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Are Lawyers Boring? Or Just Bored?

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. | Last updated on

If Hollywood is to be believed, the typical lawyer's day is filled with crime solving, last minute deal making, dramatic closing arguments, and maybe some romance or political intrigue. Sadly, actual, real-life legal professionals know better. Our days are much more likely to be spent reviewing documents, making sure forms are properly filed, or researching obscure points of law. It's not exactly the stuff that gets your pulse racing.

And now the rest of world has found out our secret. Legal professionals are the most bored professionals, according to one recent survey.

The Most Boring Professions

The aptly named pay data website Emolument recently surveyed 1,300 professionals to see if they were bored at work. Eighty-one percent of legal professionals checked the box marked "bored" -- probably while yawning and listlessly sipping cold coffee.

"The repetitiveness of dull daily tasks in a junior lawyer's working week which mostly involve researching cases and rulings, is most likely to blame," according to Emolument.

Project management came in a close, boring second, but otherwise most professionals seemed to be having more fun at their jobs than lawyers. Here's the full list:

  1. Legal Jobs, 81 percent bored
  2. Project Management, 78 percent
  3. Support Functions, 71 percent
  4. Finance Control, 68 percent
  5. Consulting & Accounting, 67 percent
  6. Financial Services & Banking, 67 percent
  7. Engineering, 64 percent
  8. Sales, 61 percent
  9. Marketing & Communications, 60 percent
  10. IT, 56 percent
  11. Human Resources, 54 percent
  12. Education, 50 percent

Beating Boredom

They say that "you're only bored if you're boring," but we'd wager that the opposite is true here. The fact that lawyers acknowledge that their day-to-day work can be a bit dull is a testament to their need for more excitement. We can't all be complacent R&D workers or easily entertained bankers, after all. Lawyers would truly be boring if they thought a ten-hour day reviewing contracts was actually fun.

But boredom has consequences. It can make going to work and billing hours more difficult, cause attorneys to lose focus when working, or lead to early burnout. Thankfully, there are few strategies you can adopt to help make boring work a bit more tolerable:

  • Seek out challenges. Even if rote and repetitive work may make up the bulk of your day, finding a few spots where you can test yourself can help keep you engaged.
  • Set goals. Whether it's completing a task faster or learning about a new skill, working towards something is much more engaging than just working.
  • Take breaks. Scheduled breaks can make you more productive and engaged. If you find your eyes glazing over, take a moment to go on a walk outside, chat with a colleague, or read a quick blog.

These tips can't make your doc review project interesting, but they can hopefully help make your day a bit more interesting.

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