Can Money Buy a Lawyer Happiness?

Can Money Buy a Lawyer Happiness? - Lawyer Marketing Pro - Martin

Quite simply, the answer is no.

You could make it longer and say in the Legal World, money can’t buy you happiness.

Less Happy

Further, still you could say “a recent study by a Florida State University Law Professor and University of Missouri Psychology Professor revealed that lawyers making a lot of money in a” prestigious” job are less happy than those working in public service positions, according to the ABA Journal.

What do I mean?

I know exactly what I mean, but to explain precisely to ‘the doubters’, could take time. All of us need money, and it makes us relatively happy until; we are in a position to pay all our debts and our monthly expenses and still live comfortably from the fruits of our own labors. Once we arrive in that position and don’t have anything, in particular, to save up for, we can now safely say that just money alone is not going to make us happy! We have now become ‘The Haves’ and we’re not nearly as happy as the struggling ‘Have Nots’. So now, it’s what we can do with our money that will make us happy.

Helping Others

I’ve seen people save up and suddenly come into money – maybe they win the lottery or something. After the first wave of happiness passes, they start thinking of what they really want and, strangely enough, the list keeps getting smaller until they can only think of helping a few people who are extremely poor and in great need of assistance.

Once they’ve come up with the money to render the assistance needed by those people, they feel really good about themselves and very happy they could help.

Feeling Good about yourself

Maybe you’re in this position so you upgrade your phone, buy some clothes, but a few other items you think you’ve been wanting, and then realize not only did you not want them but you feel better giving them away. They’re still brand new in the box and paper in which you bought them.

There are people you know who would do cartwheels for these hi-tech, well designed, great looking, kitchen utensils. You haven’t even tried them as yet; you can’t now see the point. So, you give them away to friends. Once you’ve given them away you start to feel lighter and good about yourself. In fact, you can honestly say that giving them away has brought you joy.

You think you’ve always wanted a Porsche but, now you can easily afford one or even two, why is it you realise you don’t want one and never have? You’d rather help others less fortunate than yourself.

Let’s Discuss Lawyers

Let’s go back to talking only about lawyers for a moment.

Becoming a lawyer is an enormous undertaking in terms of time commitment and financial investment. Law school and passing the bar can be arduous challenges. Your motivation can depend at times on knowing what’s really good about this profession, and being able to glimpse it out there on the horizon.

Is being a lawyer fun? Yes! The most fun is about helping other people. The work is definitely rewarding, and it has its perks.

An Opportunity to Help Others

Lawyers are in a unique position to help individuals, groups, and organizations with their legal problems and to further the public good. Public interest lawyers champion legal causes for the greater good of society and help those in need of legal assistance who might not otherwise be able to afford attorneys.

Lawyers in private practice often perform pro bono work to help low-income individuals and underserved portions of the population, such as the elderly, victims of domestic abuse, and children. In fact, many bar associations require that attorneys commit to a certain number of pro bono hours each year.

The Intellectual Challenge

Occupied is one of the most intellectually rewarding and satisfying jobs on the planet. You feel fulfilled and worthwhile and that is the most amazing feeling.

Lawyers are problem-solvers, analysts, and innovative thinkers whose groundbreaking intellect is crucial to career success.

Work Environments and Perks

The majority of lawyers work for Corporations, they work in Law Firms, and, of course, for the Government. In this day and age where cubicles have become the standard format of the modern workplace, lawyers classically, work in offices with four walls. Those in larger firms enjoy lavish accommodations, ample support staff, and a variety of really superior office perks; these can range from box seats at sporting events, to gym memberships.

Earning Potential

Lawyers are among the highest-paid professionals in the legal industry, and most attorneys earn salaries well above the national average. The median annual salary for all lawyers was $120,910 in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the world’s top attorneys can pull in annual incomes million-dollar annual incomes. However, it seems that very few of these highly successful and top earning professionals are actually happy or having fun.

Let’s say it again. Not all lawyers make big bucks. It can depend on employer size, experience level, and geographic region. Lawyers employed in large law firms, and major metropolitan areas, earn the highest incomes and aren’t all that happy. Yet those who work in the public sector, such as in legal aid services…earn enough to pay their bills – not much; yet they are happy, they have fun, and feel worthwhile.

The Prestige

A career as a lawyer has been a hallmark of prestige for generations. Impressive degrees and a certain authority over others have placed lawyers in an elite circle of professionals who command respect and embody the definition of success. Lawyers enjoy a unique professional status and an often-glamorous image perpetuated by the media.

Diverse Practice Areas

Increased industry segmentation and specialization have led to a broad array of sub-specialties in the legal field. Lawyers can specialize in one or several niche areas, ranging from bread-and-butter (or as the author John Grisham would have it, ‘ham and eggers’) practices such as employment law, to specialties such as intellectual property law.

Is Being a Lawyer Fun?

Some lawyers travel the country, or even the world, to participate in trials, depositions, arbitrations, and business deals. Others rub shoulders with business leaders, politicians, sports figures, and even celebrities.

Being Rich Isn’t Always the Path to Happiness

Money is important to happiness. Ask anyone who doesn’t have it. Having a higher income can benefit us in so many ways; i.e. better health care, safer neighborhoods, etc.

Doing Makes Us Happier Than Having

Buying things gives us short term happiness – it doesn’t last long. Doing things gives you happiness and great memories. So, helping clients, having eventful holidays. Whatever you do, it’s been documented that spending money on other people makes you happier than spending on yourself, because it makes us feel good about ourselves.

Why Become a Lawyer?

If you could take up a questionnaire amongst thousands of people who became lawyers. They would answer that they became lawyers to help disadvantaged people and make a difference in the lives of the ‘have nots. If you continue with your questionnaire the lawyers would tell they are happy helping their client and have a lot of fun doing so.

They will probably go further and tell you they themselves are not well off (rich); nor do they receive massive salaries. But they are happy because they are doing what they wanted to and putting smiles on their client’s faces, while they’re still paying their own bills. This makes them feel fulfilled, they feel that their lives are enriched and their work is worthwhile.

Happiness Personified

I know an awful lot of people who enjoy complaining – people who are well off, well dressed, and lead a good and entitled life; yet they whine and moan all day.

The Lawyers I know, do not complain – they think of positive things to say. These Lawyers can pay their bills and look after themselves but they are a lot happier helping people less fortunate than themselves. Plus, they have a lot of fun doing it.

Research, as mentioned above, has shown that spending money on others has made Lawyers a lot happier with themselves. Money is just a means to an end. It’s the wise spending of it that affords one the happiness and feeling of self-worth.

Martin Vermaak

The Lawyer Marketing Pro Digital Marketing Agency for Lawyers and Law Firms.

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