In my last blog post, I gave several reasons as to why I think that business school is better than law school. Just after publishing the blog post, I bumped into a certain gentleman I grew up with in the same neighborhood. He is a very bright fellow, and some of us actually consider him to be a genius. After college, the gentleman in question proceeded to law school, earned his JD at one of the tier-1 law schools, and went on to get what most of us consider to be an enviable job at one of the top law firms in New York. Over a drink, I went on to ask the gentleman how well he was enjoying his law career. He was amazingly forthright in confessing to me that he was getting no joy whatsoever in the law career — the huge salary he was getting notwithstanding.
The gentleman confessed to me that there are three factors that make it hard for him to enjoy his career in law.
First is the fact that the law career he finds himself in doesn’t give him a chance to make a real difference in people’s lives. He is just a cog in a big wheel which is in turn part of a big machine.
Second is the fact that the law career he finds himself in is one where people are routinely mistreated. The senior partners in the law firms he works at mistreat him, because they know he has very limited options (in terms of alternative things he can do). They know that he is addicted to the high life, and that in spite of his high salary, he has huge credit card debt balances to pay. His financial irresponsibility, especially his inability to use credit cards responsibly keeps him trapped in a career that has turned out to be totally unfulfilling to him.
Third is the fact that the law career he finds himself in is one where he often finds himself having to abet major injustices, as part of his day to day work.
By the end of the entire encounter, I felt a lot of pity for my friend and the predicament he finds himself in. And I told him that the challenges he is encountering are not insurmountable, and that life is too short to be spent doing something that leaves one feeling unfulfilled. I don’t know if he was convinced.