We do the work because we love the work. We chose to become plaintiff’s employment lawyers because we want to fight to protect the rights of hardworking individuals. We have ups and downs. There will be great successes and victories. On the flip side, in this fight, we will also take some tough punches and hard falls. However, each day we get up again, ready to fight another day. It’s never-ending. There will always be employers that will violate the law. There will always be employees that have been unlawfully wronged. There will always be defense attorneys representing companies and their interests at the expense of employees. This is why we continue to fight.
This fight is not an easy one. Plaintiff’s employment attorneys see and hear the worst of the worst. We hear the sordid details of hostile workplace experiences. We witness the financial hardships created by loss of employment. We hear the heartbreaking stories depicting the emotional impact an employment dispute has taken on a person. We even hear stories of strained marriages and families breaking up in the midst of—and because of—the stresses caused by these disputes. We carry this heavy burden with not only one client, but with multiple clients. We carry this burden because these are the details we must know to best represent our clients.
In addition to the time we spend with clients learning about their cases and the damages caused, we have calls to make and answer, disputes with opposing counsel, matters to research, letters to write, motions and briefs to draft and respond to, deadlines to meet, hearings and trials to prepare for, and courts to appear in.
In all of this, we must acknowledge that as attorneys we are still people. Attorneys are not superheroes with endless reserves of a superpower we’ll just call “legal fortitude.”
It is no secret that the daily grind for an attorney can take its toll on a person. One of the most commonly known problems existing for practicing attorneys is alcohol abuse. However, attorneys must also be mindful of signs pointing toward depression, anxiety, and even drug dependency.
The pressures placed on practicing attorneys make it important to remember and practice self-care. There must be some modicum of balance between one’s life inside the office and that outside the office. There may also be the need to seek the services of qualified professionals. Professional services may include rehabilitation and addiction treatment, meeting with a psychologist or therapist, or even retaining a professional that assists with time management and organization. If matters have not progressed to the point of seeking the professional services of a psychologist or therapist, making other adjustments may be beneficial in creating balance and reducing stress. These changes could be committing to a developing a habit of a regular workout schedule, disconnecting from work by taking classes or participating in activities or hobbies that that are not work related, or spending quality time with family and friends.
The key take away is that attorneys are not superheroes. If you, or a lawyer you know, are in need of assistance there are services available. One resource available to lawyers in Texas is the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program (TLAP). TLAP’s mission is to provide counseling, referrals to appropriate resources and professionals, and facilitate contacts with volunteers trained in providing peer assistance when appropriate.
We are not meant to operate as attorneys 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Just like we tell our clients, you are more than just your job. There is a difference between who we are and what we do. What we do – practice law. Who we are – mothers, fathers, daughters, brothers, hospital volunteers, painters, runners, dancers, theatregoers, troupe leaders, travelers and much more. We are meant to have balance and structure; we are meant to be more than one thing. This is how we stay healthy mentally and physically and are able to continue the work that we do and best help clients. Sometimes attorneys do need a little help. Just like anyone else.
We are employment attorneys taking care of ourselves so that we may continue to care for our clients.