Health Care / Medicine

Ed. note: This post is by Will Meyerhofer, a former Sullivan & Cromwell attorney turned psychotherapist. He holds degrees from Harvard, NYU Law, and The Hunter College School of Social Work, and he blogs at The People’s Therapist. His new book, Bad Therapist: A Romance, is available on Amazon, as are his previous books, Way Worse Than Being A Dentist and Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy (affiliate links).

“I never thought I’d end up working as a contract attorney doing doc review in a windowless basement,” my client bemoaned. “But then I read that piece about the lawyer who’s working as a clerk at Walmart. At least I’ve still got it over him in terms of job prestige.”

Well, you know how obsessed lawyers are with job prestige.

There’s a phrase, “the Downward Drift,” that crops up in discussions of serious mental health diagnoses like schizophrenia, and/or chronic substance abuse. The idea is that you are afflicted with serious mental illness, or become addicted to a harmful substance, which in turn leads to a slow, inevitable slide downward in terms of social class. Before long, the wealthy, Upper East Side business executive suffering from schizophrenia and/or severe alcoholism finds himself jobless, friendless, and eventually even homeless, sleeping in shelters and begging for change.

Weirdly, the same phenomenon — the Downward Drift — affects people who acquire Juris Doctor degrees…

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The National Football League has sort of, kind of, not really addressed its concussion problem by paying former players a pittance and then doing absolutely nothing about the culture of the sport. I guess that’s not totally true. The Denver Broncos went out of their way not to hit anybody during the Super Bowl.

Meanwhile, Hockey — Canada’s pastime and America’s after thought — has largely escaped scrutiny. It’s not that people overlook the violence in the sport, it’s just people mistake the occasional fisticuffs for the most extreme “violence” in the sport. As opposed to plays like, say, this. As you watch that guy leveled and smashing head first into the ice, remember that unlike football, these people by and large didn’t wear helmets until the 80s.

One concussion lawsuit was filed back in November. That one was boringly straight-forward.

Now comes a second lawsuit sprinkled with errors and crazy talk. Perhaps it’s a performance art piece on the horrors of concussions.

Let’s check out the 5 craziest takeaways from the new NHL suit….

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The effect that sitting has on your ability to breathe is a serious and underappreciated problem.  In fact, it’s so underappreciated that you probably don’t even realize it’s a problem for you at all.  Don’t believe me?  Just think back to any day this week between 3 and 4 p.m. in the afternoon.  Imagine how you felt at this time.  Extremely tired? Perhaps a little bit dizzy? About ready to pass out on your keyboard?

Although your symptoms could be attributed to the burrito you ate for lunch, or the fact that you pulled an all-nighter drafting an overdue motion for summary judgment, another possibility is that you simply aren’t breathing enough.  As a result, your body may be starved for oxygen.  But why does this occur?

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While 7.1 million Americans enrolled in Obamacare and Fox tries to explain why this is a bad thing, the majority of Americans just sauntered along with their employee health plans like nothing ever happened.

But in the legal sector, a lot was actually happening. By and large, law firms were engaged in what can be called “stealth cost shifting” where the high-profile benefits remained unchanged while the firms subtly reduced the cost of plans through other avenues.

Basically, this means employees pay more for stuff they don’t need. Now you know how the client feels…

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Bumpei Sugano of Penn Law

* A surefire way to make your mom proud of you is to file a funny amicus brief with the Supreme Court, get called out for it in the New York Times, and be lauded by us at Above the Law as having filed the “best amicus brief ever.” [Daily Beast]

* Cynthia Brim, a state judge who’s been declared legally insane, wants to return to the judicial bench she’s been suspended from. Hey, you could look at it this way: at least she’d be working for her $182K salary. [Chicago Tribune]

* Our readers will be thrilled to know that beginning this year, lawyers will become obsolete. Artificial intelligence will start taking over your jobs within the next six months or so. [Wired]

* Join the Fordham OUTLaws for a Transgender Law symposium, co-sponsored by Skadden and the LGBT Bar. One of the panelists, Erin Buzuvis, is an amazing professor from my school. [Fordham Law School]

* If you care at all about how well women and minority law students are represented on law reviews, then you’ll want to come to this important event. I’ll be there, and I hope to see you there, too! [Ms. JD]

* In case you were wondering, Penn Law successfully beat the crap out of Wharton (in terms of head to head win-loss record) during the 10th annual Wharton vs. Law Fight Night. [Wharton vs. Law: Fight Night]

* Meet Anthony Halmon, the second-year student at FIU Law who’s relying on his coolness to rock the vote for the SBA presidency. Check out his rap video, after the jump. [Daily Business Review (reg. req.)]

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Want to live forever? Try some yoga.

If you’re like me, you might find that practicing law sometimes feels like a questionable way to spend the best years of your life.  As I have previously noted, legal work is both extremely stressful and incredibly boring.  Moreover, it requires lots of hard work, often to the exclusion of other, perhaps more meaningful, life pursuits.  Given all of these difficulties, I sometimes can’t help but wonder: is life is too short to be a lawyer?

Depending on your feelings about your job, this inquiry may or may not send you careening into an existential crisis.  But before you get too carried away, let’s get real.  You have student loans to pay and, more importantly, probably a family to feed.  And although quitting your job to open a bed and breakfast in South America may seem like a great idea on House Hunters, unless you are comfortable living off $20,000 a year, this probably isn’t a realistic option for you.

Assuming you are stuck in your law job for the long haul, what can you do to make the most out of your life?  While I have previously discussed ways to achieve a more satisfactory work-life balance, the unpleasant reality about these suggestions is that we are all limited by the number of hours in each day.  While I think these suggestions work, they obviously cannot eliminate the underlying problem, which is that you probably spend most of your waking life in your office.  Assuming we can’t add hours to each day, how about adding years to our lives?  How about living forever??

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Gwyneth Paltrow

* After forcing Solicitor General Donald Verrilli to acknowledge that the Affordable Care Act could force for-profit corporations to pay for employees’ abortions, Chief Justice John Roberts seemed rather pleased with himself. [New York Times]

* Sidley Austin just hired a major M&A heavy hitter away from General Electric’s legal department. Congratulations to Chris Barbuto. We suppose he can make it rain as outside counsel now. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Because there’s no time too soon for an ambulance airplane chaser, the beginnings of the first lawsuit lodged against Malaysian Air after Flight 370’s probable crash was filed in court yesterday. [Bloomberg]

* UC Hastings and Iowa are the latest law schools to offer 3+3 accelerated degree programs. What a great recruiting tool for Iowa, which recently saw enrollment levels plunge by 40 percent. [National Law Journal]

* One month after the internet exploded with rumors of Gwyneth Paltrow having an affair with entertainment lawyer Kevin Yorn, the star announced her split from her husband. Coincidence? [New York Daily News]

* Professor Ann Althouse’s analysis of today’s Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood arguments before SCOTUS. [Althouse]

* Professor Nelson Tebbe’s take on the proceedings. [Balkinization]

* Finally, a very Jezebel assessment: “Supreme Court Prepares to F**k Up This Birth Control Thing.” [Jezebel]

* “JUDGE TO PORN TROLLS: IP Addresses Aren’t People.” [Instapundit]

* YouTube videos and text messages surface in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial. [IT-Lex]

* “Her” was an excellent movie — and it might contain lessons for lawyers and the legal profession, as John Hellerman argues. [Hellerman Baretz]

* Upskirt photos not illegal in Massachusetts. The spirit of Kennedy lives on! [Mass Live]

* The investigation continues into whether Judge Mike Maggio, who might be the infamous Geauxjudge, suffers from a bad case of the Internet Crazies — but in the meantime, his campaign for the Court of Appeals took a hit. [Arkansas Times]

* Speaking of judicial ethics, Judge Kimberly Brown has been removed from the bench in Indiana. She’s only the third judge ever to be permanently removed from the job. [Indy Star]

* Wachtell Lipton partner Ricky Mason and his wife, Hoboken mayoral candidate Beth Mason, have been charged with several election-law violations. Uh-oh. [PolitickerNJ]

* Which state just ruled that you have a reasonable expectation of privacy in texting… even if you’re texting about a heroin deal? [IT-Lex]

* Dewey love the judge’s name in the Barclays suit over the dead firm’s debts? Yes. Because “Popplewell” is an awesome name. [The Lawyer]

* The data are in, and the top college grads have passed an all-important math test: they figured out law school is a bad deal. [Associate's Mind]

* Yet another Florida law school dean has stepped down. This is what happens when you take a job in a state full of retired people. [Daily Business Review]

* Obamacare has been credited — and bashed — for a lot, but are we underselling its role in reducing prison populations? [Sentencing Law and Policy]

James Holmes

* For the first time ever, someone managed to record secret video footage at SCOTUS during oral arguments — and, of course, it’s secret video footage of the McCutcheon protestor’s outburst. You can check it out after the jump. [Reuters]

* After a brief hospitalization yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder was discharged from the hospital with a clean bill of health. It looks like he won’t have to go to one of those Obamacare death panels after all! [Washington Post]

* “The trajectory of an associate in a law firm has changed irreversibly.” Ain’t that the truth. But seriously, what happened to all of the Biglaw lawyers who were Lathamed way back in 2009? Here are some of their stories. [Am Law Daily]

* More law schools are trying to convince students to attend by offering scholarships. Tulsa will toss you cash if you’re from the sticks, and TJSL will guarantee you money if you’re smart. [National Law Journal]

* A trial date has been set for accused Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes. Get ready to see this crazy face on HLN 24 hours a day while Nancy Grace offers her ever insightful commentary. [CNN]

(Keep reading to see the now legendary Supreme Court oral argument protest footage.)

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