What right do we former lawyers have to be bitter and unhappy? I mean, when at least half of attorneys surveyed say they would not choose law again, obviously nothing is wrong with the structure and culture of the profession. It’s—‘DOH!— our bad personal choice to go to law school that is to blame.
When no one knows how anything will turn out, you can feel freer to follow your inner wisdom without a cloud of guilt and doubt hanging over you. Your inner wisdom has always been more likely to be the right answer for you; now more than ever, you can free yourself from justifying the dreams borne of that inner wisdom.
Connect with whatever inspires you–the Indigo Girls, or something else altogether—and use that to dream big, and act big.
The legal industry as a whole must fix its fetish with perfection. In the end, calling out colleagues on their weaponized perfectionism benefits everyone, especially lawyers who are different from the norm. It doesn’t require money to address. You don’t need anyone’s permission. It’s a step you can take within the next week.
Lawyers may deserve the “asshole” label at times, but not because we are all mean, nasty people. Yes, there are many lawyers who are. But many more lawyers act poorly because they’ve never learned differently.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t ever argue the correctness of your position, because I am not an idiot. But choosing the right time and the right place for that argument is where we lawyers often stumble. Far too many attorneys have their “I’m right” dial set permanently at 11, one of the reasons lawyers’ interpersonal relationships suffer.
Looking first and foremost for the high pay, without delving into the messy reasons you aren’t happy in law, is following the same path that got you into law in the first place. Sooner (usually) or later, you will be at this same point again, just with a different job title.
The opportunity to simply let our minds drift sounds so unimportant, doesn’t it? But it is vital. A mind without a project to obsess over, a problem to solve, a stimulus to respond to, has the time it needs to process. Unstructured time is how we digest some of our lives. With the constant barrage of screens, we have more mental food to digest, and thus an even higher need for mental wandering.
You’re taking a huge risk by not following your calling. You are risking that you will survive, physically and mentally, in good enough shape to one day be able to follow your heart’s desires. Considering the high rates of depression, addiction, suicide, and chronic illness among lawyers, that’s a pretty damned risky path, too.
Lawyer misery is depriving us of a lot of talent and energy that would be much better used to improve
I once read that the traits most necessary to be a good lawyer were the ones that made it unbearable