NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

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rpupkin
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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby rpupkin » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:52 am

jarofsoup wrote:Yeah. I know partners that have good family lives at big law firms and are not drug addicts.

How do you know that they're not drug addicts?

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anyriotgirl
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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby anyriotgirl » Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:12 am

my girlfriend found this article and now she is worried that I am going to become a secret drug addict

thanks ny times

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby cal.trask » Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:13 am

rpupkin wrote:
jarofsoup wrote:Yeah. I know partners that have good family lives at big law firms and are not drug addicts.

How do you know that they're not drug addicts?

They don't, which was the point of the article.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:50 am

Not here to evangelize, but for the couple people here who posted and who have felt like drinking isn't fun anymore, I had felt that way for a long time. I recently read the book "The Naked Mind" which tries to shift your unconscious/engrained attitudes about alcohol. It's not a mind blowing read and is intentionally repetitive and I thought it'd be bullshit, but I haven't had a drink in over two months now and don't want to. It's the longest I've ever gone without a drink since I was 16. I found it after it just felt like if alcohol has a tendency to make bad things worse, it makes the bad parts of big law into an inevitable crisis, at least if you don't have a healthy relationship with it (like me).

just wanted to share because the nature of this profession is that you pretty much have to suffer silently or risk everything, or at least it feels that way. Stay well (and alive).

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby Phil Brooks » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:08 am

elendinel wrote:
jarofsoup wrote:Yeah. I know partners that have good family lives at big law firms and are not drug addicts. I think you have to draw the line in the sand somewhere. At a certain point if you have to choose your job over your family it is not worth it. The only reason why I work hard is for my family.


I don't think it's that simple. Even if you choose your family as your reason for working so hard, you will still be vulnerable to depression/etc. if you end up in an environment that is high-stress and where you have to deal with all of that if you want to give your family the lifestyle they've been accustomed to. There are plenty of lawyers who became alcoholics/drug addicts/etc. and who were working hard for their families; it's not just the workaholics.

The example with the surgeon was on-point; there are few other professions where, on top of the volume of the work and its meticulousness causing stress, you're also dealing with people actively trying to tear down your work so that they can advance in their own career (not only in LS but in many areas of the law post-LS). That can cause stress regardless of your intentions for advancing in the field (for status, for family, etc.).


Ding ding ding ding. Maybe don't "accustom" them to such a lifestyle? Maybe instill in them that father's or mother's health is more important than the 40k a year private school and the big house and the latest iPhone?

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:21 am

elendinel wrote:

Anonymous User wrote:Why can't legal employers do more about the environment that leads to this?


In some ways they can't fix it; some aspects of the law are inherently adversarial and there's not much that can be done about that.

In other ways there'd be no motivation for them to do so, because the only other things firms could do to reduce stress would be to cut back hour requirements/create advancement routes that aren't hyper-competitive, which they don't really have any motivation to do, considering it'd hurt their bottom line and so many people are trying to get into law that there's no real concern of a shortage of lawyers, even if a third of them crash and burn.


You'd also have to have real employment consequences for people who are not only screamers/assholes, but also who are just terrible managers who make people's lives hell because they don't bother to look at the 50 page SJ brief until a day before it is due. But this would mean that firms would need to deprioritze "client service" in their hiring/promotion schemes and prioritize other things. That would be a shift in thinking that is antagonistic to the personalities of the people who run these places, at a very fundamental level.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby elendinel » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:01 am

Phil Brooks wrote:
elendinel wrote:I don't think it's that simple. Even if you choose your family as your reason for working so hard, you will still be vulnerable to depression/etc. if you end up in an environment that is high-stress and where you have to deal with all of that if you want to give your family the lifestyle they've been accustomed to. There are plenty of lawyers who became alcoholics/drug addicts/etc. and who were working hard for their families; it's not just the workaholics.

The example with the surgeon was on-point; there are few other professions where, on top of the volume of the work and its meticulousness causing stress, you're also dealing with people actively trying to tear down your work so that they can advance in their own career (not only in LS but in many areas of the law post-LS). That can cause stress regardless of your intentions for advancing in the field (for status, for family, etc.).


Ding ding ding ding. Maybe don't "accustom" them to such a lifestyle? Maybe instill in them that father's or mother's health is more important than the 40k a year private school and the big house and the latest iPhone?



I don't really see why you assume it's an issue of spoiled children. Plenty of people on these boards alone have imposed stress on themselves (or plan to do so) because they feel they have to give their children that private school education or that iPhone. Plenty of people have said they want their children to grow up with more than they themselves grew up with. People without children have stated that $200k isn't enough to raise a family of four. It's just as much (if not more) about people feeling pressured to remain in biglaw because they want to provide the best for their kids/spouse. (And to be clear, I'm not saying it's necessarily wrong to want to do these things for your children; I'm just pointing out that a lot of people give these things to their children because they want to/feel obligated to on a personal level, and not because they're afraid little Suzy will hate Mom/Dad if she doesn't go to private school.)

It's also easier said than done to completely drop a lifestyle to earn significantly less than you earned before, especially when you have kids. No they won't be traumatized if they don't get the latest smartphone for the next few years, but moving to different states/putting them in different schools/moving them out of what might be their childhood home/etc. aren't nontrivial concerns. So while it's a given that mental health trumps material things, it's easy to see how it might feel difficult to give up the material things when you're in the thick of everything.

Anonymous User wrote:You'd also have to have real employment consequences for people who are not only screamers/assholes, but also who are just terrible managers who make people's lives hell because they don't bother to look at the 50 page SJ brief until a day before it is due. But this would mean that firms would need to deprioritze "client service" in their hiring/promotion schemes and prioritize other things. That would be a shift in thinking that is antagonistic to the personalities of the people who run these places, at a very fundamental level.


Yes that too. I think there are also quite a bit of "Well I went through it and I made partner, so I paid my dues and I don't see what the big deal is" attitudes going around. People deal with s**t to get to the top, and when they get to the top, their best choice ends up being to completely discredit and ignore the toll it took on them to get there; both out of pride (because who wants to admit that they broke themselves to become partner), but also because fixing the problem would mean putting themselves at a disadvantage right when they finally reach a point where all the pain was maybe worth it, which would mean they went through all that for minimal gain. I'm sure a lot of people want to make things better for their associates, but no one wants to be the one who actually gets the short end of the stick when it happens.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby tomwatts » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:14 am

It's also against the financial self-interest of the firms to make life better for associates at the expense of getting business from clients. Any biglaw firm faces a massive oversupply of potential associates of tolerable quality, but enormous competition for business. So a partner who brings in business is extremely valuable, even if that partner treats associates terribly, makes their lives hell, and leads to high attrition at the firm. You can always get more associates. You can't always get more business.

EDIT: I suppose this point has been made before in this thread. But it bears repeating.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:34 am

This is the cost of doing business for big firms. They'll say the right things and express shock when something like this happens, but the business model is predicated on wringing as much time and attention as they can out of everyone, and they won't change that. Inevitably some people will go over the edge. Anyone associated with the firm who claims to be caught totally off guard is being dense or disingenuous.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby jd20132013 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:45 am

Correct. The collateral damage is acceptable for the folks on the top.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby Phil Brooks » Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:09 am

elendinel wrote: I don't really see why you assume it's an issue of spoiled children. Plenty of people on these boards alone have imposed stress on themselves (or plan to do so) because they feel they have to give their children that private school education or that iPhone. Plenty of people have said they want their children to grow up with more than they themselves grew up with. People without children have stated that $200k isn't enough to raise a family of four. It's just as much (if not more) about people feeling pressured to remain in biglaw because they want to provide the best for their kids/spouse. (And to be clear, I'm not saying it's necessarily wrong to want to do these things for your children; I'm just pointing out that a lot of people give these things to their children because they want to/feel obligated to on a personal level, and not because they're afraid little Suzy will hate Mom/Dad if she doesn't go to private school.)


I have absolutely zero sympathy. If you're going to stay in a job that kills you because you can't find a way to make it work on $120k, then you've done it to yourself.

It also bothers me because the same people who say, "$200k is basically poverty" tend to be the same people who say, "If there's a budget problem just cut the services for the poor, they don't deserve them anyway, don't you dare raise my taxes."

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:38 am

Phil Brooks wrote:
elendinel wrote: I don't really see why you assume it's an issue of spoiled children. Plenty of people on these boards alone have imposed stress on themselves (or plan to do so) because they feel they have to give their children that private school education or that iPhone. Plenty of people have said they want their children to grow up with more than they themselves grew up with. People without children have stated that $200k isn't enough to raise a family of four. It's just as much (if not more) about people feeling pressured to remain in biglaw because they want to provide the best for their kids/spouse. (And to be clear, I'm not saying it's necessarily wrong to want to do these things for your children; I'm just pointing out that a lot of people give these things to their children because they want to/feel obligated to on a personal level, and not because they're afraid little Suzy will hate Mom/Dad if she doesn't go to private school.)


I have absolutely zero sympathy. If you're going to stay in a job that kills you because you can't find a way to make it work on $120k, then you've done it to yourself.

This is all very sensible and rational, but people aren't always sensible and rational creatures. It's also kind of a frog boiling in a pot scenario - by the time you realize there's a serious problem you may be in too deep.

To be clear, I absolutely agree that a family of four doesn't need. $200k to live, but that doesn't mean that people have an easy time seeing outside their epistemological constructs about what is a good life for your family.

It also bothers me because the same people who say, "$200k is basically poverty" tend to be the same people who say, "If there's a budget problem just cut the services for the poor, they don't deserve them anyway, don't you dare raise my taxes."

This is a completely irrelevant ad hominem.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby lolwat » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:04 pm

I guess I have more sympathy. There is a difference between making it work and living comfortably, and I also selfishly want my law school education to count for something for myself. I don't think we should be faulting anyone who has gone through the extra three years of law school (and particularly those who took on debt to do so) who try to come out of it with a good paying job to give their families a nice life.

My dad lost his job when I was in my early teens and he never held another one for very long. My mom worked as many hours as I do now for a fraction of what I'm making just to keep us alive basically. I have the capability to make enough to not have to ever go or put my family through that kind of stress.

That being said, it's all about balance and there comes a time when time with family and living life is worth more than the $$ you're bringing in. i think that lesson is far more relevant for those already raking in millions a year as partner than those starting out at $180k with six figure loans as a first year associate, though. But that's just me.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby elendinel » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:12 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Phil Brooks wrote:
elendinel wrote: I don't really see why you assume it's an issue of spoiled children. Plenty of people on these boards alone have imposed stress on themselves (or plan to do so) because they feel they have to give their children that private school education or that iPhone. Plenty of people have said they want their children to grow up with more than they themselves grew up with. People without children have stated that $200k isn't enough to raise a family of four. It's just as much (if not more) about people feeling pressured to remain in biglaw because they want to provide the best for their kids/spouse. (And to be clear, I'm not saying it's necessarily wrong to want to do these things for your children; I'm just pointing out that a lot of people give these things to their children because they want to/feel obligated to on a personal level, and not because they're afraid little Suzy will hate Mom/Dad if she doesn't go to private school.)


I have absolutely zero sympathy. If you're going to stay in a job that kills you because you can't find a way to make it work on $120k, then you've done it to yourself.

This is all very sensible and rational, but people aren't always sensible and rational creatures. It's also kind of a frog boiling in a pot scenario - by the time you realize there's a serious problem you may be in too deep.

To be clear, I absolutely agree that a family of four doesn't need. $200k to live, but that doesn't mean that people have an easy time seeing outside their epistemological constructs about what is a good life for your family.


Exactly. In the abstract and from a third-party perspective it's easy to see that reducing your stress will help the family in the long run, but it's not always easy to rationalize that when there are so many moving parts involving the rest of your family that you're going to have to juggle just to achieve the one goal you want for yourself. It's easy to say "just like on $100k, it's easy" and another to actually go through the process of doing that. I took a substantial pay cut at some point in my career for my sanity and while it was worth it, it was not an easy decision to make. And I was already pretty much living on the same budget I needed for my lower salary, so it's not like I had a hard time because I had to give up $100 weekly dinners or something like that. There's more than just the money at play when you make that change.

But anyway, this isn't about "needing" $200k; this is about the psychology of trying to get out of a bad situation and how people try to rationalize staying in the situation because they're afraid of how the decision to stay will reverberate on others they love. And how this can apply just as strongly in cases where people are working to support their families, as it can in cases where people are working to make a name for themselves/career advancement. People are not immune from getting into what is akin to an abusive cycle with their career just because they care about their family.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:15 pm

What I'll never understand is the complete loss of perspective by people that have millions of dollars. They could literally quit tomorrow, or be fired and likely never have to work another day in their lives. If they get into trouble, they can arrange their life to have a good, fulfilling life and maybe get rid of the fancier things they have (like private schools, huge house, Hampton house, etc). If I get into trouble, then I'm out on my ass with six figures of debt and a failed career. These guys didn't even have close to the debt burden that we have coming out, and so they can't possibly understand the psychological effect that has.

The work is stressful enough because of the deadlines and closing timelines and client expectations. By being a partner that screams and berates and micro-manage to the point where you feel like just a limb hanging off a partner, they make that stressful situation much worse psychologically and even physically. The firm I worked for had intense, but tolerable (even good) partners to work for and the work was still so stressful that I quit after a year and a half. I can't imagine being in a place where the work is as stressful and your colleagues are complete assholes. The firm I am at now has one of those guys and I already know I won't survive getting staffed on a deal with him. I'd likely just give notice the minute I found out.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby los blancos » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:33 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Phil Brooks wrote:
elendinel wrote: I don't really see why you assume it's an issue of spoiled children. Plenty of people on these boards alone have imposed stress on themselves (or plan to do so) because they feel they have to give their children that private school education or that iPhone. Plenty of people have said they want their children to grow up with more than they themselves grew up with. People without children have stated that $200k isn't enough to raise a family of four. It's just as much (if not more) about people feeling pressured to remain in biglaw because they want to provide the best for their kids/spouse. (And to be clear, I'm not saying it's necessarily wrong to want to do these things for your children; I'm just pointing out that a lot of people give these things to their children because they want to/feel obligated to on a personal level, and not because they're afraid little Suzy will hate Mom/Dad if she doesn't go to private school.)


I have absolutely zero sympathy. If you're going to stay in a job that kills you because you can't find a way to make it work on $120k, then you've done it to yourself.

This is all very sensible and rational, but people aren't always sensible and rational creatures. It's also kind of a frog boiling in a pot scenario - by the time you realize there's a serious problem you may be in too deep.

To be clear, I absolutely agree that a family of four doesn't need. $200k to live, but that doesn't mean that people have an easy time seeing outside their epistemological constructs about what is a good life for your family.


It's also not like everyone or even most people can just take a magic step down to $100k jobs with good life balance.

The shittiest thing about this profession is the fact that the competition for those outcomes is unbelievably fierce.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby se7en » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:42 pm

I'm surprised nobody mentioned that it also looks like the lawyer was divorced from the wife a few years before this article - certainly that may have contributed to this poor guy's depression, and maybe even exacerbated and/or led to the drug abuse. Especially if he was the breadwinner, and in California, he may have been stuck with alimony payments etc. that could have prevented him from quitting the job, even though he grew to hate it.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby whats an updog » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:46 pm

elendinel wrote:Yes that too. I think there are also quite a bit of "Well I went through it and I made partner, so I paid my dues and I don't see what the big deal is" attitudes going around. People deal with s**t to get to the top, and when they get to the top, their best choice ends up being to completely discredit and ignore the toll it took on them to get there; both out of pride (because who wants to admit that they broke themselves to become partner), but also because fixing the problem would mean putting themselves at a disadvantage right when they finally reach a point where all the pain was maybe worth it, which would mean they went through all that for minimal gain. I'm sure a lot of people want to make things better for their associates, but no one wants to be the one who actually gets the short end of the stick when it happens.


This seems to be true about almost everything in the profession, starting with law school.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby MarkinKansasCity » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:47 pm

los blancos wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Phil Brooks wrote:
elendinel wrote: I don't really see why you assume it's an issue of spoiled children. Plenty of people on these boards alone have imposed stress on themselves (or plan to do so) because they feel they have to give their children that private school education or that iPhone. Plenty of people have said they want their children to grow up with more than they themselves grew up with. People without children have stated that $200k isn't enough to raise a family of four. It's just as much (if not more) about people feeling pressured to remain in biglaw because they want to provide the best for their kids/spouse. (And to be clear, I'm not saying it's necessarily wrong to want to do these things for your children; I'm just pointing out that a lot of people give these things to their children because they want to/feel obligated to on a personal level, and not because they're afraid little Suzy will hate Mom/Dad if she doesn't go to private school.)


I have absolutely zero sympathy. If you're going to stay in a job that kills you because you can't find a way to make it work on $120k, then you've done it to yourself.

This is all very sensible and rational, but people aren't always sensible and rational creatures. It's also kind of a frog boiling in a pot scenario - by the time you realize there's a serious problem you may be in too deep.

To be clear, I absolutely agree that a family of four doesn't need. $200k to live, but that doesn't mean that people have an easy time seeing outside their epistemological constructs about what is a good life for your family.


It's also not like everyone or even most people can just take a magic step down to $100k jobs with good life balance.

The shittiest thing about this profession is the fact that the competition for those outcomes is unbelievably fierce.


I think the problem is that the overhead on attorneys is incredibly high, so you can't just have someone work half the hours and pay them half as much. Whether they bill 30 hours or 60, you still have all of the expenses of a full time attorney, including health insurance, administrative expense, taxes, office space, software licenses, bar fees, CLE, secretaries and paralegals, etc. In conjunction with the expenses, law firms also know that lawyers are usually looking at salary above all else, and almost no one will choose the $100k job over the $180k job, because they accurately assume that all law firms are basically interchangeable, so everyone will take the money over non-existent PR work-life balance. (cue in balance/on balance video pimping working from home after dinner)

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:09 pm

I think, too, there's a huge psychological thing to giving up a career you've put so much into, especially since over-educated people like lawyers tend to identify really strongly with their careers. Your self-worth can be tied up in succeeding a a specific job even if you hate it.

Not that this is a good reason to stay in something that's killing you, but it's one more reason why it's hard to leave.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What I'll never understand is the complete loss of perspective by people that have millions of dollars. They could literally quit tomorrow, or be fired and likely never have to work another day in their lives. If they get into trouble, they can arrange their life to have a good, fulfilling life and maybe get rid of the fancier things they have (like private schools, huge house, Hampton house, etc). If I get into trouble, then I'm out on my ass with six figures of debt and a failed career. These guys didn't even have close to the debt burden that we have coming out, and so they can't possibly understand the psychological effect that has.

The work is stressful enough because of the deadlines and closing timelines and client expectations. By being a partner that screams and berates and micro-manage to the point where you feel like just a limb hanging off a partner, they make that stressful situation much worse psychologically and even physically. The firm I worked for had intense, but tolerable (even good) partners to work for and the work was still so stressful that I quit after a year and a half. I can't imagine being in a place where the work is as stressful and your colleagues are complete assholes. The firm I am at now has one of those guys and I already know I won't survive getting staffed on a deal with him. I'd likely just give notice the minute I found out.

Two problems, I think. One is there is always someone with more, and it's natural (and/or we are socialized) to discount the value of what you already have and to want what others have. Sure, you could quit with a million in the bank, but then you can't do [thing the guy down the hall did].

Two is that people get to this point in the profession by dedicating themselves 100 to their work. You do that for a decade or more and it becomes tough to envision anything else. You're gonna quit? And do what? You don't have any hobbies or interests, you haven't seen your friends in years, there's a good chance you're divorced or your family hates you. What's the point?

The kind of person who feels comfortable stepping away from a "successful" career to reinvent themselves in their 40s or later is generally not the kind of person who grinds away in biglaw to that extent in the first place.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby elendinel » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:27 pm

se7en wrote:I'm surprised nobody mentioned that it also looks like the lawyer was divorced from the wife a few years before this article - certainly that may have contributed to this poor guy's depression, and maybe even exacerbated and/or led to the drug abuse. Especially if he was the breadwinner, and in California, he may have been stuck with alimony payments etc. that could have prevented him from quitting the job, even though he grew to hate it.


I think no one mentioned it because there are so few details in the article to speculate the extent to which the divorce could/couldn't have exacerbated the issue; we don't know that he had to pay alimony, or how much, we don't know when the divorce was or when the drug abuse started, etc. And also because this is a problem even for non-married attorneys, so talking about his potential alimony payments (if existent) is arguably getting a little too far into the weeds.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:43 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What I'll never understand is the complete loss of perspective by people that have millions of dollars. They could literally quit tomorrow, or be fired and likely never have to work another day in their lives. If they get into trouble, they can arrange their life to have a good, fulfilling life and maybe get rid of the fancier things they have (like private schools, huge house, Hampton house, etc). If I get into trouble, then I'm out on my ass with six figures of debt and a failed career. These guys didn't even have close to the debt burden that we have coming out, and so they can't possibly understand the psychological effect that has.

The work is stressful enough because of the deadlines and closing timelines and client expectations. By being a partner that screams and berates and micro-manage to the point where you feel like just a limb hanging off a partner, they make that stressful situation much worse psychologically and even physically. The firm I worked for had intense, but tolerable (even good) partners to work for and the work was still so stressful that I quit after a year and a half. I can't imagine being in a place where the work is as stressful and your colleagues are complete assholes. The firm I am at now has one of those guys and I already know I won't survive getting staffed on a deal with him. I'd likely just give notice the minute I found out.


Two problems, I think. One is there is always someone with more, and it's natural (and/or we are socialized) to discount the value of what you already have and to want what others have. Sure, you could quit with a million in the bank, but then you can't do [thing the guy down the hall did].

Two is that people get to this point in the profession by dedicating themselves 100 to their work. You do that for a decade or more and it becomes tough to envision anything else. You're gonna quit? And do what? You don't have any hobbies or interests, you haven't seen your friends in years, there's a good chance you're divorced or your family hates you. What's the point?

The kind of person who feels comfortable stepping away from a "successful" career to reinvent themselves in their 40s or later is generally not the kind of person who grinds away in biglaw to that extent in the first place.



I'll still never understand. If you enjoy the work so much, then why be a raving lunatic? Most people I know that love their jobs are relaxed, composed and like to train people below them, not ream them out. Again, the lack of perspective is mind-numbing. What is the point of having more if you are always stressed out trying to retain clients. You don't have hobbies, so that means you need to do the same bullshit you've been doing for 20 years instead of trying to find something new about yourself and your interests? Just seems like such a miserable, boring, cliche life. I agree with you though, seeing the people that have successfully made it make me well aware that I am not meant to be a partner, or even a successful attorney most likely. It was having a 3 am cigarette with a senior associate at my first firm where he described what it takes to make partner: "This shit you do now, do even more, make it more stressful as you move up, and do that for 10 years, and get lucky, that's how you make partner". Miserable man, I guess I understand why these people are assholes or crazy, this profession has completely swallowed them up.

dixiecupdrinking
Posts: 3412
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:39 pm

Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What I'll never understand is the complete loss of perspective by people that have millions of dollars. They could literally quit tomorrow, or be fired and likely never have to work another day in their lives. If they get into trouble, they can arrange their life to have a good, fulfilling life and maybe get rid of the fancier things they have (like private schools, huge house, Hampton house, etc). If I get into trouble, then I'm out on my ass with six figures of debt and a failed career. These guys didn't even have close to the debt burden that we have coming out, and so they can't possibly understand the psychological effect that has.

The work is stressful enough because of the deadlines and closing timelines and client expectations. By being a partner that screams and berates and micro-manage to the point where you feel like just a limb hanging off a partner, they make that stressful situation much worse psychologically and even physically. The firm I worked for had intense, but tolerable (even good) partners to work for and the work was still so stressful that I quit after a year and a half. I can't imagine being in a place where the work is as stressful and your colleagues are complete assholes. The firm I am at now has one of those guys and I already know I won't survive getting staffed on a deal with him. I'd likely just give notice the minute I found out.


Two problems, I think. One is there is always someone with more, and it's natural (and/or we are socialized) to discount the value of what you already have and to want what others have. Sure, you could quit with a million in the bank, but then you can't do [thing the guy down the hall did].

Two is that people get to this point in the profession by dedicating themselves 100 to their work. You do that for a decade or more and it becomes tough to envision anything else. You're gonna quit? And do what? You don't have any hobbies or interests, you haven't seen your friends in years, there's a good chance you're divorced or your family hates you. What's the point?

The kind of person who feels comfortable stepping away from a "successful" career to reinvent themselves in their 40s or later is generally not the kind of person who grinds away in biglaw to that extent in the first place.



I'll still never understand. If you enjoy the work so much, then why be a raving lunatic? Most people I know that love their jobs are relaxed, composed and like to train people below them, not ream them out. Again, the lack of perspective is mind-numbing. What is the point of having more if you are always stressed out trying to retain clients. You don't have hobbies, so that means you need to do the same bullshit you've been doing for 20 years instead of trying to find something new about yourself and your interests? Just seems like such a miserable, boring, cliche life. I agree with you though, seeing the people that have successfully made it make me well aware that I am not meant to be a partner, or even a successful attorney most likely. It was having a 3 am cigarette with a senior associate at my first firm where he described what it takes to make partner: "This shit you do now, do even more, make it more stressful as you move up, and do that for 10 years, and get lucky, that's how you make partner". Miserable man, I guess I understand why these people are assholes or crazy, this profession has completely swallowed them up.

I agree with you completely, but for many people there are psychological barriers to accepting that it's not worth it, even when that conclusion starts to become objectively obvious (like say, you're dialing into conference calls while literally dying).

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A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 27696
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What I'll never understand is the complete loss of perspective by people that have millions of dollars. They could literally quit tomorrow, or be fired and likely never have to work another day in their lives. If they get into trouble, they can arrange their life to have a good, fulfilling life and maybe get rid of the fancier things they have (like private schools, huge house, Hampton house, etc). If I get into trouble, then I'm out on my ass with six figures of debt and a failed career. These guys didn't even have close to the debt burden that we have coming out, and so they can't possibly understand the psychological effect that has.

The work is stressful enough because of the deadlines and closing timelines and client expectations. By being a partner that screams and berates and micro-manage to the point where you feel like just a limb hanging off a partner, they make that stressful situation much worse psychologically and even physically. The firm I worked for had intense, but tolerable (even good) partners to work for and the work was still so stressful that I quit after a year and a half. I can't imagine being in a place where the work is as stressful and your colleagues are complete assholes. The firm I am at now has one of those guys and I already know I won't survive getting staffed on a deal with him. I'd likely just give notice the minute I found out.


Two problems, I think. One is there is always someone with more, and it's natural (and/or we are socialized) to discount the value of what you already have and to want what others have. Sure, you could quit with a million in the bank, but then you can't do [thing the guy down the hall did].

Two is that people get to this point in the profession by dedicating themselves 100 to their work. You do that for a decade or more and it becomes tough to envision anything else. You're gonna quit? And do what? You don't have any hobbies or interests, you haven't seen your friends in years, there's a good chance you're divorced or your family hates you. What's the point?

The kind of person who feels comfortable stepping away from a "successful" career to reinvent themselves in their 40s or later is generally not the kind of person who grinds away in biglaw to that extent in the first place.



I'll still never understand. If you enjoy the work so much, then why be a raving lunatic? Most people I know that love their jobs are relaxed, composed and like to train people below them, not ream them out. Again, the lack of perspective is mind-numbing. What is the point of having more if you are always stressed out trying to retain clients. You don't have hobbies, so that means you need to do the same bullshit you've been doing for 20 years instead of trying to find something new about yourself and your interests? Just seems like such a miserable, boring, cliche life. I agree with you though, seeing the people that have successfully made it make me well aware that I am not meant to be a partner, or even a successful attorney most likely. It was having a 3 am cigarette with a senior associate at my first firm where he described what it takes to make partner: "This shit you do now, do even more, make it more stressful as you move up, and do that for 10 years, and get lucky, that's how you make partner". Miserable man, I guess I understand why these people are assholes or crazy, this profession has completely swallowed them up.

Dedicating yourself to your work and grinding away to be successful at it doesn't mean you actually enjoy the work. It means you enjoy being successful and don't know what else to do with yourself.




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