(See? I told you there’d be a real post. But in case you missed it, please check out the Programming Note below).
I’ve read about and seen too many former lawyers in new careers to keep track of them all. There are the ones who move into the world of food, like this current contestant on the Food Network’s Food Network Star, Mary Beth Albright, and former contestant Stephanie Park on the cancelled-after-one-season America’s Next Great Restaurant (sorry, Bobby Flay, I guess you can’t woo them all).
This former lawyer, Jim Karger left to help dogs in third-world nations, others have left for theology, computers and software, and, one of the favorite switches of the former lawyer, writing (please see an obscure writer named John Grisham. And another, Scott Turow. Apologies if either of you gentlemen are still practicing, I can’t be expected to research everything easily found by typing into a little rectangle on Google).
But I think this has to be one of my favorites (and by favorites, I mean, profession will you heal thyself already? Or at least check out that weird mole in the mirror?).
There was this guy Paul Bergrin, a former-prosector-and-defense-lawyer-allegedly-turned-pimp (and you know what they say about it, out there, for a pimp), but there’s something different about managing a commodity and being the commodity.
What does it say about a profession that someone would rather join the world’s oldest than stay in what used to be a well-respected career?
There are a number of lawyers happily practicing out there, I’m sure. I just don’t happen to know any (oh wait, I take that back, I know one happily practicing lawyer. Out of a lot of unhappily practicing lawyers and non-practicing lawyers. And if you’re wondering, “a lot” is a scientific term).
I’ve watched one friend, over the course of her law career, go from enjoying what she was doing, from enthusiastically tackling issues and solving problems to slowly dreading the start of each day until she finally couldn’t take it anymore. Now she wants to do less law and more problem-solving, which is a great illustration of how the practice has changed.
I understand that law can be a bad fit for a personality (see: me; Curly von Curls), but if you have the personality, should it still suck the life out of you? Should you be willing to do anything, literally anything, including selling yourself, to escape it?
Maybe I’m viewing the whole realm of the law through sour-grapes-colored lenses, but when something that is often considered a last-resort job becomes more attractive than the one you currently hold, I think it sums up what the practice of law has become for many.