Why did I ever get into law?


Oct 14, 2016

By Meda Royall

It’s a question most of us ask at some stage or another – perhaps when you’re at the losing end of a major case, or when you’re face to face with yet another angry, unreasonable client. Maybe it’s when you’re taking yet another prescription pill to stave off a stress related illness, or perhaps it was when you missed yet another milestone in your kid’s life.

Why did I ever get into law? is the question that invariably leads to the answer – why don’t I just quit? Some do and flit off into the ether without a second look back. But it’s those who stay and soldier on, regardless of how demoralised and disillusioned they are, that are the ones who need help the most.

So, how do you avoid that slippery slope into depression and fall back in love with your job again?

The first step is to take care of yourself. When you’re out of balance, emotionally, physically and mentally, there’s not a lot left to give back to your career.

1: Make sure you’re eating well. A healthy diet will give your body what it needs to tackle those long working hours.

 2: Get regular exercise. A natural endorphin high is infinitely preferable to the high poured out of a wine bottle.

3: Sleep! A good night’s sleep really will make all the difference.

4: Take control of what you can. If you can cut down on your working hours, do it. If you can’t, make sure you schedule in regular downtime. If you can avoid a particular client who has you tearing your hair out, do it. It’s OK to put yourself first for a change. If you can change an unreasonable deadline, do it. What’s the point in knocking yourself out and doing an average job? If you don’t feel that you have enough support, ask for it.

5: Try to prioritise. Focus on the things in life that matter the most and let go of the trivial. If family is important to you, make time for your family – even if it’s just turning your cell phone off while you’re having a meal.

6: Remember that mistakes are OK. Most lawyers tend to be Type A personalities – they’re highly ambitious, high achievers with a tendency toward perfectionism. But guess what? Life isn’t perfect. Sometimes 50% is just what you need to pass. And you can always learn from your mistakes (learning lessons).

7: Manage your stress. Mindfulness and meditation aren’t just for hippies. They’re legitimate scientific backed methods to help control your mindset and give peace to your everyday life.

8: Get professional help. If you have access to counselling services, use them. Get a medical check up. Feeling depressed and isolated might have another underlying cause that could be entirely unrelated to your job.

Above all, try to remember why you got into the profession in the first place. What made you excited about law? Recreating that feeling in your work may be enough to make you fall in love all over again.

I should know I now have the life (and job) I originally set out to get …. It’s all possible.

Meda Royall is passionate about law ….especially how it can help and make a difference to people’s lives when used smartly. She is Founder and CEO of Your Law Firm (YLF), Australia’s first legal practice franchise and her spare time is invested in family, the art, and entertainment world, human rights and poverty alleviation.

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