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
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.

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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

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
Fluff

How Much is Enough?

I accumulated some money practicing law. Not as much as I may have put away if I had practiced on Bay Street. Less than I would have held onto if I had not had a domestic reorganization. Not quite as much as I would have had if I had not made a few stupid financial decisions along the way. But, all in all, a tidy sum which should see me through my retirement in fairly good style if do not do anything stupid, get sick in an expensive way that is not covered by government health insurance or make any more dumb investments.

I have friends who have a lot more. They have bigger houses, fancier cars and more toys, and they travel more frequently and to more expensive destinations. Does this make them happier?

Yes, it does.

I really should have worked harder. And you should stop reading this nonsense and put in a few more billable hours.

Categories
Law Firm Management

What If?

Many of us think that the legal profession is broken, because too many lawyers are stressed out and miserable. Law firms are throwing money at the problem. Apparently unsuccessfully. A few brave souls are attempting to start solo practices or small firms which operate on different, and more humane and sustainable principles. But apart from that, the profession seems to be lurching along as it always has and continuing to chew up, and sometimes spit out, those lawyers who are determined to have a life outside of practicing law.

Categories
People I Met Practicing Law

People I Met Practicing Law Episode Seven: The Super Star

Let me tell you about a real person, whose real name is not Emily.

Emily is a superstar. She does it all and has been doing it all for an awfully long time.

Categories
Work/Life Balance

Game Over

I met Maria when she landed her first job as an associate at a medium sized law firm in the Toronto area.  She was capable, intelligent, and eager to learn.  However, just how hard lawyers work in law firms seemed to catch her by surprise. I guess that they don’t tell you about that in law school.

There is a steep learning curve in the area of law in which Maria commenced her practice.  A great deal of training takes place in the first year or two, after which a good associate will hit their stride and become downright useful.  Maria was a good associate.  She persevered and right on schedule as she approached her second anniversary at the firm, Maria was becoming downright productive.

As often seems to happen, just as she was becoming valuable to her firm, Maria chose to leave. She departed for greener pastures just shy of her third anniversary at the firm.

Categories
Work/Life Balance

A Feminist Rant from an Old White Guy

Erin Durant of Durant Barristers recently posted the following on LinkedIn:

“A pain point for women who create firms is the narrative that they have quit rather than have built something. I did not quit my practice. I took my practice and built something better for my clients. I agree with a mentor who says that male founders do not face that assumption.”