Lawyer Monthly - June 2022

ou have suggested in the past that several parallels exist between the legal sector and sports science. Why do you say this? One reason for this is that both sectors are performance-based. To be successful in the legal sector, one must provide efficient and effective legal services. This is also true for athletes. Therefore, in order to win and sustain a successful career, they must be able to perform at their best. Another parallel between the two sectors is that they are both adversarial and competitive environments. The legal sector is competitive because there are limited opportunities for lawyers to work at major firms or organisations and to serve the most sought-after clients. Athletes are competitive because there can only be one winner in each event. Both sectors share a common goal: winning. Lawyers want to win cases or complete a transaction successfully while athletes want to win medals, championships or events. Winning is important in both sectors because it allows individuals and organisations to achieve their goals and objectives. Competition and performance demands place pressure on athletes’ bodies, and when combined with the external forces of sports, it increases the risk of injury and psychological burnout. The legal sector places a considerable demand on the mental performance of lawyers, and when combined with external forces such as billable hours, client deadlines, vicarious trauma and socio-economic environment, increases the pressure on the mental health of lawyers. Another parallel between the two What Do Lawyers and TopAthletes Have in Common? Competitiveness, dedication, pressure – all of these and much more can be attributed to world-class professionals in both sports and law. But only one of these professions has wholeheartedly accepted performance coaching as part of its culture. Performance coach Charlène Gisèle Bourliout delves into why this aversion to coaching exists in the legal sector, and the benefits lawyers stand to gain by overcoming it. Y EXPERT INSIGHT

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