Monday, May 24, 2010

The Joy of Filing

I have to admit, I really enjoy being a temp. Transience is quite freeing. I even found myself sounding chipper at work today when I answered the phone.

My job is not exactly easy, but it is the sort of job that one does not take home with her, so I look forward to my afternoons and evenings. After work, I am free to read, write, and take my dog to the park. In my old life, I would come home from work and immediately log onto job search websites, wondering how I could manipulate my resume somehow to hide my legal career from prospective employers. Sometimes I would even crawl straight into bed with a glass of wine and tell my husband that I didn't really feel like talking until after work on Friday; I simply didn't have the strength.

The not-so-easy aspects of my job? My computer skills are rusty. I am required to make a number of spreadsheets, so I use Excel quite a bit. It's hard to remember all the formulas, so I sometimes have to google the answer when I get stuck. Also, I update the company's website on a daily basis, which requires a basic knowledge of HTML. Again, not my strong suit. But I'm hanging in there, hoping if I do a good enough job, I will have a non-legal reference to carry with me on my transition out of the law.

I had lunch with a co-worker of mine last Friday. She used to be a paralegal, and she considered law school for a while. I told her she made the right decision not going - law school is definitely not for the wishy-washy. I know that now. She agreed, and said that after working at several law firms, she has come to the conclusion that lawyers have personality disorders. I told her that's why I stopped being one.

Is it bad that I don't mind being a peon? Do any of you attorneys or J.D.'s out there dream of a life with less stress and more freedom?


  1. Believe you me, being a peon is going to get old.

    I don't mean to be a dick, but it seems to me that what you actually enjoy is not having to look for a lawyer job, not the job you actually have.

    I never understood how being a lawyer is stressful. Depressing? You bet. Stressful? I don't see it.

    I mean, yeah, there are time deadlines and annoying clients, but there's never anything like getting shot at, working with dangerous materials, or having a patient die.

    1. Try being a public defender in baltimore city. If your client gets thirty days for some bullshit, he has a good chance of being stabbbed or raped. the jail is beyond disgusting, so you will be lucky to avoid TB and Mrsa on your pointless jail visits. the police are less than honorable, so when you own them in front a jury, you end up looking over your shoulder waiting to get stopped and have drugs planted on you. Finally, having your clients constantly ask you "when are gonna be a real lawyer". Does any of that count as stressful?

    2. Good examples of lawyer stresses. Criminal definitely has its disadvantages, especially in a big city. Also, if you're not stressed doing law, then you're probably not doing it right, Nick. Remember, you can get sued for mistakes. Best not to be too casual about that.

  2. Don't worry, I'm not offended. It will probably get old, but that's why I am going back to school. Right now I have the summer off before I begin classes toward a healthcare program in the Fall. I was a peon as a young attorney as well, so it's really not that much different right now. For me, the depression probably created anxiety. When you hate what you do every day, you tend to get worried about being stuck forever. In this economy, it's pretty easy to get discouraged by the market. So far, I am happy with my decision to leave the law. We'll see. If I end up regretting my choice, I can put out my own shingle. I really don't think that's going to happen, though. And, by the way, I am not taking out any more loans to pay for my new program. It's relatively inexpensive, so I'll be paying out of pocket. I would never make the mistake of taking on massive student loan debt ever again! :)

  3. Oh, and maybe I failed to make clear in my post that I chose to leave my law job. I probably could have stayed another 30 years and ended up being an alcoholic like many other attorneys, but I decided to get out instead. So I never looked for attorney jobs during my hunt. I looked for administrative stuff, which is what I did before and during law school (when I was a paralegal). I know there are many unemployed attorneys out there who are looking for work in the dead legal market and are discouraged, but fortunately I am not one of them.

  4. Whether or not law is streessful really depends on what area you practice in. IMHO if you are doing non contentious work then no its probably not going to be stressful, if you are a litigator then it most certainly is stressful.

    Its impossible to generalise, there are so many different types of lawyers practising in different areas.

    BTW recovering lawyer, love the blog, I am on the same road myself, I leave the law in 2 months and then I just want a part time job on the checkout in a supermarket or something like that, I dont ever want to see the inside of an office again! :)

  5. Yes, I was a litigator, which probably created a different sort of stress than other types of lawyers experience. My days were always long, unpredictable, and full of contention.

    My mornings began with a "get your ass in my office" from my boss so he could throw more work at me, and by lunch, I would be yelling back and forth with an opposing attorney over one petty issue or another. Then by the afternoon I would be meeting with clients or talking with them over the phone about their legal options, and I would get to experience the joy of learning just how many expletives can be strung together, one after the other, and still be considered an actual sentence. Then I might get to write a threatening letter or two, then I would look at the huge stacks of paperwork I needed to get to, and try to find space in my calendar for finishing the briefs on which I was running behind.

    Then I would go home and try to pretend to be a good spouse, when in reality, I know I was pretty miserable to be around. I'm just glad my marriage survived it.

    I'm happy to hear you are on the road to recovery yourself! I'll be looking for your blog for updates on your ventures out in the non-legal community, a.k.a., the human race. :) What kind of law are you getting out of?

  6. Hi there, im in litigation, personal injury/industrial disease/clinical negligence, i used to do employment litigation but i gave that up because it drove me to wine every night :)

    I've been practising for 12 years, and I knew within the first few years that i could not stand the lifestyle or the job, but i just didnt know what else to do and I needed the money so I was just trapped.

    Its the whole lifestyle though, I hate the office and the job, then you you have to live in a certain place to be close to work or face a horrible commute every day (i've done that to)

    There is no job security any more, the market is saturated, wages levels are dropping.

    Time to get out :)