One Simple Graph Explains Lawyer Stress

I’m a law nerd.  Out and proud.  Give me an interesting legal question, access to my Westlaw account, and a steady supply of seltzer and pasta, and I’ll be happy for days.  I’m also privileged to have the world’s best law partner (my husband) and the world’s coolest co-counsel, with essential qualities like a sense of humor, appreciation for good beer, and knowledge of excellent restaurants.  Oh, yeah, and they’re really freaking smart lawyers, too.

Why, then, would I ever experience stress?*  I submitted this question to the world’s most powerful computer, which analyzed years of data in the form of briefs, letters, and emails in my cases, applied a complex algorithm** decades in development, and came up with the following answer:  The Merits:Bullshit Ratio.  It is best understood as a graph:

This means, for example, that in the brief we will receive next week, the bullshit level will be at the far right-hand side of the chart.  The question at issue is very simple, and we’re right.***  So why should I stress?  Because the extremely low level of merit in the defendant’s position means — I promise you, this is a scientific fact — there will be an extremely high level of bullshit.

You lawyers know I’m right on this.  When you’re briefing a complex, interesting, multi-faceted question with some merit on both sides, the briefs tend to be substantive and relatively mature.  When you’re simply flat-out correct, and your opponent has no real argument, his briefs are filled with arguments that are the legal equivalent of “I’m rubber, you’re glue,” “takes one to know one,” and “you’re a poopyhead.”  In addition, of course, the level of italicized text goes up.  Further computer analysis generated this chart:

Having achieved the first part of our research goal (the charts above), I have asked the computer to generate a solution to the stress that results from reading too much bullshit.  Preliminary results indicate that the solution involves beer.  Stay tuned.


* There are two other well-known reasons for lawyer stress.  One is the stress people feel when they really don’t want to be lawyers.  This is not my problem:  I really really love being a lawyer; I just hate the bullshit.  The other reason is trying to balance your lawyer-life with your family-life.  I have solved this problem by completely merging the two.  It’s not for everyone, but it works for us!

** I love that word.  Does it really mean anything other than “equation”?  I don’t think so but it makes you sound really cool!

*** We’re always right.  That’s why we take the cases we take.  Only civil defense counsel get paid to represent wrong positions.  If our client has a wrong position, we don’t eat or pay the rent.

2 thoughts on “One Simple Graph Explains Lawyer Stress

  1. Pingback: Nerding Out on Baseball Stats | Bruce's Blog (til I come up with a catchier name)

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