Lawyers are tasked with a lot of responsibilities as part of their job description. Apart from defending clients in their legal battles to ensure they win, lawyers are also required to prepare for a case adequately. This involves long hours of research and providing all necessary paperwork for the case. Moreover, lawyers need to be there for their clients, to comfort them in their low moments and assure them all will be well. This applies no matter whether you are a privacy lawyer or a family lawyer.
Before one can practice law, they are required to have obtained a bachelor’s degree, law degree, and successfully pass the bar examination. Due to their educational qualifications, lawyers are paid well compared to other employees. A lawyer earns approximately $135000 yearly. Despite the considerable pay, a career in law can take a toll on the mental and emotional state of an individual. The psychological breakdown of a lawyer may come as a result of the workload they are required to carry, and lack of social life as a result.
Several factors contribute to the mental and emotional issues of a lawyer, as discussed below.
Initial Case Preparation
Once a lawyer has received a client who needs help in a legal matter, the lawyer needs to carry out thorough case preparation to ensure the client ultimately wins. This involves long hours of research with their paralegals and assistants, to ensure there’s an organised file. Lawyers face pressure during case preparation, especially when a serious crime like murder is involved. Lawyers have to ensure their clients win even in a tough civil suit. Moreover, limited time in preparing a case builds up intense pressure, wearing lawyers down and building up stress in their system.
The Client’s Interest
One of the main factors lawyers are focused on achieving is the client’s interests. In most instances, legal requirements are not always in line with the client’s interests. This is because the client’s case may have little legal standing, thus posing a threat to its outcome. Clients entrust their case to legal professionals, and a lawyer’s inability to deliver and ensure their clients are compensated causes psychological turmoil on them.
In court proceedings, lawyers are required to be alert and in the right frame of mind to present their cases. The presence of a jury, media, and the judge may cause one to be anxious about their capability to deliver. High profile cases cause a lot of pressure on lawyers as they are required to be eloquent and straightforward in presenting their arguments, be present to object and ask the correct questions when given a chance. During the presentation, a lawyer can experience emotional exhaustion due to the expected verdict and nature of the case.
Researchers have linked a lack of work-life balance to stress and fatigue among lawyers. In fact, highly successful lawyers who work for large organisations, such as consumer lawyers, and spend most of their time at work do not have a work-life balance. This affects them both emotionally and mentally. Long hours at work separate lawyers from their families and cause burnout and stress.
Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety are the main causes of mental and emotional issues among lawyers. An increasing workload piling up on lawyers and unbalanced work-life can cause one to feel depressed about their current state of life, and anxious about the future. Lawyers are known to suffer from mental health issues which may lead to a feeling of hopelessness and even suicide.
Although lawyers are tasked with the responsibility of saving people from their problems and changing their lives, the efforts put into the profession takes away their work-life balance, leaving them at the mercy of their busy schedules. To save themselves from the emotional toll and mental health issues, lawyers need to seek the required medical help and learn to balance a professional life, social life, and family life.