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August 16, 2022

How to stop lawyer burnout

When we experience mental health issues, do we always go to a specialist or make prompt decisions to make ourselves feel better? We often neglect our emotional health problems, leading to damaging consequences, such as devastating, long-term disorders that affect our lives.

Practicing law can be stressful, making lawyers overwhelmed by the sheer number of duties and heavy responsibilities for clients. That's why legal specialists are prone to burnout syndrome. Check out some of the most common sources of stress that law specialists face:

• Many client matters require tight deadlines that may be challenging for lawyers to cope with
• Unexpected tasks may emerge without the chance to negotiate their deadlines
• Many lawyers' decisions require rapid reaction and a lot of concentration, such as during court hearings
• Lawyers need to deal with difficult or too emotional clients, which puts lots of moral pressure on their shoulders
• Lawyers may deal with irresponsible clients who refuse to pay, postpone, or negotiate their billing terms, resulting in lawyers' financial losses
• Law specialists have a poor work-life balance due to demanding workload, irregular working hours, and heavy responsibilities.

What is the danger of burnout?

Burnout can be caused by prolonged stress. The syndrome occurs when you are constantly under pressure, overwhelmed by work or other tiresome activities, and feel emotionally and cognitively exhausted. If such a depressive state continues for a long time, you start losing energy, become less motivated, more fatigue, and experience detrimental physical symptoms, including anger, headache, and insomnia. Burnout and prolonged stress can harm the immune system, making it less strong to fight against viruses and bacterial infections.

Burnout syndrome is in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) but is not treated as a disorder. The ICD considers the syndrome as "Problems associated with employment or unemployment."

According to Microsoft's 2021 Work Trend Index, more than half of the workforce globally feels overworked. Among the jobs most prone to burnout are social workers, physicians, police officers, salespeople, emergency response workers, teachers, and lawyers. Especially lawyers specializing in criminal and civil law are highly inclined toward various burnout risk factors. According to a survey, the most stressful were lawyers practicing criminal law, family law, corporate law, litigation, and real estate law. The least stressful was a group of government or civil service lawyers. However, it doesn't necessarily mean you should quit your job and pursue another, less stressful career.

How using legal technology helps prevent lawyer burnout

You no longer need to deal with piles of paper-based documents and never-ending consultations with clients over the phone. Instead of simply plunging into manual processes, you can streamline your productivity and performance by choosing the right legal technology to take over most of your manual duties and give yourself free space for more meaningful work.

Using the right technology, such as time-management apps, tools for time tracking, client intake forms, or digital scheduling, breaks down a heavy workload and increases your productivity. Look at how legal technology and business processes automation can help lawyers easily cope with stress and improve relationships with clients.

Automated scheduling. By automating your scheduling, your clients can book consultations when they want to. You no longer waste time on endless phone calls and back-and-forth emails. You simply set your calendar and working schedule based on your availability.

Document automation. You can significantly free up your day using document automation software, lighten your workload by avoiding burdensome paperwork, control your finances, and easily collaborate with partners and clients.

E-signature and smart contracts. Smart contracts help lawyers go paperless and reduce commuting needs. Furthermore, by adding a secure and simple-to-use e-signature solution such as DocuSign you expand the use of your digital contracts and store all your legal documentation in a single repository.

Billing automation. Charging clients and manually creating or adjusting invoices can waste lawyers' time, cutting out their billable time. Besides, dealing with untrustworthy clients who question the value of legal services leaves lawyers feeling devastated, unmotivated, and stressed. Employing billing legal software is a must for lawyers to manage their finances with maximum efficiency and reduce the stress associated with pricing and billing.

Marketing automation. Automating marketing strategies for your legal services makes your law practice stand out, and helps your law firm grow.

Follow these steps to ensure your marketing efforts will pay off:

• create a high-quality website that will attract clients and increase your reputation as a lawyer
• develop a solid SEO strategy to gain more website visitors
• expand your social media presence to build a community of followers
• invest in PPC or other paid marketing campaigns

Final thoughts

By improving your legal practice workflows, including task automation and delegation, you reduce the risks of experiencing burnout and eliminate stress. Legal technology is here to help prevent possible issues associated with manual errors driven by a heavy workload or time-draining activities.

Want to stay focused on your legal work and choose software that will keep you on the right track? Our team has designed a technology specifically to support lawyers’ work and reduce their workloads. Request a free demo to see Jusnote legal software in action.

Olena Ivanenko

Author, Content Creator at Jusnote