Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Two Solitudes of Lawyering

I love being a lawyer. Always have. I attribute a lot of this to the fact that I spent so much of my early years at a leading law firm here in town with a very challenging, but collegial practice. Who couldn't love it? I ask you.

As it turns out, the partner I worked for. He has just penned a book about the profession. Its title? Lawyers Gone Bad.

Apparently, I have been skipping through fields of daisies all these years, overlooking the dark side of lawyering. The side which makes him ask:

"Are stealing and sexual misconduct a distraction from the grinding boredom that is a characteristic of even the best legal practice? Is there something about practising law that makes lawyers unusually prone to depression, anxiety, social isolation and obsessive-compulsiveness? Does legal training strip lawyers of a value system, and encourage them to be aggressive, judgemental, pessimistic and emotionally detached? "

Jesus Murphy. This is the same lawyer who once made me don a bald wig and pretend to be opposing counsel for a closing dinner skit. Where did the happy partner go? To Florida to retire with Santa and the Tooth Fairy? How many more of my misty, happy recollections of yore will die? Tell me now, before I finish making a snack for the Easter bunny.

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