November 23, 2011
Filed under: Current Events — @ 8:00 am
It’s Thanksgiving. This may be my favorite holiday. It’s not tied to a particular faith and it’s not particularly commercial. The only people who feel pressure are those who cook (by the way, I’m preparing dinner for thirteen this year) or those who play football.
I also like the concept behind Thanksgiving — giving thanks for what we have.
Yeah, yeah, sure, fine, you say. You may not be so sure you are grateful for the choice you made to be a lawyer. When I was speaking with one attorney the other day, the lawyer described his relationship with the profession as one of “general malaise.”
Lawyering is a hard job. It expects perfection and mastery of a ton of details. You have to communicate complex concepts to people who may or may not want to understand them. If you are a litigator, the role of all the other parties is to throw darts at you, and there’s always a wild card (the judge or the jury) involved.
And, I’m not going to argue with you: being a lawyer and running a business on top of that is really hard.
Believe it or not, there are good things about the law. Let’s think of the good stuff— the things to be thankful for:
- We can do tremendous things for people. You probably went to law school because you wanted to make a difference. Well, as a lawyer, you do. I think lawyers tend to forget the tremendous difference they can make. With your skills, you can get people out of terrible trouble. A bankruptcy discharge is a liberating thing. How much benefit do you provide to someone by keeping him or her out of jail? Don’t you provide value if you make sure that the right person cares for your client if the client isn’t able to do it?
- We have self-determination. I didn’t think about this when I went to law school, but being a lawyer provides great self-determination. It’s a profession in which you can be your own boss. You can select the kind of law you want to work in. You can choose the kinds of clients you want to work with. As a general rule, those opportunities are not available in other professions, such as education or engineering.
So, at the risk of sounding Pollyannaish, it seems to me that Thanksgiving is a good time to step back and give thanks for the good things the law has brought to us.
Please let me know how this helps you!