Fun + Lifestyle

The Value of Fun for Lawyers

  • Having fun may make you smarter, sharper, and ultimately more prepared
  • Make sure you get these benefits by scheduling your leisure activity
  • Reduce your time on the couch, which is not as productive as other forms of downtime

Fun can help us lawyers boost physical health to sharpen mental acumen and increase emotional resilience, among many other benefits. But it takes some planning and focus to make downtime productive.

If you’ve been a lawyer for a while, you probably already know that we’re not a profession known for our sense of fun. Quite the opposite, in fact. Between our long hours and the emphasis on deliberation and logic, lawyers tend to favor pragmatism over recreation. That means we’re more likely to do something that we think benefits us than an activity that will make us smile.

Luckily for us, there’s plenty of benefits to having fun, so the equation in our lawyerly minds needs to change and place more value on adding fun back into our lives. It’s not just for the sake of having fun itself (though obviously it’s quite enjoyable). Fun can strengthen us physically, mentally, and emotionally, making us healthier overall, benefits that go well beyond your job. Will having regular fun times make you a better lawyer? Studies say yes. But it will also make you a better person, in and out of the office. Now that’s worth a game night or two.

But before we talk about fun, we need to discuss what fun is not. Even though you might look forward to your nightly unwind in front of the TV (or scrolling through Twitter or Instagram), real fun is more active and engaging. Zoning out, while therapeutic, doesn’t pack the same beneficial punch as spending time doing something that challenges you and makes you laugh.

Call it fun, call it playtime, call it kicking back. Whichever category you put it in, spending time enjoying yourself in a non-work setting offers a host of benefits for everyone.

Fun makes us smarter

By reducing stress and offering us new (and non-legal) challenges, regular opportunities for fun helps sharpen—and expand—your mind. Even if your playtime is less than challenging, taking a break from the burden of stress is enough to give yourself a mental boost for a while.

Where It Helps:

  • At Your Desk
  • In the Courtroom
  • During Your Next Meeting

Fun helps us connect

Having fun as a group is one of the best ways to socially connect with new and familiar people. When we enjoy ourselves with others, we show them that we enjoy the same things—lowering barriers and fostering friendship. Experts also say that laughter indicates vulnerability, which encourages trust and connection. The more you connect with others through fun, the better your social skills will become overall—and that’s a plus for anyone.

Where It Helps:

  • At Networking Events
  • With Your Clients
  • During Presentations

Fun teaches us to learn

You may have heard of the benefit of self-directed learning for children, but what you might not have realized is that those perks apply to adults, too. Enjoyable, self-motivated experiences keep us learning new skills, new interactions, and new mindsets through our own curiosity. As we remember how to learn without the pressure of our job (or law school), future lessons may be picked up faster and easier.

Where It Helps:

  • On New Cases or Transactions
  • With New Clients
  • At Meetings

Fun keeps us sharp

The primary benefit of fun for a lawyer? Fun is a top-notch way to train for the unexpected. The last-minute touchdown, the unexpected plot twist, the last-minute victoryfun activities are a goldmine of rapid changes. Learning to respond to the unexpected keeps us mental and physical muscles poised and ready to spring into actionor to navigate a tricky conversation or lobby back to the opposition in court.

Where It Helps:

  • At Meetings
  • In the Courtroom
  • In Conversation

How can you have more fun? Treat it like your job

Stop expecting fun to happenas adults, we’re much more likely to reach for the remote or the vacuum cleaner than head out for some good ole recreation. If you know you have a free evening or weekend coming up, schedule a leisure activity with friends and family. And then stick to it. After all, now you know fun isn’t just for kicksit’s your next step to your smarter, healthier, and more productive future.

What's Next

How do you have fun? Pick one fun activity that you’ll do within the next week.