The resilience fallacy

By The[Pre]Lawyer in Black|03 September 2019

The pursuit of resilience is one that plagues lawyers, law students and legal institutions alike, writes The[Pre]Lawyer in Black.

How do you become more resilient?

This is the subject of many training sessions in the legal industry. Firms all over the world are offering training for their staff on how to become more resilient at work.

A hot topic in recent years, “resilience” is tossed around to indicate the capacity by which somebody can overcome the challenges of their day-to-day working life.

It is a lie.

Resilience training places the onus on the employee to manage their own wellness, rather than on the firm to make sure the working environment is healthy.

It is seen as a rite of passage in law firms that being bullied day in and day out, having files thrown across the room at you and/or being sworn at (yes, this happens more than people think), is all how you build up resilience in the law.


The emphasis on resilience in the workplace equates being resilient with how much bad behaviour you can take from the people around you before your health eventually deteriorates to the point where you give up. You may be branded as weak for pulling the plug.

You do not become resilient this way, and you will in fact find ways to cope that are not healthy, such as drugs, alcohol and other destructive behaviour.

Resilience and coping are two different things.

Resilience is about how you overcome obstacles and difficulties to then become a better professional. Coping is about taking so much bad behaviour from others until you are worn down.

Resilience is not measured by how much bad behaviour you put up with.

It is up to very individual person to treat others like a human being who matters and not just a butt on a seat, and up to the firm to make sure everybody is held to this standard.

You are not weak.

The resilience fallacy
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