The Happy Lawyer
Nancy Levit
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The Happy Lawyer

3.31 of 5 stars 3.31  ·  rating details  ·  55 ratings  ·  11 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 amon

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Published July 22nd 2010 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published June 23rd 2010)
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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...more
May 11, 2012 Aaron rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Aaron by: Padraic
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 r...more
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.
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 borro...more
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.)
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
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.
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.
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.
Good practical advice and some good ideas for self-inventories.
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