“[T]here are folks who actually ‘fit in’ in BigLaw,” writes Will Meyerhofer, a psychotherapist and former BigLaw lawyer. “They actually like it there.” Meyerhofer calls them “odd ducks,” adding that they often lay low “because the vast majority of BigLaw attorneys are miserable” and it seems rude to be happy.
In fact, one client of his was so embarrassed of his happiness and pride in his accomplishments that he convinced himself he was miserable. Why? Because he couldn’t tell anyone—not even his wife—that he liked his job. And, thanks to the pressure to be miserable just like everyone else, it took a while for the man to admit it to himself.
So how do you know if you, or someone you know, are an odd duck? Meyerhofer says the dead giveaway is that you consistently get good reviews since no one gets good reviews. The other distinguishing features of odd ducks include:
- They’re good at law.
- They’re cut out for the work.
- They fit in with the partners.
In an ideal world, we’d all love what we do for a living. The reality is that the vast majority of people just won’t fit in at or like BigLaw, Meyerhofer says. But for those few who do, it’s OK to admit it.
“Odd ducks are born, not trained,” he writes. “BigLaw is so universally detested that the few people for whom it’s a fit are ashamed to admit it. But the fact remains: Some people do fine in even the scariest BigLaw firms—and they have a right to.”
You can learn more about odd ducks here.