Q: Hi Dean Satan! Mega-dittos and scam on! Beautiful tan you have. Did you enjoy the eclipse? (That's not my question, just my go-to conversation starter until Halloween; "always be networking").
As I write this question, it is the morning of Labor Day, that annual sabbath for capitalism, ostensibly the one day where the overlords give non-essential worker bees a day of repose just because. By all accounts a holiday. One of a handful that close the courts, our sacred vanguards of justice.
Yet, instead of feeling relaxed, I have a weighty sense of guilt about not billing anything yesterday and an anxiety about hitting n hours in a shorter month. No pending trials or looming deadlines, just a feeling of worthlessness and dread because I should be working. Most of November and December will be the same, only the rest of the rational world slows down even more, and the sense of missing out on a standardized cultural celebration is even higher.
Why does the legal profession inflect this mental strain on itself through a ludicrous business model? And why do law schools not prepare students for this sort of thing? Where's the thought leadership in addressing a common cause of burnout and ensuring that law firms are staffed with sane, healthy, well-adjusted people instead of narcissistic schmoozers and shell-shocked survivors?
-"Down in Denver"
A: First of all, I'm going to rename you "Up." Attitude is everything!
Up, yours...that's a great question! And thanks for the kind words on the tan. (I had a research project in Costa Rica, and the answer is yes, I can have sex with four lovely lapsed Catholics at the same time. Thanks, science!)
Naturally, though, being out of the country means that I missed the eclipse, including my opportunity to post super-meta "normal idiot" pics of me with ABA-approved eclipse glasses over my cell phone.
Eclipses are not really my thing anyway, as I prefer to smother the nation with a more intangible form of darkness. If I want literal darkness, I'll just close my damn eyes. I'm a literal man; if I see a Corona, it means I'm at the wrong bar. Know what I mean, Up?
But you're absolutely correct to always be networking and to value the contribution of our courts in ensuring civic order. It sounds like you have the pitch-perfect idea of what makes a lawyer a lawyer.
Additionally, Up, as a law school dean, it's a gentle island breeze on my hellishly hot heart to see a lawyer thinking through client matters on a day the rest of the world believes is best left to barbecues, clearance sales, and Hurricane relief efforts.
After all, if you treat life like a holiday, you will never do anything amazing. That anxiety is just the world's way of getting you prepared for greatness. If you shoot for the moon, you may still land among the stars. Etc.
Granted, I think it's a bit egotistical to seek validation through an advice column, but as a professional narcissist, I like the cut of your jib. So here you go, bro: Your clients chose wisely. Your thinking of their interests, of how to protect them and what work needs to be done on a "day off" is proof positive that you have the Right Stuff(c).
The fact that you're able to formulate such a question is an affirmation that the legal education industrial complex produced a properly calibrated weapon of justice.
Thanks for writing, Up. Looking ahead to November and December, remember that it's never too early to make an end-of-year tax-purposes donation! Giddy-up and scam on!