The Only Way to Be Happy Practicing Law: How to Immediately Find Happiness Practicing Law

For the majority of my career, I have spoken with multiple attorneys each day looking for new jobs. From these conversations, I have noticed a startling pattern: Attorneys who are happy practicing law all have something in common. What they have in common is client contact and a feeling of personal connection to their clients and their work that gives them a sense of satisfaction and control over their careers and lives.
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes

I have conversations with attorneys each day from both large and small firms. When it comes to attorneys from large firms, for the most part they fit into one of five categories. They are attorneys who (1) no longer want to practice law, (2) want to go in-house, (3) are unhappy and palpably miserable, (4) are just going through the motions, or (5) are looking for new positions for no apparent reason at all. These attorneys—often associates and service partners who lack client contact—are not happy.

However, I also have occasion to have conversations with large firm partners with large books of business and lots of client contact. These partners may want to switch firms for one reason or another but they are not unhappy with the practice of law. Unlike the large firm attorneys described above, these partners seem to be happy and to really enjoy their work.