Lawyers endure endless jokes. In fact, there are books dedicated to lawyer jokes.
But how about this question: What makes lawyers happy? Among the findings are:
- Making more money, which law school you went to, the corresponding debt load, making law review, or the ranking of your law school itself — all of them — “showed zero to small correlations with lawyer well-being.”
- Having work that was enjoyable, interesting, or that connects with one’s core values — factored very highly.
- “Psychological factors related to self, others, and meaningful, personally engaging work were far more predictive of well-being than external factors relating to competitive standing, honors, or financial rewards.”
- Every external factor measured in the study scored lower than every internal or psychological factor measured (autonomy, competence, relating to others, internal motivation).
- “Public service lawyers were happier and more satisfied than other lawyers, including those in the most prestigious, highly paid positions.”
- The authors also point out that it’s these external factors that law schools (and some firms) hold so highly; and which form the basis of culture and recruitment efforts.
The full paper is available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2398989
The summary, above, appears at http://www.slaw.ca/2014/03/12/what-makes-lawyers-happy/