- Is the practice of law the most dangerous job in the world?
- The hours are long, the stress is immeasurable and there is no respite.
- The work just keeps coming and coming until many lawyers simply expire.
Summary: Learn why practicing law sucks the life out of so many attorneys and what you can do to avoid this fate.
One of the most dangerous jobs out there is practicing law. It is a really strenuous and dangerous job – especially when you are motivated, smart and have a lot to give the world. Being an attorney can (literally) suck the life out of you.
When I started practicing law, I heard all sorts of stories about another young attorney. He was a tall guy, smart and an incredibly hard worker. From what I heard, during his first three years at the firm he billed between 3,500 and 4,000 hours (or more) per year. After three years at his firm, he made partner. He was an example to all of the other young attorneys at that firm because he made partner faster than anyone else ever had.
This young attorney was an interesting guy. He reminded me of a heavy metal follower who drove around in a TransAm smoking cigarettes and dating girls with big hair.
Eventually, this attorney left to go start his own firm. Shortly thereafter, I learned that he had died of a heart attack. He was in his early forties.
This is someone I looked up to and respected a great deal.
There are people like this attorney in every firm. The lives of these attorneys are basically this – you sit inside a law firm under some fluorescent lights for 15 hours a day and pound out a bunch of work for other people about matters you are personally not too concerned with. You do this because you are hoping for a bonus, recognition, to climb the partnership ladder, and so forth.