I keep reading about mental health issues in the legal profession. Too many lawyers are terminally unhappy. The problem appears to be impossible to fix. Even The Washington Post just ran an article titled, “Want to be happy? Then don’t be a lawyer.”
Some years ago my firm had a lawyer’s retreat. We invited a speaker who gave a philosophical presentation about being mindful about how you use your time. His theme was that you have to constantly ask yourself, “what is the best use of my time right now?”
There is a fair amount of talk right now about whether law firms should be required to pay articling students a minimum wage.
But isn’t this so-called ‘debate’ about whether the Law Society should legislate a minimum wage for articling students just the tip of the iceberg? What about the institutionalized discrimination created by the Employment Standards Act (Ontario) against lawyers and articling students (together with architects, accountants, engineers, teachers, surveyors, and others)?
In Part One of The View From The End of The Road, Old Murray (“OM”) went back in time to speak to Young Murray (“YM”) about the beginning of his journey in the legal profession and concluded that Young Murray just did not get it.
Now, Old Murray is going to check in to see whether everything got better when Young Murray became a partner. To read part Two, click here:
My partner Gordon used to travel to Florida each winter on vacation with his biggest client.
Gordon would pay for every meal for both families and submit for reimbursement from the firm. When asked by the Managing Partner whether he had any friends who were not clients to vacation with, he answered rhetorically, “what better friend could there be than someone who helps me put bread on the table to feed my family?”
The thing about starting a new career is that we often do it when we are young and have little experience in life or in business. So, we look to those who came before us to show us the path to success. We assume that the older and wiser folks know what they are doing. That is our first mistake.
Read about it here.
I have heard it said that “an expert is someone from out of town with Power Point.” This expression has some old roots. When I originally heard it, it was “someone from out of town with overhead slides.”
Apparently nowadays you do not even have to travel to become an expert. A young lawyer contacted me recently to ask me my views on the legal profession because he had been told by the Managing Partner of his firm that I was an expert on the profession, a status that I appear to have achieved by ranting on social media.
“There is a time for departure even when there’s no certain place to go.”
On the day that the love of my life and I first told each other that we loved each other, we were, unfortunately, both married to other people. It was a pretty rough journey from then to now (together seventeen years, married for twelve.) Along the way a number of people were hurt, only a few of whom deserved it. I love the result but would not wish the journey on anyone, and deeply regret the hurt caused to the innocent parties.
Doug was an Associate at my first law firm. Martin was our boss.
Just after lunch on my first Friday at the office, Doug said to me, “Any minute now Martin is going to come into my office with a file that absolutely, positively, has to be completed by Monday morning. He does this every Friday to be certain that I have to work on the weekend. He must tell the clients to hold off on giving us files until Friday morning.”
I like to bake bread. In my opinion, and in the opinion of a family member named Aidan, the crust is the best part of my bread. When he was younger, Aidan would sometimes help himself to both end pieces. I did not like that.
Once, Aidan asked if it was okay for him to take a slice of my freshly baked bread as it was cooling on the counter. I told him to take just one slice. The next thing I knew he had sliced the entire top of the bread off and was happily munching way.
When I confronted him, Aidan was not particularly remorseful. He said, “you said that I could have a slice. You didn’t say anything about how I had to slice it.”