Lessons from Mongolian Camel Farmers

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The stress of a difficult birth will sometimes cause a mother camel to reject her offspring.  Without protection and sustenance from its mother, a newborn camel is almost sure to die.  Mongolian camel farmers have discovered that playing low harmonic songs played on a violin-like instrument called a Morin Khuur, accompanied by a traditional Mongolian  “throat singer,” can often alleviate the mother’s stress and encourage her to accept the calf.  (For those few unfamiliar with Mongolian folk music, a throat singer vocalizes more than one tone at the same time.)  As the attached clip demonstrates, it is no wonder that these guys can cure camel stress.

I don’t have to tell you that practicing law can be stressful.  Maybe not as stressful as birthing a camel, but client demands, hostile adversaries, and a host of other factors can lead to serious stress for lawyers.  Stress can take an emotional and physical toll on the individual and if not addressed, lead to more serious problems like depression.  And stress can have consequences not only for the lawyer, but for colleagues and clients as well.  Sadly, I can recall at least three instances in my career where a stressed-out lawyer neglected a client’s case resulting in missed deadlines, adverse rulings, sanctions, and even discipline.

The attached article identifies some common symptoms of stress and depression, as well as some ways to treat them.  http://www.cba.org/cba/practicelink/bwl/stresscoping.aspx

Dealing with stress at the earliest opportunity will help minimize any consequences for the individual and others.  If you are suffering from stress, or you think one of your colleagues is, don’t stay silent.  Many bar associations have lawyer assistance programs that help individuals and their family member who are struggling with depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental health issues.  Reach out to one of these institutions, or a medical provider, so they can help ensure that the individual is put in touch with the available support mechanisms.

Enough about stress.  I want to end this Tip on a high note.  Thankfully, Mongolian throat singers can also rock.