Last week, Forbes reported that associate attorney is the "unhappiest job in America." Quelle surprise!
According to the article, the happiest little worker bees in America are real estate agents. It seems that real estate agents are "more than satisfied with the control they have over the work they do on a daily basis."
When was the last time you heard an associate describe her job that way?
That's not to say that all attorneys are miserable. Most of the solo practitioners we know are really happy people. They set their own hours. They choose which cases they want to take. They go home at a reasonable hour.
Suddenly, you would be responsible for billing and calendaring and malpractice insurance, and oh-my-goodness-what-if-you-get-sued? It could happen!
For the risk averse types that flock to the law, that's a lot to handle on your own. But with a friend to share the burden, hanging a shingle seems more manageable.
In a partnership, you'll have a sounding board for your legal theories, a helper when the workload becomes overwhelming, and an extra networker bringing in referrals. Not to mention someone who can share the startup expenses.
That's not to say that you should hitch your reputation to any ol' law school buddy with a whimsical ampersand. Starting a law firm is a big decision. A partner needs to be someone whose legal skills and personality compliment your own. But if you've found your legal soulmate and you're unhappy with the associate life, maybe it's time to make the jump into your own partnership.
Or you could just go into real estate.