Many factors distinguish lawyers from one another. In fact, in the competitive legal marketplace, lawyers and law firms must find ways to differentiate themselves from competitors or risk losing potential clients to them. This need to do better than your peers begins before law school and can follow you throughout your legal career.

This desire to provide a better service and experience for clients is a good thing. It encourages you to do your best and to look for ways to improve yourself and your legal practice. It can drive you to realize your full potential as a practitioner, benefiting you and your clients.

However, there is a downside to this desire to be different and better. When you hit plateaus in your career, you can feel like you are working hard and still falling behind your peers. This can lead to burnout, a feeling that attorneys routinely face. One recent survey found that respondents reported feeling burnt out at least half of the time.

Feeling burnt out can bring on a host of other negative consequences. You may lose interest in your work or the quality of service you offer clients. Depression can set in along with self-doubt, especially if you feel you are not getting the recognition you deserve for your efforts.

Thankfully, there are steps you can take at any time to steady yourself and regain the joy and zest for practicing law.

Four Steps to Take When You Are Uncertain About Your Practice

Lawyers facing seasons of self-doubt, burnout, or even boredom in their practice may not all require the same steps in the same order. However, once you notice you are settling into any negative thinking pattern, it is useful to slow down and find ways to break out of that thought pattern.

Some strategies that can help you accomplish this include:

Accept Where You Are This Very Moment

You can start by acknowledging and accepting where you are in your life and career at this very moment. This place may not be where you want to end up ultimately, and it may not even be where you thought you would be at this stage of your career. However, by acknowledging where you are, you can appreciate and give thanks for the decisions that brought you to this place.

As a lawyer practicing in America, you have achieved something that only a small fraction of Americans accomplish. Only about 1.3 million individuals in America are lawyers, compared with a population that exceeds 330 million. Obtaining your law degree, passing the bar, and practicing law are all accomplishments you can be proud of, no matter where you are in your career.

Balance Self-Doubt With Praise

If you are in a moment where you are doubting your abilities as a lawyer or practitioner, recognize that it is normal to be apprehensive about new challenges. For instance, if you believe your firm needs to diversify into a new practice area to remain competitive with others, it is okay to wonder if you are up to the task.

However, immersing yourself in self-doubt and negative self-talk day after day is not useful. Instead, try to strike a balance between self-doubt and self-hype. Remember challenges in the past that you were apprehensive about but that you were able to meet. These could include:

  • Graduating law school with a certain GPA
  • Landing a position with your preferred employer
  • Surviving your first year as a solo practitioner
  • Landing a lucrative or impressive client or case

Taking the time to reflect on these accomplishments in moments of self-doubt can give you a much-needed reminder that you can meet new challenges.

Realize Your Only Real Competition Is With Yourself

It is easy to compare yourself to your peers and competitors. When you do, you can become discouraged if it seems they are succeeding while you are stagnating or falling behind. Rather than motivating you to do better, it can make some feel like throwing up their hands in frustration.

In truth, you do not know what advantages another attorney has that have helped them achieve success. Nor can you suddenly develop some innate ability they have held all along. Because of this, comparing yourself to your competition is not a fair apples-to-apples comparison.

Instead, you should compare yourself to and compete with who you were as an attorney yesterday. So long as you are expanding, developing, or learning something that you did not previously know, you are succeeding because you are becoming a better attorney. 

Realize a Lack of Recognition Does Not Reflect a Lack of Success

Perhaps your dissatisfaction and frustration stem from not receiving the recognition you believe you deserve from others. It can be disheartening to pour your heart and soul into a project only to see others who appear less deserving get praise and accolades for their efforts.

Recall that in our culture, not receiving awards or recognition does not mean you are failing or not doing a good job. It is actually rare to receive recognition from clients or supervisors for doing an exceptional job and even rarer to receive any accolades for doing adequate work.

If you put your effort into doing the best job that you can, accolades and recognition will eventually follow.

Whatever season you are experiencing in your legal career, know it will pass. Remember, too, that Woven Legal is here to support you and help you maximize your efforts at growing your firm. 

We help connect you with and manage virtual legal assistants, paralegals, and other support professionals who can assist you in managing your firm’s business. This leaves you free to devote more time to your practice and your development as a lawyer.

Contact Woven Legal and book your free discovery call with us today. Let us show you how our service can benefit you and help you confidently grow your practice.


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