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The Happy Lawyer
Nancy Levit
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The Happy Lawyer

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  124 Ratings  ·  20 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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Stefen Short
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ailsa Lillywhite
Sep 11, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book does a pretty good job of explaining how lawyers are depressed. It offers some advice for choosing a career in the law that might be less miserable than other careers in the law, depending out a cross section of talents, drives, interests and overall ability and earning potential.

It's actually pretty depressing, overall.

Especially for law students in the midst of a prolonged existential crisis; on that front, it kind of just assures you that the same obsessive and masochistic persona
Avi Rutschman
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.
Nov 06, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 r ...more
May 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 08, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.)
Aug 02, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mostly stuff I knew from reading other happiness literature, but nice to have it applied to my profession.
Feb 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Helpful information about the practice of law.
Sara Naheedy
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book for any lawyer trying to carve out their legal career.
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good practical advice and some good ideas for self-inventories.
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“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
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