When we write about lawyers and unhappiness, we typically have a specific kind of unhappiness in mind. It’s more a restlessness than a deep despair, more a malaise or vague sense of dissatisfaction than an outright sadness. Whenever we write about this (which we and others tend to do with a certain amount of glibness), we do so with an unspoken assumption — that this category of unhappiness is entirely fixable — especially for big firm lawyers, what with their smarts and connections and hard-earned degrees. It’s just a matter of finding a new job or going part time or leaving the law altogether. Happiness exists just around the corner, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to get there.
But the unhappiness discussed in a National Law Journal story out today strikes an entirely different chord.