. Legal ethics

There will be discontent.

The title of today’s post is an inside joke in that it makes reference to this post from what feels like years ago now.

As these are not particularly humorous times at the moment, it will be the only attempt at humor.

Professionally, I’ve had a pretty good week. I didn’t get what I wanted for clients on a couple of matters, but I participated in a nearly 10 hour Zoom mediation that resulted in the resolution of a case earlier in the week and closed out the week winning summary judgment in a federal court case. Yet, I feel no professional satisfaction and just mostly discontent.

Discontent at what is going on around me, my circumstances, and all the work that must be done to try to repair things. Fortunately, just discontent and not despair.

That’s likely because in the grand scheme of things I’m exceedingly fortunate. I have an established law practice and a better safety than many. I have a roof over my head and thus a place to stay home and stay safe. My family can afford to buy the things it needs right now, and, most importantly, so far all of us have stayed healthy.

All of that is to say that I am entirely cognizant of how good I have it. I recognize that my safety and relative comfort does not make my discontent particularly important, but I do think it makes it telling and, perhaps, worth acknowledging out loud for those who are reading this. Mostly because I think it indicates just how many people who might only be in a slightly worse off position than I could easily slide from discontent into despair.

I still strongly believe as I wrote before that most lawyers are not delivering “essential services” in the context of risking the safety of others. But I just as strongly believe that all the human beings who are those lawyers are essential.

Lawyers as a profession were plagued with higher statistics of depression and anxiety and substance abuse and suicide before the pandemic than the national average. If this pandemic makes those numbers seem closer to the norm, it will likely only be because the average increases.

When you struggle, seek out the help you can afford. There are a wide variety of resources better than this blog to get that help. Here’s just one pretty good one.

I’ve shared my small story before. I feel very fortunate that my timing was such that I went through it when it was physically a lot easier to leave the house and get help. I know it would have been much harder if it were happening now for me. And I’m incredibly fortunate that I’m doing okay on that front.

For any new readers, I’m sharing the post (which is actually from years ago) where I shared the video (you have to click on the link inside the post regarding the last 12 minutes of that year’s Ethics Roadshow) of my “coming out” about this issue again here.

Stay safe. And as a truly final word for now, stolen from someone much smarter and more eloquent than me but because I only saw it on Twitter and failed to note the author: “Try to remember that you aren’t really working from home now. You are staying home in order to live through a pandemic and you are also trying to work.”