Stress & Practicing Law

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  • Topic: Practice of law, Lawyer, Law
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  • Published : April 27, 2013
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Stress and Practicing Law
OL125-Human Relations in Administration
March 24, 2013
Stress and Practicing Law
Work related stress is seemingly inevitable for most people at one time or another. One profession appears to fall prey to stress more often than not. According to Maute (1992), “lawyers experience high levels of stress which may undercut their effectiveness, shorten their legal careers or their lives” (p. 797). The stress attorneys encounter is born from a variety of sources, can have mild to dire consequences, and can be successfully managed.

Attorney stress can be attributed to many factors. Long hours, pressure to make ends meet, and an overabundance or lack of work can contribute to work related stresses for lawyers (Maute, 1992, p. 797). According to Keeva (1992), additional stress can come in the form of dissatisfaction that originates in the “area of human contact” which is a “biological imperative” he says, “but lawyers are trained academically, professionally and culturally to thwart that biological need” (p.1). The multiple professional stressors attorneys endure can be detrimental both personally and professionally.

The toll that stress takes on the lives of people who practice law ranges from mild to extreme. Hansen (2009) states, “lawyers as a group were nearly four times as likely to suffer from depression as the average person. Other studies have shown that lawyers are two to six times more likely to be clinically depressed than people in other lines of work” (p. 35). Maute’s (1992) study found the following: Their long work hours leave them exhausted and without sufficient time for personal lives. Over time, the unfavorable work conditions produce stress, burnout, substance abuse, and other disorders. These job related hazards exact a heavy toll on lawyers' personal and professional lives. While the first negative impact may be on the personal side, if unresolved, it will eventually spill over to impair the...
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