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Burn-Out and the Practice of Law

Over at Legal Sanity, Arnie Herz blogs about a terrific article on burn-out by Jennifer Senior at New York Magazine entitled "Can't Get No Satisfaction." Though Senior's article focuses on the problem of burn-out generally -- particularly in New York City, the fast-moving metropolis of inflated expectations -- as Herz notes, there's plenty in here to inform lawyers. For example, the article includes a paragraph on lawyer burn-out that notes:

In fact, consider lawyers for a moment: According to the New York Bar Association, turnover rates among mid-level associates in this city’s law firms is 36 percent. The whole system is predicated on burnout. Why even bother treating associates well?

Herz notes that new burn-out studies are focusing on workplace environmental factors that cause and alleviate this kind of employee depletion. But the article's proposed solution to burn-out seems to suggest that it comes from within, by rediscovering their calling or helping people with problems worse than their own. And perhaps that's where law firms can assist: As Herz points out from the article:

“Of the 75 law firms surveyed in New York in The American Lawyer’s recent survey of mid-level associates, the firms ranked No. 1 (Dickstein Shapiro) and No. 3 (Patterson Belknap) had one thing in common: They both received perfect scores on their attitudes toward pro bono work.”

So perhaps the firms can make life better for discontent lawyers after all.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on December 5, 2006 at 07:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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