One of life’s mysteries: What keeps lawyers going? When I ask young associates that question, I often get a quizzical, “beats me” look. Sometimes, they’ll confess they can’t stand their jobs and plan to bail.

But for lawyers who’ve attained the lofty status of partner, the answer is almost always about the unalloyed joys of lawyering. Partners will go on and on about how awesome their work is and how they were put on earth to serve clients any way they can. And if they hold leadership positions at their firms, the answer is grander—something along the lines of being part of an institution tasked with serving the greater good.

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