What to Do If Being an Attorney Is Ruining Your Social Life
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Summary: If you’re miserable at your job, what can you do?

Being an attorney isn’t easy. Not only are you responsible for details with high-stakes results, but if you’re in a law firm, then you’re required to work an insane amount of hours. That accountability and time commitment means your social and personal life is often wrecked, and without that emotional fulfilment, it’s easy to see why so many attorneys end up heavy drinkers or burnt out.


Harrison Barnes of BCG Attorney Search has helped thousands of attorneys find jobs throughout the country, and he has seen firsthand the toll that stress takes on these bright individuals. In his article, “25 Reasons Most Attorneys Go Crazy and What To Do About It,” he examined the reasons why attorneys are so unhappy. The culprits include terrible work environments, lack of appreciation, exhaustion, and personal issues.

So if you’re an attorney seeking a change in your life, what can you do? Barnes has the following five solutions.

Find a Law Firm or Group of People You Like.

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No matter where you go, you’ll be doing similar work–reading documents, writing documents, interacting with clients, and navigating office politics. But what can make or break your experience is who you see on a day-to-day basis.

“I can tell you that one of the most important things in all respects is the environment you are working in. People who dislike one law firm often find they thrive in another,” Barnes said.

Work in a Different Setting.

If you want to continue being a lawyer but are looking for more work-life balance than what a law firm can provide, then there are other job options for you.

“I’ve known numerous attorneys who went in-house, worked in government or public interest jobs, or became law professors,” Barnes said. “They were able to find happiness in these settings. Working as a general counsel and being involved in company strategy and business decisions can be enormously gratifying for many attorneys. Working for a cause, like a public interest organization, can be rewarding as well.”

Quit the practice of law and do something different.

If going in-house or working in the public sector still doesn’t interest you, there are plenty of jobs that are seeking people with a legal background because attorneys are excellent writers, critical thinkers, and persuasive negotiators. Barnes stated that he believes attorneys could actually make more money in sales and business development than they would practicing law. Other possible career options include journalism, politics, and the arts.

Go back to school.

There are plenty of people who practice law and decide it’s not for them. Going back to school to get a MBA or a doctorate is one way to switch careers, and lawyers tend to have personalities that love to learn.

“I’ve seen numerous attorneys get MBAs or even doctorates. Many have been quite happy doing this and have found success by doing so. I’ve seen attorneys become bankers, history professors and other similar professions,” Barnes said.

Just stop working and figure it out later.

If you are suffering at work and just can’t take it anymore, sometimes it’s better to just take a step back and evaluate your life. If you aren’t sure whether or not you want to go back to school, or if you don’t know what industry you want to jump to, then it’s perfectly fine to give yourself time to think. Although law firms don’t like quitters, if you are at this breaking point, then it’s probably time for you to move on anyway.

Source: BCG Attorney Search 

What do you think attorneys can do to obtain a better work-life balance? Let us know in the comments below. 


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