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The Happy Lawyer: How to Gain More Satisfaction, Suffer Less Stress, and Enjoy Higher Earnings in Your Law Practice

Happylawyer After two recent posts exploring why lawyers are unhappy, we figured we'd balance the gloom with a post about the highly regarded book - The Happy Lawyer - which offers simple principles to help lawyers increase their satisfaction from practicing law. The book includes tips on:

  • How to discover the type of law practice that serves one's highest aspirations and values.
  • How to choose the right clients, whose work will bring satisfaction and fulfillment
  • How to develop and dominate a niche and distinguish oneself from the mass of generic legal service providers
  • How to increase productivity and free time.

We were told by the publisher that they've stopped printing the book, but you can still buy it at Amazon for $39.95.

According to Arnie Herz, Esq., attorney and publisher of the Legal Sanity blog: "The Happy Lawyer contains some great insights and advice on finding our passion and purpose in the law. What makes it a standout, though, are its clear and concise written exercises on discovering (or re-discovering) why we went into law, who our optimal clients are and what practice areas really resonate for us."

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"What's all this about 'passion?" some lawyers might be saying.

As I've worked extensively with lawyers for over 20 years, and incorporate a lot of knowledge of personal behavioral style in my consulting and coaching, I wonder if many or most lawyers know what their passion is or are "passionate types" about work and outside interests. And if they are, many have not taken the time or know how to identify and pursue their passion.

Many of those who do know leave the law if they find their passion is something that a legal career won't allow time and space for. Some people are excited by the opportunities they can pursue as a next career after a long legal career and a great deal of experience gathered as they stuck it out for many years. They may find work and passion come together.

Those of us for whom self-expression is a significant need or want are frustrated in any environment where we feel we are not in reasonable control of our activities. I say "reasonable" because if we are dedicated to our clients, they do control how we spend our time to a considerable extent. But if we like (or love or are passionate about)what we do and our clients, that's OK and is as it should be.

Even many of the lawyers that do love their work know that the "system" is broken. I am referring to more than the billable hours system, though that affects other things that need to change in order to engage and retain creative and bright young professionals. I don't think the answer is for associates to unionize (as has been suggested several years ago), but we do have to start and maintain dialogues to develop new, workable, profitable ways to do things. I am an optimist (a typical Baby Boomer and Gen Y trait), and I think such change is possible. It will take a commitment to action from people who will take risks for something better.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot
www.pdcounsel.com

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