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Posts Tagged ‘ABA Journal’

scared_bugs_bunny_by_yetioner-d6asv54Bet you didn’t even realize you were such a nervous wreck!

Thank goodness, here, in the nick of time, is a podcast I recorded with Stephanie Francis Ward, of the ABA Journal, all about lawyers and anxiety. So everything’s going to be okay!

Here’s a link to the podcast – it’s been given the amusing and quirkily unexpected title, “What can Lawyers do to Manage and Conquer Anxiety” and runs for about half an hour of scintillating online entertainment. And it might calm you down.

photo_20My thanks to the lovely and talented Stephanie Francis Ward, and the ABA Journal, and her producer, Larry Colletti, for their help with this project.  For more information on Stephanie and her journalism, click here.

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Please check out The People’s Therapist’s legendary best-seller about the sad state of the legal profession: Way Worse Than Being a Dentist: The Lawyer’s Quest for Meaning

 

 

And now there’s a new Sequel: Still Way Worse Than Being a Dentist: (The Sequel)

 

My first book is an unusual (and useful) introduction to the concepts underlying psychotherapy:Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy

 

 

 

 

I’ve also written a comic novel about a psychotherapist who falls

in love with a blue alien from outer space. I guarantee pure reading pleasure: Bad Therapist: A Romance

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162546268-495x328I must be, because I was just interviewed by the celebrated Leslie A. Gordon of none other than the ABA Journal for her article, entitled “How Lawyers can avoid Burnout and Debilitating Anxiety”.

And Leslie also interviewed my old friend, Jeena Cho – and I know she’s famous!

And there’s this great portrait of me taken by the photographer, Len Irish! 0715FANXIOUS-MEYERHOFERL

The article does a great job of highlighting the issues of anxiety and burnout among lawyers.

I modestly confess that I particularly liked this quote, which somehow fell trippingly from the tongue of little-ol’ Moi:

It’s important to note that no strategy should be touted as a cure-all. “The implication can become that you’re struggling with anxiety or depression because you’re not doing your yoga or not meditating or not eating right or somehow choosing to go without sleep,” Meyerhofer says, “that it’s your fault for not having mastered some ‘effective strategy’ that would make all these issues disappear.” The fact remains that law can be brutal, and most young associates are not equipped for what they find when they enter the profession, he says. “You’re not tossing and turning in bed, roiled by anxiety, because you’re choosing to eat badly or to skip your yoga class. It has a lot more to do with being thrown into the deep end in an extremely competitive, exploitive business driven not by compassion or collegiality or the desire to mentor, but by profit and money and competition for prestige.”

Thank you, ABA Journal, and Leslie, and everyone who helped produce this piece.  I hope the message gets out that being a lawyers doesn’t have to be synonymous with being stressed out and miserable.

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Please check out The People’s Therapist’s legendary best-seller 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 latest book is a comic novel about a psychotherapist who falls in love with a blue alien from outer space. I guarantee pure reading pleasure: Bad Therapist: A Romance

Read Full Post »

I did a podcast a while back with the American Bar Association Journal. The topic was “work/life balance.” You can listen to it here.

It was a weird experience – like living on another planet.

I was the sole male. The other panelists and the moderator were women. That’s fine, but somehow, faced with the topic of “work/life balance” everyone turned into Gloria Steinem circa 1971.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a shrill, strident feminist committed to full equality for women, and I have no beef with Gloria Steinem.

But how is work/life balance in the legal world strictly a gender issue? Women are admitted to law schools, and graduate from them, like men. They go to the same law firms, make the same money and take the same abuse.

I have tangential experience with this stuff since I’m gay. When people talk about homophobia at Sullivan & Cromwell I roll my eyes. Homophobia wasn’t the issue. Humanophobia was the issue. Some of the partners and plenty of the associates were openly gay. Homo or hetero, male or female we were all in the same boat.

The unspoken “women’s lib” angle on the “work/life balance” at law firms is this: women give birth to children, and it’s impossible to raise a kid if you are a partner at a law firm, so women are less likely to become partners. If they did, they wouldn’t have time to raise a kid. It’s also impossible to meet anyone you want to have a kid with when you’re working 70-hour weeks.

These are incontrovertible facts of law firm life.

Plenty of male partners have kids. They become absentee fathers, and their kids never see them. Nothing new there. But a social stigma kicks in when your kid tells his friends he only sees mommy an hour a week.

You also have to find time to be pregnant. If you put it off until you make partner, you face fertility problems. That’s a fundamental bummer about being a woman who wants a kid – when you’re mentally prepared your body gives out. At sixteen, anyone can get pregnant. At 39, you can only get pregnant if you don’t want to. If you’re trying, it never happens.

The solution to all this is obvious – have a kid while you still can, and let your husband do the raising.

That’s more or less where the other panelists ended up, but only after spouting “women can have it all” slogans and fabricating visions of “part-time partners.” The law professors on the panel had no concept of law firm reality. The young lawyer running an internet-based T&E firm receded politely when I pointed out the obvious: plenty of women would rather stay at home with the kids than work at a firm. Hell, I’ve worked with couples where the husband and wife fight over who has to do law for a living. They’d both rather stay home and play with junior. Wouldn’t you?

A second yawning gulf between me and the other panelists came with their determination to defend law as a profession. They were “pro-law” and I was “anti-law.” That’s understandable, since the ABA Journal represents the official propaganda ministry for Law, Inc. Law professors need to herd eager young things into school – that’s how they earn big bucks. And the internet lady was trying to drum up business, too – she has loans to pay.

I’m not from that world. I’m a psychotherapist who cleans up the wreckage of young lives decimated by the law school/law firm machine.

Here’s a little scandal for you: at least 10 minutes of the podcast – the final 10 minutes, where I stopped sitting back feeling out of place and came out swinging – were deleted from the recording. You hear a fadeout as I’m about to come on.

What did you miss?

(more…)

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