The persistent myth that being constantly busy means you are a good lawyer must die.
I call it glorified toughness, the idea that being a great lawyer means you have to sacrifice your time, energy, and potentially your health, on the altar of serving clients (or, at least appear that you do). We judge colleagues by how hard we think they are working.
We all know those people who start every sentence with the declaration that they are swamped and don’t have time to breathe.
We all know lawyers who work late into the night, through their weekends, writing briefs, or doing research, feeling trapped.
Maybe, that’s you.
I call bullshit. Working long hours does not make you a better, more competent lawyer.
Self-care is professionalism in action
Overworking is based on the premise that our worth, as lawyers, lies in what we do for clients: research, filing motions, writing briefs, requesting discovery, etc.
That’s not accurate. What clients want and pay for is your creativity, the ability to make a cogent, persuasive argument or create a thoughtful strategy. That’s where your value lies as a lawyer. Brainwork!
You have to safeguard your energy and creativity as a means of providing the best solutions possible to your clients. That means recognizing and making time/effort to care for your own needs whatever they are.
I recognize this is hard. I didn’t come to these ideas overnight, but after years of struggling with my own attitudes about self-care, value, and effort. ( Hello, I’m a black woman)
Thankfully, I developed several diseases that make self-care a priority. I say with my tongue-in-cheek but I’m not sure I would’ve learned my lesson otherwise.
Self-care. I have so much to say on the topic that Faye Gelb, founder of HerLegalTribe, and I could’ve talked for hours. It’s a community for women in law designed to empower women to succeed. Learn more here
We talked about the second-hand trauma lawyers face. I shared some of my favorite ways for you to ritually cleanse yourself. I think you’ll really enjoy it. LISTEN TO PODCAST
I’m curious. Name something that you love doing that restores your spirit or creativity!