All of my friends are encouraging me to read “The Happiness Project” because it was written by a lawyer. It wasn’t really written by a lawyer. It was written by a writer who mistakenly became a lawyer and rectified her error with highly profitable results. It is not possible to be a happy lawyer unless you are a sociopath or a narcissist, and it is preferable from a financially successful perspective to be both.
The lawyers who claim that they are happy are not really lawyers. Instead, they have ascended to the top of the Maslow’s pyramid that is the classical law firm structure, and from that peak they can safely delegate all nasty legal work to others. The others may be sociopaths or narcissists, in which case they are on the path to partnership for sure, or they may be lawyers who are willing to suck it up and pay their dues until they, too, can escape the daily grind of hatred and cynicism and become administrators themselves, assuming they bring a book of business with them. Otherwise they get up and outed to shitty in house and PI jobs. That, my dears, is the game. Understand it before you go to law school and get out now while you still can.
I have argued in the past, and I still argue as follows: if you want tort reform, fewer lawsuits, cheaper and more responsive legal representation, make law school loans dischargeable in bankruptcy if, but only if, the debtor surrenders his or her license to practice. Put this structure in place for, say, five years to capture the disillusioned as well as those who are in law school right now. Then phase it out. From that point on it’s assumption of the risk, baby. Pay for this program with a well-tailored tax on the law schools who most ridiculously profited during the past ten years or so. You know the ones I mean. The ones who consistently rank in the lower second or third tier but who nevertheless charge as much or more than first tier schools. Everybody wins. I would be the first in line to turn in my license.
You know what I think I would do? Probably become a legal secretary. You can’t hire a decent one nowadays. I could make decent money and go home every day at 5. No more client development or malpractice premiums to worry about. No more boring bar functions to attend. And suddenly, the sexual harassment laws are all about me. That’s the life. Then I might just be freaking happy.