Senior Public Defender, Appellate/Post-Conviction Office, Missouri State Public Defender
Too often we push through deadlines and go through the motions without asking why. Why are we doing this work? Why did we choose to go into the legal profession? What is it that we are hoping to achieve?
Sometimes we just need to take a step back and reflect on how our work can make a difference in this moment. Maybe it is a simple gesture like asking your support staff or co-worker how they are doing in the new year and genuinely taking an interest in their response. It can be answering a phone call with a smile, being happy for the opportunity to talk to someone, or providing a helpful response to a client inquiry. It may also be directing a new attorney towards helpful templates and information they can use to make their jobs more efficient.
From time to time, it is important to reflect on those bigger questions like why are you doing the work that you do. Perhaps it is so that you can provide a comfortable lifestyle for your family. Perhaps it is because you want to get a favorable settlement for your client. Or perhaps it is so that you can best direct your client towards the outcome that will have the most impact on their situation.
By taking some time this month to reflect on the day-to-day work we do as well as the bigger picture, we can reconnect with the purpose in our work. This will bring us more energy and fulfillment so that we can look forward to that next project instead of dreading it. And it will bring back the enthusiasm we had when we found out we passed the bar exam and got that first job using our new bar number.