Be Well, 1221 WYBJ, Vol. 44 No. 6. 44
|Madeleine J. Lewis
|Vol. 44 6 Pg. 44
It's Fine, Everything's Fine
Madeleine J. Lewis
Crowley Fleck PLLP Sheridan, Wyoming
As a young associate in my second year of private practice and a former federal law clerk, I am an expert on stress. That’s not backed up by any professional qualification in psychology. It’s more like I’ve become an expert on stress in the same way a boxer becomes an expert by taking punches to the face over and over again.
Certainly, no one promised this profession would be easy. Our day-to-day unpleasantries include demanding clients, billable requirements, deadlines, hostile opposing counsel, and long hours (to name a few). Oddly enough, the challenging nature of this profession is what draws many attorneys to practice in the first place. Like many of my colleagues and law classmates, I was high achieving throughout high school, college, and prior employment, fueled by an indestructible work ethic, desire to learn, and a sense of accountability to impeccable standards. Such attributes are the necessary making of successful law students, and later, successful attorneys.
Unfortunately, the very same qualities of endurance and perfectionism that poise many attorneys for success can also be extremely limiting and even add to the stress we experience in an already difficult job. As attorneys Jeena Cho and Karen Gifford explain in their 2016 book, The Anxious Lawyer, “[m]any lawyers have been conditioned to constantly strive to be perfect.”
Stress itself is no stranger to new attorneys. However, being thrown into an unfamiliar world of discovery disputes, court deadlines, billable hours, and difficult...
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