Categories
Work/Life Balance

You Can’t Fix Crazy

“Lawyers make wonderful (psychiatric) patients: they have excellent health insurance and they never get better.” Niles Crane on Frasier

As a completely unqualified, amateur mental health consultant, I have diagnosed myself with post-professional stress syndrome which I believe results from my forty-year legal career. My symptoms are not sleeping well and worrying too much, even in retirement when on any rational basis I have very little to worry about.

Categories
Firm Culture

Skiing While Submerged

When I was a teenager, my buddy Bill took me waterskiing. For those of you who do not water ski, you learn to ski on two skis which is easy, then to ‘drop a ski’ which is harder, and finally to start on one ski. That was what I was trying to do.  

Bill said that I was the only person who he ever saw who was still holding onto the rope ten feet under water. An exaggeration perhaps, but sometimes I really do not know when to give up.    

Categories
Work/Life Balance

Sh*t My Partners Told Me

In some law firms there is the ‘Go Big or Go Home’ faction (and by “Home” I mean to a firm where lawyers work reasonable hours and people care about each other and their physical and mental health).   

For this faction, it is all about improving earnings and damn the lifestyle.

There is often another faction comprised of lawyers who want to make a decent living but who also want to have a happy life. In a firm where the ‘Go Big or Go Home” group are calling the shots, nobody cares what these lifestyle losers think, so I am also going to ignore them in this post.

Categories
Work/Life Balance

Why are You Wasting Time Reading this Drivel?

Back when I was practicing law, I considered publications like The Lawyer’s Daily to be an unwelcome but necessary evil. I would skim the headlines and case digests looking for information that I had to know to remain competent. There were many times that I did not even read news about upcoming legislation. I figured that it was a waste of time to focus on things that may never be enacted, and I could just wait until it became law to worry about it.

Categories
Work/Life Balance

Toxic Productivity

In 1639, John Clarke said, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

I go to bed early and like other older folks I can no longer sleep through the night, so I suppose I wake up early. So, I should have it made. But I don’t.

Categories
Work/Life Balance

Goodbye Earl – A Legal Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, in a common law jurisdiction not that far away, there was a partner in a law firm who did what all good law firm partners do. He billed a lot. He brought in many clients. He trained the junior lawyers. He supervised the clerks. All in all, he was somewhat of a star. I will call him Earl.

Categories
Work/Life Balance

Going Over to The Light Side of the Force

Since I retired, I have entertained myself by writing about the legal profession, mentoring a few lawyers, and teaching some classes about business law. None of these are particularly remunerative activities.

Now and then someone suggests to me that I should write a novel, or at least compile my articles into a book. And sell it. And try to make some real money. My standard answer is that it sounds like work, and that I have no interest in working.

It is not that earning a few dollars would not come in useful. I long ago learned from my mother that ‘rich or poor, it is good to have money.’ And I am not rich. But nor am I poor. I think that I can get by without working, and I have every intention of finding out if I am right.

Categories
People I Met Practicing Law

On Being Easily Inconvenienced

I met more than a few lawyers who were ‘easily inconvenienced.’ For these individuals, any challenge, no matter how inconsequential it might have appeared to be to others, was a major problem. It was never a good time for their associates or assistants to take a vacation. Their work not being given top priority by an associate who reported to several lawyers – a catastrophe. Their shared assistant working for another lawyer at the exact moment that they wanted something done – a disaster. Staff members attending a half-day training session on new technology – a real problem. Funds for closing being delayed for an hour for whatever reason – the world was ending.

Categories
Law Students and Young Lawyers

Happy Law, Sad Law

I often find myself speaking to law students and young lawyers who are having difficulty deciding what area of law they should practice. I also hear from older lawyers lamenting their original choice and thinking about making a change.

For a bunch of smart people, many of us lawyers choose how to spend most of our waking hours in some pretty dumb ways.

Categories
The Mentality and Attitudes of Lawyers

Existing In Our Own Psychological Prisons

I recently celebrated the 17th anniversary of one of the most significant events of my life.

Back on March 21, 2005, I came to what was, at the time, a stunning realization. I had accidentally fallen in love with a woman with whom I had been working very closely for six years.  Luckily for me and all the other potential Defendants in this situation, she came to the same troubling realization about me at the exact same time.