Reason Not to Go to Law School #34

You will never retire.

You will not just work for a few years to pay off your loans, build up a nest egg, and then flee.  You will stay in the profession until you are forced out or die.

The New York State Bar Association estimates that about 10% of its members are over the age of 65.  The CIA World Factbook shows that only 12.8% of the US population is over the age of 65.

Given that some people will be forced out of legal practice by poor economic conditions, and a few others will have the chance to jump ship and work in finance, to have 10% of the lawyer population over the age of 65 means that almost no lawyers can retire.

And even when lawyers do retire, you know what they do?  They go practice law some more.  Robert Morgantheau (pictured above) retired from the district attorney’s office at the age of 90.  How is he spending the rest of his golden years?  As an of counsel at Wachtell.

Some people blame the golden handcuffs for keeping people in the business for so long, but I don’t think that’s it.  My guess is that over decades of billing 2,400 hours a year and trying to justify the life to yourself, law becomes your identity.  You can’t survive in the business that long any other way, you’d realize the bullshittiness of it all and go Office Space.  Instead, you drink the Koolaid and convince yourself that being a lawyer is really important and meaningful.  But, this survival mechanism means that in the end you can never leave, because outside of law you’re nothing.

Think you’re different?  So did all the people who are now working into their 80s and 90s.

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3 Responses to “Reason Not to Go to Law School #34”

  1. Bill Says:

    How in the hell can we ever expect to be able to move up if these old guys refuse to retire? There are thousands of new lawyers coming out of law school every year, and if they are to get jobe, someone has to tell these old guys to hang it up. This guy is 90, and what does he do all day? He should be out whittling or maybe something he would like to do. Im sure he has enough money, and he should just go collect Social Security.

  2. Guano Dubango Says:

    The old yak would spend time out of the office if he had a young, pretty floozy to keep him warm at home. Here is a joke that is very funny, but very true. I had a blonde law school girlfriend in Georgetown that was less smart than this one:

    A beautiful young blonde woman boards a plane to LA with a ticket for the coach section. She looks at the seats in coach and then looks ahead to the first class seats. Seeing that the first class seats appear to be much larger and more comfortable, she moves forward to the last empty one. The flight attendant checks her ticket and tells the woman that her seat is in coach.

    The blonde replies, “I’m young, blonde and beautiful, and I’m going to sit here all the way to LA.”

    Flustered, the flight attendant goes to the cockpit and informs the captain of the blonde problem. The captain goes back and tells the woman that her assigned seat is in coach.

    Again, the blonde replies, “I’m young, blonde and beautiful, and I’m going to sit here all the way to LA.”

    The captain doesn’t want to cause a commotion, and so returns to the cockpit to discuss the blonde with the co-pilot. The co-pilot says that he has a blonde girlfriend, and that he can take care of the problem. He then goes back and briefly whispers something into the blonde’s ear.

    She immediately gets up, says, “Thank you so much,” hugs the co-pilot, and rushes back to her seat in the coach section. The pilot and flight attendant, who were watching with rapt attention, together ask the co-pilot what he had said to the woman.

    He replies, “I just told her that the first class section isn’t going to LA.”

  3. Bitter News, 2-23-10 | Bitter Lawyer Says:

    [...] According to BL1Y, Reason Not to Go to Law School #34: “You will never retire.” 10% of the NY lawyer population is over 65—compared to [...]

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