As I tell my children, truth is actually evil and would destroy the world should it be told too often. It is true that most lawyers where I am self-medicate to the point of self-sedation every day (and more at night). The ones who don't are the ones who actually have lost the ability to spot their own bullshit. The ones who do still think about things like justice, truth, fairness, conscience, etc.
I like to tell my wife life is 99% psychology. The psychology of lawyering is crisis management for people either going through calamity or grasping at money or both. Without the need to make all that cash to keep the wife and kiddies under a nice roof and simultaneously keep all the self-medication going (the booze, pills, smoke, restaurants, booze and other distractions) it might actually be a good job.
As it is the mandatory cash snatching and political ass licking ruins the job, and the professional life. I used to fear death. Now I just fear becoming like those seventy year old guys I see in court each week who believe their own bullshit and can't let go because being a lawyer is all they have. Their personal identities are dead. Mine is headed there quick enough.
I hope to hell I can get out while I still know right from wrong and have the guts to say so when it counts. Good fucking luck!
This is the comment in full; I didn't edit it except to correct a few typos and add paragraph breaks. The thing that struck me most about the comment is the bleak picture it paints of a lawyer's life. Even with its stylistic hyperbole, it doesn't strike me as being all that over the top.
Or is it? I know plenty of lawyers who engage in some recreational self-medication. Some of them hate their careers. On the other hand, many of them don't. And if the self-medicators are any more idealistic than the other group--if they spend more time talking about justice, truth, fairness, and conscience--it's probably just a side effect of the alcohol.
It's a given that some lawyers are unhappy in their careers. But so are some doctors and some car mechanics and some circus clowns. Is there anything about the plight of lawyers that makes them more tragic than the rest of humanity? Not really. If it's easy for some lawyers to forget, that's something else that's probably true of other professions. I'm not going to dump on lawyers for it.
Besides, not all lawyers do forget. An example is a second guest post on this weblog, "Why Is It Them, Instead of Me?" by Florida lawyer Mark Miller. Miller's post makes a nice complement to the quoted comment.