I think it's because a lot of them like to have a martyr complex about the whole thing, they think it makes them tougher or something.
I think that is EXACTLY what is behind their support for the current system. They obviously don't know too many practicing associates because many, if not most, are miserable and wish they never went to law school.
I worked for two years at Fulbright in Texas and four years at Clifford Chance in NYC. I know these people. They are my friends. I case-managed their transactions. They know I write what I write. And they all universally agree with what I say. I know I won't convince everyone. But it matters not that some swashbuckling law students who have no idea what they are in for don't see it.
You toughies - there's more to life than law. There's families, there's community (and NOT just giving at the office); there's hobbies; there's problems we need to fix in this country (the require the whole of the citizenry to focus on them). These things are NOT things most people can do without and be happy. The legal profession has proven that true.
It gives me no satisfaction that the toughies who post on these boards will often succumb to the same misery as the rest of the profession. It's sad. See for yourselves:Those unhappy, unhealthy lawyers
Notre Dame Magazine
Lawyers may or may not be among the most unethical professionals in America. But there is little doubt that they are among the most unhealthy and unhappy.
Lawyers suffer from depression, anxiety, hostility, paranoia, social alienation and isolation, obsessive-compulsiveness, and interpersonal sensitivity at alarming rates. For example, researchers affiliated with Johns Hopkins University found statistically significant elevations of major depressive disorder (AMDD@) in only three of 104 occupations: lawyers, pre-kindergarten and special education teachers, and secretaries. Lawyers topped the list, suffering from MDD at a rate 3.6 times higher than nonlawyers who shared their key socio-demographic traits.
Lawyers also suffer from alcoholism and use illegal drugs at rates far higher than nonlawyers. One group of researchers found that the rate of alcoholism among lawyers is double the rate of alcoholism among adults generally, while another group of researchers estimated that 26 percent of lawyers had used cocaine at least once C twice the rate of the general population. One out of three lawyers suffers from clinical depression, alcoholism or drug abuse. Not surprisingly, a preliminary study indicates that lawyers commit suicide and think about committing suicide more often than nonlawyers.
The divorce rate among lawyers appears to be higher than the divorce rate among other professionals. Felicia Baker LeClere of Notre Dame=s Center for the Study of Contemporary Society compared the incidence of divorce among lawyers to the incidence of divorce among doctors, using data from the 1990 census. LeClere found that the percentage of lawyers who are divorced is higher than the percentage of doctors who are divorced and that the difference is particularly pronounced among women.
People who are this unhealthy C people who suffer from depression, anxiety, alcoholism, drug abuse, divorce, and suicide to this extent C are almost by definition unhappy. It should not be surprising, then, that lawyers are indeed unhappy, nor should it be surprising that the source of their unhappiness seems to be the one thing that they have in common: their work as lawyers. In large numbers, lawyers say that they are unhappy with their careers, that they would not become lawyers again if they had the choice, that they would not advise their children or others to become lawyers, and that they hope to leave the practice of law before the end of their careers. Even as the market for legal services has improved in the last few years, the morale of lawyers has declined to new lows, especially for lawyers in private practice.
Why are lawyers so unhealthy and unhappy? Why do so many lawyers, in the words of Judge Laurence Silberman, Ahate what the practice of law has become?@ Lawyers give many reasons. They complain about the commercialization of the legal profession C about the fact that practicing law has become less of a profession and more of a business. They complain about the increased pressure to attract and retain clients in a ferociously competitive marketplace. They complain about having to work in an adversarial environment. They complain about not having control over their lives and about being at the mercy of judges and clients. They complain about a lack of civility among lawyers. They complain about a lack of collegiality and loyalty among their partners. And they complain about their poor public image. Mostly, though, they complain about the hours.
In every study of the career satisfaction of lawyers of which I am aware, in every book or article about the woes of the legal profession that I have read, and in every conversation about life as a practicing lawyer that I have heard, lawyers complain about the long hours they have to work. In the words of the American Bar Association, lawyers are complaining with increasing vehemence about Aliving to work, rather than working to live@ C about being Aasked not to dedicate, but to sacrifice their lives to the firm.@ Lawyers often suffer from a nostalgic longing for a past that never really existed. But when it comes to their brutal work schedules, lawyers have reason to complain, and they have reason to believe that the problem has grown worse. Thirty years ago, most partners billed between 1,200 and 1,400 hours per year and most associates between 1,400 and 1,600 hours. Today, over half of the associates and almost a quarter of the partners in private practice bill at least 2,000 hours per year. In the biggest and most prestigious law firms, almost everyone bills close to 2,000 hours, and many bill 2,500 hours or more.Researchers have found that what makes people happy is the nature (not the amount) of the work they do and the quality of their lives outside of work. Long hours at the office have no relationship to the former and take away from the latter. Every hour that lawyers spend at their desks is an hour that they do not spend doing many of the things that give their lives joy and meaning: being with their spouses, playing with their children, relaxing with their friends, visiting their parents, going to movies, reading books, volunteering at the homeless shelter, playing softball, collecting stamps, traveling the world, getting involved in a political campaign, going to church, working out at a health club. There=s no mystery about why lawyers are so unhappy: They work too much.