Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Lawyering Overrated?

I was shocked (:-)) yesterday to see that Marty Nemko, U.S. News, had listed attorneys as one of the 13 most overrated careers. Here's what he said in this week's issue:
The Appeal: Many college students decide to go to law school by default. After all, a legal career promises prestige, money, and the chance to use the law to make a difference in society. Some aspiring attorneys also picture themselves as the lawyers on TV, making scintillating closing arguments in an expensive suit before a rapt jury.

The Reality: Most lawyers' lives bear little resemblance to those on Law and Order. Even litigators spend lots of time drafting or poring over sheaves of detailed information and negotiating with other lawyers prone to contentiousness and chicanery. And most lawyers rarely go to trials, working instead as transactional attorneys who need to bill 2,000 hours a year or more to meet the firm's targets. That can mean long evenings drafting lengthy, airtight contracts or other documents. In the corporate world, many lawyers find little fulfillment and burn out.

Alternative: Mediation or a less contentious niche within the law, such as adoption law.

Other careers making the overrated list were advertising executive, architect, chef, chiropractor, clinical psychologist, medical scientist, nonprofit manager, physician, police officer, teacher, and small-business owner. Marty said the list was subjective and was derived from a review of books, articles, forums and BLOGS about people's experiences.

Clearly, Marty never hung out with the criminal defense law bloggers. I thought we were going to trial all the time and having a grand old time of it!

Here's why I think lawyering made Marty's list. You see, the odds were stacked against us. In addition to being lawyers, we are also advertising gurus, psychologists, non-profit managers (only during some weeks), teachers, and small-business owners all rolled into one. Come on, how could anyone overcome such a deficit. I object!

Frankly, I'm itching to jump up and start my adoption law practice tomorrow. Since I'm still a little young to start a rock-and-roll band, adoption may be the uncontentious ticket to contentment for me in my legal career.

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