August 20, 2016

"As I learned more about the legal profession, I realized it wasn’t a good fit for my personality."

"I’m not the sort of person who feels comfortable winning when it means the other side loses something of equal or greater value. I’d feel even worse if I were to win a victory for my client that was ill deserved and accomplished only through my weasel-tastic skills. I had been raised to decline offers of candy from family friends under the theory that I had done nothing to deserve it. I was the kind of person who needed a job that made other people happy, ideally with a side benefit of making me rich and famous too."

From Scott Adams, "How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life" (p. 39).

25 comments:

traditionalguy said...

The Legal Profession is living in a town without pity. A lawyer must take care to win his clients law suit against others, no matter who is right; and at the same time be ready to win his client's lawsuit against himself. Rich clients are heartless and manipulative people that always use money and the power of money whenever possible...which brings us to Hillary Clinton whose enemies frequently wake up dead.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

He seems to have found another outlet for his weasel-tastic skills where one side will win, and the other side will lose something of equal or greater value. But which side is he on?

Clark said...

The great thing about being a corporate (transactional) lawyer is that in the paradigm case both sides come out ahead.

Ann Althouse said...

@clark Yeah, that's what I thought.

wild chicken said...

Worst thing about practice was the clients.

The other lawyers and the judges were decent mostly.

Original Mike said...

""I’m not the sort of person who feels comfortable winning when it means the other side loses something of equal or greater value. I’d feel even worse if I were to win a victory for my client that was ill deserved and accomplished only through my weasel-tastic skills."

I'd have been a failure as a lawyer.

Lem said...

I've learned a lot about him via his periscope breadcasts.

He couldn't speak for about 3 years do to some rare condition.

Years ago he developed another condition that when he tried to draw on paper, his drawing hand broke into spams. When he tried the other hand, same thing happened.

He's a cartoonist, so he tried drawing on a screen. The spasms stopped.

David said...

Weasels everywhere are insulted.

Beldar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Achilles said...

What do you call 100 lawyers in a shipping container at the bottom of the ocean?

Sorry. I know. Not nice...

Kathryn51 said...



@Clark said...
The great thing about being a corporate (transactional) lawyer is that in the paradigm case both sides come out ahead.


Ann Althouse said...
Yeah, that's what I thought.

I'm with Clark. I went right into a corporate setting out of law school - 30 years later (and retirement last year) - no regrets.

On the other hand, I wasn't smart enough to be a law profressor.


Unknown said...

Just as an interesting data point, Stephan Pastis, the writer/artist of the comic strip "Pearls Before Swine" (one of today's best strips) was a lawyer.

Achilles said...

The only things I read in the paper are get fuzzy, pearls before swine and dilbert. They just replaced get fuzzy with some girls imaginary unicorn in our local paper. Down to two...

The deal with lawyers is the requirements for becoming a lawyer is the ability to memorize and regurgitate and the ability to suppress your conscience. Any other qualities are random.

Unknown said...

The best Dilbert lawyer strips:

http://dilbert.com/strip/2003-11-26

http://dilbert.com/strip/1999-06-10

http://dilbert.com/strip/2014-08-20

http://dilbert.com/strip/2012-06-29

http://dilbert.com/strip/1993-01-31

http://dilbert.com/strip/1996-02-15

http://dilbert.com/strip/1997-12-17

http://dilbert.com/strip/1997-01-14

http://dilbert.com/strip/2002-12-18

http://dilbert.com/strip/2005-07-06

http://dilbert.com/strip/2005-09-06

http://dilbert.com/strip/2005-09-07

http://dilbert.com/strip/2006-05-20

http://dilbert.com/strip/2008-08-28

Unknown said...

"Get Fuzzy" is being replaced in many papers because the artist has almost stopped drawing new strips, and editors are tired of all the repeats. Not sure if it's health issues or what, but it's been going on for years now.

Of course IMHO, Conley sort of forgot what made the strip great anyway. Compare the "force of nature" Bucky from the first book collection with the pathetic figure of fun Bucky now.

Yancey Ward said...

What do you call 100 lawyers in a shipping container at the bottom of the ocean?

Sorry. I know. Not nice...


Wait, it isn't?

jaydub said...

It's really not fair how 99% of the lawyers give all the rest a bad name!

tim maguire said...

That's the reason I left law--I hated making other people lose almost as much as I hated losing. But that's just litigation. Most of the rest of law isn't a zero-sum game. I dropped out because that wasn't the specialty I wanted and I didn't see a route to changing specialties.

Most of these comments are ignorant and tiresome. Very few lawyers are the kind of lawyers most people think most lawyers are. Very few lawyers make the kind of money most people think most lawyers make. And the lawyers people hate and the lawyers who make the money are rarely the same lawyers.

Most people like their own lawyer, hate everyone else's, and fail to put two and two together.

Bruce Hayden said...

Luckily, I didn't feel quite like Tim - by trial I could usually convince myself of the evilness of my opponent's clients. But then, I was mostly a patent attorney, and patent work is closer to transactional work than litigation, even though we call much of it "prosecution". But what we compete with are nameless bureaucrats, whose client is the soulless federal govt. Loved litigation, mostly, probably, because it was so rare. One big place where patent work is a bit clunky see to litigation than to transactional work is that you can mostly do one thing for awhile, then switch to another matter. We don't have 43 balls the air at a time, busily switching between them. But that also was why patent attorneys don't tend to fit well in general practice firms - it is much harder to hit billable targets, partially because you don't have a lot of 5 minute conversations that get rounded up to quarter hours by the billing system.

I grew up thinks nag that I might enjoy going to work with my father, who was in a small firm, then solo. But, years later, after becoming a patent attorney, I realized that I didn't have the temperament for it. Much too boring. Patent law is suitably complex, but the real challenge is being able to quickly understand complex inventions. Which isn't boring in the least - at least when you are dealing with bleeding edge technology. Less so with tape on fake eyelashes, and some other low tech inventions I have had to deal with.

JCC said...

At some point, practicing lawyers in just about every discipline, will take money to argue for a point they know to be false, immoral or just flat wrong in terms of the law. This is, of course, more prevalant in some areas, like criminal defense or imminent domain, than others. But the comparison to "whore" is inescapable, if unfair.

And, generally from my own experience only, most lawyers get beyond that "My position is on the wrong side" by making it all about winning and losing, so it becomes an ego trip.

Lawyers are necessary, but few strike me as really admirable. I also question whether the average attorney is really competent and/or engaged. For many (most?), the practice of law seems to bore or annoy them.

Oso Negro said...

I bet Scott Adams never wears shorts.

Beldar said...

Prof. Althouse, if you share the views of Mr Adams, you should quit your job.

I don't think you do, so I'm mystified why you promote his comic-book ideas here, without the drawings.

jdniner said...

Mr. Adams has a unique view landscape. Which makes him eccentric and an artist. Do we turn our superior noses down on all art we don't buy?

In general I think lawyers would not like Dilbert, because he is revealing some of the magician tricks behind persuasion. Makes it harder for the legal profession I think.

And if you were to follow his twitter account you would see some deft skills there.


I just like the ways he implies you can buy his book.

HoodlumDoodlum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HoodlumDoodlum said...

Unknown said...
Just as an interesting data point, Stephan Pastis, the writer/artist of the comic strip "Pearls Before Swine" (one of today's best strips) was a lawyer.

More interesting than you may know, Unknown: Pastis studied Adams' technique and ideas before starting Pearls, contacted Adams for help and advice, and is good friends with Adams today (according to an Adams interview to which I recently listened). According to Pastis' post in the link below Adams sent Dilbert readers to Pearls & thus made Pastis' career.

Pearls Before Swine Wiki: Scott Adams

Stephen Pastis blog