Since Wednesday is my last day at the firm, and I'll likely not practice law for another year or more, I thought it would be fitting to take stock of what I do and do not like about the practice. Like many people, I often forget the bad, remembering only the good, so lists are helpful for me. The first list like this that I remember making was formed right after my 4 and 1/2 year long relationship ended. It was my very first "real" boyfriend, and we'd try to end things before but inevitably ended back up together. So I made a list of everything about our relationship and him that I didn't like and reread it (often) as needed to avoid calling him or returning his calls. I imagine this list will serve a different purpose:)
Things I Like About Working as an Attorney at this Firm
(1) It pays relatively well.
(2) It is sometimes intellectually challenging.
(3) Every day/case/client is different.
(4) Flexibility. If I "need" to take a two hour lunch or come in late, I can. Of course, I have to make up those hours, but still it's great to have that freedom.
(5) Some of the work that I do is easy.
(6) Sometimes I get to really help people.
(7) The advisory relationship role I have with some clients.
(8) Working downtown and being able to walk to lunch/courthouse/shops.
(9) The happy feeling I get from wearing a TEE-SHIRT with my suits....as if I'm getting away with something really exciting.
(10) About 12 times a year, I get a free super good meal complete with appetizer, drinks, dessert, etc.
One Thing I Like/Don't Like
People seem to treat me differently because I am an attorney. For the most part, there are three reactions to someone learning of my profession. (1) It's no big deal, and the person treats me the same as they otherwise would. (2) If it's at a bar or in a social situation, I sometimes get the attitude from men of "wow" or "You must make a lot of money" or "I guess you think I'm better than you." I'll attribute that to them drinking and being the vice president of the staff that oversees the staff that stocks the restrooms or something silly like that. (3) They seem to treat me with more respect. I know there are a lot of lawyer jokes and the like, but people seem to assume that because I'm an attorney I am also smart, educated, and professional.
I put this in the like/dislike category because I do not like how people treat me "better" because I am an attorney (as opposed to staff or any other human being).
Things I Dislike about Working as an Attorney
(1) Billable hours.
(2) No real sick leave and vacation time as a result of billable hours.
(3) Often feeling overwhelmed by my workload, deadlines, the unpredictability, etc.
(4) Having to wear suits (and having to spend the $ to buy said suits)
(5) Needing to focus 98% of the time and thus not really being able to have an "off" day...or if I do have an "off" day, needing to make it up at night/on the weekends
(6) There being so much I do not know and sometimes things I don't even know I don't know....and realizing a mistake could potentially cost my client a lot.
(7) Having so many balls in the air that I know one is inevitably going to drop.
(8) Having about 20 potential bosses (a.k.a. partners), most of whom don't know (and/or do not care) about your workload for other partners
p.s. I'm grateful for the opportunity I've had to work at my firm and learn a lot about the practice of law.