Seven Ways to Cure Law Student Burnout


Burnout.  Loss of motivation.  For most law students, it’s a fact of life.  But it doesn’t have to be.

You can rise above burnout.

Here are seven antidotes:

1. Be Mindful

Law school and eating an elephant are both mastered in the same way: one bite at a time.


This is the only moment that’s real.


The past and the future are illusions; let any thoughts about such imaginary times just float right on by.

2. Be Optimistic

Optimism is a choice.  Be positive.


Think: how could I make this fun?  (how about making a music video out of legos?)

3. Reward Progress

If you read 10 pages then you get a cookie.


(in fact, your brain performs better when it has energy to convert into glucose — cookies do help you study by boosting up your willpower!).

4. Be Grateful

Wasn’t it your dream to go to law school?

Didn’t you get here with lots of loving support from others?

Didn’t you work hard to get here?

Your professors are helping transform you into a lawyer.  They don’t assign 100 pages of reading to be mean.  Everything they do is really to help mold you into an amazing, talented, thoughtful attorney.

Could you be grateful for this challenge?


Close your eyes for a few moments, take a few deep breaths, and imagine all of the people and the hard work that got you here.  Thank them.  Smile.  Get back to work.

5. Exercise

Create a ritual of exercising every day.


(even two minutes a day can work wonders)

(and you can listen to law lectures while exercising)

6. Set Clear Goals and Action Steps

Make sure you have definite, measurable, time-oriented goals.

smart goal setting concept

Then break your goals down into bite-sized action steps.


Then do it.

7. Adopt a New Metaphor for Life

What’s your metaphor for life?  (everyone has one).

If it’s pessimistic or unhelpful, change it.

If you can’t think of a new metaphor for life, try this one:


Moving means studying.  Persevering.  Not worrying about the final or all of the pages you have to read.

Moving is only now; this one word you are reading right now.

Keep moving.  Keep fighting.

Parts of your journey through law school may be painful.

But those are only growing pains.

You are undergoing an amazing transformation; coal becomes a diamond only under immense pressure and incredible heat.

Law school is not hard.

It’s just an elephant.

Eat it one bite at a time.