How do Russian lawyers fight with stress? Tips by S&K Vertical’s Head of Projects Yulia Andreeva for

4 april 2017 2017-04-4

It does not matter what type of a lawyer you are: whether you work in a large company or a small one, or you are a private practitioner or work from home, because you look after your children. You, in any case, are at increased risk of depression and nervous breakdowns, because the profession of a lawyer is one of the most stressful. And if you work in the Big Law, the load grows dramatically. American lawyer Gary Ross, columnist in Above the Law magazine, told his colleagues how to inspire themselves and others and maintain a positive attitude to avoid "emotional burnout." Russian lawyers also shared their advice with the readers of 

According to Ross, there are several important nuances that lawyers should pay attention to every day. It is necessary to live healthy, follow fashion trends and maintain positive attitude. If the first and second points deal with the creation of the external appearance of success and health, then the third one deals exclusively with the internal state of mind, which, as a rule, is difficult to maintain in stressful situations.

"For many people, life is just a series of bad events," Ross says, noting that such a problem is inherent, to a greater extent, to the members of legal community. However, he found a way out of this situation and shared his positive experience in his column. That's what he advises.

Remember several motivational phrases

"I can!", "I can do it!", "Life is beautiful!" And even ... "I am the lord of the world!" ("This is my favorite," Ross admits). Try to learn as much as possible such motivational "mantras" and try to use them when necessary. For example, if you are told that you will not manage to do it and you should not even try.

Repeat these "mantras" again and again

Before work, before a business meeting, before a date. You can even do it out loud. "Maybe you can get everyone in the subway train to chant them together," jokes Ross and tells how "one crazy guy in Chicago" started to sing "Amazing Grace", and some people began to sing along with him.


According to the successful lawyer, who worked in the Big Law and started his own practice in law firm Jackson Ross PLLC, singing can positively affect the internal state and relieve tension. "There are a lot of songs that can lift your mood, everyone has their favorites," Ross writes. The author also provides his own "positive" playlist: "I Can" by Nas, "Happy" by Farrell Williams, "Firework" by Cathy Perry, "Big Balls" by AC/DC and "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" by Erica Idle.

Encourage your colleagues

You yourself can spread you positive mood. But the author notes that this advice is more suitable for experienced lawyers. In his opinion, if a young assistant lawyer would joke and smile too much trying to "spread positive attitude," he is likely to be "considered a madman." "But if you already work for a large company, practice or are a senior lawyer in a company where people work together for a long time, why not? Encourage your team," Ross writes. He provided an example of his own acquaintance, thelawyer who runs a government procurement company. "Every morning his team lines up in two lines and they start throwing each other a ball, uttering motivational phrases whenever they catch it," Ross said.

Encourage your clients

"Clients want to be near a specialist who emits a positive charge, don't they? Be happy! Maybe they'll call you just to get a positive mood from you" - the author stated.

Encourage even your enemies

Maybe if you can get your sworn enemies and rivals to look at their life positively, they can become your friends, Gary Ross suggests.

Other ideas:

At the same time, he gives a few more tips for lawyers, which will help them stay cheerful during the day.

Do push-ups just before lunch.

Always smile, even if inside you feel depressed.

Do not let negative thoughts slip into your head.

If you are a "happy drunkard", drink during breaks to stay in a good mood. You can even offer a drink to some of your colleagues.

Experts at Mayo Clinic say that positive thinking is of great benefit to humans, Ross writes. For example, it reduces the risk of colds. "Thinking positively, you will save on Tylenol," jokes the author and advises lawyers - private practitioners and attorneys of large or small firms - to worry less. "Repeat your mantras. Sing a song. Be happy, smile at troubles, take a step forward and rejoice in what you have," he advises in the conclusion.

How Russian lawyers fight with stress

Vadim Klyuvgant, attorney, vice-president of the Moscow Bar Association

Healthy spirit and high stress-resistance are indispensable qualities of any lawyer, especially a litigator. If these qualities are not at their best, and it can not be fixed, it is better to change the profession. A lawyer who is depressive, crushed by stress, unable to take the blow has no prospects, he is dangerous to the case and risks his health.

A second thing is necessary, which is healthy self-irony (distinct from loss of self-esteem and low self-esteem). Do not take yourself too seriously, do not take as personal insult and insult everything that did not work or what you did not like, do not try to make everything your way right now. This behavior is the right way to stress and depression. In addition, it is unprofessional and indicates a lack of consistency. The correct alternative is to be able and ready to make fun of yourself, and of the situation (even if it is stressful) in which you are.

Life is not just about successes and victories, especially fast ones, and we cannot control everything. Therefore, the ability to analyze the situation, to distrubute one's power for the "marathon" and, honestly fulfilling his duty, to competently retreat to learn your lessons and adjust the position, pay tribute to a strong opponent, and, if not lucky enough, to lose with dignity, which is no less important than the ability to win.

When it's bad, it's time to remember and say to yourself: it could be worse, but life goes on. And in any case, do not dissolve, but maintain your endurance, dignity, proper appearance, and again, smile and joke. In general, for health and good mood it is useful to smile more and less to reflect. Meanwhile, cultivating and cherishing one's suffering is extremely harmful.

The most important antidepressant is maintain harmony with yourself. To believe in yourself and in your work, despite everything that hinders and upsets. Understanding why and for whom you are doing all this. And, of course, clear conscience. If all this exists, then the rest can be tamed by love, wide range of interests, healthy lifestyle and relatives.

Anatoly Kucherena, attorney, member of the Public Chamber

My mood raises when I communicate with children, with friends, playing chess and reading good books. I admit that I rarely go to theaters and cinema, because my working day lasts, as a rule, until late at night. True, it does not begin very early. But all kinds of social events do not usually upset me. I try to visit them as rarely as possible.

What also encourages in my work is the opportunity to achieve practical results, to help specific people - my clients. For example, when a person was arrested on false charges, he spent some time in prison and then he is released.

In general, attorneys should not think about their mood they should think about their clients and about achieving a result. In my practice, I try to be guided by the following principle: "There can be no hopeless case." This principle has been confirmed many times.

And I advise you to look more often in historical books and find examples of how people, despite all the difficulties, injustices, persecutions and even prisons and tortures remained optimistic and achieved victory. And if they lost, they accepted their defeat with dignity.

Alexey Katkov, founder of law firm Katkov & Partners

Lawyers spend a lot of time at work, work generally takes a significant part of life of any person. Therefore, good atmosphere and satisfaction at work are important. The first thing is known to everyone: rest, travel, diversify your leisure time. Personally, I go in for sports and travel a lot.

However, vacations are not long, so the second thing is to enjoy your work. In addition to the legal practice itself, a lawyer can write articles, speak, participate in conferences. A separate issue is participation in law-making work: any lawyer will be honored to participate in it pro bono.

Finally, the attitude of the employer is important. A cozy, stylish office, comfortable and modernly equipped workplaces, attention to the employees of the management, the provision of the opportunity to rotate tasks is only a small part of concern for the team of a law firm, which allows keeping it in good shape, in good working and emotional condition.

Alexander Bolomatov, attorney, partner at YUST Law Firm

I believe that the key moment in maintaining the mood for work is teamwork. It is impossible to maintain a positive attitude in a bad and negative atmosphere. Legal work is extremely difficult and stressful. A good spirit lies in the support of colleagues, in the confidence that they will help you in a difficult situation, rather than "finish" you. We work as a collective, we rejoice at our common victories and we are upset because of common mistakes, we support each other. This is very, very important. Maybe it sounds very pompous, but the support and friendship with colleagues for me personally is of great importance.

On the individual level, an attitude of success is very important. There is nothing more breathtaking than the joy of victories and achievements. Working on a large number of projects, you get an additional bonus - you can often win and achieve success in different areas. This is very supportive.

Further, I think that the factor of the family plays a big role. Your family should support you. Being a member of a lawyer's family is not an easy task. Lawyers spend a lot of time at work, on business trips, and at home they are rare. I think that the family should understand and accept this, give support to you in difficult moments.

In general, the most important thing is that your work is pleasant to you (in all its manifestations), without this, no methods of enhancing the mood will work.

Marina Kostina, attorney of the legal group at Yakovlev & Partners

As many lawyers, I spend the most of my working hours at the computer, so in order to create a favorable atmosphere throughout the day, I switch on some quiet background music.

It's also important for me to plan working hours, therefore at the end of each working day I make a list of necessary things for tomorrow and sum up the results of the work that I have done, which allows me to evaluate its result once again and get my moral satisfaction.

Julia Andreeva, attorney and Head of Projects at S&K Vertical

I would like to draw an analogy with the famous joke of people practicing yoga: "And how do yogis relax?". - "They do not strain." Unfortunately, the reality is that it is simply impossible to imagine the life of a lawyer without stress and force majeure. We have to learn to cope with such negative factors.

My personal ways are accessible to everyone. Regular practice of yoga, meditation from time to time, the obligatory alternation of legal literature with fiction. In particularly stressful situations, even for a minute, but do distract and remember the funny moments that make you smile, more often than not it's something related to family, friends.

And most importantly it is to remain human in any situation and not to commit acts that are contrary to one's own nature, which helps to preserve emotional harmony and not burn out even in the most intense work.

P.S. Get a hamster or a cat in the office and laugh at yourself often.

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