“During the last two decades, the legal profession has placed an increasingly heavy emphasis on efficiency, on working “smarter” and faster. It makes demands not only on your outer life – in constant deadlines, billable-hour quotas, pressure to keep up with a rapidly growing body of new law – but on your inner life as well. The problem is that most lawyers have never developed the resources to cope with those demands, let alone find in them the kind of meaning that can make their work more rewarding. They hear only the blare of the trumpet and miss the sonority of an orchestra that can provide resonance and depth.
To find real pleasure in the legal life, you need to open yourself to all your sources of potential meaning. You will discover that understanding a client beyond her present legal problem does not detract from the technical job at hand; it gives the technical job deeper meaning by placing it in the context of a life. Contracts, after all, are about human relationships; briefs are about disappointment, wanting to be heard, needing to heal. Seeing these deeper meanings is not a threat to good work; it enriches the experience of doing the work, engages the lawyer’s heart, and makes the end product more likely to be compelling.”
The preceding passage is from the book “Transforming Practices: Finding Joy and Satisfaction in the Legal Life,” by Steven Keeva, a senior editor of the ABA Journal. The book is enlightening, inspirational, and encouraging. It offers a new perspective on the practice of law, one that recognizes that beneath the demands of the profession, lawyers are human beings – spiritual beings. So much of that is lost in the day to day practice of law.