Friday, January 9, 2009

Reason #2536 You Might Reconsider Law School

From the California Lawyer magazine (January 2009, page 34):

[L]awyers, as a group, have their own unique set of characteristics. For one thing, they are famously prone to depression. A frequently cited Johns Hopkins University study from 1991 found that among more than 100 occupations surveyed, attorneys topped the list for having major depressive disorders, suffering from depression at a rate 3.6 times higher than the general employed population..."You see figures that 20 to 25 percent of lawyers have an alcohol problem," says [Carol] Langford [who practices state bar defense]. "I think it's more like 40 percent."

When I went into law, I thought I could change the world. My thinking proved to be naive, as I learned about insurance, bankruptcy, overloaded court dockets, and procedure over substance. Hearing about my initial desire to change the world, one of my friends, also a lawyer, told me, with a kind laugh, "The world changed you." There's a lesson in there somewhere, but knowing I'm a positive agent in most of my clients' lives keeps me going. Like everything else, the legal profession is what you make of it.


As a peace-maker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough. -- Abraham Lincoln

Thanks to the Hon. Judge Morgan of the United States Bankruptcy Court (Northern District of California) for posting Lincoln's "Notes for a Law Lecture" outside her courtroom, where I and many other lawyers have discovered the above words.

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