There are so many scintillating aspects to practicing law these days that it’s almost impossible to narrow the list. It’s like trying to compile a list of supermodels who you’d have sex with. Anyway, here are the nine things I love most about being lawyer:
1. WORKING WITH OTHER LAWYERS
Whether they’re colleagues or opponents, I’m blessed with the constant companionship of other attorneys—that means I’m constantly surrounded by smart, overachieving, neurotic, humorless individuals with an insatiable need to impress bosses and clients. What’s more fun than that?
2. THE CONSTANT, NAGGING FEAR OF SCREWING UP
Unlike many white-collar workers, if I make a mistake—like overlook some arcane SEC regulation or nebulous New York precedent—I get sued. Which means I get fired. Some people might say that’s too much pressure. But not me. I say, “That’s awesome!” Truth is, the prospect of public humiliation and career annihilation makes me feel alive. Like a pro football player competing in the Super Bowl. Or a soldier engaged in battle. You just can’t buy that kind of anxiety.
3. HANGING OUT WITH RELENTLESS RESUME FREAKS
Some people have to worry about what to talk about during those awkward conversation lapses. Not me. Every single day of every single week, I have the security of knowing that someone will be discussing the most recent U.S. News & World Report law school hierarchy or the merits of class rank as a potential indicator of future success. Is Georgetown better than UCLA? Columbia better than NYU? Who’s a better applicant, the gal in the top 5% at BU or the chap who’s top 20% at UVA? This kind of constant, highbrow discourse keeps me sharp 24/7, allowing me to always perform full-throttle.
Reading all those documents with tiny type has a major upside: Nearsightedness. The good news is that I finally get to wear glasses—and get to look like one of those New York intellectuals I always thought it would be cool to look like. If I’m feeling bored, all I have to do is buy a new pair of frames, and wham-o! —I’m a whole different person.
5. LACK OF OPTIONS
When you don’t have any social or professional opportunity costs, life is simple. You just work on the task at hand, with the comfort of knowing that you’re not missing something better. In that respect, practicing law is like killing two birds—or dare I say, legal eagles—with one stone. You work so much, you never have time to socialize (assuming you actually have friends). Plus, you don’t really learn anything applicable to other lucrative or exciting professions. Kind of perfect, right?
6. LEARNING GREAT PHRASES
I knew lawyers had their own hip vernacular—sort of like rappers, I guess—but I had no idea it would be so damn sexy and fun. Learning and dropping into conversation such great phrases as “to the extent that,” “to the best of my knowledge,” “form over substance,” “a question of degree, not kind,” really makes me feel like I’m a part of something bigger. I can’t wait to hit the clubs and use this stuff.
7. NO PRESSURE TO BE COOL
As a lawyer, you finally get to say goodbye to all those insecure, immature image issues. What I’m saying is, you no longer have to worry about whether or not you’re hip. Because you’re not. You’re just not. You might think you are, but you’re fooling yourself. The upside to this, of course, is that you never have to worry about looking cool, acting cool, or hanging out where the cool people hang. Phew.
8. NO MORE SILLY DREAMS
Once you become a lawyer, you get to relinquish all those fanciful notions of fabulous wealth and privilege—because, let’s face it, lawyers aren’t fabulously wealthy or privileged. We’re worker bees. We bill by the hour, which means we never have any spare time, which means we never have to worry about what do with all that damn spare time. Lucky, huh? Better yet, we don’t have to obsess about what to do when we retire, since we’ll be working ‘til 65 or 70.
9. TOTAL LACK OF JOB STABILITY
Finally, we lawyers get to know what it’s like to be a Silicon Valley entrepreneur or aspiring actor. Given the recent global economic meltdown, that means from this day forward, we’ll never have to wonder what it’s like to be a risk-taking maverick living boldly, knowing our job and financial viability might disappear any second. Talk about good fortune…
Featured image courtesy of Hiren & Pankaj’s Homepage