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Despite the handsome incomes they often command, lawyers are far from the happiest of professionals. Seven in ten attorneys in one poll said they would choose other careers if they had to do it over again and, in another poll, fewer than half said they would encourage young people to become lawyers.
Indeed, no poll has ever put the law in the top tier of satisfying professions. The economic uncertainty of recent years has only made law students and lawyers think harder than ever before about what they can hope to get out of careers in law.
This book not only sheds light on why so many lawyers find so little to like about their jobs, but also explores what they can do about the problem. Drawing on recent psychological research on happiness, Nancy Levit and Douglas Linder highlight various factors that contribute to professional stress and frustration--from pressure to increase the number of billable hours to discontents that occur when the job's demands fail to mesh with a lawyer's personal values or aspirations.
They offer an array of coping tools, both large and small, that will help attorneys find more balance in their lives; they also suggest ways that law firms can be more flexible to accommodate their employees' needs, thus boosting morale and, in the process, producing higher-quality work. The authors also show how law students can better define their goals to ensure a satisfying career.
Having interviewed more than two hundred lawyers across the country, Levit and Linder enliven their account with engrossing--and sometimes surprising--career stories from both happy and unhappy lawyers. From these stories they develop sensible solutions for lawyers and the legal profession as a whole. Attorneys and law students with doubts or questions about their career choices will find a wealth of reassurance and good advice in this book.