In all likelihood, 2021 will be one of those years we won’t want to talk about much. The economy went from stagnating to roaring to turbulent and the COVID-19 pandemic refused to subside. For many people, it was just too much of a rollercoaster to want to remember.
Because it’s been such a hard-to-handle year, Love Your Lawyer Day is a welcome chance to take a step back, celebrate what’s good, and look forward to a hopeful future. On November 5, here are three ways you can generate some mental positivity and look forward to a brighter future:
- Contribute to a pro bono cause: Pro bono work is a hallmark of the legal profession for a reason. Of course, attorneys have the professional obligation to make their services available to those who may not otherwise be able to engage them as a means of promoting access to justice. Beyond that, pro bono work is an excellent means of strengthening your community and reminding lawyers of what’s good about their calling. For individual attorneys, it can also be restorative and rejuvenating because it’s a departure from day-to-day legal work that promotes feelings of altruism and benevolence. Working with a pro bono cause, then, is good for you, good for the profession, and good for your community – what more could you ask for in a way to celebrate?
- Draw up a roadmap for the future: It’s all too easy for lawyers to focus on what’s right in front of them and forget to step back, take a breath, and think about what they want for the future. On Love Your Lawyer Day, a day to celebrate all the good that members of the legal profession provide, you might want to take some time to do some planning for what you want the next year or five years of your practice to look like. There isn’t a right way or a wrong way to do it. It can be abstract and free-form (“I want to increase my feelings of professional fulfillment”) or it can be action-oriented and specific (“I will increase my number of signed engagement letters to 10 per month.”) As long as it gets you to think about the future of your practice, it will serve its very valuable purpose.
- Take a little time for yourself: Lawyers are infamous for working themselves too hard. That isn’t good for a number of reasons. First, it doesn’t acknowledge a point of diminishing returns (the work product you’re providing after having worked a 90-hour week isn’t as good as what you could provide had you only worked 50 hours that week), and it greatly adds to the possibility of burnout, mental strain, and languishing. On Love Your Lawyer Day, you should feel free to take some time to do what you’d like to do. It doesn’t matter whether it’s going out to dinner, taking a walk, or even something you just haven’t gotten around to, like giving your living a space a deep clean – as long as it isn’t work, it counts.
What we’re getting at here is that on November 5, the hope is that you can take a temporary respite from the tension and apprehensiveness that has pervaded 2021 and feel empowered and hopeful for the future of your profession and practice.
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