It is often said that the practice of law can be stressful and draining, but whatever truth there may be to that sentiment, it is never a justification for what I hear so many lawyers say:
"The practice is not bad. It's the clients I can't stand."
We serve. That's it. We serve at the pleasure of the client. We owe a fiduciary duty to the client. And lest we be reminded in the harshest of ways, it is the client that puts bread on our table.
I am perplexed by attorneys who "can't stand" their clients. This is a service industry, but lawyers--men and women who sometimes view themselves as the cream of the professional crop--forget that.
As intelligent as lawyers be, we are not unlike waiters and waitresses in your favorite dining establishment. Is it not true that those serving food encounter amazing patrons as well as those that are on the other end of the spectrum? Would an impatient, pushy, or annoying patron be grounds for them to compromise your food? No. Because like a lawyer, they too depend on those whom they serve to earn a living.
Now, in the same way, we too will often retain clients that are less than personable and rub us like sandpaper; it is the nature of a service based industry. But one must remember that as an attorney you are being entrusted with more than brining out a sandwich. Folks call you because they believe that you are the one person that can find a solution to their problem and bring peace of mind. They are trusting that you are as smart as you think you are. And they are trusting that you have their best interest in mind.
Those who know me can tell you that I am not one to be troubled by the opinions of others. What does keep me up is the idea that those in my profession would besmirch it by speaking ill about the lifeblood of that profession.
Any attorney who "can't stand" their client needs to swallow a hard pill and realize that the client is the be all and end all...or find another calling.