Happy lawyers are healthy lawyers

July 12, 2010
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Are lawyers just an unhappy bunch of people? Based on recent books aimed at attorneys, you’d get that impression.

Harvey Hyman is one of the latest people to write a book aimed at helping attorneys. Attorneys, as you may know, often spend a lot of time working. Being a lawyer is a stressful job and can lead to drug and alcohol abuse and addiction or mental-health issues.

Hyman, a personal injury attorney, disliked the long hours at work and was hospitalized with severe depression. He overcame it with meditation, exercise, and positive psychology. Now he wants to help you.

His book, “The Upward Spiral: Getting Lawyers from Daily Misery to Lifetime Wellbeing” shows attorneys how to use meditation, nutrition, and therapy to make themselves happier. Happier attorneys mean less stressed attorneys, which can translate into fewer chemically addicted or depressed attorneys.

If this book doesn’t sound like your thing, there are countless others out there aimed specifically at attorneys. There’s a new book called “The Happy Lawyer: Making a Good Life in the Law.” Not specifically a self-help book, it discusses how career choices can maximize the chances of achieving happiness.
Go to amazon.com and type in “lawyer happy.” You’ll get “The Happy Lawyer” but you’ll also find “The Unhappy Lawyer: A Roadmap to Finding Meaningful Work Outside of the Law,” “The Happy Lawyer: How to Gain More Satisfaction, Suffer Less Stress, and Enjoy Higher Earnings in Your Law Practice.” No doubt that many of the self-help books out there geared toward attorneys tackle happiness.

Is the lack of happiness key to attorneys (or really anyone) turning to drugs or alcohol, or becoming depressed? Do you find yourself unhappy because of your job? Would you buy one of these books?
 

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  • Mediation or Meditation
    I respectfully suggest that there is a typo in this story. I imagine that, instead of mediation being his path towards happiness, Harvey Hyman probably practiced meditation.
  • Correction
    You're right. Thanks for pointing that out. I've made the correction.
  • Meditation
    Great! Thanks for your thoughts about various ways for lawyers to de-stress and find a healthier path. I think lawyers' stress is a huge problem. Love yoga and meditation -- and exercise. They have done me a world of good. In fact, I am taking a yoga teacher training course now. It's wonderful to learn this 3,000 year old practice.

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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