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Why Lawyers Work -- It's Not All About the Billables

Sometimes, it's hard to remember that lawyers work for anything but money, with the focus on stratospheric associate salaries, the obsession with billable hours and the general public perception of lawyers as money-grubbers. But as Arnie Herz of Legal Sanity reminds us in this post, lawyers work not just for money. Herz cites a couple of articles that discuss why we work, including this piece, Why Do We Work? by Jenner & Block lawyer Gregory Gallopoulos. Gallopoulos identifies many reasons that lawyers work, including intellectual growth, personal and institutional pride and recognition. He concludes:

Why do we work? For money, but also for sanity. We expect and need to be compensated in nonmonetary ways. Noneconomic compensation matters to top-flight lawyers -- otherwise, they would have long ago fled to investment banks. Law firms that want to recruit and retain the best (and the sanest) must compensate not only in dollars but also in psychic gratification. Accordingly, managers of elite firms need to think consciously about what lawyers are looking for beyond money.

If your legal career isn't bringing you much more than dollars, perhaps it's time you asked yourself a different question: Why am I working as a lawyer at all?

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on September 26, 2006 at 06:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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