Lawyers are the butt of jokes throughout the world and throughout time. Shakespeare famously stated in Merchants of Venice, "First, we must kill all of the lawyers.". Regardless of whether or not that statement is taken out of context, there are many who deride the legal profession. And many lawyers complain out how horrible it is to practice law and counsel their children to avoid legal training. Plus, some lawyers are just downright jerks.
I find this a very sad phenomena. I guess I am very lucky. I have reflected on why I, and my partners, love being lawyers. I think what makes me happy in my job is based on universal principles and not restricted to any one type of job. Here are some things which I think are important to us:
1. We have real passion for what we do. We are dedicated to fighting unlawful discrimination and protecting Whistleblowers. We feel passionate about this fight. We believe in what we do.
2. We choose clients with whom we can identify and whom we respect. Our clients are not victims, they are warriors. Our clients enrich our lives and hopefully help us grow into more kind and caring people. It is an honor to serve them. No one tells who we can or cannot represent or how much money we have to bring in from our cases. We choose our clients, enough said.
3. We love the right to jury trials in civil cases and love trials and litigation. The rules of evidence are logical. Law is based in reason and logic. We are crazy enough to put our egos away when necessary to deal with loss and difficult people, but we have egos enough to propel us onto the stage of justice. We are willing and eager to fight for our clients.
4. We need to feed our families and put roofs over our heads, but money has never been our primary goal. If all you care about is money, you will not be truly content as a lawyer, or in any other job.
5. Our lawyers work as a team. We do not have petty jealousies and when conflicts arise, we take care of them. I cannot imagine two better partners than Marie and Kristi. They care about our clients, they are intelligent, talented and compassionate. Without great partners, a small firm fails. We compromise when necessary and respect each other. Marie and Kristi and my dear friends, through thick and thin.
6. We have a wonderful, devoted, hard-working, intelligent, compassionate staff. they are the best. They care about our clients and they work hard to do their best. We owe them much.
Our clients keep us caring and the law keeps us intellectually challenged. Sometimes we lose, the battle or sometimes even the war, but we persist. We know the pleasure of seeing our clients get stronger through litigation. As Winston Churchill said, Keep fighting and don't ever give up."
To have a satisfying job, everyone, whether lawyer or other type of worker, one must find a true calling. Refuse to compromise. If you believe in what you do, you can succeed. So, figure what you want, fight for it, and you should be happy. Don't settle for less.
P.S. if you thought I was talking about a different kind of love affair at work, I'm shocked. Those things oftentimes end badly, and sometimes are our cases. :)