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Lawyer Stress

Posted on: January 10th, 2013 by Geoff Gilbert No Comments

Incorporating practices to reduce stress can increase the civility in our profession.  Some lawyers are able to let things go and not hold on to difficulties with clients, court decisions, not getting paid, and issues with associates or other lawyers. For those lawyers who cannot easily let go, a conscious effort to let go of the stress might help. Instead of mindlessly working out or taking a walk, take a moment to feel through the difficulty and consciously try to let it go. For example, if something just happened in court, in your office or on the telephone, take a walk and on that walk feel through the frustration or anger. Do some act to get rid of it. More vigorous exercise might include kicking a ball, hitting a tennis ball, driving golf balls or lifting weights while thinking about and feeling the frustrating experience to literally move it out of your body.

When you have cleared it out of your body, you can go back to the person without carrying a grudge. Maybe then you can say what you have to say calmly. Before you meet with them, you can have the conversation alone, by scripting or vocalizing it in private. Holding the experience could contribute to stress related illness, drinking, or overeating. Letting it go will make you healthier and better able to handle stress in your office and reduce the likelihood that you will bring the office stress home to your family or friends. And you will become better at communicating with other lawyers.

Geoff Gilbert is a former practicing CPA at Ernst & Young and business attorney in Maryland and Washington, DC He now coaches Lawyers, CPA’s and Executives to help them manage their practices better and teaches stress related courses at the University of Maryland in College Park. You can reach him through his website at

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