Read the interview. Here are my thoughts on the first question: "What unique challenges do lawyers face in finding satisfaction in their careers?"
This is an important question, given the immense dissatisfaction in the profession. His answer is basically four-fold:
- When lawyers apply their learned and naturally detachment and skepticism to career development, they quash creative solutions;
- Lawyers fail to develop an identity apart from their work;
- Lawyers fail to "network" with those outside the profession; and
- There is "a certain amount of negativity" in the profession.
As I point out in Redeeming Law, the question of the lawyer's identity is also a key issue in developing one's calling to the glory of God. Melcher is correct that lawyers often "lack a deep sense of who they are apart from their jobs."
I think this is part of the fragmentation that we see everywhere. Neither family, faith, nor community is relevant to who I am as a lawyer. Therefore, young lawyers who have poured their souls into law school, at the expense of developing a "whole" self, are defined by their work. I would add that this fragmentation and isolation is encouraged by law school, by professional training, and by the modern world that disengages the sacred from the secular, facts from values, and religion from work.
Melcher's third point also rings true from a Christian perspective: Lawyers, like everyone else, are only alive as particular parts in a larger body. Without ministry to and from others in and outside the body of Christ, lawyers are not participants in the vibrant ministry of the body. A fulfilled law practice is one that takes part in a diversity of service within the diverse depths of a community.