THE STRESSFUL CHALLENGES OF BEING A LAWYER AND WHY IT’S WORTH IT
Lawyers make the real world go round, as the legal profession has been the backbone of societies fighting for people and just causes. The regular daily routine of meetings and research spanning long hours can be draining, and some lawyers have to go through a double fold of stress to satisfy new clients and make it up the career ladder. Despite these challenges, many more young adults continue to thirst for a stint in the legal side of the world. Here are some stressful challenges of being a lawyer and why it’s worth it.
Many lawyers, especially those practicing on the world stage, work for extended periods per day. According to the 2018 Legal Trends Report, about 75 percent of lawyers work outside the regular business hours. And for most junior lawyers, taking days off isn’t an option. Being a beginner in the legal field may require you to be at the beck and call of lawyers at all times, clocking in more billable hours, income, and prestige.
The thirst for more often leads to several issues that require lawyers to seek intensive outpatient therapy for depression. Lawyers unpack more stressors as they advance and are more likely to suffer from mental illness issues than colleagues in other industries. The rates are even higher for lawyers at the helm of things calling for extensive experience and success.
Take a legal director or an attorney, for instance. According to the ALM’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse Survey in 2020, 32 percent of attorneys complained of a wide range of symptoms, including eating disorders and suicidal ideation. Mental health professionals recommend daily treatment and intensive therapy solutions for lawyers to numb the effects of mental health triggers.
Despite these mental triggers, lawyers still think it’s worth it because the end result usually pays off.
Law School Debt
Being a young lawyer can be hard. The standards in getting a law degree can come with intense pressure and discipline. And then there is law school debt. About 90 percent of law students have to leverage student loans to earn an undergraduate degree. More than 74 percent have to struggle with these debts before and many years after graduating.
Despite these debts, the legal industry is one of the most profitable, productive sectors in a growing number of countries. Budding lawyers in the United Kingdom and the United States can earn very well. This makes the long hours of fielding peace negotiations, bringing down corrupt networks, and managing notable cases of human rights abuses worth it.
Also, for lawyers like Malliha Wilson, working in the public sector and pushing an impressive career in the space can be very rewarding. Mallika Wilson started her career as a young lawyer decades ago. She became the senior counsel for the Ministry of Government Services and later the special legal advisor at the Investment Management Corporation of Ontario (IMCO).
From 2008 till 2016, Malliha was the assistant deputy attorney general for the Government of Ontario. With her impressive career and as a Tamil Canadian lawyer, she became the first visible minority to chalk that milestone. For Mallika, this was definitely a milestone that made her career thoroughly worth it.
Not all the legal stress is from long hours of working. Some clients also make the legal profession hard to navigate by hiding things when guilty and putting themselves above the rule of law. Lawyers prefer to have clients spread all cards on the table, whether guilty or not. It helps to assess the case more thoroughly and devise an appropriate action plan. Often, some clients mess with the facts at the early stages of the trial and make the whole process challenging for lawyers when they later discover the realities. However, despite these dodgy clients, the vast majority of clients are reliable and also pay healthily.
Many stressors come with being a lawyer, but it can also be a very rewarding career that you should not be hesitant to pursue.