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November 24, 2004

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Nic

They are part of a distinguished profession that forms the foundation of a country that enjoys the most freedoms and privileges of any country in the history of the world.

Yeah, right.

Let The Eagle Soar

David Giacalone

I'm not sure John Carey has answered this question correctly.

1) there is no reason to believe that lawyers who went to law school as a "default choice" are any less happy than those who grew up wanting to be a lawyer. Some of the best and the happiest lawyers went the default school route.

2) there are no stats showing that lawyers are making less money than they have historically. Surveys, including one recently done in Australia, show that the unhappiest lawyers are in the biggest firms making the most money.

I think the unhappiness has more to do with:

a) a wrong notion about what the day-to-day work of lawyers entails -- it just isn't all exciting.

b) a realization that being a workaholic merely to make a lot of money is a very bad deal;

c) the realization that zealously representing the interests of a client -- no matter how venal or antisocial those interests may be, or how indifferent you are about the outcome -- diminishes your own self-esteem (guns for hire are not likely to be happy, well-grounded people in any profession);

d) the realization that your skills are not very special -- issue-spotting, reading and writing well -- and do not warrant charging the high fees that are charged;

e) the realization that much of what the public hates about lawyers is actually true;

f) the hollow feeling that comes from mouthing the "acting in the client's best interests" and "highest ethical standards" mantras, while knowing that in most firms dollars are number one.

Professor Schiltz's "best advice for law students" is also the best for all lawyers hoping to overcome career depression:

"Right now, while they are still in law school, they need to make the commitment not just in their heads, but in their hearts, that although they are willing to work hard and they would like to make a comfortable living, they are not going to let money dominate their lives to the exclusion of all else. And they must not simply structure their lives around this negative; they should embrace a positive. They must believe in something, care about something, so that when the culture of greed presses in on them from all sides, there will be something inside of them pushing back. They must make the decision now that they will be the ones who define success for themselves — not their classmates, not law firms, not clients of law firms, not the National Law Journal. They will be happier, healthier and more ethical attorneys as a result."

Evan

David:

That's some good advice from Professor Schiltz. And you've raised a number of interesting issues, some of which have arisen on this weblog before, some of which haven't.

Although I'd like to take issue with a few of your points, I think I'll wait until I have the time to do it right in separate posts. I know you're a fierce advocate, and I need to have all my ducks in a row before I take you on.

I can say this, however: I was a one of those lawyers-by-default, and things eventually worked out for me, at least so far.

Aaron

It's an interesting take on things. But I have a few quibbles beyond the first point, which I find to be true in many cases.

"Lawyers make less money" - I haven't been practicing for as long as Mr. Carey (who, presumably, is definitely not in the "making less money" category of lawyers.) However, I recall as I entered practice hearing from a variety of older lawyers that things were better back when lawyers made less money, and law firms didn't jettison associates and even partners in order to keep partner salaries up. Perhaps this best ties into the first explanation - some lawyers go into the field with the notion, "I'll make a ton of money", and are disappointed that they do not - in which case this point could be wrapped into "they went to law school for the wrong reasons".

I also recall hearing about the decline of civility among the bar as I entered. And yes, civility has in my opinion declined. But it is not a fifteen-year process. Fortunately, there remain many lawyers who are great human beings, but there seems to be little present expectation that lawyers will behave as gentlemen and gentlewomen. My quibble here, I guess, is that this decline has probably been measurable for the past century, perhaps longer, not just the past decade or two. (And then there's the aspect of our legal history which makes me a bit leery of longing for that 'civil' era when law firms pretty much excluded women, minorities, and in some cases certain religious groups, from their ranks.)

As for lawyers being unhappy about the profession's public image, sure. But when were they happy? When Dickens was penning "Bleak House"? When Shakespeare was penning Dick the Butcher's "let's kill all the lawyers" line in Henry V? Or this:

How about advocates, then? Tell me the sum they extract from their work in court, those bulging bundles of briefs! They talk big enough - especially when there's a creditor listening, or, worse, they're nudged in the ribs by some dun who's brought his weighty ledger to fuss about a bad debt. Then they pump out huge lies huff and puff like a bellows, spray spittle all over themselves - yet if you check their incomes (real, not declared), you'll find that a hundred lawyers make only as much as one successful jockey.
Juvenal, Satire VII, written sometime around 100 AD.
Disgruntled Associate

I think Mr. Carey's first point is a little misguided. While many attorneys back into law school (I did), I don't see why Mr. Carey or prospective law students should assume that the disgruntled attorney would be any happier working as a low-level corporate drone. I suspect one of the main reasons so many students attend law school as a fall-back position is because there is nothing in the corporate world that attracts them.

The real problem for (most) disgruntled attorneys is surely this:

Attorneys in most firms operate under a relentless and more or less merciless pressure to bill as much as possible. Over the long term, this pressure grinds attorneys down into the miserable wrecks Mr. Carey is writing about. I don't think anyone can appreciate the crushing weight of billable hour goals when they are contemplating or actually in law school. There are a few workaholics out there who no doubt thrive in this environment. The majority of sane people, however, will eventually come to resent their job and the partners they work for to varying degrees. Those who rise to the top tend to become merciless themselves as they see no reason why anyone else at the office should be allowed to slack while they kill themselves year in and year out. Success for an associate often is measured in terms of how they bill in comparison to their peers rather than the quality of their work or their overall effort (billable and non-billable).

The practice of law is ultimately a business and the bottom line has to be observed. But when partners say they value their attorneys' personal lives and don't believe in running a sweatshop, yet simultaneously complain about having to pay a partner full salary in a year when the partner didn't bill well because he was receiving chemotherapy, greed and the income effect have clearly turned the partners into something they didn't think they would ever become.

OLS

On Carey's first point, I was one of those students who did law because I didn't really know what I wanted to do. It's a little different here in Australia because law is an undergrad degree, not postgrad. And of course, uni don't charge up-front fees. But you still get a lot of unhappy lawyers.

As it turns out, I'm not one of them. I've always enjoyed the practice of law (even though I hated studying it), but then, I've moved around a lot within the law profession - so it continues to keep me mentally challenged and in constant contact with clients.

One of my favourite quotes comes from a law school dropout turned musician, which goes something like, "law school is a repository for the aimlessly intelligent". I think it explains a lot.

- OLS

jdz


I haven't read all the responses but I thought I'd add something that I have been thinking about recently. I'm finishing up my first semester as a 1L and have noticed that law school seems to attract a LOT of inherently negative people. It seems that everyone in my classes is always bitching about something... even when there is very little to bitch about. I can't imagine a lot of these people being happy doing much of anything....

Federalist No. 84

David - what hourly rate should attorneys charge? Please distinguish between a garden-variety lawyer and someone like the late Edward Bennett Williams.

I'm not being cutsie. It's just that you often criticize high fees: I'd like to see what you think is fair and reasonable.

Federalist No. 84

I think that many lawyers are unhappy for the same reason many people are unhappy: Many people don't like what they're doing and they feel the need to constantly experience pleasure. Pleasure is elusive, and different from happiness. Socrates was talking about these things well before the American lawyer entered the scene.

And most lawyers, like most people, won't make the life changes necessary to become happy. It's not like Tony Robbins and Steven Covey market themselves exclusively to lawyers. Life is, for most people, a pretty abysmal experience.

Anyhow, Mr. Carey, that was a great post. I hope Even can get more of his bright and articulate friends on here.

Evan

Federalist: David Giacalone and I (and some others) once engaged in a long discussion about contingency fees on this weblog here. At least some of David's views about attorneys fees are contained there.

Aaron

Interesting comments there, but... they seem mostly political, as opposed to practical. To risk oversimplification, the essense of the argument appears to be this: because some contingent fees result in an "hourly rate" that Mr. Giacalone views as excessive, P.I. lawyers presumptively overbill. Never mind that an hourly rate is not always the best gauge of the value of services - and Mr. Giacalone seems completely comfortable with a doctor buying that condo and yacht in the Ozarks based not upon an hourly rate, but upon fee for service billing.

(This type of debate brings to mind the old joke about the retired engineer who is called in as an expert consultant to fix a very expensive machine. He examines the machine, gets out a hammer, taps a particular piece of metal, and the machine returns to life. Responding to complaints about his $10,000 bill, he itemizes, "$1 for hitting machine with hammer. $9,999 for knowing where to hit it.")

Mr. Giacalone argues also that there is "no shortage" of lawyers willing to accept cases where the contingent fee is limited by statute, for example workers' compensation cases. However, at least in my experience, the population of lawyers who take that type of case is anything but congruous with the population of personal injury lawyers who do not take such cases. There is some overlap, but most personal injury lawyers I know do not practice workers' compensation - they either decline or refer that work.

And even when you move into standard personal injury work, not all P.I. lawyers are "created equal". While the contingent fee may be the same, the typical caseload of an excellent, good, mediocre, or poor personal injury lawyer will typically reflect their relative skill. The guy at the bottom may well be charging that third, but he may actually be netting less per hour than if he billed at an hourly rate. Between the low value of the cases, more dubious claims of liability, costs, and the manner in which defense firms work a file (at an hourly rate), the net return for such a case can be quite small.

It may not seem "fair" that the cases with the most serious damages, and the most clear-cut liability, often end up in the hands of the best personal injury lawyers - some of whom arguably do make "windfall" hourly earnings for their work, if we are to (mis)apply that hourly standard - but there are several reasons for that. First, they are very good at what they do. Second, if they have a strong reputation in the defense bar that reputation can often force a settlement at an earlier time and higher rate than a lesser attorney could obtain. Third, they have the resources and skills to take the case to trial and win.

Mr. Giacalone seems quite willing to view P.I. work in a vacuum - without regard for the manner in which defense firms work a file, without regard for the time passage between when a client comes in and when a case is resolved, and without regard for the investment a personal injury lawyer must make in a case long before he sees a dime of return. He appears to believe that the typical case involves a personal injury lawyer picking up a phone, calling the defendant's insurance adjuster, settling the case in minutes, and charging a third or more as a fee. Granted, there are extraordinary cases where that can happen, but that rare exception should not define the rule.

This is not to say that contingent fees cannot be excessive. It is simply to say that I didn't find Mr. Giacalone's arguments on the linked thread to be persuasive or even particularly relevant.

Brian

I will have to say that I have not met very many happy lawyers. I think most of the ones that are happy realized in elementary school they wanted to be a lawyer. I guess I fall somewhere in between a lawschool-by-default and in it for the right reasons. I really wanted to be an attorney because its a nobel service. But I also ran out of time trying to decide between grad school and law school. I did not have time to take the GRE, but did the LSAT. However, since I am ready to graduate, I am hoping I will be a happy lawyer.

Jim Husen

Being a lawyer offers the individual with a unique opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of others and society. People travel many miles to receive our counsel and pay us their hard earned money to vindicate their cause, negotiate their deals and defend them.

If we ever neglect or betray the awesome trust we are given by our fellow citizens, we are bound to be unhappy. Unhappiness is the natural causal effect of irresponsible behavior. While a lawyer must always carefully maintain independent professional judgment, the lawyer must nevertheless care about and competently and zealously represent the client. When the lawyer fails to do this he or she becomes irresponsible and unhappiness naturally follows.

Happy lawyers continue to learn, focus on helping their clients and engage themselves in the profession. These lawyers grow stronger as they age and continue throughout their careers to provide increasingly effective legal counsel and advocacy.

Rufus

The legal profession tends to attract people with a variety of pathologies and neuroses. Overwhelmingly though, lawyers, even the ones who should not be committed, are malcontents. But it's not the law that makes them malcontents, they were malcontents on the first day of law school. Consequently, they're not capable of being happy. And when you add in the egoism, grandiosity, compulsions, paranoia, addictions, money lust, and myriad of other disorders, you have a profession filled with people who are on the verge of ... of ...well, whatever.

Jim

Perhaps another reason that we have a great deal of unhappiness in the profession is that we underestimate the astounding difficulty and complexity of our professional work and representation for our clients. This underestimation leads to a narrow approach to the problems faced by our clients and which minimizes the lawyer’s influence upon the outcome of any given case and the satisfaction that we rightly own in developing our gifts and serving our fellow citizens and members of society.

Lawyers know and expect that if our cases go to trial they will be settled on the facts and the application law to those facts. Thus, as the old saying goes, if we have the facts on our side we argue the facts. If we have the law, we argue the law. However, the development of the dispute that leads to our involvement in the lives of our clients is usually more complex than a simple dispute about the facts or law. There are often hidden motivations and agendas our clients seek to advance and the lawsuit can be symbolic in the way that one thing will often stand for another in our dreams.

The mistake most lay people make in deciding to begin litigation is to believe that just because a lawsuit has been filed and served that the other side will simply capitulate in whatever dispute led to getting lawyers and the court involved.

Such is not the case at all. Proverbs 29:9 says “If a wise man goes to court with a fool,
the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.” (See also my comments on Isaiah 13 about the “The Impacable Adversary” – those people who neither silver or gold and wont listen to reason. Such a person is thirsty for battle, thirsty for blood, or revenge. It is best to either surrender and settle immediately with such an adversary or mount a full offensive without reserve.

We misjudge human nature and the multifaceted roots feeding into the outbreak of a lawsuit when we expect our clients’ disputes to be cleared away without great conflict, skill and wisdom.

I often recall the words of Ethical Consideration 7-8 of the Code of Professional Responsibility as I counsel and defend clients. It is conforting to know that I am allowed by our rules to be a whole person and counsel my clients beyond the caselaw and statutes: “A lawyer should exert his best efforts to insure that decisions of his client are made only after the client has been informed of relevant considerations. A lawyer ought to initiate this decision-making process if the client does not do so. Advice of a lawyer to his client need not be confined to purely legal considerations. A lawyer should advise his client of the possible effect of each legal alternative. A lawyer should bring to bear upon this decision-making process the fullness of his experience as well as his objective viewpoint. In assisting his client to reach a proper decision, it is often desirable for a lawyer to point out those factors which may lead to a decision that is morally just as well as legally permissible. He may emphasize the possibility of harsh consequences that might result from assertion of legally permissible positions. In the final analysis, however, the lawyer should always remember that the decision whether to forego legally available objectives or methods because of nonlegal factors is ultimately for the client and not for himself. In the event that the client in a nonadjudicatory matter insists upon a course of conduct that is contrary to the judgment and advice of the lawyer but not prohibited by Disciplinary Rules, the lawyer may withdraw from the employment.” (EC 7-8.)

lawfan

Hey Federalist, I am a Covey fan -
I am no lawyer...

Rufas, I declare, you slay me with your pen, did you author an article about good looking lawyers? Beautiful people suffer such discrimination!

Dearest Jim,

Lay person here :-) responding to your post.

Well said, you would do well to present a seminar for those about to embark in new business ventures who otherwise may have the need for serious long term legal advice.
Most of us are oblivious to the needs and requirements of the attorney and client relationship. We make that call when pinned to the wall in total fear of "loss of something" whatever the case may be (pun intended).

I can relate to the client who may be somewhat unprepared and I like your line of thinking, directives are very good. You may come off with a well structured client/case, in the end. Would it be fair to say that clients or family may not appreciate your schedule? Docs post a formatted understood schedule and you guys are unable to do that, problematic. No fair. Most are in a vortex when they view your time, talk to us about hourly rates, we don't get it. duh... You can tell us behind that door, but look into these huge frightened eyes who know nothing about all that stuff that crammed into your brain, we don't get it.
(forgive forgive forgive)

BTW, how is it that all that stuff is in there, I mean one can only retain so much without blowing a fuse...
(how do you guys do it?)

Disgruntled Associate touched on the delicate issue of b i l l i n g.

Heck, I never even thought about how you guys did that, people don't just PAY you!! OK big business issues are above me in this area.

See what I mean, we are lost,

(lost lost lost)

I am shooting for compassion here, is it working?
(patience patience patience)

I applaud your summary! Lawyers need to be better understood. I for one have made it my personal mission to "get it" and am humbled upon scratching the surface.
(humility is a good thing)
I will never get it but hopefully I can grasp it...

I am the administrative type and have been affectionately referred to as "air head" which is fine, I have managed to pull crap out of the fire once or twice. I have suffered the legal pains typical of my demographics, divorce, that sort of thing. I admit I was lost and I know my attorney had the patience of Job and he got it done and did it well.

(bless him bless him bless him)

Maybe one day I will dash by and fly a paper plane into his office with T/Y scribbled on it...
I don't know how do you guys do it.

I guess it is the pressure of success, you all know how that can be, very demanding...no time.
(and you don't even get out of speeding tickets, bet, bet you don't, that sucks cause you guys are the ones THAT HAVE TO BE THERE you are the FED EX of the professionals, the professionals depend on you, for heaven's sake)
Who would have thunk it, it all rests on your shoulders, the strict demands and responsibility involved with exact details of the law, that is.

I mean we all know it is there but until your fanny is on that stand (as a client...)
it is not real, no matter how many movies you see, Primal Fear, Perry Mason, etc. you need to be there to appreciate the respect His Honor commands in that court room.
(Amen?)
I could not handle the stress.

Jim, I am the eternal optimist who carries a deep gratitude for those that embrace your line of thinking with the courage to express such beliefs. Hats off to all of you, hang on to your scales, lawyer on...

Sincerely and warm regards,
Angel

David Giacalone

Please excuse my tardy reply (I was too busy Wed. writing about faith-based law schools). I'm a little disappointed -- but not surprised -- that only my mention of lawyer fees got any substantive response from anyone but Evan.

Aaron, Every point that you have made about my writings on contingency fees incorrectly interprets what I have said or sets up a strawman. If you are a lawyer, I hope your work on behalf of clients shows higher levels of reading comprehension, advocacy skills, integrity, and knowledge of the ethics of legal fees. I will try to type slowly here, so that you can keep up.

I have always said that I am not against the use of contingency fees. My complaint has always been against the application of a "standard" contingency fee to virtually every case that a p/i lawyer handles. The level of a contingency fee should primarily relate to the amount of risk that the lawyer is taking of doing a substantial amount of work without being adequately compensated. Always charging the same fee (especially when it is the maximum amount allowed in a jurisdiction) does not meet this standard. The duty to charge a reasonable fee is owed to each client individually, and the risk level needs to be addressed, at least roughly, for each client's case.

You say my position is "political" and the factors I raise are "irrelevant". I have no affiliation with any political cause and have -- from my very first post on contingency fees -- stated that I am not part of the tort reform movement. My goal has been to look at all aspects of lawyer-client relations (not just fees) from the perspective of putting the client's legitimate interests first, which often means fully informing the client so that she or he can make intelligent choices.

You can call my approach to contingency fees "irrelevant", but please note that they jibe completely with ABA Formal Ethics Opinions on such fees, and that ATLA has repeatedly said that contingency fees should be set in a manner that corresponds to the lawyer's risk -- and not that the existence of any risk at all justifies any percentage. [The fact that the legal profession ignores this ethical obligation is shameful.] At your Stopped Clock weblog, you suggest that being right twice a day is sufficient, but being right once in a while is not good enough to make the use of a standard contingency fee valid. The the fee is higher than the risk warrants, the lawyer is cheating the client.

With no evidence at all (but apparently under the false impression that I am a tort-reformer) you say I don't mind doctors making enormous amount of money. The only time that I have written about physician fees on the web has been in the context of "value billing" proponents who want law clients to ask themselves questions like "what is peace of mind worth?". My retort has been that our society would never and should never allow a doctor to ask a similar question before healing or curing a patient. Please don't ask me to police more than one profession, however. My focus is the profession that I know and am a member of.

[By the way, virtually all of my prosecutorial and legal policy work while spending a decade as an antitrust lawyer at the FTC was aimed at stopping physicians from stifling competition among themselves, or from other health care providers, in order to keep their medical fees and income high.]

Your suggestion that I don't understand that -- gosh -- not all lawyers and firms have equal skills and diligence is too silly to need a reply. I would like to point out, however, that a percentage fee level might appropriately take into account a firm's abilities, but often won't have to, as (1) their skills lower the risks; and (2) they would be compensated more than lesser firms because they get a piece of a bigger pie.

One final note, Aaron: Your expert who fixed the machine (1) did not ask for one-third of the profits made from the machine; (2) never took an oath to put the customer's interests first; and (3) has no fiduciary obligations. I have never suggested that lawyer fees should be set around minimum wage. They should include a factor that reasonably compensates the lawyer for expertise.

I've already spent too much time responding to someone who obviously did not take the time to read what I have written about contingency fees. If you do delve into the topic again, Aaron, please try thinking from the perspective of clients' rights and lawyers' obligations, not just from the perspective of how much money p/i lawyers would like to extract from their clients' damages without being jailed or disbarred.

Fedster: What hourly fee is reasonable depends on many factors and situations. There are superstars who deserve large incomes -- but they are about the same percent of lawyers as NBA players are to all former highschool basketball players. My focus has always been on the legal needs of Joe Average Client (rather than sophisticated clients who can negotiate fees with some leverage and experience). I think that most lawyers who service the Average Client are charging too much, when their skill levels are compared to those of the rest of the American workforce.

I do not expect every lawyer to make the choices that I made when leaving law school and when making career choices thereafter -- seeking a comfortable life, but not trying to become wealthy (much less extremely wealthy) from legal fees. The first half of my legal career was in government service, working my way up to a GM-15 level with the FTC. I stopped practicing in 1997, after a decade in which almost all of my lawyering was done at assigned counsel rates. In my divorce mediation practice, I charged $90 per hour (and only one couple paid more than a total of $900 for their sessions and complete Memorandum of Understanding).

Given my credentials and abilities, I could have done a lot "better" financially. But, the satisfaction of working for causes that I felt comfortable serving, and of helping many clients in need, more than compensated.

Federalist No. 84

Welcome back, David. This watering hole wasn't the same without you.

Aaron

David, the fact that you couldn't respond in an intelligent fashion to the points I made, instead commencing with a petulant ad hominem attack, speaks volumes about you. The fact that your second paragraph is non-responsive, well, says even more. I am sorry to have bruised your oversized ego, but really - people like you aren't worth my time.

Yeoman

"They are part of a distinguished profession that forms the foundation of a country that enjoys the most freedoms and privileges of any country in the history of the world. So the next time you are feeling blue or depressed, simply pop a pill (Prozac, Zoloft, Wellbutrin or Xanax will do) or have a beer (my personal preference), and GET BACK TO WORK!! As they say in the Bahamas: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”"

A few rather late comments. First on the quoted item above.

We may be part of such a class, but that class was probably not made up of the same group in prior eras. That is, I suspect the John Adams practiced because they wanted to, not by default.

Next on David G.'s comment:

"1) there is no reason to believe that lawyers who went to law school as a "default choice" are any less happy than those who grew up wanting to be a lawyer. Some of the best and the happiest lawyers went the default school route."

That's not my casual observation at all. I hear boatloads of complaints from people who simply ended up in the law, and I think John's comment was right on. The two or three people who graduate from law school every year actually wanting to be a lawyer usually know what they are in for, the rest rarely do.

"c) the realization that zealously representing the interests of a client -- no matter how venal or antisocial those interests may be, or how indifferent you are about the outcome -- diminishes your own self-esteem (guns for hire are not likely to be happy, well-grounded people in any profession);

d) the realization that your skills are not very special -- issue-spotting, reading and writing well -- and do not warrant charging the high fees that are charged;

e) the realization that much of what the public hates about lawyers is actually true;

f) the hollow feeling that comes from mouthing the "acting in the client's best interests" and "highest ethical standards" mantras, while knowing that in most firms dollars are number one."

Quite true.

Fred

I worked as an associate in a NYC salt mine-in-the-sky and as a solo practitioner. It took me five years to come to my senses and take down my shingle.

During the years I practiced law, I never met a truly happy attorney. There were a few poor souls that needed to be attorneys. These were people either so vapid or compulsive that they simply could not stand to be at rest - the types that fritter away their vacations by worrying that they might be missed at the office. I also met people whose fragile egos required the deference and respect that came with being a successful attorney. However, I never met a single person who genuinely enjoyed the daily work of lawyering.

mythago

Then you were probably in the wrong area of law, Fred.

It's funny; I do pro bono work, and the "real lawyers" (who do poverty law full-time) never seem to whine about how much they hate law.

kj

it may be a matter of whether or not they are pursuing a passion

Jonathan

Think about it. You pay big money to study for and pass the LSAT. You pay high tuition. You pay for expensive law books which are updated every year so that you can't even save a little by buying them used. You're paying interest on the loan while you're in school. You pay more money to study for the bar and to take the bar. If you pass, you are immediately hit up to take CLE classes.

And then they say to you, "why don't you do some pro bono work, you greedy b******!"

Cara

I fit perfectly into the first section described here. I graduated college at 19 with a BA in Psychology and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I got into law school and thought "Well, at least it SOUNDS good and lawyers make tons of money!" I was a paralegal for some time during school and then I was laid off. Now, two years out of law school, I am still unemployed with no prospects in the future. Overqualified for administrative jobs and underqualified to be a practicing attorney in this market. Worst decision I ever made, for sure.

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