Must Read: Devastating Piece on the Attorney Mindset
Sherman Oaks, California
The issue was the career effect of quitting a law firm job and taking several months off. As it happens, I have more than an academic interest in the topic.
The sadly anonymous author of this article answers the question -- no, attorneys grinding out their lives at large law firms won't appreciate your independent thinking -- and, in the process, crafts a pulverizing indictment of the legal mind.
An excerpt (but read the whole thing):
"Accordingly, most attorneys have drilled into their very psyche the importance of working for others and being seen with favor in their employer's eyes. Most attorneys believe they should always be seen with favor by others and the idea that an attorney could possibly put themselves outside of an environment where they are being judged and rewarded by others is something that is difficult for many other attorneys to comprehend. Just as a middle class person would likely be judgmental against another middle class person wearing an ascot - or sitting on their front porch in a cowboy hat drinking whiskey and listening to country music, so, too, are they judgmental against attorneys voluntarily choosing to take significant time off from the practice of law.
"While we realize that this 'class based analysis' is something that understandably may make many people uncomfortable, the fact is that it does exist. It has often been said that the upper class and the lower class in America are more like each other than they are like the middle class. The driving factor in this observation has been that the upper and lower class typically do not care what others think about them. The middle class, in contrast, is defined by what others think of them, from what kind of neighborhood they live in to what type of car they drive, whether they went to college, where they went to college and so forth. In the legal profession, just like the distinctions within the class system, lawyers have a tremendous amount of concern of falling in the parameters of what is expected. Here, it is expected that you will not leave the practice of law."