There are reasons many young lawyers are not happy in their jobs. You only need to talk to them, especially those working under senior lawyers to realize how unhappy most of them are.
The reasons many young lawyers are not happy have a lot to do with the conditions under which they work.
A young lawyer usually joins a senior counterpart to get more experience. Again a young lawyer does not know how to get clients as a new lawyer.
The euphoria following the call to the bar quickly fizzles out as the stark reality of legal practice hits.
Statistics from around the world shows that more and more young lawyers are becoming disillusioned with their jobs.
Low job satisfaction and low motivation are some of the reasons many young lawyers are not happy.
Although the factors afflicting young lawyers differ from region to region, a few of the factors stand out.
Below are some reasons young lawyers are not happy in their jobs.
Investigative reports show that young lawyers, especially in some countries like Nigeria, are extremely underpaid.
While many of their colleagues from other disciplines earn good money, most young lawyers struggle to survive.
Training to become a lawyer is not an easy or cheap adventure. A lot of resources and time are sunk into the process.
Expectations are therefore dashed when highly learned professionals work themselves to stupor with little to show for it.
For young lawyers, the situation is aggravated when senior lawyers refuse to share the profits of the law firm.
Many young lawyers work under very tight schedules. Since time is of the essence in legal practice they have to deliver jobs on time.
Some young lawyers go to work early in the morning and close late in the evenings.
For lawyers in busy law firms, it is the junior lawyers’ responsibility to get the jobs done.
Many young lawyers, therefore, find themselves working late and at the weekends to meet their targets and deadlines.
Some of the works left for young lawyers include:
- Conducting research.
- Writing legal opinions.
- Filing processes in court.
- Drafting documents.
- Representing clients in court, etc.
Many young lawyers are overwhelmed by the sheer size of work they are required to do in their workplaces.
A growing body of research has shown that more lawyers are suffering from stress, depression, and other mental health problems.
According to a study, the law society in England and Wales reported that over 90% of young lawyers suffer from stress due to workload.
Work overload has made it difficult for many young lawyers to find a balance between work and life.
There is no doubt that the legal profession is one of the most prestigious careers that anyone can pursue.
For hundreds of years, many see lawyers as some of the most influential professionals in society.
The status and influence of lawyers have made many of them earn incomes that put them among the best-paid professionals around.
Although all lawyers are not in the millionaires club, the expectation from members of the society is huge.
Many young lawyers are frustrated when they struggle, after a few or many years of practice.
This frustration is exacerbated when young lawyers see their friends from less renowned fields making good money.
Many young lawyers soon become pessimistic about the prospects of meeting personal needs and those of their families.
The latest global pandemic has brought to the fore the limited choices available to many lawyers in their careers.
The closure of many businesses including law firms and courts affected the income of legal practitioners, especially young lawyers.
In India, it was reported that a lot of young lawyers with nothing else to do traveled to their villages for sustenance.
While most professionals are adapting to new ways of doing business, many lawyers are stuck and confused.
With little or no other skills apart from legal skills, many young lawyers have a few options to earn a living.
In many jurisdictions, lawyers are discouraged from delving into other areas while practicing law. In Nigeria for example, practicing lawyers are barred from engaging in any other type of business venture except farming.
The limited choices facing young lawyers are a big demoralizing factor for many of them leading to depression and other psychological problems.
The Adversarial Nature of Law Practice.
Experts have linked the adversarial nature of law practice to some of the stress and depression afflicting many lawyers.
According to these experts, the win-at-all-cost that characterizes law practice takes an emotional toll on young lawyers.
Young lawyers are sometimes conflicted between doing their jobs and doing justice.
It is a good feeling when lawyers win their cases in court, but it can sometimes be depressing when the outcome goes the other way.
Most of the time, it is the young lawyers that take the blame when things go wrong in a law firm.
Resting my Case.
The plight of young lawyers in some jurisdictions like Nigeria is pathetic. Many law firms pay their non-lawyer workers better than their young lawyers.
Many senior lawyers have tried to offer some explanation of why this is so. According to some of them, that was the way they were treated during their time.
Other senior lawyers are quick to point out that they spend a lot of money training young lawyers to become efficient.
If it is a tradition not to pay young lawyers well, why should we continue with that immoral tradition?
Some senior lawyers go as far as depriving a young lawyer of his full transport and appearance fees.
Senior lawyers should encourage their juniors and stop acting as if they are doing them a favor.