In the old days, lawyers joined firms and stayed there, progressing from Associate to Partner. Nowadays there is a great deal of lateral movement among firms. Law firms do not seem to have figured out that they have to do something to manage their business in the face of this constant change of personnel. Appara asked me to think about how legal tech fits in. You can read my thoughts on their site by clicking the link below.
My legal career drove me crazy. Granted, it was not a very long drive, but I suspect that with a bit of knowledge and a great deal of counselling, perhaps I could have taken an off-ramp before I got there.
In a better world, people contemplating a career in law would be told that: (i) it is stressful; and (ii) they should take steps to become their best psychological self before they start down that road.
In the old days, the path to success in the legal profession seemed fairly straight forward: Get top marks; article for a good firm (the larger the better); get hired back; work a tonne of hours; become a partner.
With success came prestige and money.
My friend Steve tells a story about the loss of his uncle at age 58, when Steve was 18 years old. While Steve’s parents were aghast at the tragedy of losing their relative at such an early age, Steve remembers thinking, “what are they talking about, the guy was 58 years old. He had a good run.”
Back when I started practicing law, fax machines were just coming into vogue. This was an extremely useful development, especially since email had not been invented yet.
The timeline for the introduction of fax machines into law offices had two distinct markers.
My stepson once explained to me that his career goal was to be paid a great deal of money to sit at a big desk in a private office and think about things. I tried to explain to him that on the path to his dream job he would have to pass obstacles such as shoveling the driveway, taking out the garbage or mowing the lawn. We did not understand each other.
In my second year of practice, word processing was just becoming a thing.
My firm had fourteen lawyers but no word processor. Fred was the senior partner. I told him that we really needed one of those new-fangled machines.
When I retired and the pandemic put my travel plans on hold, I started writing to amuse myself. I soon found that I enjoyed the freedom to say whatever I wanted to say without having to worry about whether it would please my partners, other lawyers, or the Law Society.
I also discovered that I enjoyed exchanging ideas with like-minded people and being part of an online community.