I was reading a review of a new book called The Happy Lawyer: Making a Good Life in the Law and couldn’t help but draw parallels to academic medicine.
In the book, the authors–law professors at the University of Missouri–cite statistics of how unhappy lawyers are. More than one-third of new associates in law firms leave within three years. Half of all lawyers would discourage their children from taking up the profession. It seems that the same demands for increased productivity that pervades medicine have made the legal field less satisfying.
Their recommendations to reinvigorate lawyering could just as easily apply to medical schools. They tell aspiring attorneys to choose a law school with students and faculty they relate to. Graduates of the top-tier law schools tend to be less pleased with their career choice than graduates of the fourth-tier schools. It’s not prestige that matters.
They also advise finding a cause to motivate you, even if it’s in a dull area of the law. Finally, they say to leave work at work and feel more comfortable with your family.