No need to kill all the lawyers, they are dying of natural causes

15 Nov

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Moi is an Emeritus Attorney, she practices pro bono law and no longer works for fees. She still gets the bar magazine called the NW Lawyer and this month’s edition is designed to smack the barristers into reality. First, there is the article, The First Thing We Do: Let’s Kill All The Lawyers  http://nwlawyer.wsba.org/nwlawyer/november_2013#pg26

The real reality check comes from Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) President Patrick A. Palace as he opines on the state of the profession in the article, Game Changers at page six:

The Changing Profession

Some lawyers blame the loss of business on the economy and are waiting for the good times to return. Others complain that they are under attack by unauthorized practitioners and we need to build more protections, but most agree that practicing law is getting harder. And there are specific reasons practice is getting harder.  http://nwlawyer.wsba.org/nwlawyer/november_2013#pg9

Palace goes on to describe the challenges of law practice in detail and offer some possible paths to surviving the environment. This is a must read for anyone considering a career as a lawyer

The career conundrum starts early. Kelsey Sheehy posted at U.S. News the article, Study: High School Grads Choosing Wrong College Majors:

Teens are selecting college majors that don’t match their interests, according to a new report, but experts say that is OK.

Choosing the right college major is almost as important as choosing the right college.

Majors give students direction and allow them to map out their path to graduation. Some majors, such as engineering, information technology or accounting, also help prepare students to enter a specific career field.

Students who select a major that matches their interests are more likely to stick with it and finish their degree on time, but few high school graduates are choosing a major that suits them, a report released today by ACT Inc. finds.

Almost 80 percent of ACT test-takers who graduated in 2013 said they knew which major they would pursue in college. Of those students, only 36 percent chose a major that fit their interests, according to the study. ACT used answers from the exam’s Interest Inventory, which asks a series of questions to determine career areas where a student might excel.

This disconnect isn’t exactly surprising, says Beth Heaton, senior director of educational consulting at College Coach, an advising firm.

A former regional director of admissions for the University of Pennsylvania, Heaton has read thousands of college applications. She now advises teens trying to get into college.

“The vast majority of them have no idea what they really want to do when they grow up. Even the ones who claim that they do,” she says. “How can you know? If you’re 16, 17, 18, you know so little of the world….”  http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/high-school-notes/2013/11/11/study-high-school-grads-choosing-wrong-college-majors

Here is the press release from ACT:

Many Students Select a College Major That Doesn’t Fit Their Interests Well

November 11 2013

IOWA CITY, Iowa—Only about a third of ACT®-tested high school graduates selected a college major that is a good fit with their interests, according to a new research report from ACT titled College Choice Report Part 1: Preferences and Prospects. The findings suggest that high school students need more help planning for college and career—and that the majority want such assistance.

ACT’s research looked at the 79 percent of ACT-tested 2013 high school graduates who reported a college major that they planned to pursue, comparing their ACT Interest Inventory profile with profiles of college students in the same program of study. Students complete the ACT Interest Inventory when registering for the exam. Interest profiles for students with the same majors were based on a national sample of undergraduate students with a declared major and a grade point average of at least 2.0.

Although the majority of ACT-tested graduates selected a major that was at least a moderate fit with their interests, only 36 percent selected one that was a good fit, while nearly as many—32 percent—selected a major that was a poor fit with their interests.

“It’s important for students to have the information they need to make the best decisions about their future,” said Jon Erickson, ACT president of education and career solutions. “They should be made aware that choosing a college major that reflects their interests will give them a better chance of succeeding and could also contribute to their satisfaction and happiness in school and on the job.”

Previous ACT research has suggested that students whose interests are similar to those of people in their chosen college majors are more likely to remain in their major, persist in college and complete their degree in a timely manner. Students who change their major while in college may have to take additional courses to satisfy degree requirements or even transfer to a different institution, potentially delaying their graduation.

ACT’s report indicates that a student’s intended major can play a significant role in which college he or she chooses to attend. Half of those students who indicated a planned major reported that the availability of a particular major was the most important factor in selecting a college.

“Students who start out with the right major choice can save significant time and money, which is increasingly important given the rising cost of attending college,” said Erickson. “Far too many colleges require students to select a major without looking at how well the students’ interests fit with their intended program of study.”

The ACT report suggests that students would welcome help with their planning. Around three out of five ACT-tested 2013 graduates indicated that they needed assistance with their educational and occupational plans. Among students who were undecided on a college major, the number indicating that they needed assistance rose to more than seven out of ten.

“We must do more to help students connect their majors and, ultimately, their careers to their interests, so they can be on a path for success,” said Erickson. “ACT offers a number of free resources to help students plan for college and career, and we are working to develop more to help in this area.”

ACT’s free resources include the World-of-Work Map, which is included with every ACT score report, and the new ACT Profile, the first college and career readiness social community. ACT’s website for students, www.actstudent.org, offers other free college and career planning resources, including tips, checklists, and information on topics such as academic preparation, choosing a college major, choosing a college, and applying to colleges.

ACT will release the College Choice Report Part 2 in July 2014.  http://www.act.org/newsroom/releases/view.php?lang=english&p=3064#.UoUmc3rYZWA.

Moi is not picking on the legal profession, but she is making a point that what might have looked like an optimum career path in past years may not be the path for the future. Dennis Smith has a good brief article at College Recruiter. Com, Choosing A Vocation: Finding Your Calling

 “What do you want to do with your life?”

I’ve heard everything from,

“I want to be the VP of Engineering!”, to “I don’t really know what I want to do….I only know what I don’t want to do.”

In my opinion, both answers are good. I’ve known engineers that knew they were going to be engineers from their mother’s womb. I’ve known others who, like myself, enjoy doing so many different things that they graduate from college not having made specific plans for the day after graduation.

In making this decision, the mistake made by many of us is that we too often listen to the multitude of voices that are willing to offer up advice about what “we” should be doing with our lives. As my grandfather used to say, “That advice and a nickel will get you a cup of coffee.

What is it that matters most? What is it that you want to do more than anything? What makes you truly happy? What is it that makes you “alive?

Curt Rosengren says,

“If there’s one thing I’ve discovered over the years, it’s that just about anything we set our minds to is possible. Moreover, one of the biggest – if not the biggest – obstacle we face lies smack dab between our ears. We’re so often overcome with fear of what might go wrong that we don’t dare to even take a step.” “But….what would you do if you were brave?”

Students should be thinking about what is the appropriate life balance for them. http://www.collegerecruiter.com/blog/2006/12/12/choosing-a-vocation-finding-your-calling/

Another important part of career or vocational selection is life balance.

WebMD and the Mayo Clinic have some good suggestions about life balance.

WebMD advises in 5 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance:

  1. Figure Out What Really Matters to You in Life

2. Drop Unnecessary Activities

3. Protect Your Private Time

4. Accept Help to Balance Your Life

 5. Plan Fun and Relaxation 

http://www.webmd.com/health-insurance/protect-health-13/balance-life       

The Mayo Clinic has tips for striking the proper work-life balance   http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/work-life-balance/WL00056/NSECTIONGROUP=2

A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.

Albert Camus

After two weeks of working on a project, you know whether it will work or not.

Bill Budge

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

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