Monday, August 10, 2009

10 Best and 10 Worst Things About Being a Lawyer

It's fair to say I have a love/hate relationship with my chosen career path. It is not enough to say the career path is "lawyer". I'll be the first to admit, I don't even know what lawyers who work in big law firms actually do, nor do I know what lawyers who work for the government actually do. I only know about solo and small firm lawyering, the kind where you are your own boss in your own business. Where you figure out how to get clients and cases, you figure out how to get the work done, you figure out how to get paid, and you figure out how to figure out if you actually are enjoying it. Eventually, you ask this what I'm going to do until........I can't do it any more?

Some might say it's an admirable quality to keep getting up after repeatedly getting knocked down. However, which boxer would you admire more....the one who kept going back for his next beating, or the one who got out while he could still walk and talk, and became a gym teacher?

I can't say that I hate everything about law practice, or that I hate every day of practice. I want to believe that if that were true, I'd be man enough to admit it, and use my abilities for something else.

That being said, I regularly ask the question......"Why am I doing this?"

To give it some perspective, here is a top 10 list of the best and worst things about being a lawyer.

10. Best - I know a lot of stuff about a lot of things.

10. Worst - I know a lot of stuff about a lot of things.

9. Best - Sometimes people sincerely thank me for what I have done for them.

9. Worst - Very often people do not thank me, even when I have given them my guts.

8. Best - I have some great stories.

8. Worst - Most of my best stories start out, "I was involved in this crazy case once....."

7. Best - Sometimes you make a big fee for relatively little work.

7. Worst - Very often you make a small fee for pressure packed, brutally hard work.

6. Best - I make my own hours, and I have the flexibility to attend to family matters.

6. Worst - There has never been a day in the last 27 years when I did not think about my cases.

5. Best - I know many amazing lawyers who are also great people.

5. Worst - I know some lawyers who are real jerks.....though not as many as some people think.

4. Best - Some Judges are awesome.

4. Worst - Some Judges act like civil servants.

3. Best - Judges who actually practiced law generally respect what lawyers do.

3. Worst - Judges who never practiced (more than you'd think) treat the lawyers with disrespect. Wow, this one really ticks me off.

2. Best - I am really good at seeing practical approaches to difficult situations, and really good at advising clients who have serious problems.

2. Worst - Very often, people ignore my advice because of illogical personal animus towards the other side (often a family member). This happens even when I advise them not to do this, and show them how harmful it is.

1. Best - Complicated problems do not scare me.

1. Worst - Sometimes really simple people have really complicated problems. I may not be scared, they SHOULD be scared, and the fact that they are not scared ends up scaring me.

I don't know if reading this is useful for any of my readers, but it sure helps me to air it out.

Thanks for reading!!!