Joanna Litt’s open letter regarding the suicide of her husband Gabe MacConnail is truly heart-rending and courageous. It is a sad reminder that we, as practicing attorneys, need to be mindful of the stress that most of us will experience at some point in our careers and to make every effort not to let it take us down.
Lawyers will sometimes find that a particular position—often one they have striven years to obtain—just does not work anymore. I believe this often results from devotion to a job that deprives a lawyer of any ability to control their life. My advice for this situation is simple: Have the self-confidence to vote with your feet and find another position, hopefully one that gives you more control. After much procrastination, I did this years ago and have never regretted it.
Sometimes lawyers will leave a firm because it is a very negative environment, but that is often not the case. In many instances, it is a great firm, but things have evolved so that the fit just isn’t there. A firm cannot be all things to all lawyers. I wish Gabe had been able to make a change.
Thoughts and prayers go out to Joanna. I hope her letter has helped her grieving process—and also served as a wake-up call for others in similar situations.
John Watkins, Atlanta