Experts estimate that about 10% of the US population has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. According to the ABA about 12.5% of lawyers admit to having ADHD—that means 1 out of 8 lawyers admits to having ADHD. The actual incidence is likely to be higher.
What does ADHD look like in adults?
Adult ADHD symptoms may include:
Disorganization and problems prioritizing
Poor time management skills
Problems focusing on a task
Excessive activity or restlessness
Low frustration tolerance
Frequent mood swings
Problems following through and completing tasks
Trouble coping with stress
Why should you care?
Adults with unmanaged ADHD are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and not surprisingly, a shortened life expectancy.
How is ADHD in adults treated?
- Cognitive behavorial therapy or ADHD coaching
Do I have to be diagnosed with ADHD in order to work with an ADHD coach?
No. The DSM-5 requires that an adult show 5 or more of the symptoms of ADHD for 6 months or more. https://www.addrc.org/dsm-5-criteria-for-adhd )
Some people only show 3 or 4 symptoms and others only show symptoms for shorter periods of time when they are in highly stressful situations. An ADHD coach can work with people who are diagnosed as having ADHD or who are having problems with executive function (which can resemble the symptoms of ADHD).
Does Partner Up Offer Group Coaching for Lawyers with ADHD?
Yes, on a limited basis, we offer group coaching for lawyers with ADHD. These groups are capped at 10 members and focus on Time Management and other topics selected by the group. Groups meet twice a month.
What do ADHD symptoms look like for lawyers?
- I chronically underestimate how long things are going to take. So, I get things done at the last minute or miss deadlines.
- I handle complex cases brilliantly but for some reason I can’t even get started if the project is uninteresting.
- My office is disorganized, and I’m always misplacing things.
- I blurt out comments during meetings that aren’t always appreciated.
- If I am interested in a topic, I research it extensively and pursue every avenue. I have a hard time deciding when enough is enough.
- Sometimes, my supervisors claim that my writing is disorganized.
- When I am told to make only my three best arguments, I have a hard time distinguishing between the most important arguments and the most interesting ones.
- I have a hard time remembering directions and I’m too embarrassed to ask to have them repeated.
- When I see something that is unfair, I feel very strongly about it and speak without thinking about possible adverse consequences.
- When I get frustrated, I speak out without thinking and sometimes offend others.
- I procrastinate in doing my billing until the end of the month and then I can’t remember what I did. I’m not billing enough hours or, if I am, I wonder if I’m cheating my clients.
- At the end of the day, I can’t remember what I did or how long it took and even though I worked all day, I can’t get the hours to add up.
- I’m worried that someday they will realize I am not the competent lawyer I seem to be.
After [my] meeting, I did something I’ve never done before: I sent an email to the hiring manager …explaining how great I would be at the open position at his company — completely unsolicited. After I hit the “send” key, I was overwhelmed at how much confidence I’d shown. He got right back to me and said he’d told his HR Department to make sure that I moved onto the next step in their hiring process! That was such an affirming moment for me!
Rosemary Hollinger has the fantastic gift of active listening – she compassionately holds space for you to process your own thinking, with guidance and thoughtful questions. Her tools for recognizing and accepting my strengths with ADHD has changed my life.
I came to Rosemary for help when I was struggling with a law job that made me miserable. Within a few weeks, she helped me figure out why all my prior jobs were a bad match for me, pinpoint the type of job that would better fit my specific ADHD strengths and concerns, and taught me ADHD management strategies to help me cope until I found another position. I now have two jobs that fulfill me and give me great joy, and I am more at peace with my ADHD and managing it better than I ever have before.