A Short Defense on Lawyers Work

I'm quite shocked with this piece of letter, especially because it was published in the New York Times. What's wrong with being a highly paid lawyer? Is it that bad to work as a lawyer in the United States? How come the shortage of job with high salaries is good for the development of law graduates? And, the most important question is, how on earth can someone made a claim like this: "as the jobs with large salaries disappear, law students will draw on the thoughtfulness, intelligence and perseverance that got them into law school in the first place in order to find employment that they actually find rewarding."

Is he trying to say that having a career as a lawyer would cause law graduates to lose their thoughtfulness, intelligence and perseverance??? Pardon me sir, but among many types of career that can be pursued by a law graduate, I find that being a lawyer provides the biggest opportunity for a law graduate to maintain and increase their thoughtfulness, intelligence and perseverance. It goes without saying that a good lawyer must combine all of those three qualities in order to survive in their job.

Any law firm who truly cares about the quality of their work and talents would be most probably establish a system which will ensure that all of their lawyers are able to maintain those three qualities. These include proper distribution of work, work review mechanism, and systematic training program. Why I believe that those three qualities will be maintained and increased by becoming a lawyer? See some examples below:
  • If you want to train a lawyer's perseverance, throw him into a very boring due diligence exercise. It's very important, but everyone knows that it's an administrative paper work. Those who can survive the hellish due diligence exercise will not doubt have a perseverance of a true knight.

  • If you want to train a lawyer's thoughtfulness, throw him into various negotiation meetings with clients and their counter parts. The first experience will always be scary, but it will definitely train his ability to think and act carefully, as he will have to respond to on-the-spot questions and he will need to understand his clients needs and translate those needs into commercially acceptable legal terms. He will also learn to act in a professional manner all the time to ensure that he can gain trust from both sides.

  • If you want to train a lawyer's intelligence, throw him into structuring a complex transaction or make him do some advisory works. That would done the job easily.
And come on, how can someone says that having a job with less salary is good? No sir, that's not good at all. You ask people to be happy with less salary? You're saying that dreaming a career in a big paid law firm is not worthy to be pursued? My suggestion, if you want to cheer up these poor law graduates about their prospective careers, find a better reason next time.


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Matthew Coffman said…

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