How to Be Happy in Your Work

I so appreciated this post over at Legal ED. This semester, I ended my Crim Pro Adjudication class with information from the excellent book The Happy Lawyer. It was a risk since it was my first time teaching this particular course and I was not sure what the students thought of my teaching style…I was elated when a student e-mailed me the following which I post with her permission:

Professor Lynch,

I just stumbled upon this Times article and it reminded me of our brief class discussion about “The Happy Lawyer.” I am pleased to say that Albany Law School, thanks to its incredible alumni connections and location in New York’s powerful Capital Region, has allowed me to dive head-first into the public sector. I could not be any happier— thus far, at least— and figured you’d appreciate a break from reading our exams (while you’re not catching up on VEEP!).

I hope you have a great summer and I will see you in the fall!

Albany Law School
J.D. Candidate, 2016
Executive Vice President, Student Bar Association Senate

This is the kind of e-mail that confirms my instinct that we are obligated to teach what we know to be true about the professional and personal development of lawyers…..

Guile is Good

Some lawyers are happy. Don’t take it on faith; the New York times says so. Of course, other lawyers are not.

One Interesting statistic from the study the story relies on is that associates at high end corporate firms are no happier than their less elite classmates. I was not surprised by this news because once I went on a human rights tour of Central America with several young bright young lawyers doing volunteer political asylum work. All of them were from top San Francisco law firms, and not one of them seemed especially happy in his or her work.

Why aren’t young lawyers holding the most sought after jobs happier in their work? The authors of the study suggest the reason is that the day to day experience of working at a big firm does not score high on the three “pillars of self-determination”– competence, autonomy, and connection to…

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