Bench & Bar

SEP 2015

The Bench & Bar magazine is published to provide members of the KBA with information that will increase their knowledge of the law, improve the practice of law, and assist in improving the quality of legal services for the citizenry.

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Page 9 of 59

8 | SEPTEMBER /OCTOBER 2015 R unning a law frm requires entirely diferent skill sets than what it takes to be successful as an attorney. Case management, accounting, budgeting, hiring and supervising personnel, fnan- cial planning, marketing and planning for long-term growth are paramount in keeping a law frm thriving and surviving. Tese are not skills that are normally taught in law school. According to the American Bar Associa- tion, there were 13,328 attorneys licensed to practice in Kentucky in 2014. 2 1580 Kentucky law frms employ one to four attorneys and 295 Kentucky law firms employ fve to nine attorneys. 3 Te Amer- ican Bar Association also noted 76 percent of all frms had two to fve attorneys. 4 Practicing law can be an emotional roller coaster and the added pressures of running a small business help to explain why 40 percent of attorneys sufer from depression compared to 10 percent of the gen- eral population. 5 Eighteen to 25 percent of attorneys have had some sort of substance abuse problem as compared to 10 percent of the general population. 6 Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Bill Cunningham wrote a piece called "Broken Hearted Ideal- ists" which cited statistics from the National Institute of Safety and Health noting that attorneys were twice as likely to commit suicide as people in other occupations. 7 Tere is no way to accurately quantify how fnancial stress plays a part in depression and substance abuse, but inferential evi- dence shows that it is a major factor. Te Kentucky Bar Association has addressed the personal and emotional issues attor- neys face by forming the Kentucky Lawyer Assistance Program. 8 A 2009 Hufngton Post piece titled, "Are You Cut Out To Be Self Employed?" is a question that every attorney should ask themselves. 9 Te article gives the exam- ple of trial attorneys as a profession with irregular cash fow and irregular hours. 10 It cites the story told in the best-sell- ing book and subsequent movie "A Civil Action" as an example of how a trial attor- ney can go broke while working on an important case. 11 12 Many professionals have to understand themselves. Tey need to decide if a steady paycheck is more important to them than an "unsteady paycheck." If so, they are better of to seek careers in large orga- nizations such as government or large corporations. For attorneys who are self-employed, taking vacation and breaks are a way to prevent burnout and also a tool for pro- ductivity. Toronto-based entrepreneur coach Dan Sullivan, author of "Te Laws of Lifetime Growth" and numerous other books, urges his clients to plan uninter- rupted vacations and free days, and charts the increase in overall productivity when they follow his insights on scheduling and delegation of tasks. 13 FINANCIAL WELLNESS for ATTORNEYS By Don McNay and Karen Walker "Oh, there's a lot of opportunities If you know when to take them" - Te Pet Shop Boys 1 L AW YER WELLNESS Features:

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