How International Lawyers Can Get Happy

Are you happy? If not, get social.

So reports National Public Radio today in Happiness: It Really Is Contagious.  Happy people tend to have bigger social networks; when one member of the network feels happy, that feeling can spread among other network members. Those at the center of the network have a better chance of catching the wave of happiness.

And happily, as the radio version of this story reports, unhappiness does not spread in the same manner; positive emotions seem to bond and integrate groups of people in a way that unhappiness doesn’t.

So, how can international lawyers get happy, despite the gloomy market conditions? Here are six ways to ramp up happiness with social interaction:

1. Interact not only with friends, but also friends of friends. If you are in the middle of a job search, career change networking gives you the opportunity to socialize with a lot of people.

2. Get involved with legal groups like the Section of International Law of the ABA , the International Bar Association or another bar association. Actively participate in their committees.

3. ‘Tis the season to have a party, and invite lots of colleagues, clients and co-workers. Also accept as many party invitations as possible, and then actually attend the events.

4. Actively market yourself through in-person encounters. Many lawyers are introverts, and gravitate towards solitary marketing practices like writing articles or book chapters. Instead, network more; as you interact with people,  look for ways to help them, rather than trying to get something (business) from them.

5. Do some volunteer work, perhaps at a pro bono clinic or through another group volunteer activity. For more on the benefits of pro bono work, see my article called the Pro Bono Plus.

6. Spend time with HAPPY people.

Happy holidays!

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