Stressed! 5 Free Resources to Reduce Lawyer Anxiety

First-year law associates know they are expected to work long hours and weekends and most strive to perform above and beyond job expectations. However, all that vim and vigor may be masking serious stress. In fact, many first-year associates are anxiety ridden to the point of debilitation, according to an article in the National Law Review.

Firms that address associates anxiety during the first year, will end up with more productive lawyers in the long run. But, how?

While there is no cure-all for anxiety, firms can start by recognizing stressors inherent to the legal profession. In the article Seven Reasons Why Practicing Law Might Be More Stressful Than Spending 18 Months in a POW Camp, BGC Search Director, Harrison Barnes suggests that stress is significant in the legal field because lawyers:

  • Receive very little positive feedback
  • Feel that they are an easily replaceable commodity
  • Know that one mistake could end their career
  • Have no control over time (unrealistic deadlines and hours)
  • Lose touch with the outside world (expected to be at work all the time)

Firms can’t curtail business to quell these stressors, but calling them out as an issue is the first step in helping associates cope. By recognizing lawyer anxiety as the serious issue that it is (even during onboarding) firms will help lawyers thrive.

In addition to the distribution and acknowledgment of mental health resources, firms must improve manager and partner training in the area of stress reduction and recognition.

The five free resources below can help firms address and work to decrease anxiety, depression and substance abuse among lawyers:

  1. Lawyer Assistant Programs (LAPs)- ABA Directory of confidential services for legal professionals and students facing substance use disorders or mental health issues.
  2. Webinar- Lawyer Mental Health & Substance Abuse: What Firms Can Do to Recognize Issues & Improve Lawyer Well-Being
  3. Blog- Lawyers with Depression
  4. Book“Overcoming Stress, Burnout, Anxiety, and Depression in the Legal Profession: How a Lawyer Life Coach Can Help”
  5. Worksheet- Learn to Tame Your Anxious Lawyer Brain

By V.L. Brunskill

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