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Three causes of stress for in-house lawyers: ignorance, in the dark, and in a hurry

Stress levels of corporate lawyers were asked about in a survey of Dutch law departments by the Dutch law firm Houthoff Buruma. As reported in the European Lawyer, Sept. 2010 at 34, the respondents fingered three main causes of pressure: “poor internal communication, colleagues’ lack of legal awareness and tight deadlines resulting in rush jobs.”

As I interpret those stressors, lawyers’ sense that they lack knowledge of what might be going on is the gist of poor internal communication. A general counsel who worries that notice of legal problems or opportunities for counsel does not get through would have every reason to worry. It also stands to reason that clients who don’t understand enough about the law to spot problems in time to come to the law department would cause heartburn. And to be requested to parachute in and review a document or assess something without enough time to does a decent job would also elevate stress levels.

The specific findings may be Dutch but the applicability is surely international.

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