Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Anxiety

I had this issue a lot when I went through the day to day gr cocolawyer12/18/17
I couldn’t even handle doc review notreallyalawyer12/18/17
What kind of law do you practice? bucwild12/18/17
He's got a gov lawyer gig now (and I think/hope doing much b dogdaypm12/18/17
Yeah doing much better now. But I was a Family Law Attorney cocolawyer12/18/17
Was in court last Thursday and a particularly mean judge tor jd4hire12/18/17
Do y'all think a judge would get offended if she didn't brea triplesix12/18/17
A proper massage by a girlfriend, significant other, or even flyer1412/18/17
Successful litigation lawyers generally are born coke-heads. aknas12/18/17
I needed drugs. I was writing a proposal for work from a maj aknas12/18/17
I exercise (hot yoga, lifting, BJJ, and sometimes running) t isthisit12/18/17
I'm telling you the source of your problems is solo practice maverick12/18/17
I am not really in that situation. Pay was never really an i cocolawyer12/18/17
I agree that opposing counsel can make the job miserable. Th thirdtierlaw12/18/17
I had one....one attorney who did something similar with fil cocolawyer12/18/17
Solo practice totally sucks. I have seen a male attorney col boomeresq12/18/17
Your post should be Addendum A to each and every Law School aknas12/18/17
I would be glad to do it. I have had my successes profession boomeresq12/18/17
The answer is easy, implementing it is for the few: Its just shikes12/18/17
I agree with what you're saying, it's just a job. However, t nighthawk12/19/17
First thing anyone in the dc area asks you is “what do you notreallyalawyer12/19/17
Especially calculating females search for four animals in yo aknas12/20/17
Unfortunately, I don't think there is a natural or easy tran onehell12/19/17
Maybe. I did a lot of complex cases where I would regularly cocolawyer12/19/17
I have discovered your problem notreallyalawyer, you are stu maverick12/19/17
One last thing to all suffering lawyers on this board, never maverick12/19/17
If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. themapmaster12/19/17
My last two jobs were in criminal law. Prosecutor and then p lawst12/20/17
I drink in my car on my way home and beat my wife. retard12/20/17

cocolawyer (Dec 18, 2017 - 1:15 pm)

I had this issue a lot when I went through the day to day grind of private practice. I never let it show but I would often on my way home sob like a baby all the way home. This is extraordinarily prevalent with any type of law requiring constant court appearances and heavy litigation. What have you found that helped? Is there an easy transition to another area of law? Not asking for me but I remembered it this morning when I saw a attorney of 7 years break down in front of the Court. You could see she was about to stroke out.

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notreallyalawyer (Dec 18, 2017 - 1:19 pm)

I couldn’t even handle doc review

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bucwild (Dec 18, 2017 - 1:32 pm)

What kind of law do you practice?

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dogdaypm (Dec 18, 2017 - 1:50 pm)

He's got a gov lawyer gig now (and I think/hope doing much better with that) but he's talking about when he did family law.

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cocolawyer (Dec 18, 2017 - 3:17 pm)

Yeah doing much better now. But I was a Family Law Attorney that handled heavy litigation (well as heavy as it can get for Family Law). I was miserable.

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jd4hire (Dec 18, 2017 - 1:39 pm)

Was in court last Thursday and a particularly mean judge tore into co-defendant's counsel. Counsel proceeded outside where she broke down in tears...felt terrible. No clue how to handle or how to process in a normal matter.

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triplesix (Dec 18, 2017 - 1:49 pm)

Do y'all think a judge would get offended if she didn't break down crying?

It seems judges and partners get offended if you don't pretend like you fear or care about their manic episodes.

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flyer14 (Dec 18, 2017 - 2:03 pm)

A proper massage by a girlfriend, significant other, or even a paid professional can work wonders. It'll help get all the knots out of your tensed up muscles, too.

This is not a troll poast. Seriously, find something outside of law that gives you some form of relaxation. It'll help you find a sense of balance if your work doesn't provide it.

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aknas (Dec 18, 2017 - 2:06 pm)

Successful litigation lawyers generally are born coke-heads.

Dogs and mentally-balanced JD holders need not apply.

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aknas (Dec 18, 2017 - 2:22 pm)

I needed drugs. I was writing a proposal for work from a major bank that could earn the firm millions in fees if we were selected. A draft had to be circulated by Monday. With cocaine, I would have the focus of a laser pointer to get this done.

I was 38 when I became addicted to cocaine

. It would be more than 60 hours before I ventured out of my apartment, ate a full meal, or even took a shower. On Monday morning, I had a debilitating headache, a stomach about to retch, and a glass of vodka sitting on my nightstand. I also had a winning business proposal.

Excerpted from Girl Walks Out Of A Bar: A Memoir.

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isthisit (Dec 18, 2017 - 2:31 pm)

I exercise (hot yoga, lifting, BJJ, and sometimes running) to manage any stress or anxiety I feel.

I also try to keep in mind that at the end of the day the practice is just a job, it's not who I am. Plus I can always walk from it.

I also spend time with friends and family which re-energizes me.

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maverick (Dec 18, 2017 - 2:57 pm)

I'm telling you the source of your problems is solo practice or small law practice. It is hell now. People cannot afford to pay you at the rate where you require to live and at the same time handle their cases competently. It is a raw deal for any attorney now and I recommend you get out. It is increasingly harder and harder to make money due to market saturation and the amount of money that the average client takes home.

I was in solo practice for a couple of years, I took my practice and merged with another small firm, signed over all my clients, and after a couple months, I split for mid-law. I have felt much more stable even with the grind of the billable hour requirement. Its nice to have a guaranteed pay check with health benefits. Part of the insanity of solo practice is that your income is never guaranteed. Yes, I am sure you have good months, but you can also had bad months. Your clients are always in some kind of extreme trouble, and maybe you can help, but you may not be able to fix it. It is a miserable way of life.

Also, if you are doing family law, family is by far the worst area of practice. There is no such thing as a happy family law client. I would rather burn my bar card in front of the courthouse than ever take another family law case. The clients' refusal to pay fees, the bar complaint threats, the blackmail, the sick and disgusting baseless allegations against the adverse parties, the emotional breakdowns of clients and their other assorted drama, the scum-baggery and sociopathic behavior of opposing counsels, all will take a normal, well-adjusted person and turn them neurotic.

As far as getting dressed down in Court, you just take it and move on. A lot of it is theater.

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cocolawyer (Dec 18, 2017 - 3:25 pm)

I am not really in that situation. Pay was never really an issue with me, but the stress was unbearable. I hated that when a client complained that they got 95% of what they wanted at Court but the other 5% they gave to the other side (even though I always told clients that its a rare day when they win on EVERY issue), and you had to slash your hours in fear of the dreaded "bad review." Every client knows too that they can bargain a better deal with the immediate reference to a bad review. I am now working for DCSS but I wish I went into PI work or Estate Planning when I started. I had 4 really really horrible years of practice. I was good at it....which wasn't necessarily good because you get paid well....which continues you practicing it....but I can tell you no other attorneys you will run into are as big as jerks as opposing counsel for family law cases.

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thirdtierlaw (Dec 18, 2017 - 4:11 pm)

I agree that opposing counsel can make the job miserable. They are probably the biggest stressor for me. I also do criminal law so I'm used to dealing with the crazy clients expecting miracles. That can add to the stress, but nothing like unreasonable opposing counsel.

There is one attorney I'm dealing with now who just uselessly runs up the client's bills. I pride myself on trying to keep my client's bills low. But she, on the other hand, will send ridiculous discovery requests, i.e. my favorite, credit card statements for the last 6 years when the marriage lasted less than 6 months. Then files a motion to compel 7 days prior to the production deadline. Or she will send settlement offers that are in no way close to what she'd get at a full day final hearing, force a final hearing, then leave her client to deal with the fallout but $30k-$50k poorer.

I also sometimes wish I learned estate planning. I'm sure it's super boring 99% of the time, but you aren't dealing with ridiculous opposing counsel and your clients likely leave happy.

As for dealing with anxiety, I still haven't figured it out.

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cocolawyer (Dec 18, 2017 - 5:12 pm)

I had one....one attorney who did something similar with filing a Motion to Compel prior to the date of production. It never happened again. I asked for discovery section for failing to do a 2016.040 letter (meet and confer), personal sanctions for filing a frivolous motion, Family Code 271 Sanctions, Discovery Sanctions..etc. The court awarded sanctions of 7000.00. $3,000.00 was 271, $2,999.99 was discovery sanctions, and as I requested the court awarded $1000.01 in personal sanctions...meaning she had to report it to the bar. She was an idiot because I gave her 21 days to correct her nonsense, and she didn't. I should of been thrilled but I hated it. I felt like a total prick doing it. Just not something I ever enjoyed.

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boomeresq (Dec 18, 2017 - 7:44 pm)

Solo practice totally sucks. I have seen a male attorney collapse in court and taken out on a stretcher, two attorneys get into a fist fight with one guy getting blood all over his shirt, multiple physical fights in courthouses and partner actually was in a courthouse right after it was bombed. He is now semi retired with multiple medical issues. I have to keep going to keep the lights on and the mortgage paid. It's basically me alone now and just as you all say, I make less with more stress due to over supply of lawyers, higher costs and the bread and butter stuff gone since the internet is free or online Legal Zoom is cheaper and easier for client's.

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aknas (Dec 18, 2017 - 9:11 pm)

Your post should be Addendum A to each and every Law School presentation that suggests hanging out your own shingle.

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boomeresq (Dec 18, 2017 - 9:46 pm)

I would be glad to do it. I have had my successes professionally too but they did not equal$$$. I would have done better building houses like my dad. He's been gone 15 years but people still live in the homes he built. Far more satisfaction and compensation.

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shikes (Dec 18, 2017 - 10:15 pm)

The answer is easy, implementing it is for the few: Its just a job, its not your life. Why do you care if a judge yells at you? When I was a prosecutor I got yelled at literally all day. I found it funny 6 months in. There were two specific judges that would disagree with me if I said the sky was blue. I was bordering on contempt with my comments (on the record, mind you) to them during court. I remember a specific hearing where the judge asked me if I had a hearing problem because I was approaching the bench before he called me. I replied with "Nope judge, no issue here. I'm about thirty years younger than you and certainly have no problem hearing anything you do. I was more going by process of elimination given I have literally the last case on your list." His clerk, bailiff and opposing counsel had their mouth drop. Judge gave me a talking to. I tried not to smirk throughout. Seriously, it doesn't matter, its just a job.

Now, people are scared to lose their job, and there lies the problem. What will happen if you get fired today? If your answer is "I'm gonna lose my house and live on the street", then yeah, you're screwed. My roughly third job from law school was with a company I really didn't like. I knew I was leaving and just wanted to stay a full year to not have a weird resume line, but otherwise had no interest. 3 months in I was literally pulling an "Office Space". Coming in late, leaving early, "working from home". I had my boss ask me to finish something up a few times after hours and I responded with "I'm actually not going to be able to do that tonight, I have plans." and just left before he could say anything. He was dumbfounded, but no one questioned or fired me. I have no clue why. In a way it was the best-worst job I've ever had. The big caveat to the story is at the time I had an emergency fund of about 25K and my wife pulled in enough where we could sustain ourselves for a pretty good while if I got fired and needed to look for work. With those factors in the back of my head, it wasn't too difficult to pull off what I did (with the judges too).

So, if you're scared of losing your job, get an emergency fund saved up and then man up (or switch jobs). If you're just scared of getting yelled at, you just need to change your perspective. Its just a job. Who cares?

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nighthawk (Dec 19, 2017 - 4:00 pm)

I agree with what you're saying, it's just a job. However, there are many who bank their being on going to law school and becoming a lawyer. In many respects, it feeds this website. People who had big dreams that the profession would make them into somebody with a prestigious title and makes good money got a rude awakening when they find themselves fighting traffic tickets and arguing divorce motions. The law, which was supposed to make that person into the envy made that person into a 60k a year grunt.

If people would go to law school with the attitude of learning a trade and are otherwise comfortable with themselves then they can use your advice. However, they did not view the world that way from the beginning. So they care about someone screaming at them. They get frustrated when a solo practitioner who operates a real estate closing firm does not offer them 100k plus benefits to start. They have a law degree so not offering them twice what the firm owner makes goes to their egos.

My job does not define me, unless I let it define me.

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notreallyalawyer (Dec 19, 2017 - 4:23 pm)

First thing anyone in the dc area asks you is “what do you do?”

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aknas (Dec 20, 2017 - 2:07 pm)

Especially calculating females search for four animals in your answer: a jaguar in the driveway, a mink in the closet, a tiger in the bedroom, and a jackass to pay for it all.

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onehell (Dec 19, 2017 - 4:36 pm)

Unfortunately, I don't think there is a natural or easy transition out of something like family law, unless your cases had the complexities associated with significant wealth.

It is a different kind of litigation, one where your opponent is often pro per, the rules of evidence are relaxed formally or informally, there will never be a jury trial, clients who aren't rich rarely have the resources to engage in protected discovery and depositions, and so forth. When poor people with few or no assets come in to fight over custody/support/visitation, it really resembles something more like an administrative proceeding than true litigation. As such, it doesn't even translate well to other kinds of litigation, much less lower-conflict transactional work.

To be perfectly blunt, I think the only clear way out for someone who hates it that much is to go back to school and start over doing something else. Maybe a mental health counselor or something, as that would be something where the family law experience would be of at least some relevance.

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cocolawyer (Dec 19, 2017 - 11:40 pm)

Maybe. I did a lot of complex cases where I would regularly conduct depositions, trials, discoveey etc. What I found is that normal civil litigation attorneys get worked at trial. Every once in a while they stumble into a family law matter and expect them to settle like everyone of their insurance based cases before them. They quickly discover that clients force you to trial and this civil litigation attorney supposedly well versed in evidence stinks. They are nervous. They don't know how to properly bring in depo testimony, they object to everything where most objections are nonsense. I am always amused when people do not think family law translates. I got a few PI offers (prior to working for government) but they paid less.

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maverick (Dec 19, 2017 - 9:38 pm)

I have discovered your problem notreallyalawyer, you are stuck in a swamp. You must extricate yourself from this quagmire. You must change your geographical position. We populists are coming anyhow to lower the employment rate in that area. Many hookers are about to lose their jobs. (The vast majority of said hookers are men.) Everyone can hate Trump all they want, but even after Trump is gone, the American will shall remain.

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maverick (Dec 19, 2017 - 9:52 pm)

One last thing to all suffering lawyers on this board, never concede that you have some mental defect or illness. Despair in the face of this economy combined with soul crushing debt is completely normal. It is not a mental defect, it is a normal reaction to the present situation. If you feel nothing, then you are a sociopath. Just face it now with a lack of emotion, understanding that this is our hard lot. Grin at it, say f*** them, and go on. The thousand yard stare of the soldier does not mean that soldier is weak.

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themapmaster (Dec 19, 2017 - 11:13 pm)

If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

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lawst (Dec 20, 2017 - 12:54 am)

My last two jobs were in criminal law. Prosecutor and then public defender. Extremely stressful jobs and my anxiety levels were high. I've said it here before, but the way you largely fix that is with adequate preparation. It's easier said than done though with massive case loads. The fellow above who says this is a job, who cares? is incorrect, in my opinion. Your livelihood depends on your performance, including maintaining your job and your license. You also have to live with the consequences of your actions. I've had clients sent to prison for life. That's difficult. But I worked hard on those cases. I can rest easy. But you're always worried if you've done enough. What if I didn't? What will happen to my client? That's scary, and leads to anxiety.

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retard (Dec 20, 2017 - 2:00 am)

I drink in my car on my way home and beat my wife.

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