Law School Mindset

Let’s talk about risk for a bit.

As lawyers are trained to never take risks, and to always see the downside of everything. There’s an old saw that you risk nothing by telling somebody “No,” but telling them “Yes,” opens yourself up to potential legal liability. And nobody wants that.

No-men are safer than yes-man, and often times more preferable. And I understand the yes-man trap, because you never want somebody who uncritically agrees with everything you say advising you, but there comes a point where this mentality can bleed into your every day life and cause problems.

However, for all the people who never went to law school, what’s your excuse?

I’m going to bring up Elon Musk not because I am a super fan, but because he’s the real world equivalent of Tony Stark. That guy is a visionary, and the amazing thing about him is that he actually gets his crazy stuff done.

Now, think about anytime you’ve had an idea that seems crazy or far-fetched to some. How many sit around pointing out obvious problems with it, as though you’ve never thought of them yourself? A lot probably. Now think about how many people will reply to your idea with potential solutions, or other follow on ideas that are just as inspiring?

Probably none.

We need to get out of this lawyer mentality. Not just in our personal lives, but as a culture.

As an ongoing part of my “Lawyers Ruin Everything” hypothesis, the fear of being sued strangles many new ideas in the crib. But what about your life? Isn’t it aggravating that sometimes every idea you have is met with reasons why it won’t work?

Yeah, that can be annoying. But what I find far, far worse is when I find myself doing that to other people.

At the end of the day, a lot of people don’t want to be responsible for the consequences of a decision. And that’s a problem. Is it any wonder that you don’t see any Elon Musk types in the legal profession?


I’m no visionary, but deciding to write a book about Rush fans that required intensive research and interviewing was pretty nuts. Luckily, I didn’t listen to myself telling myself no! Buy it here!

4 comments

  1. Personally I’ve taken the attitude to avoid being the person who says ‘no’ as much as possible – just let people live their life and pursue what takes their interest.

    I am more interested in trying to find/suggest solutions to problems, though its probably not surprising how often people don’t listen and continue doing things they’ve always intended to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good thing though. Suggest solutions, or try to see if a proposed idea is feasible and how to improve it instead of being the guy who always says, “Actually, this’ll never work because X, Y, and Z…”

      Uh, yeah. We’re all aware of the potential problems. Let’s solve them instead of acting smugly superior by pointing out the obvious.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s interesting when contemporary law school dorks try to superimpose their lame mindsets on the lawyers of the early republic and by extension the Constitution, etc., etc. Lawyers back then had other duties “in the real world”: farming, planting, building, inventing. E.g. Adams and Jefferson were agriculturists. I think this connection with production kept legalism in check; few people back then could afford to vanish up their own ass.

    “We need to get out of this lawyer mentality. Not just in our personal lives, but as a culture.”

    Thought of this when I read an article earlier about the car lobby asking Congress to lobby Asian manufacturers due to a computer chip shortage causing production stoppages at auto plants.

    Like our first response is to kvetch and lobby and say magic words? Lobbying over physical production. I’m probably overstating the situation a bit, but the report definitely captures the prevailing lawyer mentality.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nah I don’t think you’re overstating things at all. We have become a society that, in addition to fearing being sued all the time, thanks that magic words written on special paper by special people we vote for have magic powers to compel people to act in good ways, because anything that becomes law is obviously good. Duh.

      The lobbying issue drives me nuts. So much of our economy is a protection racket designed to kill competition at the behest of big business, and law is at the forefront of that. It’s disgusting.

      Like

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