Do You Like Being A Lawyer?

I can’t speak for my colleagues, but the answer for me is yes! I’ve always liked the idea of being a lawyer. That’s probably because my dad was a lawyer. Even as a kid, I could see the passion overflowing in him. He would come home for dinner around 630 every night and he talked my mom’s ear off from the moment he walked in the door- about a trial he had, a quirky opponent, or how he would prove his case. I loved listening in, even if I didn’t understand everything. He was so charged up and seemed to have limitless energy.  He didn’t have many hobbies. He didn’t really follow politics. He didn’t hang out with friends often. He was consumed by his work- but he loved it. He wasn’t into sports, but he didn’t lack competitiveness. His urgency to win was always present and unmistakable. He especially loved the process of breaking down complicated issues, layer by layer, until the truth was uncovered. My dad was better at this than anyone I have ever seen-even to this day.

I wasn’t 100% sure I would be a lawyer. I had an open mind to other options. And I was lucky that my parents didn’t push me into anything to merely satisfy themselves. They let us find our own passion. My brother is in sales, my sister a teacher.  But as I started doing really well in my philosophy and english courses at Boston College, I realized that this would be a nice fit for me. I really enjoyed breaking concepts down, making arguments, writing, and interpreting ideas. Math didn’t excite me- that’s for sure.

When I was a kid, I don’t remember hearing many lawyer jokes. The sense I got was that it was a highly respected profession. I don’t always get that sense now, though. At the same time, it doesn’t bother me much. I respect it and I use every opportunity I can to show my clients why it should be respected. I think I’ve been successful at doing that- at least I hope.

Every case is a new challenge and an opportunity to help someone, and to grow intellectually. From keeping your client happy and informed, to strategizing about how to prove your case, you need to be “on your game”.  Taking depositions forces you to think quickly on  your feet, and writing briefs sharpens your writing and analytical abilities. But you can’t do these things without clients, so marketing and being creative is mandatory to survive. You put all of these things together and what you get is satisfaction. You won’t win every case. You will feel enormous stress and pressure at times. Some clients will be dificult from the moment they walk into your office. But you keep in mind that you are helping people and that’s the most important thing. It brings a deep sense of accomplishment. Many clients send thank you notes or emails that floor me. I come back to them often- to remind myself how meaningful the work is.

I look around and it feels like half of my law school classmates aren’t lawyers any more. The profession is well known to chew some people up. Like any business, if you don’t like the subject material that you’re working on- or the people around you- you will likely end up doing something else. It may take moving around to a few different firms to find the right match. It did for me. My brother once told me that the business world is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s true. If you hang in there and keep working hard, great things will often come.

I may be a dying breed. But I like being a lawyer.

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