You might have tried everything to overcome procrastination, self doubt, stress and a lack of work-life balance. But you haven’t tried this.
The key to solving these seemingly insurmountable lawyer problems is to do the opposite of what most lawyers do.
One, put yourself first.
Law school and the legal industry generally don’t account for the needs and values of women. That’s why despite all your education, CLEs, trial skills workshops, and years of experience, you’re still plagued with self-doubt.
And, self-doubt causes you to waste precious time every day in confusion, indecision and procrastination.
This is not your fault. Even if you have been on a spiritual or personal growth journey and done a lot of “work,” the challenges women lawyers face are real.
It’s no wonder less than 40% of practicing lawyers are women.
But just look at the world. It needs women leaders. Women lawyers. Lawyers in their integrity. Women in leadership roles who want make a difference in the world.
And in order to really step into your power as a woman lawyer, you’ve gotta take better care of yourself. You need time to breathe, time with your family, time doing things other than law.
You are not a robot, spitting out case cites and tough talk at the push of a button. You are a woman first. Your routines, self-care, evenings and weekends are sacred. You won’t get sanctioned for prioritizing your quality of life. To the contrary, a happy lawyer is a better one.
Two, stop blaming the law for how you feel.
The legal industry culture loves to point fingers and blame.
But high-achieving women often point that finger at themselves, with a slew of daily negative thoughts about themselves, their circumstances, and the “cast of characters” in it.
Even though we work in the adversarial system and are accustomed to making our arguments, we don’t need to internalize this “attack mode” the way most lawyers do. Internalizing it is why many lawyers are unhappy.
When you do the opposite of what most lawyers do, and separate your judgments of your circumstances from the facts of those circumstances, you have tapped into a superpower that will set you apart from most of the frazzled, angry, freaking-out lawyers around you. And less time stressing means more time for you.
Three, it’s time to let go of perfectionism.
Women lawyers, like most high-achieving women, grew up getting a lot of validation for being good at stuff, and smart.
But when you carry your “good student” mentality into the messy real world, you become increasingly afraid to fail, which makes you afraid to act.
And when you are afraid to act, you don’t get as much done as you want….and end up spending hours in the evenings and weekends that you didn’t want to spend.
Let’s get real for a minute. Sometimes we all do have to burn a little midnight oil on a big summary judgment or appellate brief, or prepping for trial. But on a day-to-day basis, it’s not necessary to burn yourself out.
Think about the tech industry. They release software that has bugs and needs fixes and updating. They have the attitude that perfect is the enemy of the done.
It’s called the “practice of law,” not the “perfect of law.” An on-time reply with a typo is better than a late-filed reply with no typos that the court refuses to consider.
Do the opposite of what most lawyers do, and be okay with imperfections. Make more decisions and move on. You are an advocate and a human being, and if you recognize yourself here, I know you’re thorough and careful. I bet your B work is better than the other side’s A work on any day.
Four, create time.
Most lawyers think that time is a scarce resource.
But the truth is that you control your subjective experience of time.
And you do that by doing the opposite of what most lawyers do, which is first acknowledging that you are in control of how you spend your time, and you’re never, ever a victim of “too much to do.”
I can help you find where all your time has gone, and teach you how to get it back. And then you can use that time to be a better lawyer — and have a lot more fun and fulfillment in the rest of your time.
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