Nancy Levit, JD – School of Law
Professor Nancy Levit was the speaker for Honors Colloquium on February 29. Professor Levit received a bachelor of arts from Bates College and her J.D. from the University of Kansas. She has imparted her knowledge and understanding of the field of law with the students of the UMKC School of Law for the past 24 years. She is also a member of the UMKC Women’s and Gender Studies faculty. Over the years, Professor Levit has been selected as the Law School’s Outstanding Professor of the Year for the past three years, the Daniel L. Brenner Faculty Publishing Award, and the Elmer P. Pierson Faculty teaching award three times.
Professor Levit’s presentation focused on her book The Happy Lawyer: Making a Good Life in the La, which was co-authored Doug Linder. The main emphasis of the book focused on how many lawyer’s are dissatisfied or disappointed with their line of work. To explain the causes for unhappiness among lawyer’s, Professor Levit first defined the three types of happiness: pleasure, a state of contentment or satisfaction, and a sense of having lived well. This final type of happiness is more reflective and is experienced towards the end of one’s life. Professor Levit then went on to list the activities that are voting as producing the most happiness; sex is at the top of the list while working was close to the bottom.
Next Professor Levit showed a chart that listed jobs in order of job satisfaction. Lawyer’s came in towards the middle with 52% of lawyers being very satisfied with their jobs, while clergymen, physical therapists, and firefighters were at the very top of the chart. Professor Levit then described the “Big 6” factors that lead to job satisfaction: aligning the job with your own values or “mattering,” the opportunity for downward comparisons, degree of work-life balances, quality of relationships afforded by the job, opportunities for flow experiences where “time flies by,” and finally, resilience in getting through tough times. All of these elements can be applied not only to the profession of law but to any job one can imagine. Professon Levit’s presentation not only was interesting to future law students but to any student wishing to have a happy and fulfilling career.