What You May Not Know of the Legal Profession

I attend each year two two day long seminars put on by the West Virginia Association for Justice,  formerly WVTLA, WV Trial Lawyers Association. That’s a foundation of 36 hours of continuing education. Add to that 8 hours of family law, of mediation, and other subject areas, and I spend around a week a year working to maintain currency in my profession.

Before each session, I think, “I don’t have time for this,”, but I drive home uplifted and proud to be a member of the legal profession. For all of our flaws, there are attorneys who get up every day driven to succeed on their own behalf and their clients’. Hearing from lawyers considered by their peers to be on the top of their game is an eye-opener.

The variations of attorneys are remarkable, the smart, dedicated, small-town attorney who comes to these sessions to make sure that he or she is keeping pace with his profession; diligent and dedicated appellate lawyers; public service lawyers;  governmental lawyers;  the ones willing to take grindingly boring tasks, at least as I perceive it, of tax law, corporate law,  and workers compensation;  and the lawyers with the bright plumage, the showboats, the trial lawyers, the big-money lawyers, and the ones with the snowy white hair, the Rolexes, and the $2000 briefcases.

The point of this fairly short post is when you see a lawyer, you do not know what you see. I suspect it is s the same for doctors or teachers, and  coal miners and ditchdiggers.

They say lawyers have a high level of stress and thus high levels of alcohol and drug problems, depression, and suicide.

The only way to understand it is to lead the life, take on the challenges, decide whether to be average, above average, or top-flight, before we  can understand what it’s like to get up every day, either to “do battle”, or just to try to make things a bit better. Turns out it has been a good choice for me, and that’s all I can ask. jbh

This post was written by Burton Hunter

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