A good day at work? Not likely if you’re a lawyer

It’s not just Trump and Brexit which are getting us down

Lead12

Research by business psychologists Robertson Cooper recently found that a sad 25% of adults say that work makes them unhappy, and 10% say that they don’t even have one good day at work a week (what, not even Friday?)

We also know that lawyers are among the most miserable with unmanageable workloads, micro-managing partners and terrifying targets. Only last year, the American Bar Association did some scientific research with a philanthropic foundation on substance abuse and US attorneys. The findings, published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, found that over 60% of lawyers reported anxiety and just over 45% reported depression.

The research also revealed that over 20% of lawyers had problematic drinking, which is almost twice the level found in a broader study of a highly-educated workforce (only about 11% had hazardous drinking habits). There is even an eight-week mindfulness course out there purely dedicated to the anxious lawyer.

Yet it is also the case that many firms are increasing their well-being packages and perks, offering freebies and flexibility as Legal Cheek found in its 2016 Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey. As of the beginning of this year, Slaughter and May’s young lawyers can now take up a series of perks including a four-week paid sabbatical (for those with three years+ PQE), the opportunity to request one day a week working from home, and an on-site doctor (presumably for the other four days working in the office).

But none of these trimmings appear to be working.

Some in the media argue that the problem is that we expect too much — that the notion that one should be happy at work is simply unrealistic.

Or, perhaps, it is that we are looking at the stats the wrong way: the Robertson Cooper survey also found that 75% of us don’t find work makes them unhappy. That’s the vast majority.

And, paradoxically, the era of Trump and Brexit should at least make lawyers proud of what they do: in the first six months post-referendum, the rule of law has beaten ‘the rule of ministers’ in the Article 50 decision when the UK Supreme Court held that the legislature had to vote on withdrawal before the government went ahead.

Within hours of Trump’s travel ban, volunteer lawyers were on hand to help those who suddenly found themselves in legal limbo at various US east coast airports as a result of the executive immigration order.

Presumably, there will be no end to the legal challenges which Trump’s presidency and Brexit will give rise to. Something to consider for that paid sabbatical?

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42 Comments

Good

Because it’s soul destroying and BORING?!

Unless you work at Jones Day of course – in that case it can be really fun.

(26)(1)
Aroused equity partner

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(1)(0)
Air Hair Lair

I had wondered why no Legal pro ever laughs.
I miss working class people, you see we have all had horrible jobs, difficulty keeping our heads above, and laugh through it all. At least you guys get a reasonable wage and avoid hazardous and dirty working conditions. Try cycling to work and sing some songs.
Do some gardening maybe.

(0)(0)
Air Hair Lair

Ps if Aroused Equity Partner’s post hadn’t been removed , we could have tried ‘that’and discovered if it made us all more cheerful

(0)(0)
CrimBo

Aha!

Try Legal Aid crime!

Love nearly every day (albeit not the pay).

Money isn’t everything!

(9)(6)
Anonymous

Why so many haters?

Have you tried a criminal practice? Or are you just jealous that yours is a job about which few TV dramas are made?

(2)(0)
Anonymous

“And, paradoxically, the era of Trump and Brexit should at least make lawyers proud of what they do: in the first six months post-referendum, the rule of law has beaten ‘the rule of ministers’ in the Article 50 decision when the UK Supreme Court held that the legislature had to vote on withdrawal before the government went ahead. Within hours of Trump’s travel ban, volunteer lawyers were on hand to help those who suddenly found themselves in legal limbo at various US east coast airports as a result of the executive immigration order.”

You wrongly assume there that all lawyers, when it comes to political persuasion, are either Remoaners or Anti-Trump. I am not sure about the US, but you’d be surprised how many partners in my firm (MC) were declared Leave voters.

(27)(6)
Anonymous

Can we have an article on the difference between Trumps proposed 90 day travel ban based on the 7 country list – and –
Obamas actually executed 6 month travel ban on the same 7 country list ( a list that Obama created in the first place)?

Like, based on scrutiny on the wording of each executive order? what is the difference?

I don’t understand why Obamas ban is allowed and Trumps is not allowed + unconstitutional

(5)(4)
Anonymous

Except Obama never executed a travel ban on those seven countries…

In 2011 Obama instituted a more extreme vetting process (which was not an outright ban but simply a slowdown regarding visas) for immigrants from Iraq only. The other 6 nations were not affected by Obama’s policy.

I’m afraid you have fallen for some of those alternative facts that are floating around.

http://www.snopes.com/president-obama-ban-muslims-2011/

(8)(2)
Air Hair Lair

Now heres a post I’ve been waiting for!

I am an opponent of the new Right Wing takeover epitomised(?) by Trump and Brexit.

However is this not a brilliant time for Law?

Crowdfunding for Legal cases?
All these refugees and supposed illegal immigrants who need representing?
Freedom of press and individual privicy rights to defend?
A Government always hovering on the edge of legality?
Election expense scandal?
Right wing commentators defaming individuals publicly?
My point is, surely you guys are busy, right? Have you ever had it so good?
USA even better.

Because ( excuse my grammar, I come from the cabbage fields of Lincolnshire) all I am hearing from my law and finance customers in London , is you have stopped buying . Stopped spending- even though Express says theres a Brexit Boom.

I know Londoners hate uncertainty ( the only certainties in life being Death and Nurses) so I can understand Finance holding it’s breath, but really ,
You guys are going to need another desk for all this extra work ! No?

Oh, while I’m here, could those arguing two different opinions not both tag themselves ‘anonymous’

(0)(0)
Anonymous

I feel like this article ended too prematurely, like the author gave up writing mid-way through and instead tried to find some more juicy KWM or Blacker gossip. More fulsome articles, please!

(21)(0)
Officious bystander

Maybe they were too depressed to carry on?

(19)(0)
(Primitive) Feminist

Good article – coming from a feminist here.

Can we get rid of Katie and just have you?

(7)(2)
Anonymous

Still more qualified than you, mate.

Made any plans to move out of you mum’s basement yet?

(5)(4)
Anonymous

Oh, and how was the pupillage gateway applications? Get many in this time around? What is it, fifth time of asking? Or was it sixth?

Don’t worry, buddy. I’m sure they’ll realise your brilliance and at least ask you for a pity interview this time around. Chin up.

(3)(5)
Anonymous

“Some in the media argue that the problem is that we expect too much — that the notion that one should be happy at work is simply unrealistic.” – I agree.

I enjoy my work as a trainee; great responsibility, good team and great firm overall. I don’t struggle to get up in the morning or pray for the end of the day BUT I don’t want to work. I think its just human mentality. We want things but do we really want to work for it?! People are just miserable because they have to do something that they wouldn’t do if they had the chance. Thats the way I see it.

(15)(1)
Anonymous

You’re just a trainee. There’s time for that good attitude to be bled out of you.

(17)(0)
A miserable clerk

Hang on, lawyers are miserable?!?!
Try being a clerk!!! You’ve got barristers moaning in 1 ear & an irate solicitor/paralegal/legal exec/senior partner in the other! And that’s before your senior clerk wakes up snarling for coffee.

(9)(2)
Anonymous

Why do you do it then mate? One only does these sad office jobs for the money. Yet, I cannot imagine a clerk’s salary would justify putting up with nonsense like what you’ve described.

(8)(0)
Anonymous

I hear experienced clerks at the top sets actually earn a lot of money (think up to £100k).

(9)(0)
Air Hair Lair

Rent or mortgage must take care of £50k out of that, a car costs 300-400 a month, by the time you’ve bought Lunch and maybe get caught by a camera in that box junction in Wandsworth now and then, driving a bus looks increasingly attractive compared to clerking at supposedly 100k!

(0)(0)
Jones Day Partner

The trainee I woke up with this morning has already made today a good day 😍

(22)(2)
1st year law student

Why people make so much fun with Irwin Mitchael?

I just looked at their website and it appears all to be fine?

(2)(2)
Timnicebutdim

*Irwin Mitchell

You will definitely fit right in..

(7)(0)
Trumpenkrieg

Why do these lefty cuck have to complain about fucking people for money? Once a lefty, always a lefty

(1)(2)
Air Hair Lair

Trumpenkreig Why did you come here?
I am asking the question, like what attracted you to the site, and why you’d think your comments were relevant or decipherable?
Love Airhairlair

(0)(0)
Lord Trumpington of Brownsville

Yep, look what happened to ex Junior Barrister Henry Hendron with his chemsex binges and worse. BTW, despite being banned by the BSB, is he now surreptitiously working with his twin at Richard Hendron’s newly formed De Facto (solicitors) Ltd, Soho?

(2)(1)

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