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Supported in the Legal Industry

published December 23, 2021

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This article might differ from those regularly found on our website; however, I consider this an essential topic that attorneys often overlook. As people, we all have the need inside of us to feel important, supported, and loved. And just as you probably do not feel good when someone makes you feel unimportant, whether in your personal or professional life, most people experience these feelings too. You can use this innate need to your advantage, but others in the legal world can also abuse it.

Chasing the Feeling of Being Supported Outside the Legal Profession

I have a big Hyacinth Macaw parrot in my home in Malibu that I love and spend a lot of time on. However, he still gets bored and requires more attention; else, he starts shouting at bypassers to keep himself entertained. Thankfully, a young woman lives down the street from me who comes over and takes him on daily walks.

I am very thankful to her for doing that, but she is objectively a bit weird. She is short, has a limp, and has an odd tattoo in the New York Yankees type of font. She lives in an illegally rented apartment with a contractor twice her age. Moreover, she had many bruises and a missing tooth when she moved in, so I thought she was some drug addict or prostitute. Still, she was very kind, polite, and friendly.

Despite seeing her every day, I did not know much about her. I did know she was originally from Chicago. I was stunned when I found out that she spoke near-native French (and a few other languages), as it was not something I expected based on how she looked.

I did not want to ask her personal questions as I thought I had no right to do so, but recently, she came over to return the parrot, and she was having a rough day. She told me she appreciated my girlfriend and me because we did not talk negatively about others. Then, she burst into tears and told me her story.

She came from an essential Catholic family living in the suburbs of Chicago. However, just after she turned ten, she started to be sexually abused by a neighbor and a friend of her parents for several years. Her parents did not believe her when she told them, so when the first opportunity occurred, she moved out of their family home and started to drown her sorrows in alcohol and drugs.

After these substances caused her a few issues, she decided to do something about it. When she came back home to attend a wedding, she could not help herself. She got very drunk and decided to drive a car to find a drug dealer. She managed to find one, but she was really out of it, and the drug dealer took advantage of that. When she woke up to him having sex with her, she ran away, and that was the last thing she remembered. She woke up a month later in a hospital in a terrible state. She hopped into the car after running out and crashed it into the house very high speed.

She broke her neck and back, and she nearly lost her jaw completely. She was temporarily blind, had a ripped off eyelid, needed a lot of surgeries to make her face look at least a bit normal, and the limp she has to this day is a long-term consequence of this accident.

After being discharged from the hospital, she decided to stop drinking and taking drugs completely, went to rehab, and participated in various programs. She found a job as a welder doing hard work and wanted to build up her life again. A counselor from her rehab contacted her and asked her to come to visit him in Malibu. He was forced to relocate there because he faced criminal charges for having sex with his underage clients in rehab. Thinking he would be an excellent parental figure for her in this vital part of her new life, she went to see him.

Of course, his intentions were completely different, and because she liked him, she gave in to it and started dating him. Initially, it was great; however, he became violent when he felt like he "secured" her. The contractor she lives with now was her boss and noticed the injuries and bruises she came to work with every day. When she came in with her teeth broken and missing from being smashed into a wall repeatedly, her boss and current boyfriend told her she could move in with him to escape from this abuse, and she needs legal services that are how she ended up living next to me.

It is probably not a life she expected to have, but she says she is happy. She still has many medical issues and needs personal injury lawyers, and staying sober is not always easy, but she says my parrot helps her a lot in those more challenging times. On the day she told me her story, she was close to relapsing. Walking my parrot had kept her from giving in to her urges.

Her story moved me, but it also made me think A lot. She has been chasing love and support her whole life, which I see in lawyers in their professional lives daily.

People Need To Feel Love and Support From Others, Including Your Clients and Other Attorneys at the Firm

As my neighbor pointed out, Los Angeles is a place full of people who talk negatively about other people. People here usually look for faults and vulnerabilities in others and are quick to bring attention to them. Gossiping is often like a sport here. But if you tell negative things about others to a person, that person will likely (and rightly) assume that you will at some point start talking negatively about them as well. They will think that once you find someone who can do more for you, you will turn on them. And that makes you less trustworthy.

When you do not feel the love and backing of people around you, you usually start getting into trouble just like my neighbor did, and negative things accumulate.

I have had some experience with this myself and know how important love and support can be from those closest to you. A few years ago, I was suing some people who stole money from me. At that time, I was still married, so I brought my wife for support during the settlement negotiations. To my astonishment, she did not help me and told me she agreed with the opposing side. After these negotiations, she even told her mother how she disagreed with what my attorney was saying.

Because we did not settle the case, we had to go to the supreme court. I did not take her there, as I did not want to feel her lack of commitment and apparent censure. You can imagine I did not feel great about what she did and could not get over it. I needed to feel supported regardless of her opinion, and that did not happen. It made me feel terrible, I was hurt, and our marriage quickly started to deteriorate. Feeling supported by the people closest to us is one of the essential things for having a good life.

When we feel unsupported, we go around chasing the feeling until we get the support we crave. The neighbor left her family, left her counselor/boyfriend, and is now with a man twice her age and does not have a lot but offers her love and support. She is also fixated on the parrot because he helps her when she feels low. I divorced my wife and found a girlfriend who could stand firm beside me.

This need to feel supported is something all people share. Unfortunately, many attorneys practicing law in the supreme court do not understand this. In the legal industry, they do not think about the fact that our law firms, law firm leaders, peers, clients, and other individuals or groups we work with need us to have their backs. If you support them, they will do what they can to help you.

The most successful lawyers become the most successful because they know how to support their clients and firms in the legal industry. Many lawyers only care about themselves and their interests, such as salary, ego, advancement opportunities, publicity, etc., and forget that they must first stand behind the people and the firm they represent. When the clients and the people in the firm do not feel the attorney's support, it can be excruciating, and it will never lead to something positive.

If you want to have a successful and happy life and career, you need to support those around you. It is the basis for any good and lasting cooperation. You probably know this from your own life, but when you know that someone always has your back and supports you, you are willing to go out of your way to help them.

If you support your firm and your boss, they will want to keep you around. If you always have your client's backs, they will repeatedly come to you whenever they need your services and will probably recommend you to other people. If you do not do that, talk negatively about your employer, peers, or clients, their trust in you suffers, and it usually has negative consequences.

Our Need To Feel Supported Can Be Easily Exploited in a Law Firm

You might have noticed that many bad things happened to my neighbor due to her looking for love and support. The friend of her parents, the drug dealer, and her therapist all took advantage of the fact that she was seeking help from them. She is not alone in stories like this. We are all vulnerable when we are seeking love and support from others. If we come across bad people, they can take advantage of this need for their gain.

Unfortunately, there are many bad people in the legal profession. Whether it is employers, law firms, attorneys, clients, law students, or the administration in law schools, all of these can pray on your need to feel supported. Lawyers and firms often unnecessarily prolong their cases to bill more hours than are actually needed. It happened to me during my divorce, even though I have my own experiences in the legal career. It is something you cannot avoid. Even in rehab, where counselors should help clients and their wellbeing, they sometimes unnecessarily prolong clients' stays for months to get more money from them.

And just like these counselors prey on their clients, many different people can prey on your need to be acknowledged throughout your legal career, starting from law school. Many legal professionals go to elite law schools and begin in the most prestigious law firms because they seek other people's approval. They think that if they work seven days a week for hours, sacrifice their own lives, mental health, and sleep, they will get positive feedback, and their boss will support and acknowledge them.

Some attorneys are lucky enough to have mentors in their law firm who have their back and spend a lot of time teaching them what they know. However, the majority of us do not have anyone like that. Many firms are filled with people who only think about themselves and do not have others' best interests in mind.

Sometimes, firms and lawyers even pretend to offer you support and care to get you invested in working there. If you feel like you are a part of a strong team of people where you are supported, you are usually willing to work a lot. And for not that much money. I have personally seen too many attorneys, whether associates or even senior partners, be underpaid just because they feel valued and supported in their law firms. Many small firms use the technique of making their lawyers feel supported when they cannot afford to pay high enough salaries.

In my over a decade (or two) long career as a legal recruiter, I have seen lawyers do bizarre things in their chase for feelings of love and support. I have met some lawyers who never moved past their associate's positions because they switch law firms every few years. They love and crave the process of working closely with a recruiter who flatters them, tells them all about their strengths, pays attention to them, and acknowledges them.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel supported. However, that feeling can become addictive, and chasing it all the time makes you vulnerable, especially in the legal profession. Once firms and other attorneys see that you are vulnerable, they will take advantage of you. It is a weakness, and people prey on it. Even though we like to think that people protect weaker individuals, I have found that far from the truth.

Often, the very building stones of all relationships are tested by being vulnerable, having the need to belong somewhere, and supporting people around us. This occurs with religions, communities, gangs, and even law firms. In these groups, people usually prey on our need to be loved and supported. By fulfilling (or promising to fulfill) this inert need of ours, they can get us to give them our money, work for less than we deserve, take part in crimes, or do things we would never do if we were not chasing the feeling of being supported and important to someone. To protect ourselves from being taken advantage of, it is crucial to be aware of this need and realize that it leaves us vulnerable.


Most people, if not all of us, need to feel important, supported, and loved. If people around us do not make us feel those things, it can be excruciating. It eats away at our self-confidence, makes us feel alone, and does not make us feel positively toward the person that made us feel unsupported.

When kids feel like their parents do not support or love them, they resist and rebel against them. That is what happened with my neighbor when her parents did not believe her about her abuser. She turned to alcohol and drugs and left her family to try to find support somewhere else.

The same thing happens when lawyers do not feel supported and essential in their firms. If someone in your law firm makes you feel unimportant and unsupported, it usually makes you think antagonistic toward them. You may be more critical of what they do, you may want to avoid them, and you will probably not go out of your way to help them. And if you make someone feel unimportant or unsupported, you will likely have problems with that person as well.

A great piece of career advice I can give you is that if you want to be a successful attorney, you have to learn to make those around you feel supported, loved, and important. If you have loyal clients that spread the good word about you, you have to make them feel supported. If they know you try to understand them and will have their back, they will repay it. They do not only need an attorney; they also need an advocate. If you want to have a stable career in a law firm with people you can rely on, you have to support them and show them they are essential to you.

To be successful and happy in your life and career, you have to understand and learn two things. Firstly, you have to surround yourself with people who genuinely support and love you, not those who prey on your need to feel important but those who will truly advocate for you and have your back. Secondly, you also have to learn how to support those around you; your employers, firm, peers, clients, family, and loved ones.

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