Driven Lawyers Hold Their Happiness Hostage, Recruiter Says

A former BigLaw partner who now works as a legal recruiter is reflecting on what he’s learned about law practice now that he has reached his 50th birthday. Among his lessons: Don’t hold happiness hostage.

Writing for the Legal Intelligencer, Frank Michael D’Amore says he often asks lawyers whether they are happy in what they are doing. He is increasingly getting this type of answer: I’ll be happier when I make partner. I’ll be happy if I get this new client. I’ll be happier when I make more money. I’ll be happy when this trial is over.

These lawyers are often very successful, says D’Amore, founder of Attorney Career Catalysts. “They hold their own happiness hostage and use the prospect of releasing it later as a goal to drive them to even greater success.”

Being unable to stay in the moment can be self-destructive, according to D’Amore. Focusing on the big goal makes it difficult to celebrate smaller achievements. The journey then becomes more grim and difficult.

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