Ten Things to Love About Being a Lawyer


There are so many scintillating aspects to practicing law these days that it’s almost impossible to narrow the list.  It’s like trying to compile a list of supermodels who you’d have sex with.  Anyway, here are the ten things I love most about being lawyer:

1.  WORKING WITH OTHER LAWYERS

Whether they’re colleagues or opponents, I’m blessed with the constant companionship of other attorneys—that means I’m constantly surrounded by smart, overachieving, neurotic, humorless individuals with an insatiable need to impress bosses and clients.  What’s more fun than that?

2.  THE CONSTANT, NAGGING FEAR OF SCREWING UP

Unlike many white-collar workers, if I make a mistake—like overlook some arcane SEC regulation or nebulous New York precedent—I get sued.  Which means I get fired.  Some people might say that’s too much pressure.  But not me.  I say, “That’s awesome!” Truth is, the prospect of public humiliation and career annihilation makes me feel alive.  Like a pro football player competing in the Super Bowl.  Or a soldier engaged in battle.  You just can’t buy that kind of anxiety.

3.  HANGING OUT WITH RELENTLESS RESUME FREAKS

Some people have to worry about what to talk about during those awkward conversation lapses.  Not me.  Every single day of every single week, I have the security of knowing that someone will be discussing the most recent U.S. News & World Report law school hierarchy or the merits of class rank as a potential indicator of future success.  Is Georgetown better than UCLA?  Columbia better than NYU?  Who’s a better applicant, the gal in the top 5% at BU or the chap who’s top 20% at UVA?  This kind of constant, highbrow discourse keeps me sharp 24/7, allowing me to always perform full-throttle.

4.  NO FEMALE DISTRACTIONS

The complete and total lack of sexy women keeps me focused!  I never have to worry about seeing sexy women in the workplace, which means I don’t have to think about them, which means I don’t have to fantasize about them.  If you don’t see it, it doesn’t exist.  If it doesn’t exist, you don’t get frustrated because you don’t have it.

5.  EYEGLASSES

Reading all those documents with tiny type has a major upside: Nearsightedness.  The good news is that I finally get to wear glasses—and get to look like one of those New York intellectuals I always thought it would be cool to look like.  If I’m feeling bored, all I have to do is buy a new pair of frames, and wham-o! —I’m a whole different person.

6.  LACK OF OPTIONS

When you don’t have any social or professional opportunity costs, life is simple.  You just work on the task at hand, with the comfort of knowing that you’re not missing something better.  In that respect, practicing law is like killing two birds—or dare I say, legal eagles—with one stone.  You work so much, you never have time to socialize (assuming you actually have friends).  Plus, you don’t really learn anything applicable to other lucrative or exciting professions.  Kind of perfect, right?

7.  LEARNING GREAT PHRASES

I knew lawyers had their own hip vernacular—sort of like rappers, I guess—but I had no idea it would be so damn sexy and fun.  Learning and dropping into conversation such great phrases as “to the extent that,” “to the best of my knowledge,” “form over substance,” “a question of degree, not kind,” really makes me feel like I’m a part of something bigger.  I can’t wait to hit the clubs and use this stuff.

8.  NO PRESSURE TO BE COOL

As a lawyer, you finally get to say goodbye to all those insecure, immature image issues.  What I’m saying is, you no longer have to worry about whether or not you’re hip.  Because you’re not.  You’re just not.  You might think you are, but you’re fooling yourself. The upside to this, of course, is that you never have to worry about looking cool, acting cool, or hanging out where the cool people hang.  Phew.

9.  NO MORE SILLY DREAMS

Once you become a lawyer, you get to relinquish all those fanciful notions of fabulous wealth and privilege—because, let’s face it, lawyers aren’t fabulously wealthy or privileged.  We’re worker bees.  We bill by the hour, which means we never have any spare time, which means we never have to worry about what do with all that damn spare time.  Lucky, huh?  Better yet, we don’t have to obsess about what to do when we retire, since we’ll be working ‘til 65 or 70.

10.  TOTAL LACK OF JOB STABILITY

Finally, we lawyers get to know what it’s like to be a Silicon Valley entrepreneur or aspiring actor.  Given the recent global economic meltdown, that means from this day forward, we’ll never have to wonder what it’s like to be a risk-taking maverick living boldly, knowing our job and financial viability might disappear any second.  Talk about good fortune…

Ex-Bitter is a former big firm lawyer who now doles out advice to anyone who asks. Got a question? Email it to advice@bitterlawyer.com. Or read more Advice from an Ex-Bitter.

30 Comments

  1. Craig

    April 8, 2009 at 6:19 am

    Funny … and a little depressing

  2. Anon

    April 8, 2009 at 7:28 am

    Bitter, sad , funny… and true.

  3. Anonymous

    April 8, 2009 at 9:07 am

    #4—Ain’t that the truth!

  4. BL2Y

    April 8, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Re Point #4, This reminds me of the age old saying: Women; can’t live with ‘em; can’t live without ‘em!

  5. BL1Y

    April 8, 2009 at 10:04 am

    Women: can’t live with ‘em, can’t have heterosexual intercourse without ‘em.

  6. Anonymous

    April 8, 2009 at 10:27 am

    You forgot debt.  Debt is the wife and big dreams you no longer have.

  7. Bill Dugan

    April 8, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Yea, I was in a conference all morning, but you guys beat me to the punch this time.  I coudn’t have said it better.  We are enslaved to the almighty babes who, by clamping their legs together, can gain whatever advantage they need over us powerless vassals.

  8. Anonymous

    April 8, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Good article.  Ouch, hits home.

  9. BL1Y

    April 8, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Speak for yourself Bill.  Some of us can (a) hold out, (b) find someone else, or (c) bring enough to the table that we’re in the driver’s seat.

  10. Wilbur Moore

    April 8, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Dugan is right.  If we don’t behave, we wind up with no sex and blue balls.  If we behave, we get much sex.  I vote for mucho sex, even if I have to behave to get it.

  11. Joey

    April 8, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    True. True. And True again. This is my life!

  12. Anonymous

    April 9, 2009 at 4:01 am

    So much to look forward to after law school! Can’t wait to be a cortisol pumping sexless machine. woo hoo!

  13. Dexter

    April 9, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Good Article but makes me reconsider do I really want to go to law school?

    • Lawchick

      October 11, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      No – you don’t

  14. Anon

    April 10, 2009 at 3:00 am

    If anything on the internet can even slightly shake your confidence in going to law school.  Do not.

  15. Lenny

    April 10, 2009 at 11:57 am

    This article is so reflective of my life, all I can do is nod my head at each one.  And then cry into my pillow at night.

  16. K89T

    April 10, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Just one of the sheep who accidentally wondered into the farm house–not a lawyer.  About 7 of these apply to my job, which more years and expense of education.  And 9 of them apply to the poor slogs that work around me trying to get by on 35k a year.
    My colleagues also whine about how hard and unfair it all is–their mom told them they would be so happy.  But seriously, other than the part of having to deal with other lawyers, the rest is either the common lot of nearly everyone, or can be eliminated by taking charge of your professional life instead of letting it run you.  Who says you have to work so many hours?  You can always play more and live on less.  Others manage.

  17. joanbob

    April 11, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    What I like most about being a lawyer is being contradicted and naysayed whenever I have a new idea.

  18. Anonymous

    April 16, 2009 at 9:01 am

    It’s really obvious that K89T is not a lawyer based on his/her suggestions.  LOL

  19. g8r

    April 20, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    I am a totally hot female lawyer.  So there.

  20. YrNextBstAsst

    May 8, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Im the poor schlob trying to make it in the legal world on $35K a year . . . but alas, i DO have a life

  21. aussie dingo

    October 11, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    ah you americans… at one of australia’s largest firms – we dont have billable targets, work 9.30 to 5.30, sit at our desks drunk after a boozy client lunch and have a great social life! hehe sorry

  22. Brianator

    April 17, 2011 at 10:43 am

    You left out “enduring the physical ailments of people 15 years your senior.”

  23. P-Nut

    August 11, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Ex-Bitter has a lot in common with Greg Giraldo.

    Both went to very good law schools, both left the legal practice to pursue a career in comedy, and neither one has said anything funny in almost a year.

  24. CC

    June 8, 2012 at 10:34 am

    #4 is pretty offensive, although not as bad as many of the inappropriate comments below. This is the 21st century – enough with the sexist behavior. Otherwise I think the list is pretty hilarious and accurate.

  25. C-

    April 8, 2013 at 10:47 am

    What a dull empty meaningless pointless uninspiring pathetic sad soul-sucking boring chained-to-the-desk-reading-tiny-print kind of job. Unless you’ve got the smarts & the mouth to be a barrister, stay away from law. Makes me wanna slit my wrists everyday

  26. Steel

    September 24, 2013 at 6:35 am

    You know you are pathetic?
    “we’ll never have to wonder what it’s like to be a risk-taking maverick living boldly” , really?

    So youre saying living in a cocoon is way better?
    Sir, its not.
    If this entire article was meant to be sarcastic and I didnt get it them I’m sorry otherwise this article is about just one scared man who’s afraid and i’m pretty sure thats not what your conscience would like to be reckoned as.

    • Nyjah Visa

      March 18, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      Yes, if you didnt catch on, this was satirical. 4 was pretty obvious, and so was 6, and if you didnt get the idea by 9 and 10 your deduction skills are not suited for law.

  27. Terence A. Russell

    October 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Very concise, well-written, and to the point. You forgot one thing, however. It is a job that is almost impossible to just quit so that you can just go do something else. (For those who found anything offensive: it is humor. Can’t you take a joke?)

  28. vera

    October 11, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    shit

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