Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Lawyers

Cliff Ennico on

Hey, kids, have I got a deal for you!

Step right up to learn more about the hottest career in America!

You will spend three years in graduate school reading millions of pages of text, ruining your eyesight, and then pass a rigorous multiday exam to get your license. Then you will have to spend several years in a grueling apprenticeship working 80 hours or more each week.

But don't worry, it gets better.

You will then have the privilege of working 24/7, with no time for vacation or family, for people who see you as a necessary evil at best (and just evil at worst), who will blame you for everything that goes wrong in their lives and who will nickel-and-dime you on your fees every chance they get because they think what you do for a living should be available as a free service on the internet.

You will not be popular with either your clients or fellow professionals. You will have intense competition not only from millions of other professionals in your field but from web-based solutions and outsourcing firms in India and Bangladesh that offer to do what you do for a fraction of the cost (even though they haven't gone through the rigorous training you have and often do a poor job).


You will be forced to negotiate your fees constantly and will have to insist on being paid up front or else risk not being paid at all for the work you do after it has been done. And if a client does cheat you out of your fee, you can't talk about it online (or anywhere else) because you have to preserve your client's confidentiality even if they refuse to pay for your services.

You will make a decent living, enough to send your kids to decent colleges and pay your mortgage, but you will not be rich enough to qualify for "one percenter" status. You are much more likely than other professionals to develop alcohol and drug abuse problems.

You will be subject to hundreds of extremely technical rules of ethics and behavior. Violate even one of these rules and you can lose your license.

There is no scientific basis for the work you do: Much of the advice you will give your client will fall within gray areas, requiring a fair amount of judgment and guesswork and a superior knowledge of human nature.


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