By Ashley M. Stephenson, Member of the New York Women’s Bar Association
Over the last few years, mental health and well-being have become part of mainstream conversation. The increasing number of individuals seeking care for mental health issues has pressured businesses to evolve to meet and support their needs. In particular, the fast and demanding pace of life in the legal industry means that lawyers, naturally, experience high levels of stress on a daily basis. It is, therefore, vital that they learn how to cope with the pressures of the industry in a healthy way.
In a profession that is constantly changing, resilience is a vital part of a lawyer’s toolkit for success, so much so, that one of the most essential qualities for lawyers in 2023 will be resilience. The legal landscape is fast-paced and high-pressured. When coupled with the fact that many law firms are global in their reach, and have a network of offices, it can be difficult to “switch off” and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
As they seek to build better practices and remain competitive in a challenging market, lawyers are turning to resilience to help manage these challenges. Resilience can help lawyers in 2023 and beyond by empowering them to remain innovative, adaptable, and mindful of their purpose and values. Changing your mindset and outlook on a situation can take training and willpower. There are several things that lawyers can do to help improve their resilience. Focusing on one’s own personal well-being is the first step.
When working on a particularly demanding case, it is easy to lose sight of the impact that long hours and stress can have on your well-being. However, setting time aside to focus on your own health can help deal with the pressure, reduce the effects of stress, and minimize the chances of it negatively impacting your health. While it’s evident that resilience can help reduce stress, increase productivity, and boost morale, resilience can also help with your ability to adapt in the face of challenges and maintain stable well-being.
With the increasing demand for new legal services, keeping up with the ever-evolving legal landscape, lawyers with resilience will be better equipped to research, develop, and implement cutting-edge legal solutions that help their clients succeed. In addition, developing resilience can help lawyers take steps to forge a successful career path, constantly looking for ways to continually learn and grow their skills by attending conferences, joining professional associations, and volunteering.
Finally, resilience can help lawyers by reminding them of their values and priorities within the profession. Too often, lawyers have been driven by the bottom-line, sacrificing ethical principles and long-term objectives in order to meet short-term expectations and demands. This can take a toll on lawyers’ sense of identity and undermine their effectiveness and opportunities for growth. By strengthening one’s resilience this year, lawyers can stay connected to their values and ethics and have an opportunity to reflect on their purpose, motivations, and priorities.