Apothic

Does anyone feel like they're not doing good enough?

32 posts in this topic

12 hours ago, Diplock said:

You ended up doing OCIs and chasing the big job with the big money that impresses people and that most of your peers (apparently) want because you had no better answer than that ready. And I don't mean to flog you to death with the obvious here, but you do realize that you don't get paid big money by big law firms in order to present the poor and oppressed, right? There are jobs out there where you help real, individual people with their real, compelling problems. But working for the little guy comes with sacrifices in other ways. And you were totally ambushed by that reality. You need a better answer. And you need it now.

Thanks so much for your comment. I'll comment on the rest when I have a bit more time. But I just wanted to comment that I didn't chase the "big job" that impresses people and that my peers wanted. In fact, I took the path less travelled and fought for this job, in-house. People actually told me to my face that I was stupid, and maybe I was and still am, ha ha. I actually specifically avoided OCIs. While I obtained my job during OCIs, I didn't actually apply to any "big firms" because I knew that wasn't where I wanted to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, Apothic said:

Thanks so much for your comment. I'll comment on the rest when I have a bit more time. But I just wanted to comment that I didn't chase the "big job" that impresses people and that my peers wanted. In fact, I took the path less travelled and fought for this job, in-house. People actually told me to my face that I was stupid, and maybe I was and still am, ha ha. I actually specifically avoided OCIs. While I obtained my job during OCIs, I didn't actually apply to any "big firms" because I knew that wasn't where I wanted to be.

I don't know you, and I don't want to make the mistake of assuming I do. I wasn't sure if you were working at a firm or in-house (wasn't clear before now) and sorry for guessing wrong. That's one of the challenges of advising on this site, sometimes. It would help to know more, but I wouldn't encourage you to post identifying information or get too much into specifics. So we sometimes default to generic assumptions. I know I do.

Here's the thing. Even leaving aside my assumptions, you've said you aren't fulfilled in the job that you're doing, but I haven't heard you clearly describe another kind of job. You've made broad nods to whole areas of law, which I still believe are grouped roughly under the heading of "helping poor, deserving people in order to make the world a better place" (at least in their assumed forms) but describing areas of law is not the same as describing a specific job. Aboriginal law is an area of law. Working at a legal aid clinic that represents a lot of Aboroginal clients is a job. For that matter, working for a large energy company that wants to run a pipeline across several disputed territories and needs to navigate Aboriginal law in order to either negotiate or force the damn thing through is also a specific job - though I doubt you'd enjoy the later one.

I still believe that unless you have a clear view of what you want, you tend to gravitate towards the easier paths and more conventional compromises. And by "you" I mean everyone. Your OCI experience may have been somewhat better considered than most (and good for you!) but did you think you wanted the job you applied for? I mean, did you truly think you wanted it? Or was it just good money, good work/life balance, or whatever? If you thought you wanted it, and truly so, I apologize again. That happens too. We look back on the choices we've made and realize that we made the wrong ones. At least if you're trying sincerely to find the thing you want, as opposed to what everyone else wants, you're aiming at the right goal. So regroup, reconsider what you've learned, and try again. But I'm still left with the impression you don't really know. Because even to this point, you haven't described it. It's a lot easier to say "I don't like where I am" than it is to say "I know where I want to be, and I'm not there right now."

So, where is it you want to be?

Edited by Diplock
2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see many articling students going through a sense of mourning as the endless possibilities they had as a law student are distilled and refined down to a particular area of practice. Doesn't seem to matter what area that is. Is normal. But on the other side of the tunnel, are the endless possibilities you gain as an experienced lawyer. If I could draw this as a graph, it would look wide, narrow down, and slowly widen again. 

4 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, TrialPrep said:

I see many articling students going through a sense of mourning as the endless possibilities they had as a law student are distilled and refined down to a particular area of practice. Doesn't seem to matter what area that is. Is normal. But on the other side of the tunnel, are the endless possibilities you gain as an experienced lawyer. If I could draw this as a graph, it would look wide, narrow down, and slowly widen again. 

That's very true. As a newbie criminal defence lawyer, I would sometimes read about a really great, say, human rights case or civil case against police or something like that and think "oh man, I wish I was doing that." But looking ahead, potentially, IF you distinguish yourself in criminal defence, you can: be an intervenor for big "rights" cases, be counsel for or at public inquiries, be counsel for international criminal tribunals, represent people at tax court, represent people at professional regulatory matters and all the other things really great criminal defence lawyers do besides all the great variety of major criminal defence cases that they do. 

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Hegdis said:

I don't know if this will help, but as you keep on keeping on you get an inherent automatic clout. 

Whatever you are doing once you are a ten year call you get a certain status that you can use. You can call people up and when they look you up they see a career behind you and they call you right back with a ready ear. It's actually not that important what you do day to day (although that helps).

Sometimes the difference you make is through the cracks and corners of your life. The little influence you exert. Calling your secretary's kid's landlord to remind him he can't legally deny housing to a gay person. Emailing a colleague because your mom's neighbour is getting hosed over a shitty slip 'n fall and a letter will clear it all up. Comforting an old buddy who was pulled over for a DUI and has no idea what will happen next. These networks that twentysomethings sneer at are the coin and paper of your thirties and the privilege of your forties. Going out and doing good is not necessarily a job description: it's a way of living your life.

I dunno. Might help. Might not. 

Great post.

I just started articling at a big law firm. During my very first weekend of articling, I received calls from 3 older friends/family members who were dealing with some legal issues that were seriously stressing them out. I didn't give them legal advice, but I gave them an overview of their options and pointed them in the right direction as to who to speak to next if they needed substantive legal advice. At the end of each of these conversations, I could tell that I had lifted a large burden from their minds. This kind of touches on Hegdis' point about making a difference through the "cracks and corners of your life". Since before starting law school, I've been gung-ho on being a corporate solicitor and doing M&A deals. However, it definitely felt fulfilling to be seen as a trusted advisor, in however a small capacity, to "the little guy". I'm definitely nervous about things like not knowing enough about the job, whether I'll be hired back here, where I'll be working 5-10 years from now, or whether law is even the industry that I want to be in, but one thing I have enjoyed is the ability to influence people's lives, in however a small way, and to occasionally be the adult in the room that other people seek out for advice.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

7 hours ago, Diplock said:

I don't know you, and I don't want to make the mistake of assuming I do. I wasn't sure if you were working at a firm or in-house (wasn't clear before now) and sorry for guessing wrong. That's one of the challenges of advising on this site, sometimes. It would help to know more, but I wouldn't encourage you to post identifying information or get too much into specifics. So we sometimes default to generic assumptions. I know I do.

Here's the thing. Even leaving aside my assumptions, you've said you aren't fulfilled in the job that you're doing, but I haven't heard you clearly describe another kind of job. You've made broad nods to whole areas of law, which I still believe are grouped roughly under the heading of "helping poor, deserving people in order to make the world a better place" (at least in their assumed forms) but describing areas of law is not the same as describing a specific job. Aboriginal law is an area of law. Working at a legal aid clinic that represents a lot of Aboroginal clients is a job. For that matter, working for a large energy company that wants to run a pipeline across several disputed territories and needs to navigate Aboriginal law in order to either negotiate or force the damn thing through is also a specific job - though I doubt you'd enjoy the later one.

I still believe that unless you have a clear view of what you want, you tend to gravitate towards the easier paths and more conventional compromises. And by "you" I mean everyone. Your OCI experience may have been somewhat better considered than most (and good for you!) but did you think you wanted the job you applied for? I mean, did you truly think you wanted it? Or was it just good money, good work/life balance, or whatever? If you thought you wanted it, and truly so, I apologize again. That happens too. We look back on the choices we've made and realize that we made the wrong ones. At least if you're trying sincerely to find the thing you want, as opposed to what everyone else wants, you're aiming at the right goal. So regroup, reconsider what you've learned, and try again. But I'm still left with the impression you don't really know. Because even to this point, you haven't described it. It's a lot easier to say "I don't like where I am" than it is to say "I know where I want to be, and I'm not there right now."

So, where is it you want to be?

No need for apologies. I wish I could just blurt out my whole law school/job experience story on here. I think that would make it much easier to understand why I chose the summer jobs and article I did. Why I chose to forego OCIs and big firm life. Although I will eventually be moving to a medium-sized firm, so I guess I will see how my perception changes at that time. 

You are absolutely right about the broad nods to areas of law. Perhaps the issue I'm struggling with is that I simply don't know what I want to do or what I'm good at. There are things I'm passionate about. I like to think that my dream job is working at EcoJustice, but I don't really know what that would be like. I also understand that my life and personality requires work/life balance. Struggling (but mostly kicking ass) with a mental disorder and working even 12 hours a day is absolutely brutal, and 10 hours seems more manageable. So do you pick an area of law you may enjoy less, but gives you  more work-life-balance, which in turn will make you happier, even if you may struggle with fulfilling a purpose. 

How does one figure out where they want to be? It clearly comes easier for some. I feel like I can't spend my career jumping from firm to firm or bouncing between various areas of law. 

EDIT: My interests seem to change a lot. Prior to law school, I loved criminal law and would often volunteer at the court house working with Aboriginal women. I spent much of my time serving food to the homeless population in our city and working with youth groups. Then I got really into environmental work, volunteered working in that area a lot during law school. Then I did some work in employment law and seemed to really be good at it and enjoy it. My interests are constantly jumping and I'm not really "great" at anything. I'm pretty flexible and what I can adapt to. 

(And before people start commenting - I have a team of professionals I work with and that mental part of me is overall stable). 

Edited by Apothic
addition

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What skill have you honed that gives you a reliable sense of satisfaction?

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Been there, done that. You have what is called "empathy". ; ) Unlike a significant portion of your law class your brain is advanced enough to feel the need to support human beings as a whole. In contrast some of your co-workers are selfish mini-sociopaths whose main goal in life is to own a BMW. Yet your conscious is a burden. Life has to be much easier if you're an Ayn Rand type, that's for sure.

Anyway, if you need to pay the bills/loan then hold your nose, stick it out and save money, get into the black. Of course, if the work you're doing is truly deplorable to you and you hate your co-workers then look for another gig when you're done articling. Otherwise, if the facts fit, wait until you have a bit in the bank. If you're the average law student you will still be under 30. Life is long (unless you die early), there's plenty of time.

So in short, build a bit of a financial cushion if necessary then go do what will make you happy. "Prestige" (believe me the only people who are impressed that you're at a big firm are your fellow co-workers) means nothing. I only learned of the big firm thing after entering law school. Similarly, I entered law school with all these overblown expectations and quickly realized it was just another bunch of humans being shitty humans. No different anywhere else, law firm brand or not. So, the work HAS to be interesting and meaningful for you or you will be miserable. You have plenty of time. You will know when it's right to do it, so just go do it.

Edited by yourusername
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're so special. Good for you for having empathy, unlike your peers I might add, many of whom are on this board.

Edited by celli660
2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh the high horse. It must be fun to sit on it. Might I add you don't come off very different than the very lawyers and students you're castigating right now - you're just looking down from a different perceived "high ground". Also, as mentioned above, there's significantly more of those characters in your mind than there are in reality.

What's it like to be so certain of what's good and bad in this life? 

Edited by pzabbythesecond

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, yourusername said:

Been there, done that. You have what is called "empathy". ; ) Unlike a significant portion of your law class your brain is advanced enough to feel the need to support human beings as a whole. In contrast some of your co-workers are selfish mini-sociopaths whose main goal in life is to own a BMW. Yet your conscious is a burden. Life has to be much easier if you're an Ayn Rand type, that's for sure.

Anyway, if you need to pay the bills/loan then hold your nose, stick it out and save money, get into the black. Of course, if the work you're doing is truly deplorable to you and you hate your co-workers then look for another gig when you're done articling. Otherwise, if the facts fit, wait until you have a bit in the bank. If you're the average law student you will still be under 30. Life is long (unless you die early), there's plenty of time.

So in short, build a bit of a financial cushion if necessary then go do what will make you happy. "Prestige" (believe me the only people who are impressed that you're at a big firm are your fellow co-workers) means nothing. I only learned of the big firm thing after entering law school. Similarly, I entered law school with all these overblown expectations and quickly realized it was just another bunch of humans being shitty humans. No different anywhere else, law firm brand or not. So, the work HAS to be interesting and meaningful for you or you will be miserable. You have plenty of time. You will know when it's right to do it, so just go do it.

This would've been a much better post, if you hadn't made sweeping generalizations and denigrated the people you've worked and studied with. I can't speak for anyone else here. But when the only thing I know is that you've had personal issues with hundreds of people, then I feel safe in assuming that there's something up with you - not everyone else. Hopefully you'll prove me wrong. 

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's not let this discussion devolve thanks to a first time poster (who is likely a regular participant here with a new username), who wants to denigrate his fellow students and colleagues.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.