burnout in the legal profession
burnout in the legal profession

I burned out during what became the last year of my law practice. I have been studying burnout for more than 10 years, and I have spent many of those years talking to lawyers and legal professionals about the topic in one-to-one coaching sessions, training and workshops, interviews, and through my own research. Burnout was a problem prior to the pandemic, but COVID-19 has renewed interest in the topic. My hope with this article is to explain what burnout is and what causes it so that it can be addressed in a meaningful and intentional way.

Burnout Basics

Burnout is…


I spend a lot of time talking to people at work about burnout and resilience. I have coached and interviewed hundreds of people to better understand the experience of burnout from their perspective. While burnout is a systemic problem that requires holistic strategies to fix, one way individuals can help ease their stress and promote mental strength and resilience is to understand their “wiring.” Your “wiring” is the combination of traits, thinking styles, behaviors, and emotional styles that can both facilitate your success and undercut your resilience and mental strength by leading to a lot of stress and anxiety. …


I burned out during the last year of my law practice, and I spent a lot of time wondering what I did to cause it. I assumed that I had poor stress management skills or that something else about me needed to be fixed or changed. That’s the message that many people are left with in the burnout discussion — that it’s simply an individual issue that can (and should) be fixed with self-care strategies. As I learned, it’s not that simple.

People often ask me what they can do to prevent burnout. An ER physician contacted me several months…


When faced with a crisis, it can be difficult in the moment to imagine the experience will eventually lead to some type of growth. Resilience is a person’s ability to bounce back from adversity and grow from the challenge, and research now shows that past adversity can help you persevere in the face of current stress. Mark Seery and his colleagues studied a group of more than 2,300 people by asking them to report their lifetime exposure to a list of negative events grouped into seven categories. What they discovered is that people who experienced a moderate level of adversity…

Paula Davis

Paula Davis is the Founder of the Stress & Resilience Institute and author of Beating Burnout at Work: Why Teams Hold the Secret to Well-Being & Resilience.

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