How to Feed a Lawyer (and Other Irreverent Observations from the Legal Underground)

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Looks like this thread is a bit old, but thanks for the article and everyone's posts. I left teaching to practice law and then ended up in the corporate group of a large firm. I never realized just how isolating and monotonous the work could be. It's a job of working 6 days a week, 10 hours per day crouched over a computer by yourself in a largely silent office. Emails from the firm refer to the attorneys as "timekeepers" and chide us to get time entered by a certain time and scold us for failing to send out an engagement letter within 24 hrs of opening a file, etc. And despite being a naturally friendly, chatty type, I've come to despise even the friendliest interruption to my billable time. Nearly without exception, every one of my colleagues is obese, unhealthy, divorced or about to be divorced and working nearly every weekend and often late into the night. I have to disguise my trips to the gym or the times I bike into work since it engenders undisguised contempt from colleagues. I regretted telling somebody that i coached my son' soccer team when that news ran through the office accompanied by astonished eye rolling and "wish I had that my time on my hands comments." Primary motivation for each of us is fear. Fear of missing a deadline, fear of getting a "timekeeper notice" from accounting (when you've not entered all of previous week's time before 5pm on Monday), fear of watching your accts receivable age over 90 days (whereupon you get another "timekeeper email" cc'd to the CEO), fear when you've worked 10 hours and can only bill 5, and fear of having no work at all. Like my kindred spirits above, i self-medicate and medicate to stay awake and alert enough to get through it. And don't even get me started on student loans--too late. I've been paying $700+/month for 8 years and have barely scratched the surface. If I quit my job and stopped paying for even 6 months, the capitalized payments and interest would erase all of the progress I've made to date against the principal. Though I make decent money (just made partner), we had kids just after law school (since we were older and had previous career), so day care, nannies, school fees, mortgage and 401k take precedent over any student loan repayment.
So yeah...it's a little depressing.


Many suicides are stated as accidents. So just because you dont know any lawyers that committed suicide,that dosnt mean there wasnt any.


I hate being a lawyer. The work never ends and it's monotonous and boring. The legal profession seems to attract very nasty people and the deadlines are a source of constant stress. I would not recommend going to law school or practicing law to anyone.

A Virginia Lawyer

My former colleague committed suicide. Towards the end, he was self-medicating all the time. He left behind a wife and stepchildren.

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