Stress, Anxiety, and Substance Abuse as a Cause of Impairment in Lawyers

“One of every four lawyers suffers from stress, and out of 105 occupations, lawyers rank first in depression. In addition, a disproportionate number of lawyers commit suicide. These are some of the troubling conclusions that can be found in various studies of addiction and depression.” Reports Robert Stein, ABA Executive Director, in the June 2005 issue of the ABA Journal.

The costs of stress, alcoholism, and drug abuse is very high for the legal profession. The American Bar Association and all state bar associations have provided “lawyer assistance programs” that can help to treat “impaired” lawyers. Most of these programs also address the issues of clinical depression and disorders related to gambling, sex, and eating.

If you do not realize the significance of this troubling situation, consider being represented in your important legal matters by an impaired attorney. It could cost you thousands of dollars or even your freedom if you or your interests are not protected by competent legal professionals. In the state of California, there is a requirement for Continuing Legal Education (CLE’s) which includes a minimum of 1 hour every 3 years on stress management or substance abuse for all licensed, practicing lawyers to maintain their license to practice law.

The practice of law is inherently stressful. Much of the time lawyers find themselves battling with other legal professionals for their clients best interests. Trail lawyers must think quickly and communicate with precision and skill in the courtroom. Corporate lawyers must be concerned with legal details that require focused attention and great care. The competition to be successful as an attorney can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.

People preparing to become attorneys often struggle with stress in law school and in the multi-day testing that is required to “pass the bar.” The stressful issues that can begin in law school can set up future practicing attorneys for bad habits in coping with the stress and anxiety of the profession. Some law schools offer coursework for life skill management to better prepare their students to be able to perform at the highest level for their clients and for their quality of life.

Because lawyers are trained to be precise and use their cerebral abilities for day to day work, they are often in denial regarding the needs for stress and anxiety management until bad habits are established or symptoms cause significant challenges. Even managing general partners in major law firms have great professional and personal concerns regarding “impairment” within their organizations. An accidental mistake or oversight can open a law firm to their own costly law suits for malpractice. Many concerned managing partners are requiring that their attorneys practice preventive measures to control stress, anxiety, and depression. This can be found in group trainings, EAP’s or individual coaching. Coaching can also offer enhancements to time management, improved communication skills, and long term career planning. An interesting and unexpected benefit to this training and coaching is that this preventive work can actually save lawyers time and energy by helping to minimize the impact of distractions due to stress. This improves performance and can help to increase profitability. Key personnel are important assests and professional coaching or mentoring programs have huge cost benefits.

Everyone, even lawyers, require professional assistance to get through the difficult periods. Lawyers just seem to require more attention as they work to survive, at the highest functioning levels, in the “meat grinder” of their professional life. Most people who know practicing attorneys know that their attorney family members or friends can benefit from a sense of humor and better stress management. In increasing frequency, law firms are using retreats to help de-compress and then get down to business planning.

More information can be found in the article by Robert Stein at
http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/colap/ABAJournal200506_Help.html

Arizona Business Lawyers

Starting your own business can be one of the most stressful events in your life. This is because of the numerous things you need to attend to in setting up you business, including getting the necessary permits, looking for a location, and hiring employees. Among these, one of the most complicated things to do is to review the lease agreements and other legal documents that you need for the operations of your business. One of the reasons why doing so can become a challenge is because not everyone can fully appreciate the legal languages that are in these documents. This is especially true if the place where you are starting your business has some of the most stringent laws with regard to leases and other legal matters. One such place is Arizona, which has some of the most stringent laws with regard to business as a result of the healthy and varied business profile of the state.

Getting a business lawyer in Arizona

Given the need for you to get legal advice on the different contracts you would be entering into in your business, getting a business lawyer becomes a necessity because, apart from giving you advice on contracts and other matters, like zoning laws, business lawyers can also negotiate on your behalf. However, looking for a good business lawyer requires that you do an adequate amount of research so that you can fine the best lawyer for your business. One of the best ways to do so is to ask for referrals from friends or from your accountant. In addition to this, you can also ask the Arizona Bar Association if they can refer you to some of their members who specialize in business law. Another good place to look is the Internet, which is host to a number of web site of lawyers and law firms.

After doing the initial research, you can now interview your prospects where you can ascertain whether the lawyer can really help you. One of the most important things you should do during these interviews is to explain your business to the lawyer and ask him about the ways that he can help you.

Starting a business can be very stressful, especially if you have to review a number of legal documents, which are sometimes very hard to understand. However, you can reduce the stress that you feel by hiring a business lawyer because doing so will give you access to good legal advice on legal matters and give you the assistance you need in negotiations and other important matters.

Online Lawyer Marketing: A Cost-Effective Strategy for Law Firms

To prosper and increase client base marketing is necessary for every law professional. Every lawyer should have a marketing plan which should be precise, goal oriented and realistic so that it can be achieved. The marketing plan should focus on your strength and interest and at the same time it should be easy to implement.

Marketing is an investment

For every business marketing is an investment for better future, for the growth of business. When a lawyer starts practicing privately he generally has no choice but to accept every client that approaches him. Over the time an effective marketing plan can place a lawyer in a position where he can choose his client, that is, he can be selective while working for a client. However, the concept of marketing has changed a lot for small businesses like law firms.

Internet marketing for cost cutting

From print media to internet, lawyer marketing has advanced one level further. Online attorney marketing is now a cost-effective tactics that you can utilize to promote your law firm as well. Internet provides a strong, widespread yet cheaper platform for promoting any kind of large and small businesses. Private law firms and lawyers practicing privately can instantly reach millions of users who are looking for legal assistance on the web. A website can be the gateway to reach millions of users instantly. However, lawyer marketing via internet also require a well-designed plan that will channelize your time and activities to build relationship with prospective clients and maintain it for a longer term.

SEO for lawyer marketing on internet

While making a plan remember that neither a glossy brochure nor an impressive website can drive your potential client hire you. These are the basic tools for promotion. In the end it’s all about projecting the service you offer, online or offline; it’s about identifying your prospective clients and bring them to your website. This is where a lawyer requires professional SEO (search engine optimization) service.

SEO for lawyer entails targeting the popular keywords/key phrases with which people usually search internet when they look for legal assistance on a particular matter, for instance, ‘personal injury’. If you are a personal injury lawyer you need your website to be on the top in search engine result pages, unless it will reduce the chances of your website getting visited by users. Your keywords should effectively be able to draw traffic which is the ultimate goal. So, when it comes to internet marketing lawyers should invest their time and money carefully for a specific target oriented marketing campaign to get the highest ROI instead of going for mere show business.