How Did I Get To Be An Unhappy Lawyer? Part 3

Unhappy attorneys—which is at least half of all lawyers, most likely—have one other thing in common in addition to their unhappiness: They are quite disconnected from who they are and what the dreams of their heart are.

You can do more than reconnect with nature when you climb a tree. If you aren't careful, you might have fun!

As I discussed in Part 1, law students tend to enter law school without a clear purpose in being there; they don’t have a strong pull toward anything else, and they’ve gotten good grades, so law school seems like a decent idea. After all, the money is good, and in a society as rampantly materialistic as ours, a money career is A GOOD THING.

Then, as I talked about in Part 2, these unpurposed law students get thrown into the law school pedagogy of divorcing their feelings, values, and ethics from their problem-solving tool kit. Using values as a means of analyzing a legal problem is mocked and derided; only cold logic and dispassionate analysis is given any credence.

So new attorneys emerge from law school disconnected from themselves, and then get thrown into practice where no one sees this disconnection as a problem. Right, there’s no problem here, Houston, despite the high rates of depression, anxiety, phobias, hostility, substance abuse and even suicide among lawyers. Those rates much higher for attorneys than Continue reading

The Story of Your Alternative Legal Career

What stories do you tell yourself about an alternative legal career? I don’t mean the official, upbeat networking version, or even the realistically optimistic one you might tell a career coach or a therapist. No, I’m talking about the ones your inner lizard croons into your ear, sabotaging you.

Choose a better story for a better legal career.It’s the story we attach to events that cause us the most pain, as Martha Beck reminded me in her new book, Finding Your Way in a Wild New World: Reclaim Your True Nature To Create the Life You Want. Yes, there is some pain when you aren’t getting any interviews in that new field you want to be in. It doesn’t feel great to not make the progress you want. But it’s the story you’re attaching to those lack of interviews and progress that makes you miserable and sure you are stuck in law forever.

Actually, “I’m going to be stuck in something I hate” is one of those stories you tell yourself. It’s that thought Continue reading