Relief for Stressed Out Lawyers and Law Students

Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

20140407 Relief for Stressed Out LawyersThe countdown to the bar exam has started and I’m hearing about stressed out law grads. I frequently get calls from lawyers who need new tools for coping with stress. Sometimes, even as a coach, I get overcommitted or “life happens” and I find myself feeling cranky, anxious and struggling to sleep.

Stress negatively impacts our optimal cognitive functioning. That means that we may tend to forget what we already know about how to relieve stress. So for my own benefit and yours, I’m going to list some of my favorite (and not so favorite) ways to relax.

1. Exercise. I might as well swallow the bad-tasting medicine first. I’m one of those people who hate to exercise just for the sake of exercise. Nevertheless, according to Harvard Medical School, moderate exercise can reduce the production of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Exercise also stimulates the production of endorphins which are the body’s mood elevators.

If you feel the way I do about exercise, find ways to make it more fun. Walk along a beautiful trail or work out at the gym while chatting with a friend.  Take a dance class or play a sport. Reward yourself with a protein smoothie after your workout. Do something to make it more enjoyable, or you’ll just wind up stressing over your failure to keep your commitment to exercise. Read more «Relief for Stressed Out Lawyers and Law Students»

Six Essential Traits of the Successful Legal Entrepreneur

Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

20140407 Successful EntrepreneurSometimes lawyers get so focused on honing their legal skills that they don’t recognize themselves as entrepreneurs. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines an entrepreneur as “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.”

Very few law schools have classes that actually teach a lawyer how to run a law practice. How can you know whether you will be any good at it? What if you aren’t graduating in the top 10% of your class? Does that mean you have limited potential for successfully running your own law firm?

Inc. magazine online shared advice from Steve Blank about entrepreneurism in a commencement speech to engineering students. It’s good advice for lawyers, too. He said:

“[G]reat grades and successful entrepreneurs have at best a zero correlation….You don’t get grades for resiliency, curiosity, agility, resourcefulness, pattern recognition and tenacity. You just get successful.”

In this post I want to talk about why those qualities are essential for a successful legal practice. Read more «Six Essential Traits of the Successful Legal Entrepreneur»

More Efficient & Less Stressful Law Practice


“Tips for Creating a More Efficient and Less Stressful Law Practice”


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

12:00 to 1:00 pm CST

Link to the PLI Calendar


The 4 R’s for Solving Dilemmas

Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

20140227 The 4 R'sDo you have a dilemma, a persistent worry, a recurring aggravation, or a deep concern? As lawyers we are trained to apply logic and rigorous analysis to solve problems. Some issues, however, call for a different approach – one of creativity and inner guidance. Here’s a little formula, “The 4 R’s,” for finding a solution: Rest, Relax, Reflect and Receive.

1. Rest

Many of our problems arise out of the stress created by the very busy-ness of our lives. Studies have shown that the average person needs eight hours of sleep per night, but today many of us cheat our bodies of some of that needed rest. In his book, The Promise of Sleep, William C. Dement, M.D., Ph.D. describes studies showing that if you are only getting 6 hours of sleep per night during the work week, by Friday night you have accumulated 10 hours of “sleep debt” that must be repaid. Dr. Dement says, “As your debt grows, your energy, mood and cognition will be undermined.” Dr. Dement warns that you cannot work off a large sleep debt by getting one good night’s sleep. No wonder you find yourself sleeping late on the weekend and then still wanting a nap in the afternoon. Read more «The 4 R’s for Solving Dilemmas»

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