December 03, 2003

How to sell out without really noticing

All of the 1Ls here have (already) gotten a big white envelope from a Biglaw firm.

Quoting from the colorful catalogue inside:

[This Biglaw firm] is committed to providing a full range of services to the health care industry, including lifesciences companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, managed health care organizations, hospitals, assisted living facilities and health care insurers. . .

While there is a clear need for attorneys to provide these "services," let me be clear: I do not aspire to serve these entities in any way as long as they continue their current practices. All of these entities are valuable participants in any health-care system, but anyone who would build a career of serving their legal needs as they now stand does not share my vision of what our nation's health infrastructure should look like, work like, or be like.

Fortunately for them, and for the Biglaw firm, there are plenty of 1Ls who disagree with me, and do so for thoughtful and respectable reasons.

But I'm afraid that too many 1Ls haven't given it any thought. Not knowing what they stand for, they'll look at the colorful brochure and gloss over the text and think, passively, "that sounds good. It sounds like a job I could be proud of. I'd be doing something 'important.' Somehow. And, wow, I can make a LOT of money!!"

If, later, they should give the matter some thought, and should decide that that's not what they stand for, I hope they'll think it's easy to give up the job and walk away from the money. Sadly, some of them won't find it so easy. They'll think they "need" the money. Their spouse needs the money. Or their kids need the money. Either way, they'll get up every day feeling trapped by a job they want no part of.

I'm almost certainly making mistakes as I plan my career; but this is a mistake I'm trying hard not to make. Check back with me two years from now and I'll let you know how it's going. . .

Posted by Carey at December 3, 2003 08:26 PM