The People’s Therapist has joined the bloviating classes…I’ve now appeared as a talking head on a real live (sort of) television talk show – HuffPost Live.
Anyway – here’s the link.
The segment seemed to go well, although I had the unnerving if not atypical sensation of being the hot-headed radical spouting fire at a garden party. Hélas, c’est mon destin. At least my hair looked good. At least, I think it did.
This time around, blessedly, the other panelists weren’t biglaw partners, law professors and authors of books with titles like “You can be super-duper happy as a lawyer if you just smile a lot!” Been there, done that.
For a rather gloomier view of the current nightmare that is biglaw, click here.
It must be admitted, it is fun to be on tv and get to talk.
My new book is a comic novel about a psychotherapist who falls in love with a blue alien from outer space. It’s called Bad Therapist: A Romance. I guarantee pure reading pleasure…
If you enjoy these columns, please check out The People’s Therapist’s book about the sad state of the legal profession, Way Worse Than Being A Dentist: The Lawyer’s Quest for Meaning
My first book is an unusual (and useful) introduction to the concepts underlying psychotherapy: Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy
(My books are also available on bn.com and the Apple iBookstore.)
Posted in About This Site, Interviews, Radio, Thoughts and Musings | Tagged Huffington Post, HuffPost Live | 1 Comment »
If you’re a lawyer appearing at my doorstep, and you work in biglaw, there’s a good chance you’re seeking a way out. You don’t know what you want to do next, but the status quo is insupportable. That’s the standard set-up.
If you’re a lawyer appearing at my doorstep and you work in biglaw, we’ll likely talk about the challenges ahead. Trapped in the bathysphere of biglaw, it’s hard to see out let alone get out. You’ve heard rumors about human beings who enjoy their jobs. In your experience, big firm attorneys loathe their chosen profession the way other people breathe air.
If you’re a lawyer appearing at my doorstep, and you work in biglaw, we’ll probably talk about a sideways shuffle I call the “crab-walk.” You can’t transfer from a big law firm directly to a tolerable work environment in one leap – the chasm between biglaw and anywhere anyone would want to be is too great. Crab-walking is the next best thing, based on the indisputable principle that a tiny step in the direction of somewhere else amounts to an improvement. Take a reduced schedule at your current firm (if such a thing exists in theory or practice.) Give a “kinder, gentler” mid-law shop a shake. Go in-house at a bank. Dial for dollars as a headhunter. Switch to consulting and live in a hotel in Indianapolis all week writing reports recommending the firing of middle managers. Get a sales and support position at WestLaw teaching summers to concoct search terms. Small crab-walk-y steps remove you one centimeter at a time from where you are right now. That, by definition, is good.
If you’re a lawyer appearing at my doorstep and you work in biglaw, you probably want out, and have since your first taste of the Kool-Aid. You need to hear you’re not crazy or alone, and that there are others who long for a job without constant anxiety attacks, where Sunday nights aren’t a horror show, where a partner won’t tell you without a trace of irony to “go ahead and take the weekend off,” where it isn’t considered an easy night to get home at 11 pm.
These generalities hold true for about 96% of the lawyers appearing at my doorstep who work in biglaw. They do not, however, apply to everyone.
I don’t want to exaggerate the phenomenon, but there are folks who actually “fit in” in biglaw. They actually like it there. These are the “odd ducks,” and from time to time some of them also appear at my door.
Continue Reading »
Posted in AboveTheLaw series | Tagged biglaw, dentists, partner, senior associate, service partner, Sullivan & Cromwell | 13 Comments »
What a pleasant surprise to listen in to the second podcast of Legally Obligated and find myself a part of the show! The lovely host, June, closes her podcast by reading a section from the introduction to Way Worse Than Being a Dentist.
Thanks for the shout-out (or read-out), June. I’m proud to be a part of your excellent series.
You can listen to the podcast here. Be sure to catch the entire show – very interesting stuff in there about former law students suing law schools and an interview with an attorney who left the profession.
For more information on June and her blogging activities, click here.
For more information on “Way Worse” and all my books, click here.
Posted in Radio | Tagged Legally Obligated, podcast, Way Worse Than Being A Dentist | Leave a Comment »
If law students are annoying, then pre-law students are twice as annoying. There’s something about observing these lemmings scrabble their way into the maws of ruthless law schools, despite dire warnings and appeals to common sense, that just…gets under my skin.
Even after so much effort has been expended for their benefit – i.e., which part of “Way Worse Than Being a Dentist” didn’t you understand? – these piteous creatures patiently queue up for their punishment, hungry to “learn to think like a lawyer.” If your resolve weakens, and pity prevails over contempt, you might mistakenly engage one in conversation. For your trouble, you’ll receive an earful of a clueless pipsqueak’s master plan to save the world. Because – you hadn’t heard? – that’s why he’s going to law school: The betterment of humanity.
Because that’s what the world so desperately needs: Another lawyer.
Somehow or other, these automata get it into their programming that, if they actually did want to save the world, becoming a lawyer would be a sensible way to do it. They are unaware of how imbecilic their words sound to anyone not entirely befuddled by the miasma of law school propaganda.
Law schools inundate proto-lawyers with ‘lawyers save the world’ nonsense, cramming their crania with musty tales of Brown v Board of Ed. That’s because the schools are well aware of the likely effect of such indoctrination: Greasing the rails to the killing floor. If a kid can tell himself he’s going to “change the world” – as opposed to, say, “make a lot of money and feel like a big deal” – then he’ll line up that extra bit more smugly for the $160k/year that makes his eyes roll up into his head and a little string of drool form at the corner of his mouth.
It’s simple: If you can tell yourself you’re doing it for the good of humankind, you won’t feel so guilty selling out in the most soulless, stereotypical way imaginable.
Continue Reading »
Posted in AboveTheLaw series | Tagged ACT-UP, Barack Obama, Brown v Board of Ed, community organizer, curing cancer, Dr. Martin Luther King, Dreams from my Father, Gran Fury Collective, Haruki Murakami, incarceration, John Roberts, Michelle Alexander, Mitt Romney, Rosa Parks, Siddhartha Mukherjee, Silence equals death, The Emperor of Maladies, The New Jim Crow, Treatment Action Group | 7 Comments »
My new book is out. It’s a comic novel about a psychotherapist who falls in love with an alien from outer space.
From start to finish… pure reading pleasure.
Buy it at Amazon. Buy it at BN.com. Also available via the Apple ibook store.
Posted in About This Site, Current Events, Thoughts and Musings | Tagged Bad Therapist, novel, romance, Will Meyerhofer | 1 Comment »
Someone posted the following astonishing comment in response to one of my columns a few months back:
“I’ve never worked in a biglaw firm, but what happens if an associate just says no, I am busy this weekend, or no, I am on vacation that week, so I won’t be able to do that project. Do you immediately get fired? If that’s true, then you must not really have much to offer to the firm in the first place. In a situation where the associate had some real value to offer to the firm, I do not see why the firm would fire someone for that. Am I hopelessly naive?”
Go ahead – laugh. Get it out of your system. You know perfectly well your guffaws wear thin, right about when that twinge of poignancy creeps in. You, too, once mulled the notion of rising above the fray – going all Bartleby the Scrivener and muttering “I’d prefer not to” when asked – oops, I mean told – to work and work and work and work and work.
This “pure fool” of a comment-writer has raised a troubling issue (and that, by the way, was a combined Parsifal and Magic Mountain reference…this will be one of those classy columns larded with literary allusions.) Cower behind your carapace of cynicism, but sooner or later you’ll admit you weren’t always like this. You weren’t always a broken, cynical wreck who jumps at the slightest command. You used to be Bartleby The Scrivener, too. You imagined you were valued as a unique, complex individual. You imagined you held some sway over your own existence – some “preferences.”
I know it’s no fun trying to remember the stuff you read in college, but please attempt to keep up. Even if you weren’t an undergraduate English major, you might recall that the narrator of “Bartleby the Scrivener” was called “The Lawyer.” That’s right: “The Lawyer.” The whole thing takes place in a law firm! And remember what a scrivener did? It was the worst job in the firm – probably one of the worst jobs of all time. You sat at a desk copying legal documents – handwriting them – for hours. Reminiscent of doc review, or due diligence, or “running changes” – scrivening was mindless and, if you kept at it for too long, guaranteed to drive you bat-shit. You – and everyone else – would obviously “prefer not to.”
And yet, somehow or other, our narrator – “The Lawyer” (i.e., a partner at the firm) – is astonished when Bartleby, after being asked politely to scriven something, even more politely states in return: “I’d prefer not to.” The Lawyer explains his astonishment at Bartleby’s resistance by pointing out how he, as a partner – even in 1853! – possesses a “natural expectancy of instant compliance.”
You know all about that, right? The “natural expectancy of instant compliance”? Sure you do.
Continue Reading »
Posted in AboveTheLaw series | Tagged Bartleby The Scrivener, biglaw, law school loans, Melville, Mitt Romney, Parsifal, partners, S&C, Simon Legree, Sullivan & Cromwell, The Magic Mountain, Uncle Tom's Cabin | 32 Comments »
First – yes, this blog, and my columns on AboveTheLaw.com, are coming back to life – or will be shortly. I’m just waiting for the new book to come out (and no, the new book is not what you’re expecting.)
More immediately, for all my Hong Kong readers, here’s a fun event coming up on the evening of November 20th, 2012, featuring wine and canapes:
I look forward to the opportunity to meet more of my readers and share a few thoughts about the madness of biglaw. Hope you can make it.
PS: If you’re in NYC On October 26th, 2012 and would like to hear me opine upon the divine absurdities attendant to biglaw, please come to the 2012 Fall Symposium of the National Association of Legal Search Consultants (NALSC), where I’ll be a featured speaker – information is available here.
If you’re interested in the scientific and philosophical underpinnings of psychotherapy, you might enjoy my first book, “Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy”
My second book takes a humorous look at the current state of the legal profession, “Way Worse Than Being A Dentist”
(Both books are also available on bn.com and the Apple iBookstore.)
For information on my private practice, click here.
Posted in About This Site, AboveTheLaw series, Current Events, Interviews, Thoughts and Musings | 3 Comments »