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Competent Lawyers Hold Themselves To A Higher Standard-- Through Their Pursuit Of Wellbeing

Have you ever wondered why people don't joke about doctors, accountants and other professionals the way they joke about lawyers? Have you ever had a client tell you a lawyer joke? If so, how did you react? Jokes are a great equalizer, and joking "in all seriousness", is a very real phenomenon.

What's the underlying message? I think it's pretty simple: Being people who tend to take ourselves very seriously, we lawyers do little to earn that recognition from others. We expect it-- some may even demand it-- but, honestly, many of us do little (if anything) to earn it. How might we earn that respect? By taking care of ourselves, the same way we take care of others.

Do clients need lawyers, when they allegedly run afoul of the law? Sure-- but need is different than want, and if we'd like to stop the jokes, we lawyers should start working on what it takes to earn the respect of those who perpetuate the jokes. Only then will clients start wanting instead of needing.

How might we go about doing that? I suggest we begin by holding ourselves to a higher standard, and the best way to do that would be to publicly embrace wellbeing. Trumpeting the fact that lawyers are committed to taking better care of themselves, so they can take better care of their clients.

Edit websites to celebrate not only professional competence and legal victories, but also, concern about wellbeing. Promote the message first articulated by Sharon Salzburg, that lawyers who embrace wellbeing still fight for their clients-- they just don't hate.

If lawyers begin holding themselves to that new standard the jokes will stop, and the well-deserved respect will follow. Be respected, admired and (dare I suggest it) thanked by clients who benefit from your counsel and representation.

Be well, my friends!


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