Open Letter to Young Lawyers & Doctors

by Mr Juggles

Dear Young Lawyer and/or Doctor,
I noticed in a recent NYTimes article that some of you are having self-doubts.

To the lawyers:

Many young associates, [a formerly young female lawyer] added, spent their lunch hours making lavish purchases on, just to remind themselves that what they did counted for something.

In case the Neiman Marcus purchases succeeded in lifting your morale and left you with the impression that what you did counted for something, please let me add some critical information: It doesn’t. This is why you are paid, on an hourly-adjusted basis, like a recent (2nd tier) college graduate.

To the doctors:

Increasing workloads and paperwork might be tolerable if the old feeling of authority were still the same, doctors said. But patients who once might have revered them for their knowledge and skill often arrive at the office armed with a sense of personal expertise, gleaned from a few hours on, doctors said, not to mention a disdain for the medical system in general.

The fact that I was able to diagnose my own illness after 15 min on WebMD speaks to the value of your knowledge. Perhaps our relationship would be more productive if you would stop making me wait 3 days for an appointment (and 90 minutes once I get to the office) to diagnose a sinus infection that I already know I have. Give me the antibiotics without the self-importance. I will come see you again when I have something you can actually be helpful with. For instance, after I break my arm trying to carry my bonus home, I will come see you and you can set the cast. Until then, please stop whining.

Mr Juggles

To the consultants:
Stop grinning. You are next.

Related Reseach:

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  1. January 7th, 2008 | 6:17 pm

    Isn’t bankers buying Ferragamo & Tyrwhitt the same “lavish purchase” phenomenon that indicates a search for meaning through outlandish consumption in the midst of a job that consumes the best years of a person’s life?

    Look forward to hearing you rip on us consultants.

  2. investor
    January 7th, 2008 | 7:23 pm

    To the consultants:
    Your two-by-two matrices fool nobody, although perhaps there is some genius required to convince clients that your recycled analyses are worth the cost.
    On the other hand, that genius is exclusive to the partners, since they are the ones really being paid for your “work.”

  3. jag
    January 7th, 2008 | 9:44 pm

    I’m an equity research analyst. We don’t get to be as self-satisifed as the bankers, because we already know that everything we do is worthless. They told us so in college finance classes.

  4. Mr Juggles
    January 7th, 2008 | 11:57 pm

    The authors of this blog would never practice law, medicine, the voodoo arts of consulting, or be bankers. Needless to say, we’d rake hot coals over our eyeballs before working in equity research.

  5. To The Hilt
    January 8th, 2008 | 11:48 am

    Dr. Juggles,

    The second to last sentence in the main text was a bit of genius.

    Last year, I threw out my back trying to carry my bonus suitcases out of the building. I rehabbed the injury vigorously and trained hard all year so I could handle the load this year.

    Unnecessary effort on my part. Direct deposit is a wonderful thing.

  6. jiggley
    January 8th, 2008 | 12:47 pm

    so you only write research for a hobby, as opposed to professionally then?

  7. January 8th, 2008 | 1:29 pm

    ConsultantNinja – only a middle market banker or a consultant would consider “Tyrwhitt” a “lavish purchase”. I wouldn’t even let my butler’s assistant wear that crap.

  8. Anon, III
    January 8th, 2008 | 8:19 pm

    All this talk of folks trying to impress eachother with discussion of clothing labels depresses me. That anyone still wears off-the-rack seems bizarre. I guess trying needlessly to outspend your associates is a new money thing I’ll never quite understand, like publicly discussing how you dress your butler’s assistant. Do you also get your monogram on your cuff, the pocket, or the tail of the shirt?

    Also, if you are able to wear shirts off-the-rack, you should consider a low carbohydrate, low fat diet, along with a vigorous exercise regime.

  9. jiggley
    January 9th, 2008 | 10:03 am

    I’m so baller I don’t even wear shirts, I just roll in a stack of hundred-pound notes every morning after my servant girls finish annointing my upper body in oil and honey. Then I am ready to face another day of balling.

  10. January 9th, 2008 | 3:30 pm

    Congratulations on self-diagnosing your sinus infection.

    I once self-diagnosed a throat infection, got my mom to write me a prescription with horrible side effects. I didn’t get better and felt like crap, only to find out later that I was wrong the whole time and should have seen my PCP.

    We make you wait because it’s worth the wait to KNOW that you’re right. If we took your word for it and you were wrong, are you gonna sue yourself? NO. You’ll sue us for not being thorough.

    Patience leads to better health, so please be kind and shut the f*ck up.

  11. no cares
    January 9th, 2008 | 3:57 pm

    and to the bankers, traders etc that read this site… thank you for your contribution to society.

  12. January 9th, 2008 | 5:06 pm


    From what you say I assume both you and your mother are doctors. At what stage of your career were you when you made that self-diagnosis?

    no cares,

    Thank you, it’s nice to be appreciated for the millions of dollars the financial community donates every year to your poor asses. Actually this general attitude of “biting the hand that feeds” made me switch to only donating to charities for animals (not the nutjob hippies at PETA of course, but ASPCA, local shelters, etc.) and certain diseases.

  13. rskarb
    January 9th, 2008 | 6:24 pm

    pcp helps me trade

  14. rskarb
    January 9th, 2008 | 6:28 pm

    i also hate consultants

  15. Anonymous Coward
    January 10th, 2008 | 3:00 am

    ‘In case the Neiman Marcus purchases succeeded in lifting your morale and left you with the impression that what you did counted for something, please let me add some critical information: It doesn’t. This is why you are paid, on an hourly-adjusted basis, like a recent (2nd tier) college graduate.’

    So . . . the rule of law is valueless? I don’t think a society without law would have a particularly vital, or even viable, financial market.

    Low pay serves as a “character screen,” not a signal of value. If one reads the article closely, it is clear that lawyers (and probably doctors) derive a large portion of their utility from non-monetary compensation. The reason young lawyers are paid poorly is because they are supposed to have a certain preference set that is not exclusively based on money. If they don’t have such a utility function, then a firm doesn’t particularly want the person sticking around.

    Let’s also consider the source of the Nieman Marcus quote. She believed that practicing law is similar to ‘Ally McBeal.’ Then she was upset that in the real world, she had to do real work. Is she really the best person to speak on behalf of the entire population of young lawyers? I hope not.

  16. rskarb
    January 10th, 2008 | 10:43 am

    please take more comedy as a personal slight, mr coward

  17. bfellows
    January 10th, 2008 | 11:06 am

    “The reason young lawyers are paid poorly is because they are supposed to have a certain preference set that is not exclusively based on money. If they don’t have such a utility function, then a firm doesn’t particularly want the person sticking around.”

    hence the comedy. traders make money, and the preference set follows. in your circle, feel free to make fun of capitalists. in our circle, we’ll make fun of those who rationalize their low paychecks.

  18. no cares
    January 10th, 2008 | 11:13 am


    I’m in your business. I make a sh*t ton of money. I donate a tiny fraction to charity and contribute nothing on a daily basis and neither do the vast majority of people on my desk or floor

    Let’s face it, we’re not doctors or peace corps volunteers. Just sayin’…

  19. To The Hilt
    January 10th, 2008 | 11:16 am


    Can you give me the formula for that utility function?

    Right now, I have it as “you = idiot” but I feel like it’s missing something.

    God, I hate lawyers.

  20. January 10th, 2008 | 12:09 pm

    Bankers’ disdain for lawyers, doctors, consultants, and any other profession is clear, but I’m not so sure why.

    After all, all us other folks in the economy by and large actually create value. Bankers grease the wheels of commerce (to quote , and in the process grab a bunch of that value for themselves.

    If the host dies (regular folks), so does the parasite (bankers). I would think that bankers would show a little gratitude for the hosts that create the value that makes them their “sh*t ton” of money.

    Perhaps people with the character trait that actually appreciates other people self-select away from banking, leaving only the self-absorbed and callow like no cares.

  21. January 10th, 2008 | 12:17 pm

    See?! See?! A simple poke in the eye to lawyers and doctors has come inevitably around to a vicious and unseemly attack against the meek and humble investment bankers.

    I knew it. Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean that everyone isn’t out to get me.

  22. January 10th, 2008 | 1:09 pm

    no cares,

    My bad on reading your first post incorrectly. But let’s think about whether we actually do contribute to society or not. First off – yes on the surface your average trader/banker/hedgie doesn’t do as much as a doctor to help individuals. More on that later, but first a question – who do you think will help more people in their lifetime: Warren Buffet donating billions to charities or the very best physician running a large practice and saving hundreds’ of people’s lives every day? The fact is that even though Buffet doesn’t physically save anyone by performing an operation he saves many more individuals every day with his charitable donations to impoverished areas, while his donations to research may one day help every single physician cure previously incurable diseases. So at the end of their life who has done more good for the world at large? In this particular example, I can hardly see how you’d objectively pick the doctor over the oracle.

    Now you are probably saying – Buffet is an exception to the rule. Absolutely. But let’s not forget that the average doctor also does not save hundreds of lives every day either, and most people in our industry donate a fair amount both involuntarily through excessive taxes on those massive bonuses of ours (soon to be even bigger if the Dems win) and voluntarily through charity.

    Now, getting back to my first point, just because there is an immediate connection between a doctor and saving lives doesn’t mean that the actual work a hedgie does does not add value to society. Most of my clients are endowments and pension funds. Because I am able to deliver substantial returns to them more kids can get scholarships to go to school and more blue-collar workers can retire with a good stream of income. Yes – I charge them for it, and I’m in this to make money for myself – but this is precisely the incentive the clients should want since I only get that fat bonus if I’ve made even more money for the clients. So there – in my opinion we do add value to society no less than any other profession.

  23. no cares
    January 10th, 2008 | 2:12 pm

    for the record. i’m saying that i suck, and most of the people that i work with suck in terms of “contributing to society”. dr’s and volunteers do much more than i do to help out. my charity donations just make me feel better about myself. that’s all… some valid points out there though. nice work.

  24. Ignatius
    January 10th, 2008 | 3:29 pm

    How did this get so serious?


  25. chris
    January 10th, 2008 | 4:18 pm

    I hate to sound like an old man, but I remember the days when there was a quaint notion that being a lawyer and doctor was impressive. It amuses me to think of my peers who went to school for those extra years thinking it was the path to riches and respect. Schadenfreude, baby, sweet schadenfreude.

  26. rskarb
    January 11th, 2008 | 10:26 am

    yeah everyone take it down a notch

  27. asde
    January 12th, 2008 | 1:45 pm

    if you took your pills and you mis-diagnosed yourself, you would use your fancy electronic money to sue that doctor.