Mental exhaustion: the price for lawyering

A lawyer is a walking search engine whose brains are picked by clients who are searching answers to burning legal questions.

Whenever a question is asked, a lawyer carefully evaluates the question and then process it against the wealth of legal knowledge, skills, and experience that he has accumulated thus far.

There’s a price for all that processing in the mind. That’s mental exhaustion.

Unlike official interpreters of world leaders who are required to switch every after 30 minutes to avoid passing out from the mental exhaustion of translating languages, lawyers usually have to endure hours of mental work to figure out solutions to a client’s problem.

It is thus no wonder why many lawyers are drained after every meeting. Their energy level drops significantly. To non-lawyers, they just had a conversation. To lawyers, they were working for the last three hours of conversation. The work is at times more tiring than the mechanical activity of encoding documents.

Not too long ago, a doctor-client once remarked how she avoided the legal profession because of it being too mental. The medical profession at least provides for a respite from the mental exercise through activities that require physical motion, such as operations.

What adds to the difficulty is that the lawyer has to also to understand the person using the search engine, search results have to be relevant depending on who that person is and what matters to him/her.

For instance, answers to a corporate executive will be different from a simple business owner. While their concerns might be similar in terms of managing a business, the answer will be different because of the context. The lawyer will likely sense it and thus think of a tailored-fit response, one that is practical and effective.

With this, it is often understandable why lawyers refuse to answer a legal question hurtled their way as it can break their rest and relaxation as answering it will lead to work.