explore their skills and strengths and find other opportunities, within law or in other industries and areas.

In short, I feel that many attorneys are no happy with their jobs because of the following X reason:
 
  1. They didn't really think critically about going to law school. They just went. I was a Jewish kid who didn't like blood, ergo no medical school for me, how about law school? Really, this important life decision is often done without much critical thinking.
     
  2. Their skill set is not in line with what it takes to be a lawyer. Many attorneys are good at certain things: speaking, writing, analyzing, etc. But often times the actual practice of law requires other skills, such as adversarial litigation, and constant mundane scheduling or boring contract review. After a while, attorneys realize they are leaving their skills on the table and, day to day, doing things they don't like to do and aren't confident doing.
     
  3. They are risk averse, so they don't take the time to really explore what other options are out there. Instead, an attorneys' default position is to not take a chance, or prepare and explore change. Rather, they just keep doing what they are doing.

-Casey

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