The Loneliest Job?

I was on the freeway stuck in slow traffic last Wednesday, listening to an Angels game when I heard an unexpected thing: “We’ve heard from the country of Russia. That’s a first for Angels Social Media Day.”

What?!? The Russians are now hacking the vote on which new Angel is going to have the best season? This foreign meddling thing has got to stop. Where and when will it end?

This is extra worrying to me because I’m beginning my annual obsession with “American Idol,” and once the competition is out of the hands of the established musical judiciary, anything could happen. It’s bad enough that regular old trolls and religious zealots can warp the results — how else can you explain Adam Lambert losing or Sanjaya coming back week after week? But now a foreign power could create even more chaos.

I’m not sure who the Russians would back on Idol but I’m guessing it’s someone who can’t sing very well but has distracting, unpredictable hair. If you start seeing questionable social media stories about other Idol contestants consorting with transgender prostitutes or taking voice-enhancing drugs, you’ll know the sabotage has begun.

Which brings me to the next thing I’m worried about: lonely lawyers.

I’ve never thought of lawyers as being particularly lonely, but according to a recent Harvard Business Review article, law practice is the loneliest kind of work. As a professional cynic, I seriously doubt this assertion. There are red flags (not the Russian kind this time) all over it.

For one thing, three of the four authors of the article work for a company that sells business coaching services. You know they want to get into the law firm market, and their company happens to be mentioned in the article.

For another thing, the survey method seems a bit questionable — something called the UCLA Loneliness Scale. Surprisingly, this scale has nothing to do with being lonely at UCLA. Instead, it’s a list of 20 sad statements given to survey subjects who are instructed to indicate how often they apply to them. It’s a little like a doctor giving you a physical by asking you to rate how sick you think you might be.

There are no happy statements to consider, so you’re going to be at least somewhat sad no matter how you score.

But let’s suppose there’s some truth to this lawyer loneliness thing. Isn’t this yet another opportunity for the Russians?

Almost as soon as that thought struck me, I ran across an Internet article with this headline: “This Legal Ops Veteran Wants In-House and Outside Counsel to Be Friends.”

Is this a desperate cry for human contact, or a way for Russians to insinuate themselves into our legal system? How can you tell?

There’s a photo of the guy asking for friendship that accompanies the article. Picture a fur hat on that guy. This could be a Russian hacker.

Or — cynicism kicking in — there could be another purpose here. The friendship-seeker, according to the article, has just started working for a company that sells law business coaching services.


So I worry about lonely lawyers (if they really are lonely). They could be easy prey for both Russians and marketers.

Fortunately, I’m here to help and I’m not a Russian or a marketer (at least as far as you know). So here’s what lonely lawyers need to know:

If your virtual assistant responds to the name Alexey rather than Alexa, don’t trust it. Either turn it in to the authorities or feed it disinformation.

Get dogs for both your home and office.

Arrange play dates for your associates with associates at other firms. Sleepovers are OK but not if you have a trial in the morning.

Find the nerdiest guy in your office and have him or her organize a mandatory weekly “Dungeons and Dragons” session. Follow this with improv classes and yoga. The billable hours will go down, but you’ll be so much happier.

Finally — and this is important — never hire a business consultant. They might be Russian.

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