Monday, February 16, 2015

Do "Elder Law" Attorneys Have Regrets at the End of Their Careers?

ABA's Litigation magazine's Winter 2015 issue has an interesting theme -- "regrets" -- and I encourage all attorneys and law professors to track it down.  Lots of gems here, offering plenty of stimulus for conversation.

Famed trial attorney Gerry Spence starts off one of the articles in this way:

"Like most old men looking back, I tend to forget the major regrets in my life.  Mine may been becoming a trial lawyer in the first place.  I learned how to try case by failing.  I regret I wasn't taught in law school the first rudimentary principles of a jury trial.  But how could that happen when most of the professors had never been in a courtroom?....

Spence continues:

"In short, the justice system is broken....  I've labored in the system for over 60 years, and I regret, not winning, but in contributing to the myth that there's liberty and justice for all. I regret aiding and abetting the 'appearance of justice' that continues to defraud most Americans who have never awakened one day to find themselves crunched in the system...."

Abe Krash, with a 50 year career at D.C.'s Arnold & Porter law firm, shares his thoughts, thoughts that are on the whole, more positive that Spence's, but include:

"The bloom on the Washington legal rose began to fade somewhat in the mid-1980s during the era of deregulation.  At about the same time, the legal profession began to change in significant ways.  I applaud a number of the changes... such as the widening opportunities afforded to women and minorities.  But like many others of my generation, I regret some of the changes, including the shift among large law firms from a partnership mode to a corporate mode."

Elder Law, which as a specialization is still relatively young, is now "old enough" to see a first generation of long-time practitioners contemplating their own retirements. I wonder how the theme of "regrets" might play out for these individuals?  

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Ethical Issues, Legal Practice/Practice Management, Retirement | Permalink

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