Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Happy Lawyer: Making a Good Life in the Law” as Want to Read:
The Happy Lawyer: Making a Good Life in the Law
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Happy Lawyer: Making a Good Life in the Law

3.31  ·  Rating Details ·  108 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
You get good grades in college, pay a small fortune to put yourself through law school, study hard to pass the bar exam, and finally land a high-paying job in a prestigious firm. You're happy, right? Not really. Oh, it beats laying asphalt, but after all your hard work, you expected more from your job. What gives?
The Happy Lawyer examines the causes of dissatisfaction amo
Hardcover, 285 pages
Published July 22nd 2010 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published June 23rd 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Happy Lawyer, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Happy Lawyer

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Stefen Short
Nov 26, 2016 Stefen Short rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-i-own
As expected, the authors of this book write as if the "Top 100 Firm" is the only existing law practice setting. They realize that the money driven nature of law practice is a major cause of lawyer dismay, but feed right into it. That said, this book is useful only to managing partners of large firms. If you're a civil rights lawyer like me, seek therapy someplace else.
Avi Rutschman
Oct 04, 2016 Avi Rutschman rated it liked it
Provides an interesting survey of the field of happiness research. The only useful/applicable advice is that you should make an effort to find components of your job that you do like and that if none are to be found, you should seriously considering leaving your job. The portions discussing reformation of the billable hour system are interesting, but a pipe dream at best.
Dec 06, 2013 R. rated it it was ok
The Happy Lawyer does two things very well. It describes, with a clinical precision, some of the predominant reasons that lawyers tend to be less than satisfied with their chosen profession. Secondly, it describes, on a surface level, some aspirations for lawyers and for mid-sized to large firms which might lead to some measurable improvement in the happiness of effected lawyers.

Beyond that, this work is largely without any practical use or application for those of us toiling away in the trenche
Feb 07, 2011 Scott rated it liked it
Why are lawyers often unhappy? Although there's no single answer, it appears that some of it is self-selection, some of it is a function of business models, and some of it is a function of time. Some chapters are more useful than others, but this is a generally solid application of the burgeoning science of happiness to a somewhat gloomy profession. All lawyers ought to give this a read, as there are plenty of tools for self-adjustment in one's career trajectory. Let me know if you want to ...more
May 11, 2012 Aaron rated it liked it
Recommended to Aaron by: Paddy
Thanks to Paddy Ryan for a very thoughtful graduation gift! In the earlier chapter, the authors canvass a fairly broad array of social science research on happiness and career satisfaction. They generally avoid tenuous conclusions about causation, but at the expense of a slightly breezy approach to wrestling with what conclusions might be preferable from amongst those arguable. They are also funny at times, although fairly sparingly. The book is aimed at American lawyers, but it's still fairly ...more
May 26, 2016 Stacy rated it liked it
I read about 80% of this, which is pretty good considering that I am not a lawyer. The book is general enough that non-lawyers will find interesting references, too. The source material is good without sounding overly academic. I did find it engaging that the author recognized that her audience may only be considering law school among a myriad of options. That's smart, considerate, well-rounded writing.
Sep 06, 2016 Tricia rated it it was ok
Shelves: self-enrichment
Ok read - some interesting points about happiness. Probably would have been better off reading this in law school than now - has some good things to think about in choosing a law career. According to this book, lawyer personalities are often "predisposed" to unhappiness, and that often makes them better lawyers. In addition, several components of the law job supposedly contribute to unhappiness (lack of autonomy, high billable hours, no work/life balance, etc.)
Dec 27, 2010 Marisa rated it it was ok
This was required reading, and was written by two professors at my law school. So in all fairness to them, I am only going to say that this book featured some interesting research. Whether or not it told us things we already know can be left up to you.
Aditi Prabhu
Jan 27, 2012 Aditi Prabhu rated it liked it
A quick read that provides some useful perspective on why lawyers are generally less happy/satisfied than other professions. But the tips for how to improve seem either daunting or glib, and not particularly insightful or original. Worth a skim.
Jun 12, 2014 Jodi rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, selfhelp
I liked this book. It's fairly common sense advice on how to be happy in your career but the authors compile a lot of the research on happiness which is interesting.
Feb 03, 2013 Adam rated it liked it
Mostly stuff I knew from reading other happiness literature, but nice to have it applied to my profession.
Al Menaster
At page 75 I gave up. The stuff is just too, too obvious, it's just not interesting enough to keep reading.
Sep 24, 2011 Amanda rated it liked it
This book contains a few very powerful take-away lessons. Otherwise, it was a slow read, densely packed with statistics and little analysis while directing itself at big firm lawyers.
Apr 01, 2015 Roger rated it really liked it
Shelves: living-better
This was a gift from my parents. Some good ideas and information. But it also warns us "Even professional chocolate tasters have bad days at the office." 3.5 stars.
Stephen rated it liked it
Jul 12, 2011
Geoff rated it it was ok
Aug 31, 2012
Mason rated it liked it
Mar 14, 2012
Karl rated it liked it
Oct 17, 2016
Cecilia rated it it was ok
Jul 30, 2012
KC rated it really liked it
Sep 25, 2011
Jesse rated it liked it
Apr 21, 2015
Zach Lee
Zach Lee rated it it was amazing
Nov 27, 2012
Mary Kate
Mary Kate rated it it was ok
Oct 06, 2014
Jay rated it really liked it
Dec 16, 2013
Dustin Flint
Dustin Flint rated it liked it
Feb 18, 2015
Amber rated it it was amazing
Feb 14, 2016
Mary Yang
Mary Yang rated it it was amazing
Jul 23, 2014
Chris rated it really liked it
Dec 10, 2014
L rated it really liked it
Oct 17, 2013
Matthew rated it really liked it
Apr 20, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
  • Law School Confidential: A Complete Guide to the Law School Experience: By Students, for Students
  • The Powerscore LSAT Logical Reasoning Bible: A Comprehensive System for Attacking the Logical Reasoning Section of the LSAT
  • Work: How to Find Joy and Meaning in Each Hour of the Day
  • No B.S. Direct Marketing: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Direct Marketing for Non-Direct Marketing Businesses
  • Getting to Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams
  • A History of American Law
  • Why Worry?: Stop Coping and Start Living
  • Constitutional Law (University Casebook Series)
  • How: Why How We Do Anything Means Business (and in Life)
  • The Winning Brief: 100 Tips for Persuasive Briefing in Trial and Appellate Courts
  • Plain English for Lawyers
  • How Judges Think
  • Double Billing: A Young Lawyer's Tale Of Greed, Sex, Lies, And The Pursuit Of A Swivel Chair
  • 1L of a Ride: A Well-Traveled Professor's Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School (Student Guides)
  • Dream More
  • Startup Weekend: How to Take a Company from Concept to Creation in 54 Hours
  • “This Is My Doctrine”:  The Development of Mormon Theology

Share This Book

“The logic of the rebel is to want to serve justice so as not to add to the injustice of the human condition, to insist on plain language so as not to increase the universal falsehood, and to wager, in spite of human misery, for happiness. —Albert Camus” 0 likes
More quotes…