Law School Discussion

Depression in Law School/Depression as Lawyers in Practice

Re: Depression in Law School/Depression as Lawyers in Practice
« Reply #20 on: March 27, 2007, 02:30:32 PM »
jrut, I am mesmerized by your prose.        


What..?!   :D

I'm sure if you wrote something similar T. Durden, I would say the same to you.  And hopefully you won't vomit on me.   :o

Legal Ease

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Re: Depression in Law School/Depression as Lawyers in Practice
« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2007, 11:57:05 AM »
As a chronic depression sufferer, I'm not too worried about the law profession, because I'm emotionally f*cked in the first place.  If you're a happy guy, I might think you ought to stay away.  My depression definitely heightened after attending a competitive engineering school.  Since graduating engineering, I've worked some of the highest suicide rate jobs out there (e.g. daytrader). I was attracted to the excitement of daytrading. At least I felt alive at work, although 50% of the days I went home suicidal.  The other 50% I went home feeling that I was a mad genius instant millionaire. 

Don't watch Requiem for a Dream on a sunny day, and don't go to law school unless you already hate life. 

LOL that just my two cents.   ::)

Oh yeah, and there's always Zoloft you know. It works half the time!


Re: Depression in Law School/Depression as Lawyers in Practice
« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2007, 01:16:27 PM »
Some people do all their reading for the week over the weekend.  I'm not sure how they do it, I don't have the attention span for that.

I may read two classes ahead, just so I have a "buffer" if something comes up.  I did that a lot during 1L.  I'm doing it less and less as time goes on.  It's just easier to keep things straight for class to not get too far ahead, IMO.

Ditto on this- I read at least Monday and Tuesday on Sunday afternoon and then try to stay 1 day ahead- why? because you never know when something will come up, you'll get sick, need a mental health day (okay, a day at the beach, but sometimes you really will need a break) plus you get time to digest the material before you come to class. I think skimming the assigment right before class starts is not enough for most people to really understand the info and be prepared to be called on.

I also have had no trouble keeping up with the work load, the two weeks or so leading up to memos being the only exception. My outlines are updated, and I don't work most evenings after 7 or 8 PM. It's really manageable if you don't take yourself too seriously. Oh, and get some exercise! This always makes me feel like i've got a routine and I'm keeping it together even when I'm stressed out.

Re: Depression in Law School/Depression as Lawyers in Practice
« Reply #23 on: April 02, 2007, 06:36:01 AM »
Here's a clip from regarding "Poor Careers for 2006"

Poor careers for 2006
By Marty Nemko
Posted 1/5/06
Attorney. If starting over, 75 percent of lawyers would choose to do something else. A similar percentage would advise their children not to become lawyers. The work is often contentious, and there's pressure to be unethical. And despite the drama portrayed on TV, real lawyers spend much of their time on painstakingly detailed research. In addition, those fat-salaried law jobs go to only the top few percent of an already high-powered lot.

Many people go to law school hoping to do so-called public-interest law. (In fact, much work not officially labeled as such does serve the public interest.) What they don't teach in law school is that the competition for those jobs is intense. I know one graduate of a Top Three law school, for instance, who also edited a law journal. She applied for a low-paying job at the National Abortion Rights Action League and, despite interviewing very well, didn't get the job.

Hey Texasranger.  I find your comments gel very much with common sense notions of what it takes to be fulfilled in life.  My take is that if our respective job(s) utilize our knowledge and expertise in such a way that it helps someone out of a dark, hopeless situation- we feel like we're making a difference.  And unfortunately the higher we climb up the firm life corporate ladder, the more out of touch and unsure we become with the reality of how/if we're making a "difference." 

What's so sad is that money completely discourages those of us that could be phenomenal public servants but just can't due to huge financial commitments associated with family, loans etc. 

I was watching Chief Justice John Roberts answer a question posed to him while lecturing at Northwestern University Law School earlier this year and found his comments on this issue interesting.   

Question posed:  How do you respond to criticism that judges are getting paid too much money? 

Chief Justice Roberts Answer (paraphrased):  However much it sounds like they will be making, they will in fact be making far less than what they could- working in public service.  The very reason we are having trouble recruiting and maintaining talented/dedicated individuals for the federal bench is because they simply cannot afford to keep up with their past/present financial obligations when they make 2-3x more with their current employer.     

Re: Depression in Law School/Depression as Lawyers in Practice
« Reply #24 on: April 02, 2007, 06:50:04 AM »
I've read quite a bit about the epidemic and it seems to be most prevalent in Corporate Law for obvious reasons. The most happy attorneys seem to be public defenders and prosecutors. I personally want to become a prosecutor, but the $51K starting salary a year doesn't seem too exciting especially with the law school debt. I would be making more as a police officer (because they have a strong union) and most officers around here just have a high school education. That is simply ridiculous.

On the other hand doing something like family law can get emotionally charged because many times you have to see the kids suffer as a result of your work.

It would be neat if both happy and unhappy attorneys would post on here and give us their points of view.

My father is an assistant homicide prosecutor in a crime plagued city, and absolutely loves his job because he knows that he is helping to put violent criminals behind bars. My father suffers from depression, and his first couple of years after graduating, his depression became so bad that he didn't work for 3 years. Once he finally got help, his first job was with a law firm. He absolutely hated it. He then opened a private practice,   and hated it. He eventually became a prosecutor, and it changed his life for good. Once a couch ridden depressed young man, he is now a vibrant professional who, 25 years later, loves getting up every day for work. He just put a gang member behind bars and received a letter from the mother of her murdered 18 year old son raving about what a great job he did and how they now pray for him and my father every day. It brought him to tears just knowing that he was able to help this family obtain some closure. He doesn't make a lot of money, but makes more than the average professional, has great job security...and in fact he said that he doesn't plan on retiring until his early 70's!

My friends father is a prominent real estate attorney in the same town in Northern, NJ. He makes a shitload of money, and when my friend mentioned to him that she was considering going to law school, he advised her otherwise. He has specifically told her that he hates his job but makes too much money to back out of it now. He just couldn't give up his lifestyle for the sake of having a more satisfying career.

The reason I bring all of this up, is that I've learned from this that I'm not going to put that much pressure on making money or having some big prestigious firm job. I will probably seek employment with a mid sized firm upon graduation as a learning experience. However, I'm not going to let debt, "prestige", or the possibility of being wealthy keep me employed in a job I hate. I think too many lawyers are hellbent on making the big bucks, and compromise their happiness for the sake of wealth and prestige. And even some of the financially successful lawyers might be depressed because they're not doing as well as they thought they would. I think these things lead to the depression, divorce, alcoholism, etc...that is so prevalent in our profession

If I can find a job where I make good money and love what I do, great. However, if I hate the firm life, I'm either going to hang a shingle or do some type of government work. If it means I'm only making $50K starting out, and can only climb up to $75K or so as a plateau...then so be it. The way I look at it is, I'd rather make the minimum payments on my loans for 30 years and enjoy life, than be like my friend's dad...unable to escape the drudgery of his job because he's grown accustomed to living a lavish lifestyle.

Speaking of depressing jobs...While I'm only 25, most of my friends my age, or a little older are stuck in crappy, dead end business jobs. The few of my friends without graduate degrees that actually like what they're doing aren't making much more than $35K. The ones that make more than that either openly admit that they hate what they do, or try to sugar coat what they're doing. I think the way to tell whether someone really likes what they're doing when they tell you they've found a "great career" is whether or not they actually provide examples of what they like doing (specific clients they've met with, who they've helped) vs. giving you a job description that you'd likely find on a company's vacancy website. For example, my friend got a job doing IT work for a pharmaceutical company, who when I asked him about his job, gave me a BS line that "It's a real professional atmosphere where I'm integrating their business information systems and coming up with integrative technological solutions for corporate problems"...which I translate as "I wear a shirt and tie to work despite being an IT female dog for my company...and the highlight of my week is when the hot girl from sales calls me when her Microsoft Excel crashes or when she can't locate a file on her hard drive"


What an informative post!!  Thank you so much for sharing some tidbits about your personal/professional life.  The problem with the legal profession as I see it is that there are just so many hurdles and necessarily evils that we have to go through in order to get to the fulfilling... wake-up-to-greet-each morning stuff. 

We have law school, then we have the necessary firm life (to pay loans and get enough of a nest egg to do what we really want to do).  Of course this is grossly oversimplified because this chunk alone will probably take 5-10 years depending on how much/quickly you can make enough to be satisfied with. 

We all foolishly/naievely write these sunny personal statements vying for seats in an incoming law school class about how we want to go out and put criminals behind bars and make a difference... but when do we realistically- between financial commitments and prestige whoring get the chance?   

Re: Depression in Law School/Depression as Lawyers in Practice
« Reply #25 on: April 02, 2007, 08:36:46 AM »
As far as depression in law school goes, it all boils down to school sucks.  If you already know what type of law you want to practice, you have to suffer through all the other classes.  And, in my case, criminal law is such a small part of the law that MOST of school is just suffering through.  I hate civil law with a passion yet 85-90% of my classes will pertain only to civil law.  Yes, I know as my profs keeps saying, there is bleed over in all the fields.  But the bleed over is so minute in criminal law it's really not of importance.

As far as depression in the practice goes, people only care about money.  I hear it day in and day out at school.  I don't know how you could be a prosecutor, you won't make any money.  If I don't get a job making at least $100,000 a year I will be too broke to pay my loans, etc, etc.  It's all total BS.  I thought my debt through seriously before I  started school.  I paid off everything so that when I finish all I have to pay are living expenses and student loans.  Will I have a lot of money to play with?  NO.  Will I be able to go get a ridiculously large house or expensive car?  No.  Do I care?  NO.  But, if you do care about being rich, you have to do the civil work, or defense work.  You have to devote you life to your job.  You can't do what you love if you find out you hate what your doing because you have to be rich.  The people I know are happy.  They were smart in managing their debt.  They do a job they love.  They aren't rich and never will be, but they are happy.  To me, that is what matters.  To most, it's all about the green.