But then I got this in the old email machine: 15 Reasons You Shouldn’t Quit the Practice of Law.
Oh Ho. OH HO HO HO.
I can’t pass up a meatball like that, you realize.
1. You Went to Law School for a Reason
That’s what they led with? One is taught, in of all places, law school, that one wants to start an argument with one’s strongest evidence. And you come out of the gate with “you did this for a reason”? I mean…
The honest truth is that many many people went to law school because they didn’t quite know what to do with themselves, and didn’t really understand what it meant to be a lawyer. It looked good on TV, seemed prestigious, and they weren’t good enough at math to be scientists.
2. You Put a Lot of Effort into Being an Attorney (and Know More than You Think You Do) and a New Job May Force You to Start at the Bottom
Well. I seem to remember a quote attributed to Albert Einstein that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.” Yes, becoming an attorney was hard, and took effort. But life is also hard, and requires effort. You spend the vast portion of your waking life at work- shouldn’t you enjoy it? At least not actively hate it? So you have to start at the bottom at a new job. Is that the worst thing?
3. You Can Get Paid to Write, Argue and Think
I’m starting to feel bad now. Fisking this article is like kicking a puppy.
If such a job exists, please do let me know of it. It seems the vast majority of what I do, and have done, is quibble over minutiae and try to justify my working life in 6 minute increments. But maybe that’s just me?
4. Being an Attorney Has Good Earning Potential in Relation to Other Professions
Ok, that feeling bad thing? Gone now. That’s like saying that playing professional baseball has good earning potential in relation to other professions, or buying lottery tickets has good earning potential. I could refer you to the Michigan practice survey on what attorneys actually make, but I’ll ask you to take it on faith. Plus, let’s talk about return on investment- if you go to law school, and pass up 3 years of income in exchange for $150,000 in loans, unless you make around $100,000 when you come out, it doesn’t make economic sense in the long run.
5. Being an Attorney is Prestigious
6. Working as an Attorney is Intellectually Challenging
Figuring out which client to bill the time you take a dump to can be a puzzle solving exercise, it’s true. And, in fairness, occasionally, very occasionally, you can have an interesting problem to solve. But that is far and away not what the day to day life is like.
7. You Can Genuinely Help Others and Advance Social Change With Your Degree
You can. But if you do this, you’re doing it pro bono, which is Latin for “I still live on my parents’ couch.” You want to eat, and own things? You’re representing Satan, Inc.
8. Being an Attorney Offers Flexibility
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHA. I’ll refer you to the Yale Billable Hour study I cited in a previous post.
9. You Have a Ton of Options You Likely Have Not Even Considered
Like bankruptcy. Not doing it, declaring it.
10. Being an Attorney Requires You to Constantly be Learning
Occasionally true. You do have to keep up with how the legislature has changed the playing field.
11. Being an Attorney is Competitive
Not always a feature, chief. While the trial process is competitive, and that’s fun, you know what else is competitive? The struggle for clients, both within the firm, and without. Ain’t no one as competitive as two associates being considered for partner in the same firm, with one open slot. Someone’s winding up missing a kidney, let me tell you.
12. There is a Huge Variety of Work
There’s document review, the review of documents, discovery, issuing discovery, reviewing discovery, arguing with insurance companies…
13. There are Constant Opportunities to Interact With Other Lawyers and (in Some Cases) Clients
Not the selling point I think he was thinking it’d be.
14. Being an Attorney Gives You a Sense of Purpose
Oh, c’mon. Stop. I’m dying here.
15. Being an Attorney Makes You Accountable
That’s a selling point? “Sure, let’s be accountable, but let’s not get any of the control that might make accountability worthwhile.” Also, let’s get blamed for stuff that’s way out of your control. SIGN ME UP.
I know this was a spam email written by the guy who runs a legal placement search firm, so he’s gotta try to sell to those who are considering leaving the practice, but man, that was one GIANT heap of shit.