For anyone interested, the Chicago Tribune featured me in the Business Section of last Sunday’s edition (April 1, 2012). The article is “Ex-partner in Big law blogs it all” and mentions my next book, THE LAWYER BUBBLE, which Perseus (Basic Books) will publish in 2013.
Before spending your most precious commodity — your time — reading what I have to say, you’re entitled to enough information about me to decide whether my words matter.
The title of this blog is no accident, but I’m not a bitter online screamer who uses internet access as a substitute for anger management classes. Born into a working class family during the middle of the baby boom, I eventually surprised myself when I wound up at Harvard Law School and, immediately after graduation, one of the country’s biggest law firms. “Big” meant something different in those days; I was lawyer number 150 or so.
My job afforded me great opportunities to do what I enjoyed, gave me a sense of personal autonomy, and provided my family with financial security. Still, as demanding as it was, being a lawyer never defined me exclusively. When I wasn’t out-of-town trying cases, I was home for dinner. I coached all of my kids’ little league and girls’ softball teams and am still married to my first wife. All of our adult children are making the world a better place.
I don’t take credit for all of the good things that have happened in my life, nor can I pretend that my priorities are right for everyone. But my approach helped to make me part of an increasingly rare breed: attorneys who are satisfied with their careers and happy with their lives.
Retirement in my early-50’s hasn’t dimmed my outlook or diminished my enthusiasm, but distance has sharpened my perspective on how the legal profession has changed. For those now entering it, career satisfaction seems to be more and more elusive. The reasons become clearer to me every day.
Even more importantly, they have a universal application that goes far beyond the law.
More about that in the days ahead.