Book Review: The Happy Lawyer

This is a picture of where my “office” was yesterday: I’m on retreat, spending lots of time outside reading, writing, and thinking about my business.  Here’s a link to a post I wrote last year describing how you might engage in your own retreat, to review and evaulate how your practice is running and how it might work better.  I highly recommend an annual professional retreat, whether you choose to leave town or just spend a few hours in a closed-door session.

The book you see on yesterday’s “desk” is The Happy Lawyer by Larry Schreiter.  I’d been wanting to read it because of its description, “How to gain more satisfaction, suffer less stress, and enjoy higher earnings in your law practice.”  Who doesn’t want that?  The book is a quick 188-page read, full of exercises to help clarify the practice and the clients that will allow you to create a satisfying practice.  It then continues with suggestions on how to create that practice once you’ve identified it, how to attract the clients who will appreciate your efforts, and how to engage in a happy practice.  The bottom line is not terribly surprising, though I like the way it’s presented: to be a happy lawyer, figure out what you like about practice and then find ways to get more of that.

The exercises are the backbone of the book: there’s little point in purchasing this book unless you intend to complete  them.  Certain key concepts are identified, such as finding the “Seeds of Satisfaction,” “YES! Clients,” and “Arena of Preeminence,” but since every lawyer will find different parts of practice satisfying, different kinds of clients fulfilling, and different areas of expertise appealing, there are no shortcuts to the answers.  If you’ve ever considered coaching to support your developing a satisfying practice, this book is a nice middle ground.  Similarly, if you’ve purchased this or a similar book and not done the exercises (which are important, but not urgent), you might consider engaging a coach to help provide accountability and reflection so you can get to your answers.

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