I was actually inspired to write this post by one of my paralegal students at Nova Scotia Community College. For the past 20+ years, I have been a disciple of the teachings of Professor Lawrence Krieger. By coincidence, Krieger was my professor at The Florida State University College of Law. Over the past 20+ years, Professor Krieger has continued to distinguish himself — particularly as one of the leaders in a movement to analyze the underpinnings of law student and lawyer happiness — or lack thereof. Larry Krieger has written prolifically on the subject, attempting to not only analyze, but also to develop solutions for overcoming this daunting problem — one which has resulted in the legal profession always standing at or near the top of the chart in categories such as substance abuse, alcoholism and suicide.
I am urging my blog readers to review one of Larry Krieger’s papers on the subject: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2398989 Mental health is a key aspect for long-term success — whether as a lawyer or a paralegal. Indeed, long-term mental health was one of the key aspects that drove me to relocate to Nova Scotia. No, I have never been suicidal nor an abuser of alcohol/drugs. However, I have always been a chronic workaholic. I can only be thankful that I have an indulgent spouse who was willing to tolerate this aspect of my personality — one likely developed over the course of 18-21 years of intensive study and legal practice — often in a cutthroat environment.
Lawyers and paralegals need to understand that there is more to life than work. Yes, I am still — myself — working on overcoming such a notion. The days of 80-100 hour workweeks are still fresh to me. Notwithstanding, like everything, there is so much more to life than money or career success/ambition. Indeed, recognizing this — and adapting to this mentality — will not only delivery greater career fulfillment and better overall happiness; it will also likely translate into the lawyer or paralegal becoming a bigger, better, more effective asset for the client.
Leaving you with another quote: