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Oh, No, Yet Another Expose on Unhappy Lawyers


Next to publishing articles on huge student loan debt and exposes on Leon Black, Insider has created a niche in covering unhappy lawyers.

The latest is titled:

Here you can read it, if you want to search for something new on why lawyers are such an unhappy lot. But, you probably won’t find it. 

Covered are the usual suspects:

No clear idea why they went to law school

No balance – long long hours, on-call 24/7, pressure of deadlines

Boring work, no opportunity for creativity

Little recognition, usually not even a thank-you.

Yes, they have sought out coaching to find an exit ramp. (But everyone has a coach these days, just like all us boomers had a psychoanalyst in the 1970s.)

The only thing missing is the classic joke about mobility in the legal sector: You enter a pie-eating contest. That’s how you get to be partner. Then as a partner you find out that you have to eat more pie.

Instead the article supplies the joke about the Jewish kid – what horrific anti-semitism – who is afraid of blood. So the kid goes to law, not medical, school. (Personally I am enraged by this supposed humor. Although not Jewish, here in southwest I am sized up as “a New York Jew” and often discriminated against.)

The article also misses the reality that there are myriad lawyers who are purpose-driven about practicing law. That is their vocation. Their clients pick up on it. Quoted in SuperLawyers is one in financial services – Citigroup’s Michael Helfer – who observed this about Paul Weiss chairperson Brad Karp:

“I assume he doesn’t sleep … he is always available when I call, and he has this great talent for making you feel like you’re the only client he’s working with.”

In every profession there are the unhappy and those disconnected. That is why career change has almost become standard. Law is only one of them. Also, it’s not the only with large sunk costs. In university teaching/research – which many I know have left – there was the investment of years working on a Ph.D. Then after winning the pie-eating contest (that hard-to-get job) they had to eat more pie (keep publishing, keep doing the committee meetings, keep getting high ratings from students for teaching).

Reflection: Why does Insider get stuck on some stories? It’s a big world out there with plenty happening in addition to student loan debt, Leon Black, and lawyers in emotional misery. 

Connect with Editor-in-Chief Jane Genova [email protected]. Complimentary consultations. No selling.



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