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. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

  2. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

  3. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

  4. I have dealt with more than a few I-465 moat-protected government attorneys and even judges who just cannot seem to wrap their heads around the core of this 800 year old document. I guess monarchial privileges and powers corrupt still ..... from an academic website on this fantastic "treaty" between the King and the people ... "Enduring Principles of Liberty Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. There are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day: "No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." "To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice." Inspiration for Americans During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta's guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land." http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/

  5. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

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