Toxic Law

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You described law firms as toxic environments. Could you explain why that is?

At least in my experience, there is a marked absence of kindness in the law firm environment. People are competing – fine – I can see that in plenty of work environments. But there’s something more in the big firms. I think it derives from deprivation feelings. When a person feels deprived of what he needs, a famine mindset can form. Coming from a place of hunger, you grow mean, rapacious, grasping. You think only of yourself because you haven’t the sense of abundance that would permit you to reach out with a plenitude to share with others. Big law firms starve you of friends, of free time, of control over your own life and decisions, of praise and appreciation for who you are and what you do. Surviving in such an environment, living off scraps and crumbs, you lose your ability to project kindness to others. Instead you turn inward, and your hunger shows in small acts of cruelty that are contagious – and pernicious.

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