Spreading the Hate

Will Meyerhoffer should never have been a lawyer.  Or if he should, it shouldn’t have been with Biglaw (Sullivan & Cromwell).  But coming from Harvard and NYU Law, he was doomed to walk down the wrong path, and he found hate at the end.  So he left and became a therapist, where he could spread his hate to others who similarly should never have been lawyers.

Now a columnist at Above the Law, Meyerhoffer wants you to hate lawyers too.  Why should he be the only person wallowing in misery?  His latest post explains why lawyers are despicable, as if any explanation was needed.

To judge by the accoutrements of “the profession,” lawyers, as a group, maintain an inflated self-image. They think they’re all that. It’s easy to get sucked into this mind-set – especially fresh out of law school. Perhaps, when you’re not “thinking like a lawyer,” you’ve spent a few minutes admiring the little “Esq.” printed after your name on an envelope from school or a law firm – or some company in Parsippany trying to sell you a genuine mahogany and brass pen holder featuring a statue of “blind justice” for only $59.99 with free shipping.

With lawyers, self-esteem outpaces public acclaim. That’s because, for the most part, non-lawyers view lawyers as worthless parasites – or at least, as existing on the more worthless, parasitical end of the esteem spectrum.

Get the sense that Meyerhoffer is really working out his own father issues?  In public?  Ad nauseam?  In an effort to humanize his hatred, Meyerhoffer offers his own experiences as proof that we should all hate ourselves as much as him.

Monday morning, I called up my contact at Morgan, the guy who interviewed me. He was Australian, and seemed distantly friendly. For whatever reason, I sensed I had nothing to lose, so I put it to him straight. I’d been reading “Liar’s Poker,” I said, and sensed I’d blown the interview. I wanted another chance to present myself.

There was a pause.

*  *  *

I asked, flat out, what he really thought of lawyers.

Another pause, then, delivered in that charming Australian accent, with a chuckle: “Bend over and take it like a man.”

“That’s really what you think?”

“Seems like the worst job in the world to us. You work day and night, chasing your own tail. You’re like slaves, and all you do is the boring stuff.”

“Trading bonds is more fun, huh?”

“Fun and lucrative, thank you.”

He’s right Will.  Trading bonds is more fun and lucrative.  If fun and lucrative was what you hoped to find at the end of your path, then you blew it.  Don’t blame the path. Blame the idiot who was so out of touch with his own desires that he went down it.

On the whole, law isn’t a barrel of monkeys.  Sure, it’s fun hearing the words “not guilty” out of the jury foreman’s mouth, but that doesn’t happen everyday.  And it’s fun when the guy whose life you just saved hugs you and thanks you, but that doesn’t happen everyday either.  So you’re right, it’s not the funnest job around.

And most lawyers aren’t standing on a pile of money.  Some even struggle to make ends meet.  Some don’t driver BMWs or live in castles.  Most clip coupons before going shopping.  So you’re right, it’s not the most lucrative job around.

And yet we aren’t miserable.  We didn’t go into the law with the delusion that it was all about prestige and wealth and self-importance.  We wanted to do something with our lives that would serve some purpose, help some person, so that right before we died, we wouldn’t look back on our lives and wonder why we bothered being here.

There is enormous satisfaction, value, to serving our clients.  There is great satisfaction in ending a day knowing that someone is better off for your having been there.  We lead lives with a purpose and, with effort and sacrifice, fulfill that purpose, or at least give our all trying to.  This doesn’t cut it for you?  Sorry, then go trade bonds.  But for many, this is what we live to do, and what gets our juices flowing every morning, knowing that there is a person out there who will be better for our having lived.

It’s sad that you are so miserable with your choices, Will.  It’s sad that you can’t seem to realize that the fault lies not with lawyers, but with you.  And it’s fine that you aren’t cut out to be a lawyer, that you get no satisfaction from serving clients well if it doesn’t meet your expectations of fun and wealth.  But that’s not a reason to spread venom constantly, to spew hatred to others because it’s not the world that Will Meyerhoffer prefers.

Instead of writing a column for the purpose of spreading hatred, have you consider getting some therapy?  I hear there are people out there who can help haters to stop hating. You need to find one of them, Will, because your hatred of lawyers can’t be good for you.

12 comments on “Spreading the Hate

  1. Kathleen Casey

    He has the option to surrender his license but he’s still registered. That would be interesting to a therapist. I guess.

  2. SHG

    I suspect that might be some perverse, Freudian Electra complex thing, but then, I’m just a lawyer.

  3. Mike

    Or these disgruntled lawyers could go into sales. All of my friends in sales are earning six figures.

    People who complain about lawyering are going to complain about whatever they do. Like almost all haters, they are at root losers.

  4. SHG

    What’s interesting about Meyerhoffer is that he’s left the law, become a therapist, and spend his time writing about how much he hates the law, meaning he’s either still not happy or can’t get past his hatred.  Either way, it’s no way to live.

  5. Catherine Mulcahey

    Despite his low opinion of lawyers, he doesn’t hesitate to announce that he used to be one, and still could be if he really wanted.

  6. SM

    The law is certainly not for the faint hearted.

    However, a lot of lawyers regret their decision to become a lawyer because they haven’t been given an accurate representation of what being a lawyer entails.

    So when they consider a career change, they’re bitter. Bitter about so many spent college years, bitter about the debt, bitter about the law not meeting their aspirations, and bitter about having to leave it.

    Maybe this guy wants to get back at the law by hating?

  7. Mike

    How many people are happy with their jobs – any job?

    Most aren’t. Why people pay special attention to lawyers’ whining instead of a Wal-Mart cashiers’ is anyone’s guess.

    There are a lot of shit jobs out there, and lawyers who hate their jobs should manage a T-Mobile outlet, work at Wal-Mart, or do customer service calls for any large corporation.

    A lawyer doesn’t like his job? Great. Join the line of disgruntled workers. Bitching about one’s job doesn’t make anyone special. It makes the bitcher just like everyone else.

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