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As a lawyer, the pressure to succeed and maintain a certain level of professionalism can be overwhelming. The recent suicide of a fellow attorney who was publicly called out in a Facebook group for being disbarred is a stark reminder of the need for mental health awareness and self-care in the legal profession.
In addition to the stress of practicing law, running a law firm, and paying off student debt, it’s important to recognize the need to charge a fair price for legal services to avoid undervaluing one’s services.
But what about the adversarial nature of the profession? Why do attorneys feel the need to be so aggressive towards each other? It’s important to resist the urge to pass on negative information about other attorneys and instead reach out with kindness and support.
At the end of the day, mental health and fairness should be at the forefront of every legal practice. Let’s strive for growth and success while also taking care of ourselves and each other.
04:30 How suicide can be prevented by reaching out to those in need.
08:58 The differences in how each state handles bar complaints and the surprising automatic bar complaint for malpractice
10:19 Undervaluing one’s worth, and the importance of making a viable living
19:50 Being kind and supportive to fellow attorneys, even if they have been disbarred or suspended
Jim’s Hack: Book by Dr. Ben Hardy and Dan Sullivan 10x Is Easier than 2x: How World-Class Entrepreneurs Achieve More by Doing Less
Tyson’s Tip: Be kind to each other.
The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States. Call 988. https://988lifeline.org
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Transcript: The Stress of Practicing Law: How it Affects Attorneys’ Mental Health
Run your law firm the right way. This is the maximum lawyer podcast, podcast. Your hosts, Jim hacking and Tyson metrics. Let’s partner up and maximize your firm.
Welcome to the show. Welcome back to the maximum lawyer Podcast. I’m Jim hacking.
And I’m Tyson mutex. What up?
Tyson? It’s good to be with you. It’s a Friday recording for our Saturday call with the guild members. And we’re actually recording a podcast episode. It’s an important topic that I wanted to share, not just with our guild members, but also with the maximum lawyer community as well. And so we’ve decided to use our Saturday time to record a podcast.
Yeah. And when you sent the text about this thing, I was both like angered and sad and like, I was very angry about it. I was disturbed. I was saddened, it was just it stuck with me for a couple days. I even texted you later. I’m like, That news really bothers me like so. So I’ll let you That’s enough teasing of it, I guess. But yeah, it’s it’s really important. So go ahead.
So this time last week, Tyson and Kelsey were wrapping up a totally kick ass mastermind. It was really great because I had to do very little they did all the work that made it great for me. And more importantly, it was great for our members. So we did a mastermind on automation. We called it zap Athan to and basically, Kelsey and Tyson blew everybody’s brain about all the things that you could do with automation. And Tyson’s last segment was all about AI stuff and creepy robots talking as humans. But anyway, the whole thing was great. It was really great. And it was time for me to leave it was ie the end of Ramadan. So I was trying to make it back Friday night. So I left right at the end a little bit early. And I was in the car heading to the airport. And I saw this post in a Facebook group. So I was in a Facebook group called nerdy immigration lawyers. And this is basically, you know, like a group where there were hundreds of members where people would just say, Oh, I’ve got a 42 V cancellation. And I’ve never done one before. Anybody have any suggestions, stuff like that? Well, there’s been a longtime member in the group, a very flamboyant guy, he just got married about two years ago, he was 36. And somebody from his home state, pops into the Facebook group, and says, Hey, you guys need to kick out this member right away, because he just got disbarred. And apparently, and so I immediately messaged him, because this is a friend I’ve never met. But friend that we’ve talked to, before I’ve sent him cases for interview in his home state that I couldn’t handle. And it reminded Well, I’ll tell you a story about it later. But I saw the message, I was very upset by the message I faced with messaged him to say, Hey, dude, is there anything I can do to help Is everything okay? And then the next morning, when I woke up, there was a post from his wife of two years, they had a stepdaughter with her two, that he had killed himself, and that he had this issue with a bar. I don’t know whether he was disbarred or not. I don’t know anything about that. But clearly, there was some kind of issue with the bar. And then this other attorney from his home state decided to make it public. And to call him out in the group, which I would say, this group meant a whole lot more to him than it did to me like he was, he was one of these guys who would go out drinking and eating steak dinners whenever he was in another channel with other members from the group. So he was much more invested in the group that I was actually I left the group because I’ve had it with that stuff. But the post was apparently up for 26 minutes, and his wife specifically cited it as the precipitating factor in tipping him towards suicide. So in a way, to me it seemed a lot like these high school bullying cases where Mean Girls or mean boys, you know, gang up on on a classmate, and then something bad happens to the classmate. I think it happened in St. Charles, a couple years ago to a girl. I think her name was Megan. But anyway, really tragic, really sad. His wife said, they had plans for this weekend to travel, he thinks it was very much an impulsive thing. And I was just really, really upset about it about the whole thing. And so, you know, we often talk about how hard the practice of law is, we often talk about suicide on here. So I wanted to bring that up with you and just talk it through with everybody
having handled multiple suicide cases at this point now, well, people don’t really realize like, so just if you kind of look at the I guess the science part of it is that the research on this specific topic is that it is a very, for the most part a very impulsive thing. There’s a small segment of society that they’re probably going to do it no matter what. Okay, because like just their makeup, the chemical makeup, but most of the time if you can get past that first 48 to 72 hours, they’ll get past it. It’ll never attempt it. They may think about it, but I’ve never actually attempted. So this is something this is a scenario where he finds out that Friday. So his desire to do that is at its maximum. And then he sees this Facebook post, which then just piles on. And so it’s a shame because I wish someone could have instead, like you would have been more of reaching out to him as opposed to piling on it. And if I think that, for those of you listening to this, we’re going to see disbarred minutes for the rest of our careers. They happen on a regular basis. And I hope that most people instead of piling on instead of saying silent, if you know the person, reach out to them and comfort them, because it sucks. It’s a terrible thing. Life will go on. It’s obviously something he did not want for his career. But I think we can all agree we don’t want people going out and killing themselves because of something like that. There’s more to life than than practicing law. I wish more people would have been like you, Jim, and actually reached out to him instead of that person that posted. I don’t know, if they’ve still kept that post up. It’s It was disgusting to me whenever you told me about it, but just kicking someone while they’re down. It’s just not my style, and just not how I am I just tragic. I feel like I kind of hear it too much to where like, people say, Hey, do you hear about such and such you hear about such and such? And so it I never just I never really participate in those conversations. I don’t know about you, but it’s just, it’s just sad. Well, there’s
lots of ways I could go with this. So yesterday, I had an immigration interview and the US citizen spouse, I told her what happened, because she’s a nurse on on a psych ward, where people get committed and stuff. And she said, just what you said that the research shows that it can be very impulsive. And she said that for people that are in that state, she very quickly listed it she said, You got to get this is what you got to get out of the house. Guns, sharps, which I guess it’d be like razors and knives and things, pills, and whatever else. So I didn’t realize that it was that impulsive. I mean, I know that there’s some people who like plan it out. And that but yeah, so that was really upsetting. You know, the other thing, you so the group has sort of rallied, and I’ve never told you this, I don’t think before but there’s a thing in immigration law that actually didn’t apply in this case. But if an immigrant suffers a mistake by an immigration lawyer, and they want to set it aside, like in the deportation setting, typically is where you see it. The immigration rules require that a bar complaint be fired filed against the lawyer. Oh, my gosh, yeah. So I want screwed up a case, the attorney that took over the case for me, actually worked with me to try to avoid filing the bar complaint, but it’s a requirement. And it’s something that really causes a lot of people a lot of stress. Like I said, it didn’t necessarily apply in this case. But in order to get your client any kind of relief, you have to file a bar complaint. And so the group is sort of taking that on, because that’s a purely political thing. Biden’s attorney general could undo that with a stroke of a pen, I think. So that’s just one thing. I mean, the practice of law is already stressful enough. And of course, if you commit malpractice, there’s a cause of action. And I’m not saying people shouldn’t file bar complaints when there is a viable problem. But it’s just to require that in every single case, you’re just automatically increasing the stress level a lot. So what the group has done is they’re they’re trying to move, there’s a petition going on all this stuff that try to put pressure on the administration to do away with that.
That’s really disheartening to be honest with you, because I do think I feel like I always sort of had this like feeling of like an axe hanging over my head. Like if like someone in the firm screws something up, like, I’m the guy that owns the firm, I feel like that is always a source of stress for me, to be honest with you, because it always worries me like some like that’s gonna happen, where someone screws something up, and then it all sort of falls back on me. And, I mean, that would that sucks. I mean, that’s just, it is I’ve seen for example, I’ve seen a couple of departments lately where I’m like, wow, that is crazy. Like that. It’s it doesn’t seem like it takes a whole lot. And those are Missouri attorneys that I’ve seen that for but the from state to state is different, like so especially for immigration, it’s a little surprising because, like, that’s something you can do across the country. But I hear like some states are very lenient. Some states like I’ve spoken to an attorney. I’m not gonna mention the state or the practice area, but I spoken to Attorney where they mentioned that they’ve received multiple bar complaints but that’s just something that happens in their state. And so I’m like, what like to me like that’s terrifying, you know, I mean, like, but like, so like from state to state is handled differently. So for automatic bar complaint that’s, it’s really surprising just because how each state handles it. So definitely.
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One of our guild members today said that he had received a random audit of his trust notice account from the bar and he had to submit, like within X amount of days, a complete audit of it for no reason, anyway. But one other little angle to all this, when I first referred this attorney to cover an interview for me, so that involves prepping the clients which maybe takes an hour and then going to USCIS handled the interview and coming back. And I said to him, Hey, buddy, what would you charge my clients to do? This interview goes? Well, I don’t know. $200 $300. And I was like, What the? They said, You’re gonna charge them 1000. And they gladly paid it, right? They gladly paid it. And you know, what he ultimately got in trouble for was for commingling funds. And as soon as I told them about the bar complaint that was hurt. Yes. And I just have to think to myself, you know, when you undervalue your worth, and when you don’t charge enough, not saying that that led directly to this, but you can see, you can see a path where it sort of led to it. So you know, making sure that you’re making a viable living is really important for lots of reasons, including your mental health. So I think the work that we you and I do here all the time to empower law firm owners to be their best and to charge more and to make more, I think that’s all part of being a healthy person. And, you know, maybe my mistake wasn’t reaching out too late when I saw this message, but really trying to coach him more earlier about making more money.
Yeah, I think that many people, they’ll charge less, because they’re worried about losing the case. Like that’s like the, like not getting them to sign on with you. Like, I think that’s predominantly what the reason is, because they would they need the money, I wish people would stick to it. Because for example, like what you said, like, Okay, you should be charging 1000 bucks, not like, if you would have been charging, let’s say you charge 200 bucks, it would take five of those same interviews, to get the same amount for that $1,000, and you’re just gonna do a better job, you’re not, you’re taking less cases, you’re gonna be doing a better job because you’re being more prepared. So it’s interesting, because you do get a lot of, there’s someone in the big Facebook group a couple of weeks ago, and I was I just I felt like not even just like, I’m gonna engage with this person, but they were basically accusing us that we were overcharging our clients like, to everybody I’m talking to or for, right, it was on contingency, contingency stuff, you know, it was a critique of the profession as a whole. So someone had made a post about fees. And then this attorney posted in a comment about like, how, you know, attorneys as a whole, we charge too much money, that we’re greedy, and all that yada, yada yada. And so I just, I’m not gonna engage in it. But it was just like, like, there’s a reason why we Okay, so not everybody had all of their law school paid for, okay, so they there’s an immense expense that comes to it. And not not everyone came from a background where their parents can pay for their law school. So some people have to pay back their student loans. And so it’s an expensive thing, and they chose to go do this thing. And now they’re expecting to be rewarded for it by getting a salary that is commensurate with their both their experience and their training. So I do think that it’s imperative that we as a profession, we do charge enough and for the people that cannot afford it, which that is there is that contingent? You? Okay? Take on pro bono cases if you want to. I encourage that if you are one of those people that feels guilty about how much you charge, okay, take on pro bono cases take on those cases, but there’s also several legal services across the country that are there for that purpose. Oh, there are other alternatives, but you don’t have to be that charity to to all of your clients to put you in a position that puts you in a massive predicament because it sounds like so he if he’s commingling as funds, he’s mixing his client money with his money, which means he probably overpaid himself or something like that. I I guess I don’t really understand how it would work in immigration, because with immigration you I guess you get paid on a fee. He did things other than immigration. Oh, gotcha. Okay, then. That would explain it then as like, okay. Because if it was just immigration, I’m not really sure how that works. But anyways, so he probably got in a position where he just overstretched himself.
Alright, so let’s change subjects up a little bit. So that post was only up for 26 minutes. It was taken down before anybody knew what happened. The attorney got kicked out of the group and the attorney is now being vilified by everyone who stayed in the group and just across social media, so I’m really frustrated with social media out of this whole story, but it was really interesting. Then everyone started piling on Her the attorney who did this and I was like Jesus Christ, you guys trying to do it all. I’m gonna do it all again. I mean, what the hell? So she left the group and I’m sure I’m sure she feels terrible. And I’m sure there’s nothing that any other lawyer piling on, it’s going to accomplish. So I guess one question I had for you is, do you think there’s a cause of action by the wife against that lawyer for that? Or is it just is there a causation problem, like, too many intervening factors?
Well, it’s always gonna be a causation problem. It’s gonna depend highly on the state. Like, we’ve got a couple of them, though, like one of the major major cases was it was against the school, there was a policy violated when it comes to that. I guess there could be depending on the state, like there are some like anti bullying statutes across the country that would allow it. And so it depends. It’s a potentially it would probably have to be a cause of action that set us set out via statute. You could also do I guess you could do if I’m thinking this through a little bit. Let’s just say this was a Missouri, I guess, we you could sue. It would be a tough one, though. Because like, the reason why it’s so tough, and specifically in this one is because you had it happen, the bar made their decision. And then I don’t know if he did it the same day or the next day, but it was the same day. I think the causation part of would be it would probably kill that case, just because you don’t know if that was a tipping point or not. The Facebook post sounds like it was his wife’s Facebook post, but you could prove prove causation. I guess you could, but I think recovery is going to be the issue.
Well, I wonder if my purchase would cover? Probably not, probably not.
But like, I mean, if you don’t have like a general liability insurance, you’d have that or an umbrella.
It’s just really sad situation. And so the interesting thing for me is like, I was in sort of Nora softball mode all weekend, and then I had a really nice workout on Monday, and I was walking down the stairs, and I had my headsets on and Phil Collins, that drumming song came on. And then somebody had messaged that they were going to sit Shiva for this attorney. And they’re inviting people to come to their state for that. And I just totally broke down. That’s when I put that post in the big group about just being kind to each other. Like I totally, I was in the Steam Room. I just started crying. And I didn’t realize that it hit me and I was feeling guilty. Like I should have message earlier. Of course, it’s not about me. It’s nothing to do with me. And I’m glad that I did message, you know that day. But man, it really messed me up for a little while. Like, it’s, I don’t know if it’s survivor’s guilt or whatever, but I just it just really messed me up.
It’s weird. Like I I mean, I can I can tell that affected you because like, you wouldn’t normally send a text about something like that. But like, it was weird for like me, like, I just there was something about it just pissed me off. Like I couldn’t, I couldn’t stop think about it for a few days. I only know that guy like you like, uh, you know, I don’t even know it like, and I was just like, this aggravates me so freakin much. Like, it, like made me think all these things I was like, This is what people hate about attorneys. Like, you know, like, I’m just like, it’s just like going off in my head. You know, like, I didn’t have any way to talk to you about it. You know, I didn’t want to mention it to Amy. So I brought up the AMI about it’s just, like, aggravated me so much. I just wish we were like, wish we were nicer to to each other just generally, like there’s, I had this, this conversation with a defense attorney about just generally like, the way things have been trending lately, and I don’t know what, what it is. But things have been trending and like to like, very adversarial, not someone adversarial, like very adversarial. And it’s there’s no point in it. Like, I’ll give you an example. I had to go I did drive to Court yesterday on a case yesterday morning, on a case where the we wanted to with our client is has been put in prison. Okay, it’s a it’s an injury case. So we can’t really do discovery because she’s in prison. So I wanted to voluntarily dismiss the case. So the prick attorney sent knew that my client was unavailable. So send us a request for admissions Right? Like just to try to just stick it in my client just to try to so she was trying to get a request for admissions. That way we’d run out of time that we wouldn’t be able to dismiss the case without prejudice because like in Illinois, you got a request and the judge granted Missouri can dismiss it so but we had to go up freakin hearing on whether or not I can dismiss my case in Illinois, just because she they would not consent to it. It just it things like that. Like Like seriously, like, is your firm that desperate that you need to Bill? Are you just a real dickhead? You know what I mean? With whichever it is when you stop beating your wife? Yes, yes. Is it just oh, gosh, like, it seems like that. Why, like, why do we do that to each other? Like, it just it just doesn’t make sense. It’s not easy for them. It’s not easy for us. Yep. It’s been kind of therapeutic for me. Yeah, he’s sort of worked out some stuff. Yeah. All right. Good. Well, let me remind everyone to go to the Facebook join us there. There’s a lot of great information if you do see something in the big group. Be polite, please be polite, be nice to each other. And while you’re listening to the rest of this episode, if you don’t mind leaving us a five star review. Wherever you get your podcast, we would greatly appreciate it. Jimmy, what is your hack of the week?
Dr. Ben Hardy and Dan Sullivan have a new book out and everybody’s sending it to me. So Imani got me a copy. And my buddy Chipman actually sent me a draft copy of it that he got from Strategic Coach. So I started it. And that’s a theory that I’ve studied a lot from Dan. And basically, he’s arguing that it’s as easy or easier to grow 10x And it is to x. And so, you know, I can’t read those books too often. And I have to read them slowly. Because otherwise I make everybody crazy around here and and start making grand declarations like I did last December. I’m the
same way. So like, I actually hesitate to read a book like that, because it’s like, you start to go off the rails with like, every day, oh my god, we’re gonna do all these things. And next, you know, everyone’s like, pissed off at you. So don’t want to do that. So mine, um, just kind of stick with the theme of the episode here and I’m gonna give the tip of the day if you hear something bad about an attorney, just reach out to the attorney be supportive. Yeah, they may have they may not be in the profession anymore, or they may be suspended from the profession for sure. Reach out, be kind. There’s no point like, if you don’t think that they’ve already like rethought many of their decisions. You’re wrong, you know, you don’t need to pile on so reach out to them. Resist the urge to want to pass on the information to someone else. Hey, did you did you see such and such got disbarred, like, don’t pass it along. So that is my tip of the week. So Jimmy, be a great weekend, dude. Thanks, brother. You too. Thanks, man. Thanks, everybody.
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