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Thanksgiving is an excellent occasion to remember the reasons why we are fortunate to be lawyers. It is also the time of year when all lawyers should take a moment to consider the things for which we can be grateful. Perhaps you need more than a moment to come up with something. Go ahead, take as much time as you like. Still nothing? OK, admittedly, even at Thanksgiving time, it may be difficult for many lawyers to feel fortunate. Attempting to focus on the positive aspects of the practice of law can prove futile when our job consists primarily of tedious research projects, long hours, insolent staff, pressure to meet billable hour goals, hostile and abrasive adversaries, hostile and abrasive colleagues, constant deadlines and unappreciative clients. Giving thanks is a challenge when so many of us are professionally unhappy and dissatisfied. According to a recent poll, 70 percent of lawyers say they would start a new career if they could. An American Bar Association survey indicated that 23 percent of all lawyers, and about a third of associates, are dissatisfied with their jobs. Some may say that lawyers complain too much and that people in other jobs are also dissatisfied. (Legal secretaries, law firm office managers and paralegals immediately come to mind.) This may be true, but among lawyers there does seem to be a particular angst not nearly as prevalent in other professions. Many of us may feel trapped on the “wheel” and can relate to the emotions expressed by the lawyers who wrote these letters. Practicing law, however, really isn’t all bad. Even those lawyers who will be spending Thanksgiving Day at the office should therefore use the occasion to pause and give thanks to The Firm. To assist those still having difficulty coming up with something to be thankful for, listed below are a number of things for which all lawyers should be grateful. � Law school is over. � Your student loans will be paid off by the time your kids start college. � If you had gone to medical school instead of law school, you would be spending much more of your time in court than you do now. � Being at the office on Thanksgiving Day provides a great opportunity to make international calls from other lawyers’ telephones, steal office supplies, crack your hated rival’s computer access code and get to know the security guards. � Insurance adjusters earn less money. � We make more money than most and that makes up for the fact we rarely see our families. � Because all of The Firm’s financial numbers won’t be in until January, odds are you won’t be laid off until after the holidays. � You have your health (first-year associates only). � That turkey spread from the lunchroom vending machine is quite tasty. � You don’t work at one of those firms about to go out of business (unless, of course, you do — in which case, never mind). Hopefully, all lawyers reading this list will now feel better having been reminded of how fortunate they really are. Be thankful, and happy Thanksgiving. The Rodent is a syndicated columnist and author of “Explaining the Inexplicable: The Rodent’s Guide to Lawyers.” His e-mail address is [email protected]

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