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Tips for Lawyers: How To Overcome Challenges and Protect Mental Health

Tips for Lawyers How To Overcome Challenges and Protect Mental Health

This interview is part of Loio’s series of interviews with legal enthusiasts about the ins and outs of the legal industry.

Law is a demanding profession that requires intellectual rigor and often involves high-stakes conditions. Beneath the prestige of legal practice, there’s an underlying challenge: many legal professionals struggle with a culture of overwork. If one were to consider how busy are lawyers, it becomes clear that their schedules are commonly packed, potentially leading to heightened stress levels, burnout, and other mental health issues

This article seeks to discuss these challenges and propose strategies to manage them, placing a strong emphasis on the importance of safeguarding mental well-being in the legal profession.

Do Lawyers Work Long Hours?

The culture of overwork is ubiquitous across many professions, but it has a notably prominent influence within the field of law. Buoyed by the billable hours system, this culture compels legal professionals to endure long hours and unmanageably heavy workloads to succeed consistently. However, this often results in the delicate scales of work-life balance teetering precariously. As a result, personal relationships, mental health, and physical well-being are frequently under threat.

Recognizing the critical nature of this issue, Lisa Lang, the General Counsel for Kentucky State University, has become a pivotal figure in advocating for change. Known for her commitment to mentorship and paying it forward, Lang will further provide invaluable insights and advice on this complex issue in this article.

Tackling the Overwork Epidemic in the Legal Profession

Curbing the pervasiveness of overworking in the legal field requires a distinct change in perspective. First and foremost, it is vital to understand that excellent work does not necessarily equate to extreme lawyer work hours. Lisa Lang emphasized this concept by saying, “Until you prioritize your well-being, you will not be able to serve your clients to the best of your ability.”

To safeguard your mental and physical health, devise a clear strategy to manage your tasks and alleviate the urgency for instant outcomes. Lisa Lang offers a helpful tip: engaging in straightforward discussions about project timelines can significantly minimize strain. Being open about your caseload provides clients and superiors insight into your situation, fostering a more empathetic workplace.

Remember, extricating oneself from the overwork culture, especially when lawyers overworked, is a gradual process. Nonetheless, initiating these first steps can significantly promote a healthier work environment and enhance your personal well-being.

Handling distractions

In a world connected through the tap of a screen, distractions urge us to scatter our attention across multiple tasks. With their deadlines, case files, and client communications, lawyers are not immune to this. However, the key to productivity might lie in monotasking. Dedicate time to individual tasks. Switch off your notifications, close irrelevant tabs, and, as Lisa Lang humorously suggests, turn your phone “off and upside down.”

Enhancing emotional intelligence

Law practice is human practice. Cases aren’t just about laws — they are about individual stories. Embracing emotional intelligence and leadership skills can refine client and colleague interactions. Encouraging empathy, understanding, and connection breathes human warmth into the cold, complex field of law and facilitates better professional relationships.

Preserving lawyer work-life balance

Maintaining well-being within the often demanding law firm work culture requires a healthy balance between your professional responsibilities and personal life. While juggling a law career alongside personal commitments can seem as challenging as performing a tightrope act, finding that equilibrium is undoubtedly achievable. It’s crucial to keep the intense culture of a law firm from consuming your entire life. Always remember your profession is just one facet of your identity.

Here are some tangible steps you can take to help maintain a healthier work-life balance:

  • Set clear boundaries: Outline specific “work and personal hours” and commit to them. Remember, it’s okay to unplug from work during your time.
  • Exercise regularly: A quick 30-minute workout can help relieve stress, improve physical health, and boost mood.
  • Pursue hobbies: Whether reading, painting, or hiking, engaging in a hobby can provide a much-needed break from your work.
  • Spend time with loved ones: Cultivate your relationships. Quality time with family and friends can significantly boost your mental health.
  • Prioritize downtime: Schedule some time each day to relax and rejuvenate. This might involve meditating, taking a warm bath, or even taking a short nap.
  • Remember your identity: Your job doesn’t wholly define you. You’re a multi-dimensional person with various roles, interests, and capacities outside your work.

Striking a work-life balance is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. It’s a personal journey that calls for regular self-assessment and adjustments. By incorporating these tips into your routine, you’ll likely see improvements in your personal and professional life.

Importance of Seeking Help and Building Networks

Reaching out for assistance when the weight of stress bears down too hard is not a sign of weakness; instead, it’s an act of strength. Remember that it’s okay to turn to professionals, mentors, or colleagues for guidance. Whether you’re struggling with a complex case or finding it tough to cope with work pressures, a whole community is ready to lend a helping hand.

Investing time in building your network can have manifold returns. Not only does it offer a safety net during challenging times, but it also presents an opportunity to develop your brand within the profession. Platforms like peer support networks provide a secure space for individuals to voice their concerns, gain insights, and find solace in shared experiences.

A striking example of successful network-building is Lisa Lang’s LinkedIn series, WHY DO THIS, NOT THAT™. Through this initiative, Lang has promoted community-building among lawyers and the importance of personal branding in the profession. The series is a testament to her brand as a mentor and her commitment to fostering reciprocal learning within the legal community. It shows that building networks and crafting a solid personal brand can go hand in hand, ultimately adding value to your well-being and professional growth.


While it’s true that many people may ask, do all lawyers work long hours? It’s important to remember that the legal profession, despite its inherent challenges, doesn’t have to trigger overwork at the expense of mental health. By shifting work paradigms, managing distractions, harnessing emotional intelligence, maintaining lawyer work-life balance, and seeking help when necessary, it’s possible to foster a healthier work environment and an improved quality of life. 

Remember that taking care of your well-being is a personal matter and a professional imperative. After all, a healthy lawyer is, without a doubt, a more effective lawyer.

Article by Yevheniia Savchenko

Yevheniia Savchenko is a Product Content Manager at Lawrina. Yevheniia creates user interface copies for Lawrina products, writes release notes, and helps customers get the best user experience from all Lawrina products. Also, Yevheniia is in charge of creating helpful content on legal template pages (Lawrina Templates) and up-to-date information on US law (Lawrina Guides). In her spare time, Yevheniia takes up swimming, travels, and goes for a walk in her home city.

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