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Joined: 03/08/2006 Posts: 8281
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Just had a colleague take his life this week

Can't say he was a friend, I just knew him and worked with people he worked with. I have known quite a few attorneys who have committed suicide over the years.

As part of our annual CLE requirements, we are now required to take an hour of wellness/substance abuse training. It is very common, even more so the substance abuse part of it.

There are lots of different types of legal practice, but doing litigation I can tell you is insanely stressful. There aren't a ton of jobs where you literally win or lose. Coaching is obviously one of them. Most people, if they have a bad day at work, they get up and move on to the next. And most professions you don't have someone relying on you to win their case.

I tried a case in Federal Court Tuesday, on a case I had worked on for 6 years. Doing what I do, that was six years of work with no pay. We work on a contingency fee basis, so no fee unless we collect. My opponent is paid hourly by an insurance carrier. But he also has pressure on him, because that carrier is a client of his and feeds him business.

It was an accident case and the best offer was $20,000. I got a verdict for $208,000. Not saying that to toot my horn, but up until the jury came back in, I had no idea how it would turn out. I didn't sleep well the entire week before. I had two clients, that I truly cared about, that trusted me to work on this case for them and who I consider friends. And trust me when I tell you I have been in that situation many times over and gotten skunked. It can ruin your month, not financially, emotionally. It is a ton of work, a ton of pressure, and a grind. I have one next week and have just started to come out of my coma and have to jump back on the hamster wheel.

And the defense lawyer in the case I had this week, I am sure his week since the verdict has sucked. He has to deal with an angry adjuster who is wondering why the verdict was $180,000 more than was offered, who is second guessing every decision he made at trial, and who is probably wondering if the next five files she needs to get assigned to counsel should go to someone else.

And, oh yeah, if you think public speaking isn't for you, well, this isn't the job you want. I have gotten to the point where I can put my brain on autopilot and talk in front of a jury, but it still gives me the butterflies. It used to scare me shitless when I was a baby lawyer.

I had two mediations last month on cases that involved deaths, where I represent the mothers of the deceased children. It is rough stuff. I love helping these people, but it can be difficult to put their problems completely out of your mind.

I can't speak for other jobs. But the nature of what we do as attorneys is built around competition, winning and losing, and dealing with the problems of others. It is at times insanely rewarding and at times soul crushing.

[Post edited by JeffGerardi at 05/13/2022 3:15PM]

(In response to this post by WinningLeadership)

Posted: 05/13/2022 at 3:06PM


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