Stress can be a horrible thing to manage, especially when your profession is dealing with clients who can cause great amounts of stress.
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The article, “Under pressure: managing stress with demanding clients” by Tom Lodewyke states,
“Millie Swann, an experienced business strategist who has advised many lawyers at various stages of their careers, told Lawyers Weekly recently that stress at work can easily be exacerbated by issues at home or with clients.
“Particularly if you’re a leader … you have to be able to have a really high level of self-awareness, and if you get out of whack because of stressful things happening in your personal life or in business or with the clients that you deal with, you have to be able to pull back and reflect,” Ms Swann said.
“[Ask yourself] what are the deeper issues: is it your stuff that you’re dealing with, or are you getting caught up in your clients’ work?
“Emotions are great things, but if you’re not clear in yourself and managing your own problems, when you’re dealing with clients who’ve got really big, challenging issues, then it’s hard for you to give great advice and it’s hard for you to be as productive and function as well as you could.”
While demanding clients can be a significant cause of stress for lawyers, Ms Swann warns that it can be difficult to set precise expectations at the outset of a client relationship.
“Sometimes clients have a massive expectation of what they think you can do,” she said.
“They think you’re God.
“Setting boundaries or expectations for clients can be really fraught with all sorts of dangers because they think they’re going to get one outcome and really the outcome – if there’s an outcome – can be so far from [the expectation]. That can be a bit soul-destroying for both the lawyer and the client, so I think it’s a balance.”
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