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Young Lawyers: Reducing Stress by Taking One More Case

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STATE BAR OF NEVADA
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Nevada Lawyer Magazine
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“I truly believe that taking on one pro bono case will reduce the stress you experience at work. ”
Young Lawyers
BY GUEST WRITER MATTHEW P. DIGESTI, ESQ.
REDUCING STRESS BY TAKING ON ONE MORE CASE
Stress is a natural consequence of being a lawyer. Whether it comes from preparing for trial, reaching billable hour requirements, making payroll or juggling your personal life with professional responsibilities, stress is a stranger to none of us. Stress is a battle we all fight, with varying degrees of success. How can a lawyer reduce this stress? Scientific research shows that stress can be reduced by activating the reward center in your brain. This activation can occur through exercise, eating, vacationing and even receiving praise. These “rewards,” however, only benefit you. I am writing this article to propose a different stress reduction technique by focusing on a different reward: Instead of rewarding yourself with an out-of-work activity, try rewarding yourself by taking on just “one more case.” Now, you might be thinking that this is the worst stress reduction advice you have ever received. If work is the biggest cause of stress, why would you take on more work? Before you stop reading this article and turn to the next page, let me tell you an incredible story. A young mother opened her eyes in the hospital and awoke to a reality she had been fearing for months. It had finally happened; she had hoped that it never would, but it did. The doctors told her she had suffered a fractured skull, two broken ribs and multiple contusions. Things could not possibly get any worse, until she was released from the hospital and could not locate her infant son. The individual who had beaten her was also the child’s father. Did he have her son? She didn’t know. She needed help and help came from a Nevada attorney made available through Nevada Legal Services. The attorney was able to engage several police agencies in the search, and the child was eventually found – with the father in a known meth house. Mother and son were reunited, her custody order was enforced and the father was held accountable for his criminal conduct.
38 Nevada Lawyer December 2013
This was the attorney’s “one more case.” I am confident that the sense of reward that came from helping a mother and infant was greater than any vacation, bonus or praise that attorney ever received. I am confident it helped to reduce the attorney’s stress, even if only for a small period of time, and provided the attorney with a renewed sense of purpose. I guarantee that people with similar problems need your help today. Our state bar, our Nevada Supreme Court and our legal aid providers have teamed up to promote and support the One Promise Nevada campaign. The goal is simple. Each attorney in Nevada makes a promise to take on one pro bono case; this promise will not only alter the course of someone’s life, but reward you by creating a selfless connection to your community. Multiple opportunities are available, and not every case deals with atrocities mentioned above. In addition to family law and domestic issues, client needs include consumer rights, bankruptcy and nonprofit advisement. For additional information on the campaign, visit the campaign’s website at www. onepromisenevada.org. Justice Hardesty and Justice Douglas, in conjunction with our hard working staff at the State Bar of Nevada, have worked extremely hard to create and promote this campaign. My hat is off to the justices and the state bar for their exceptional work in our community. I truly believe that taking on one pro bono case will reduce the stress you experience at work. Now, I may have stretched the scientific research argument to support my analysis. However, I remain confident that taking on one more case can, and will, reduce work-related stress. Lawyers hold a rather unique and powerful position in our community. Our profession allows us to literally alter the course of lives. The lawyer mentioned earlier in the article arguably saved the life of a child and the health of a young mother. That lawyer is a hero – and all because that lawyer took on “one more case.”
MATTHEW P. DIGESTI is the chair-elect for the Young Lawyers Section and a litigation associate with Fennemore Craig Jones Vargas’ Reno office. His practice focuses on commercial litigation, labor and employment, and appellate law. December 2013 Nevada Lawyer 39

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