PERSONAL EXPERIENCE IN THE LAW
I worked for five years as a lawyer at big law firms, and I remember the pressure and intensity that law firm environments can bring to bear on lawyers and non-legal staff.
This past work experience has informed my work with lawyers in individual and in couple’s therapy. Thanks to this experience, the attorney and I share a common understanding of law firm life and are then able to identify the source(s) of distress more readily.
SOURCES OF DISTRESS FOR LAWYERS
That distress may emanate principally from communications with other attorneys, and in such cases, the work may involve developing specific interpersonal skills to manage those communications and interactions more effectively. Often, the distress also derives from worries about job security; billable hours; productivity; work product quality; or efficient time use. In other instances, the distress derives from lack of control over one’s personal schedule and from uncertainties about when to seek guidance from senior attorneys and when to make independent judgment calls.
IMPROVING SITUATION WITHIN THE CURRENT FIRM
In many cases, I have worked with attorneys and helped them clarify their circumstances and the expectations they have of themselves versus the expectations others have of them. I have also helped attorneys become more direct, effective and assertive in their professional interactions and have helped them develop skills that minimize the impact of their anxiety on their work.
KNOWING WHEN A MOVE IS BEST
In a few cases, the therapy has provided the space for attorneys to consider whether their current practice group or firm constitutes a good fit. Sometimes attorneys have also considered changing legal fields, from litigation to corporate, for example. Most important is that attorneys find a setting where they receive the blend of support and independence, they need in order to thrive.