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(   Study finds that lawyers are, on average, more depressed than any other group of professionals, though you'd be depressed too if everyone made jokes that mean about your profession   ( divider line
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3388 clicks; posted to Main » on 23 Apr 2007 at 3:21 AM (10 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2007-04-23 05:39:40 AM  
Whoot IT is 5th! we moving up!
2007-04-23 05:51:51 AM  
I went to law school in '01 and dropped out in my first year. I saw the BS that I was being asked to go through, I saw the hoops some second- and third-year friends of mine were being asked to jump through, and realized I needed to get out and cut my losses. I still work in the field, mainly because 1) it's where my experience lies, 2) it pays well enough, and 3) even that one year of student loans would cripple me in just about any other job that I'm qualified for.

Just about everything I've seen in the past five years has validated my decision to leave. Associates working five 18-hour days per week and then coming in on weekends, attorneys in their 30s who look like they're in their 40s, office politics that have only been surpassed by my time immediately post-graduate working in non-profits (seriously - you'd think the reverse would be true, but you can get eaten alive in a non-profit if you don't know the right people to make alliances with).

Lawyer friends almost invariably praise me for getting out while I could and not chaining myself to this job for the next decade or so (although sometimes it feels as though I have, if only at a lower level).

In short, law is teh suxx0r. My advice: apply, get your loans for the first year, preferably to a top tier school so the check will be particularly fat, then take the money and flee. Spend it all on on weed, move to the mountains, and live the life of Grizzly Adams until the authorities catch up. Prison will be preferable and you'll at least have a bit of fun on your way there.
2007-04-23 06:01:44 AM  
Damn, I was debating the idea of becoming a patent attorney after finishing my Master's. I have a pretty solid EE / Physics background, and that could go to good use. But seeing that list and some of the responses, I'm reconsidering.

Not that I have any illusions about engineering being a cakewalk. But I happen to enjoy what I do. I can't say I'd enjoy law. I'd like to make more money, but not at the expense of my sanity.

I'd love to try Marketing for technical products, as it would fit my personality and goals pretty well, but I'm not sure I could live with the feeling that my team is a bunch of idiots and all the engineers think I am, too.

Anyone here a patent lawyer with a technical background? What's it like? Planning to stay in it? Getting out? Why?
2007-04-23 06:40:28 AM  

Why is there such a disproportionate amount of Australian news on Fark in recent days? has a lot of unique stories, many of which are Farkworthy. Plus, it's good for greenlight whores like me who like to submit late at night.
2007-04-23 06:53:26 AM  
Top ten depressed occupations:
1. Law
2. Patent Attorney
3. Insurance underwriting
4. Accounting
5. IT services
6. Architectural
7. Actuarial Firm
8. Engineering
9. Consulting
10. Insurance brokering

Architectural, engineering? Now I'm depressed!
2007-04-23 07:03:15 AM  
So, I'm graduating in the winter with a Secondary Education Social Studies teaching certificate in the state of PA. I am considering two things:

The first being that I teach social studies at the high school level as a career, slowly working on me master's and later Ed.D and going into administration (or at least having that option). The money's not great (about 35-40 starting out... average teacher's salary is $56k/year in PA and surrounding areas), BUT, I'll have a very decent amount of time off (summers, federal holidays etc., you've all been to school). I like this idea because it gives me time to raise a family, have hobbies, travel etc. I don't like this idea because I'm not sure I'll like it and the money isn't that great. If I stay in the classroom, I'm definitely capping my earning potential.

My second option is law school. I already took the LSAT and did well enough to get into a decent school. I'm considering this because I see no upper limit on income (i.e., I can make bank, put kids through school afford nice material things etc...), I like the social status of the whole idea, and I really see it as an avenue to help people. I don't want to work for some insurance company screwing Katrina victims over, rather, I'd like to sue the insurance companies or generally feel good about myself at the end of the day.

Also, I'll have about 15k in debt leaving from my undergrad and probably at least 80k if I go to law.

Someone please tell me what to do. I do my student teaching in the fall and I'm hoping I'll love teaching so much that it's really no decision at all but I have a feeling I'm not going to be the happiest high school history teacher.

I was in the navy and tried to talk people out of doing certain things career related. I can't remember the number of times people refused to listen to experienced advice. I did this myself and paid for it and I don't want to think that somehow I'm different this time and not listen to good advice now.

If anyone is near Johnstown PA and wants to talk me out of law over a beer, email in profile.

2007-04-23 07:24:57 AM  
The Hypnotoad: Work sucks, that's why they call it work. . . . Other than that, all jobs suck in their own special way. I was an engineer for 6 years before law school. That sucked too. Is the career change going to make my life better in any way? No, but I will get paid more and that's enough for me.

I honestly think this is why lawyers hate their jobs so much. Most lawyers go to college, then go right into lawschool. They go from 2 hours of classes 4 days a week with a ton of free time to working for a living. I worked 6 years in IT before making the switch. Work sucks. The people at my firm are no better or worse than the people at any of my other previous jobs. But I really think people hate 'working' without realizing that its working that sucks, not necessarily practicing law. But since they never had a real job, they think it must be practicing law that sucks.

I've worked a ton of jobs and I appreciate how much money I make (Biglaw in NY) and know I could be working a lot harder just to make $45k a year.
2007-04-23 07:25:44 AM  
Well, all of a sudden I'm not so psyched about my final today.
2007-04-23 07:26:09 AM  
Solo practitioner here. Ya, the law can suck, but not for me.

Personally, had some cash before lawschool, and got the Army to help out...and I got out of THAT before the current Iraq no law loans, so I can work a couple days a week...out of my home, with no overhead.

These days I mostly do real estate; it's "happy law"; everyone wants to be there, someone gets a building, someone gets a big fat check...often, you can work with opposing counsel to make the deal work for everyone.

I even make housecalls.

I'm definitely out of the mainstream, though...anyone considering lawschool should work in a law firm, etc, first.

My uncle retired after 40 years of very satisfying legal work...otoh, another lawyer uncle and lawyer aunt chucked it all after 20, and are weaving blankets up in Maine.

They're happy too.

Gotta carve your own path.
2007-04-23 07:38:57 AM  
I treat my depression by adding to the misery of others. Its great to be a lawyer.
2007-04-23 07:39:36 AM  
A legal education is excellent preparation for lots of different careers. If you don't want to practice law, do something else. I was a litigator for 20 years. I loved being in the courtroom and hated most of what preceded getting there. So, I'm doing something different and couldn't be happier.
2007-04-23 07:45:17 AM  
I would post some advice, but I'm too depressed.
2007-04-23 07:48:45 AM  
Whatever happened to LawTalkingGuy? He was always a laugh in this kind of thread.
2007-04-23 07:49:02 AM  
Practiced law for 8 years, now I finish concrete. Much happier.
2007-04-23 08:29:47 AM  

If you went from Law to concrete, then you know the one about the lawyers buried up to their necks in concrete???? :0
2007-04-23 08:32:29 AM  
Cyberluddite: I love the law. I liked law school. Ultimately, I've had a great (but very atypical) career. But the bottom line is that it's undeniable that the actual business of the practice of law sucks for the vast majority of people.

Quoted once again for truth.

Best advice I got in law school was from the library director. "Only thing you can't do with a law degree is practice medicine." Good education to do whatever you want.
2007-04-23 08:34:10 AM  
07:49:02 AMnopokerface
Practiced law for 8 years, now I finish concrete. Much happier.

but can you finish concrete when you are 65 years old? will anyone hire you? Oh sure, you say you will own your own business by then. But what if you can't?

At least in law, if you go into the right area, one that will let you do solo on your own terms, you can keep working as you get older, and keep getting better at it as you get older.

I am a 2.5L and plan on going into crim defense, as I think it will allow me to do solo as long as I want to work. I will have very little debt because of being a veteran.

And yes, what is happening with so many young lawyers being sold a social-status bill of goods by the legal education industry, that is a crime. But this thread is helping to do something about that.
2007-04-23 08:53:01 AM  

I hope I am not doing this when I am 65. I don't want to be doing anything. I own my own company now (I hate me now, because I hate when people talk about what they have in these threads). I should be able to retire in 5-7 years (42-44 y.o.). I hated the hypocrisy I saw in the law. I was a prosecutor, so it was in an area you say you hope to work in. The people who conduct the business of the law are not up to the challenge ethically (or in many other ways). I hope your experience is much better than mine, though. And good luck.
2007-04-23 08:53:50 AM  
I'm in law enforcement, so most of the lawyers I know are in public service -
D.A.'s, Public Defenders, and Solicitor generals.
You don't make a ton, but you garner satisfaction from your job.
The highly-paid criminal defense attorneys in the private sector appear to be the most miserable twats. Multiple divorces, DUI's, screwed-up kids, addictions...
You can blame the rigors of stress or the ceaseless rotation of the Wheel of Ka.

In court we say that the wheels of justice move slowly, but they do grind fine.
2007-04-23 09:20:06 AM  
I have 2 law school finals left. One starts in 11 minutes. NOW you tell me this?

/ok, i knew. but i'm here because i had a desire to learn. Yeah, right. I hated work, wanted to get student tickets to football games again, and figured this was a good way to pass the time.
2007-04-23 09:22:34 AM  
oryx: Top ten depressed occupations:
1. Law
2. Patent Attorney
3. Insurance underwriting
4. Accounting
5. IT services
6. Architectural
7. Actuarial Firm
8. Engineering
9. Consulting
10. Insurance brokering

Actuaries and insurance underwriters? Aren't those jobs usually ranked in the top 5 for employee satisfaction?
2007-04-23 09:27:58 AM  
The Gordie Howe Hat Trick Don't trust anyone over 30, Ishidan!

There is no sanctuary! (pops)
2007-04-23 09:32:00 AM  
I just wanted to note that it's an interesting coincidence that this article shoud appear on the same day as the one warning us of the empty promise of wealth and treasure via metal detecting.

"But, it looked so easy on TV."
2007-04-23 09:34:19 AM  
Oh, goody for me...My job is both #5 AND #9
2007-04-23 09:35:10 AM  
So does that make it -4?
2007-04-23 09:35:48 AM  
Best lawyer jokes I've heard came from lawyers.
2007-04-23 09:36:32 AM  
I started out of law school at a large 700+ lawyer firm doing structured finance and related work. Billed over 2400 hours each of my five years there, and it was often mind numbing, and occasionally interesting. I later got my MBA and moved into a few hedge and PE funds. I still often work long days and nights, but I make a helluva lot more money and have more fun doing it. I would never recommend law school to anybody, unless they were very serious about the profession.
2007-04-23 09:39:59 AM  
smitty has obviously never heard violist jokes...
2007-04-23 09:41:28 AM  
Study finds that lawyers are, on average, more depressed than any other group of professionals, though you'd be depressed too if everyone made jokes that ... mean about your profession

2007-04-23 09:41:41 AM  
What do you call four dead lawyers?
A good start

/file clerk at a law office
//tries to avoid attorneys as much as possible
///also getting a kick out of these replies
2007-04-23 09:48:17 AM  
I've been practicing 10 years now and love being a lawyer. So take it from someone who had the same anxieties many of you in law school and just out of school are having: if you do good work, and find something you enjoy doing, just tough it out and you have a very good chance of ending up in a happy spot.
2007-04-23 09:53:55 AM  
Whatever the career path you are choosing, think long and hard before you take out large loans to pay for it. Time vale of money works both for and against you, borrowing 80k puts you in a much much much greater hole than borrowing 40k. Don't buy all the crap about having to go to the best school you can get into. It doesn't matter nearly as much as your innate ability. If you're good at what you do, where you learned it is not going to matter all that much in the long run. But bottom line, don't borrow even half as much as you think you can afford.
2007-04-23 10:00:34 AM  
I left teaching to go to law school (at 33),so I'm used to being shiat on by my job, and my expectations are pretty low. Why am I doing it even though I know it will be a suck-ass job?

- it is a childhood dream

- I've worked much shiattier jobs

- I enjoy the law

- Knowledge of the law is empowering

- my wife is a surgeon, so maybe I'll be able to protect our assets from the bloodsuckers

- I can always go back to teaching

Seriously, go whine to the guy who pumps out septic tanks or hangs drywall about how you work 80/week for $65K in an air conditioned office. Go whine to the people who are being blown to bits by IEDs in Iraq, for that matter. I couldn't get a job as a rock star or an astronaut, so here I am.

/Will hopefully start my own practice.
//Don't want to be the law firm's junior associate biatch when I'm in my late 30s.
///Don't need the money. . . I know . . . I know.
////Good luck on finals, and congrats 3Ls.
2007-04-23 10:05:52 AM  
My hubby is an attorney, so I see it from a different view.

He does trial work exclusively, so he is often working under very stressful conditions.

He had to pay his dues, doing discovery and document review for a couple of years until he worked his way up and is now calling the shots.

There have been times where he has been working 100 hour weeks, and is surviving on cigarettes, twizzlers and pepsi. He has been so tired that he has slept for 36 hours straight after preparing for trial. He has found that exercise is a good stress buster for him. He goes and does 30 minutes on a machine, sweats out the stress and can go again.

He currently has 2 very good assistants, but has been stuck with some bad ones as well. We nicknamed one "Tweak" for his penchant for cocaine. He also had a woman who was a pathological liar, that didn't last too long.

The consolation is the down-time. He can afford to buy the toys that make him happy. He skis 30 days a year. We can fly out west and take a quick three day vacation if things are slow or a case is settled.

We have learned to balance the good and the bad. The job sucks when you are knee deep in work and the partners are biatching about something so inconsequential it makes your head spin.

My husband also has the personality for law. Don't go into it if you can't handle being abused. You must also be able to abuse others without thinking twice.
2007-04-23 10:07:53 AM  
Hey XTeacher,

Read my above post and give me some advice. What did you teach and what didn't you like about it? Do you have a newsletter? Help!!!

I will be in my early 30s if I go to law school. Seems we have some things in common.

Also, How can I marry well??? ;)
2007-04-23 10:08:00 AM  
Not impressed
[image from too old to be available]
2007-04-23 10:12:22 AM  
I wonder if one reason so many lawyers are unhappy in law is that so many of us chose law simply because we were without direction and hoped law would provide that for us.

I've done BigLaw, wee-law and work in-between, and when I compare my present circumstances to what might have been in a different career, I'm pretty sure I'd be or have been a miserable p.o.s. regardless.
2007-04-23 10:14:12 AM  
babalu87: are?

Are you really that illiterate?
2007-04-23 10:18:10 AM  
I know a lot of lawyers. They wouldn't know a hard day's work if it slithered up there ass and bit 'em on their lazy nards.
2007-04-23 10:18:35 AM  
Depression? Isn't there someone they can sue for compensation?
2007-04-23 10:19:27 AM  
Lawyer joke thread?

Aw, shucks. Looks like it isn't.
2007-04-23 10:24:32 AM  

Some of them work very hard at being douchebags. You can't be that good at it otherwise.
2007-04-23 10:25:06 AM  
I agree with you, Smack_Adams. A lot of people probably chose to go to law school because they chose a major that doesn't offer many options for higher-wage jobs other than law. Combine that with all the people who grew up thinking that practicing law would be like Law & Order or a Grisham novel and you'll get a generation of lawyers who aren't really prepared mentally for the type of work they'll be doing every day. I almost believe that every law school should require students to do a summer internship that has them doing nothing but title searches so they know what to expect.

/Starts law school this fall.
2007-04-23 10:29:56 AM  
The alarming abundance of lawyers is largely to blame for the stupid ass lawsuits we all make fun of on a regular basis on this site. They have to have something to do, and when there aren't enough legitimate cases to go around, the frivolous ones become common.

/I did my part to eliminate that problem.
2007-04-23 10:30:42 AM  

I'm a patent attorney with a background in CS. I've only been working since May, but I'm at a patent boutique and I couldn't be happier. Of course, our billing requirements are a little lower than most firms (1,750 hrs). I get to work on patents in all kinds of areas besides software, and when I become sick of prosecution, I've been able to do a little litigation work, to balance things out. Sure, there are days when my job is tedious, but even marine biologists have to fill out lab reports sometimes. I'm certainly happier as a lawyer than I was as a network/database administrator before law school.
2007-04-23 10:36:31 AM  
2007-04-23 10:18:10 AM danlpoon
I know a lot of lawyers. They wouldn't know a hard day's work if it slithered up there ass and bit 'em on their lazy nards.

Either you're talking out of your asshole, or you must not know much about what they do, or you live in some sort of lawyer paradise. I don't know a single lawyer working in a law firm who works less than 60 or so hours a week, and plenty who work way more than that.
2007-04-23 10:38:28 AM  
How many lawyers do you know of... became lawyers for the love of law? How many for the love of money and the need for reassure their insecurities? That is why they are miserable and why people hate them. They are social rejects to begin with.
2007-04-23 10:40:59 AM  
Graduating 3L here. . .40 yr old second career. Ran a business with my bro for about 17 years. Worked hard (he worked harder), nights, weekends, third shifts, but made big $$$. Employed lots of people. Chose to go to law school and plan on starting my own firm, have planned for this financially. Very fortunate. . .Having said all that, of COURSE law is not for everyone. But keep in mind that saying law is all politics/boring is like saying all "business" is the same. It isn't. Boutique law is hugely different than public law which is hugely different than Big Law. What turned me on to law is that you can change up if you get bored. Yes, yes, fight the pigeonhole, I know, because you will be pegged for specialization, etc.

I think the issue with law school is that baby lawyers are too young, and don't have the maturity or experience to cope with the outside world. I think 2 years of law school, then a year of apprenticeship should be the deal.

As to economics, salespeople do much better on average. Even so, the average person LOVES to biatch about rich lawyers, while making more themselves with their B.A. degrees and middle corporate jobs. And yes, people love to stiff lawyers, if the lawyer lets them. UP FRONT people, get it up front! You deserve to be paid for your skills just like the retailer who marks up a product by "putting it on a shelf." As to those who think law contributes nothing to the economy, uh, it provides jobs? And redistribution of income? And support businesses? Isn't that how the economy works?
2007-04-23 10:49:22 AM  
Some of them work very hard at being douchebags. You can't be that good at it otherwise.

I don't think they're all vinegar-and-water insertion devices but I've done work and I've done lawyerin'. They're not the same. The reason lawyers need so much money is they can't do anything for themselves.
2007-04-23 10:49:29 AM  
Crap. Now I don't know what to do.

I'm someone who does suffer from depression because I'm not happy with the way my life turned out over the years.

My job just ended, so I was thinking what should I do to re-orient myself? I don't have a huge passion for anything (probably typical of most of my generation).

Due to my special circumstances, whatever I do should probably be a skill based job where I can have a degree of security.

That top 10 list of depressed jobs, all the ones I was currently considering are on the list.

I'm someone who learns fast, has good memory recall, but doesn't have high energy levels or take well to being shiat upon constantly.

Now I really don't know what to do.
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