There’s a big new white paper dealio out that is the result of an online assessment where some poor folks decided to interview 973 practicing attorneys, 95 nonpracticing attorneys, 225 law students and 139 people who weren’t lawyers about why everyone is fleeing our profession in droves and who those lucky souls are. We are not going to read the whole thing because who has that kind of time, but we did hit the highlights. Spoiler alert: the only people leaving are the good ones.
Law firms seeking to hire lawyers more likely to stay in law practice should be forewarned: Lawyers with “higher levels of resilience, empathy, initiative and sociability” are more likely to leave law practice than those with lower levels of those traits.
Yep, you read that right. If you are a nice, driven, kind, social, and hearty sort of person, you are bailing out of law because law is the worst. In fact, people are bailing out so hard that now more than 50% (!!!) of attorneys leave their law firms within the first five years. See? Tell your mom that you aren’t a failure for walking away from your BigLaw job. You’re just an empathetic gentleperson who is doing exactly what everyone else is.
The report focused on three practice areas — mergers and acquisitions, trusts and estates, and bankruptcy — and came up with some delightful generalizations about all of them.
• M&A lawyers show a clear preference for straightforward solutions to problems that follow a predictable path, though they have more comfort with risk than other groups assessed.
• Trusts and estates attorneys exhibit the lowest preferences for teamwork and group problem solving. The group also is the most introverted of the practice groups assessed.
• Bankruptcy practitioners spiked in a number of traits, including empathy, curiosity and logical decision-making. Bankruptcy was also the most pessimistic of the groups assessed.
Who do you want to hang out with? The risk-takers, the anti-teamwork attorneys, or the pessimists? Can we choose none of the above? Can we just leave the profession, since that seems like the cool thing to do right now?
If generalizing about practice areas left you hankering for more data, the white paper has you covered.
[T]he report found that “Baby Boomer” lawyers — those who graduated from law school from 1970 to 1989 — “appear to be more predisposed to group problem solving and slightly more extroverted than Gen X (law school graduates from 1990-2009) and Millennials (law school graduates from 2010-2014).”
Baby Boomers are probably all teamwork-happy and outgoing because they finished law school when there were still jobs available and never needed to develop a protective carapace to keep others out lest they steal your secrets or your soul or your lunch money or your promotion. It’s easy to be all friendly when you’ve got nothing to worry about. Meanwhile, it sounds like the rest of us are all out of here sooner or later, because only the thin-skinned unempathetic assholes are sticking around.