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What Makes Lawyers Happy?

Emotional distress, dissatisfaction, and unprofessional behavior are major concerns in the legal field. The legal profession, as compared to other occupations, has a disproportionate number of unhappy people. Career choices driven by external factors such as status and compensation instead of intrinsic values like enjoyment and vocation are some of the reasons for such unhappiness.

In this infographic, we explore how major life choices by lawyers, early at law school and then throughout their careers, correlate to their well-being. A correlation is a measure of how two variables move together (“relate to each other”) – not necessarily cause and effect although still a possibility. Here, the higher the correlation, the more strongly the factor is linked to a lawyer’s well-being. A negative correlation, on the other hand, means a factor inversely associated with well-being.

Learning and keeping in mind how these factors correlate to happiness may help lawyers make better-informed decisions and stay on track for a more fulfilling professional and personal life.

Data Source: Lawrence S. Krieger and Kennon M. Sheldon, What Makes Lawyers Happy? A Data-Driven Prescription to Redefine Professional Success, 83 GEO. WASH. L. REV. 554 (2015),  https://ir.law.fsu.edu/articles/94

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