I have a confession: I was an unhappy attorney.
I know, that's fodder for a new generation of "Did you hear about the lawyer . . ." zingers, but let me take this in a different, serious direction.
Career satisfaction in the legal industry is extremely low and threatens to decline even more. The consequences of this pattern are wide reaching, affecting prospective and current students in law school, practicing attorneys, and law firms themselves.
The question is, How can this trend be reversed?
Before answering, let's examine the landscape. Recent studies show that the top 400 law firms in the United States incur $9.5 billion in turnover costs annually and are burdened by an attorney attrition rate of higher than 17 percent.
Multiple national surveys show that approximately half of all lawyers would not choose to enter the law profession if they had to do it over again. Nearly six out of 10 lawyers leave law firms before their fifth year of practice.
Reasons for this widespread dissatisfaction vary, from long hours to stressful nature of the business, to the frequent tedium of the work itself, and a mountain of student debt that needs to be paid off.
As one of those who was not happy at all--so much so that I was looking for an exit even before learning that I had passed the bar exam--I couldn't get my arms around how it could've reached this point.