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.
Last night I worked on a trademark file. It was a disaster. The application had been filed incorrectly and the Trademarks Office had cited a long list of issues and demanded a response 9 years ago. It seems that for some reason no one had looked at the file for quite some time. I needed to figure out if the application was even still alive. It was beyond stressful.
In my first four years of practicing law, I learned how to be a lawyer through the “sink or swim” approach. I did this by working 12 hours a day and 6 ½ days a week, without supervision, mentoring or training. I was also worrying 24 days a day, 7 days a week, and waking up screaming at night. I do not recommend this approach to learning the practice of law.