10 responses

  1. Richard Kopf
    December 13, 2016

    Caleb,

    Great post on a subject that needs utter transparency. Seeking help doesn’t mean you’re weak or a narcissist. At least that’s what my long-term therapist (who also holds a law degree) keeps telling me.

    Again, thanks for revealing the secret lives that many of us live and sometimes kill ourselves as a result of such living. All the best.

    RGK

    Reply

    • Caleb Kruckenberg
      December 13, 2016

      Thanks Judge Kopf. I vacillated on writing it at all, so I’m happy to have the input. I guess judges have feelz too.

      Reply

  2. CLS
    December 13, 2016

    Caleb,

    I’ve read your post three times today and am still struggling with the best way to respond.

    We are in complete agreement this is a “fucked up way to live.” How each of us gets to this point involves different stories and different circumstances. The end result, unfortunately, for many of us is to shrug. You and I have been at this for the same amount of time, and the best coping mechanism I can tell you for living this life besides cultivating a really sick sense of humor is getting really good at shrugging and moving on.

    There was a time when I lost a case under some bullshit circumstances. Saying I was pissed off would be an understatement. I reached out to an attorney with far more experience than I expressing my frustration at the utter [ableist slur] of a verdict. His response was so powerful I copied it and put it in my phone for the times I needed to remember why we do this.

    “The life we chose is by definition filled with failure. We accept that or we can’t do it and should find another line of work. The key to survival and saving people is to be able to let it go and move on. It’s hard to just shake it off, but that’s something all old crim lawyers in common, the ability to lose and start fresh the next day. Without it, we couldn’t survive this job…[Tolerance] for the ambiguity of what we do is the only way to not go crazy.”

    I submit the best way to start is by learning to shrug, shake it off, and move on. Continued discussions of how this job sucks and how we need to be “mindful” of our “vulnerability” is Jeena Cho’s job, not ours.

    Reply

    • shg
      December 13, 2016

      Damn mean but wise old lawyer who told you that.

      Reply

      • CLS
        December 13, 2016

        I know, right? How dare someone stop me from wallowing in self-pity with truly moving words.
        I might…MIGHT just have microgtriggered my agressivespace.

        Reply

    • Caleb Kruckenberg
      December 13, 2016

      I agree with you that we all have to figure out what works. People flame out all the time because they never figure out what works for them. There’s also no doubt that shrugging and moving on is the advice that lots of us need to follow. If we care too much or too deeply it gets in the way of doing the job.

      I disagree though that being mindful of our vulnerability is not something criminal lawyers are supposed to talk about. Everybody is vulnerable. I tell judges about my clients’ vulnerabilities all the time. My vulnerabilities allow me to empathize with my clients’. I think it is a mistake to treat recognition of our struggles as weakness.

      Reply

      • shg
        December 13, 2016

        Different people have different issues. While it’s become fashionable in the past few years to characterize them as “vulnerabilities,” many of us never spent too much time wallowing in our own misery. First, because we just weren’t particularly miserable. Second, because we found wallowing to be ineffective, a waste of time. We were more inclined to fix problems than feel badly about them. That’s not a criticism of others for feeling differently, but how we choose to deal with our world.

        Reply

  3. anon
    December 14, 2016

    Oh my, you lawyers have it so very hard. You have to go home after work and feel terrible about this nasty system while guys like me get a free stay at Club Fed. Boo fucking hoo.

    If you’re too vulnerable to handle being a lawyer, find another job, but don’t whine about it. Trust me, you’ve got it way easier than the guy next to you.

    Reply

    • David Meyer-Lindenberg
      December 14, 2016

      I realize this will blow your mind, but Caleb’s post and your claim that CDLs have it way easier than their clients are totally compatible.

      Now I feel bad for housekeeping, ’cause they’re gonna have to clean up all that brain fluid when they find you in the morning.

      Reply

    • Dwight Mann f/k/a “dm”
      December 14, 2016

      Ever heard the one about not doing the crime if you can’t do the time? Or, alternately, it’s our party and we can cry if we want to, cry if we want to, cry if we want to! Or, alternately, boo fucking hoo to you too.

      Reply

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