How to feel less depressed about the conduct of other lawyers. Need help desensitizing myself to it, or taking such behaviour less personally.
posted by wz to Work & Money (30 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I've been in the legal profession for about a year -- not long, considering that this includes my formal legal training which began almost immediately after graduation -- and though I'm very inexperienced, through luck and hard work I've had the chance to do some eye-opening legal work, follow around senior lawyers, meet clients, go to court (to the extent that the law allows me until I'm a full-blown licensed lawyer) and the like.
I enjoy my work, and the challenging legal aspects of it -- even where you have to stay back late nights to get things done. It feels productive, and it feels great because I know I'm earning my keep.
However, this is what gets me: I'm a bit (and I realize that this is a strong word, but I fully mean it) depressed when it comes to how other lawyers act.
I've had lawyers calling over the phone, brazenly asking to prolong certain court procedures "so that we can bill the clients more" (as he laughs, while I frown deeply on the other end of the line); lawyers who, when fired by their clients for their severe negligence, go to the opposing counsel's firm to reveal their former client's details, out of spite; lawyers who literally shout in court that our client is a "liar" with a smile, though they know their client is in the wrong and against whom our side has solid documentary evidence as proof of their misdeeds; lawyers who argue like sharks in front of the client as to who gets to represent him because of the pending big fees involved; lawyers who refuse to answer correspondences, or who settle agreements among beneficiaries outside court without involving our client who's already a legally-appointed executor; lawyers who apply incorrect legal procedure, get unfair and heavy costs imposed on their clients, then when asked, respond, "Oh we just tried that one out," instead of taking the initiative to discuss legal steps with other lawyers beforehand, and which would have prevented such a financial burden upon their clients; etc.
And all this in only a year.
All of the above, among other things, somewhat compels me to leave the legal profession. I can of course understand if such hanky-panky were to happen in other industries -- say, frauds in the financial world -- but those industries are not really concerned with the business of justice, or of being fair to everyone involved. Furthermore, when a lawyer calls my client a "liar", though he knows in his heart that that's not the case -- that isn't defending his client anymore, that's just being unfairly antagonistic, isn't it? I don't know how his conscience can allow him to sleep at night.
To be honest, I feel so strongly about this that, even as I did some basic transcription work of court proceedings, I felt angry just watching the video of the opposing counsel who spoke accusingly against my client (though it's a clear-cut case, my client wasn't paid for work done, and it was work done properly too) while sucking up to the judge in a very sycophantic tone.
I realize that this is already personal. And that's just dangerous.
I realize also that my youth (I'm 24) is probably why I'm extremely sensitive to all this, so I'm asking for advice on how I can possibly desensitize myself to these feelings. Or at least, how to take it less personally. I can almost feel myself growing more cynical by the day, but I don't want this to be the case. (I'm not ultra-optimistic; I'm quite a realistic person, but I don't want to become cold and calculating and cynical and jaded in my old age either.)
P/S: Anyone who in your professional careers have had similar personal conflicts, and solved them, please chip in as well.