Most of the lawyers I know are happy to be lawyers. They take pride in their work, and they feel good about their role in the justice system. Life as a lawyer isn’t easy, but it’s rewarding and fulfilling.
But it seems like there’s a perception that has intensified in the past decade or so that lawyers are miserable—that we feel alienated from the profession and that justice rarely plays a role in our tedious, all-consuming work. There’s a stereotype of a “soulless” lawyer who works to pay off debt or make more money but who feels no satisfaction with the job. I’m not sure how true this stereotype is (see above), but it’s prevalent and widely discussed. (Raise the Bar: Real World Solutions for a Troubled Profession is an interesting book published by the ABA that contains multiple essays exploring the “miserable lawyer” question.) I want my law students to become lawyers who are happy in their chosen profession, and this blog seems as good a place as any to consider happiness and lawyering. (more…)