It’s often easy, and rather in vogue, to think that practicing law is a drain, a burden, incompatible with having a personal life. Sometimes that’s true. If it’s more often than not true for any individual lawyer, there’s a problem that needs a solution — a new way of approaching practice or managing your energy, a new job, perhaps, or a new area of practice, or possibly a career other than practicing law. But it’s a continuum, with “perfect” untouched on one end and “unbearably horrible” untouched on the other end.
Where on the continuum are you? Very often we diagnose based on what’s wrong. But today, I’d like to suggest a different set of questions. What’s right in your practice? What do you enjoy? When are you at your best in practice? What gives you the rush, the thrill, the joy of being a lawyer? And how do you get more of the good stuff?
It’s just as important to evaluate what’s going well as it is to identify and correct what isn’t. In fact, it may be more important, simply because we tend to find what we expect to find. Practice is challenging, but if you expect it to be unpleasant, chances are strong that it will be. With that in mind, it makes sense to spend some time identifying the good parts of practice so you have a better opportunity to expect and recognize the recurring good things. For examples of what some lawyers see as being right in practice, visit Stephanie West Allen’s Legal Highlights series here, here, and here.