Helmholtz wrote:And people shouldn't speak in absolutes, but then you spend your entire post speaking in absolutes? (Shocking as it may be, there are some people who really like working in biglaw—or at least their particular biglaw firm. And if you don't think that your lifestyle / work schedule is going to be substantially different if you work at Wachtell as opposed to a Cleary, Davis Polk, etc....)
Speaking in generalities is different than speaking in absolutes. I recommend that you (and OP) read this:http://www.vallexfund.com/download/Bein ... Member.pdf
You gave absolutely no indication you were speaking in generalities. Somebody said, "you DON'T GET TO CHOOSE WHO HIRES YOU UNLESS YOU ARE A TOP STUDENT AT A TOP SCHOOL," to which you replied, "My situation isn't typical, but people can't speak in absolutes." Then you said, "Attorneys at big law firms are unhealthy, overworked, unappreciated, and unhappy. And by unhappy, I mean downright miserable relative to other professions." I commented that you can't speak in absolutes. And you said you weren't?
I only skimmed the linked article, but it seems to treat lawyers as a lump bunch. There was some mention of big firm culture, but never saw any mention of specific statistics pointing toward biglaw attorneys' levels of depression or alcoholism as compared to the profession at large.
And I hate to say this, but you lose some credibility talking down about a particular segment of a profession when you (around median at Iowa Law) never had, and probably never will have, the opportunity to break into that segment. Not saying that that instantly discredits anything you say, but it doesn't take a lot of moral fiber and insight to attack something you can't have.
I worked in a small firm in a small town for a number of years. Most law offices had two to four lawyers in them. Lawyers were typically pretty well-respected in the community, but they were still putting in a lot of hours for how much they were getting paid (and the money was not a lot). A very healthy percentage of them I ran into did not act like they were enjoying life, and just grumpy / upset / short of temper all the time. Would not be surprised at all if they would have been classified as depressed.