Ed. note: This post is written by Will Meyerhofer, a Biglaw attorney turned psychotherapist, whom we profiled. A former Sullivan & Cromwell associate, he holds degrees from Harvard, NYU Law, and The Hunter College School of Social Work. He blogs at The People’s Therapist.

It seems like the cruelest thing they could say to you, but according to lawyers I work with as a therapist, they say it all the time:

Maybe you’re not cut out for this place.

There are variations, of course. There’s the old favorite:

Maybe you’re not cut out for this work.

Or – to put the knife in and twist it:

Maybe you’re not cut out to be a lawyer.

You’ve taken the LSAT, applied to law school, borrowed the budget of a small African nation, sat through endless lectures and countless exams, passed the atrocious trivia contest known as the bar, and now you’re in a big, powerful law firm – sinking like a stone.

And they’re letting you know it’s not a fluke, either – it’s you.

Maybe you’re not cut out for this place.

There’s always a smug half-smile on the face of the partner who says it, too.

Nice of him to tell you now, right?

At least with the “not cut out for this place” line, you can kid yourself life would be better with another employer. There are headhunters lining up to pocket a fee by packing you off to a “lifestyle” firm, where life is sweet and easy.

But you’re not that naive. Not after what you’ve been through. If “lifestyle” law firms exist, they are the holy grail of the legal profession – known only to a sacred few, not to every headhunter in the phone book.

The real question is why you run in horror from “maybe you’re not cut out for this place,” instead of asking yourself whether you really are cut out for this place.

You probably feel that – after all you did to get here – you have to be cut out for this place, and you have to be cut out for this job. You have to be a lawyer because you’ve sunk too much time and money into it to do anything else. You have no choice, no options, no future.

That’s not true.

Read on at The People’s Therapist.


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