Miserable Lawyers, Part XXVII

It’s true, I used to be a lawyer.  I recently changed by status to ‘inactive,’ a decision I made without a twinge of regret.

In countries like Germany, you begin studying law as an undergraduate, when you’re around 19.  Very few 19-year-olds can make a rational, informed decision to become a lawyer.  That’s why I always give my students a lecture on the hard, cold realities of the legal profession. The point is to try to alert some of the students to the fact that they don’t have the talent or inclination for this job, before they waste 4 or 5 years of their lives.

The really unlucky ones find out that being a lawyer is not for everyone only after they’ve already passed all the tests and gotten all the certificates. (In Germany, this routinely lasts until students are in their early 30s.)  This delayed reaction, of course, leads to problem of miserable lawyers who hate their work.  Take it away, Toronto Globe and Mail:

Pity the lawyers?

"Law school is one of the [few] graduate degrees that make you more employable," writes Penelope Trunk, author of Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success. "Unfortunately, it makes you more employable in a profession where people are more unhappy. Law school rewards perfectionism, and perfectionism is a risk factor for depression. Lawyers have little control over their work and hours, because they are at the beck and call of clients, and many are constantly working with clients who have problems lawyers cannot solve. These two traits in a job – lack of control over workload and compromised ability to reach stated goals – are the two biggest causes for burnout in jobs."

[h/t – Ed Philp]

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