A July 2014 article in the Wisconsin Lawyer magazine describes a nationwide study about the happiness of lawyers. This study shows factors that correlate with lawyer happiness, as well as those that don’t correlate. Those factors that correlate most strongly are what the article calls internal factors, and the factors that are least likely to correlate are external factors. The internal factors relate to how well a person is able to communicate and interact with others, and the external factors relate to points largely outside one’s immediate control.
The article highlights the following internal factors, which positively influence lawyer happiness:
•Autonomy, or being authentic and having a sense of control over one’s choices (0.66)
•Relatedness to others (0.65)
•Feeling competent in performing one’s job (0.63)
•Internal motivation at work (0.55) – that is, finding the work itself meaningful, enjoyable, and so on, rather than being motivated by external factors, such as pressure from others or needing to impress others
•Autonomy support at work (0.46)
•Intrinsic values (0.30) – these may include personal growth, helping others, and so on, in contrast to such extrinsic values as power, affluence, and others