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How to Beat the System and Stop Being a Profit-Driven Workaholic Attorney
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Harrison Barnes explains how to prioritize one’s goals and become a successful, happy attorney.

Summary: Harrison Barnes explains how to prioritize one’s goals and become a successful, happy attorney.

Attorneys are known for working long hours, being attached to their iPhones and BlackBerrys, and always trying to bring new business to their firms. Such a way of living leads to burnout and even depression for some lawyers. In a recent article, How to Beat the System and Stop Being a Profit-Driven Workaholic Attorney, Harrison Barnes explains how to break the cycle.


Barnes begins by asking, “What is the dream anyway?” Most attorneys work hard for their “dreams,” but according to Barnes, they never actually reach it because they become so exhausted and frustrated that they forget their purpose. Many become obsessed with material things and work themselves to death.

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However, Barnes assures us that there are happy, well-adjusted attorneys, but many attorneys do not know how to live this way. The problem with many attorney careers is that emphasis is made on getting ahead—for example, to bill hours and get ahead, get into the best firm and get ahead, and hire associates to do cheap work and get ahead. These moves do not make life any more meaningful for the attorney.

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Instead, attorneys must think of their careers in the long term. Make decisions based on what makes one happy. For example, attorneys can choose to practice law in areas they find meaningful, or work in firms where they are part of a team.

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One of the most common mistakes attorneys make is that they go into business for the wrong reasons, such as the money and the prestige associated with a legal career. Such a move will no doubt cause the attorney to fail. Businesses need passion to survive.

Managing the business poorly is another mistake attorneys make—such as by treating customers poorly or making financial decisions that damage the company. Outstanding work must be provided to clients, and attorneys must understand how to treat their clients and employees.

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The location of a firm is also key to success. If an attorney moves to the wrong city, he or she may not grow a practice. Attorneys must remember that large firms are not always the best firms to work in, and large cities may not guarantee jobs, either.

Ultimately, attorneys must realize that they operate as businesses, and with the right business mindset, and the right goals, they will find their work more meaningful and will become more successful.

For the full article and additional tips on beating the system, check out the article, How to Beat the System and Stop Being a Profit-Driven Workaholic Attorney.

Source: BCG Search

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