I once worked for a pompous little ass who liked to utter some fairly useless expressions, including, “sleep is overrated.” Of all the inanities that came out of his orifice, though, this one at least had some truth.
If you can stay productive over the course of a long day, you’ll accomplish a lot more than most everyone else.
But then if those health studies are to be believed, there’ll be a price paid for such productivity. Insufficient sleep shortens life and makes you fat. But then like most medical studies, there’s always another to contradict the first one. Other research suggests, for example, that “Too much sleep shortens your life.”
Time to read.
Awakening as I do everyday between 5 and 5:30 am, I’ve either shortened my life or preserved it, depending on the medical study-du-jour. Or at least it’s excuse enough for a second helping at the table.
Nonetheless, over the years, those extra hours of late-to-bed and early-to-rise have allowed me to indulge my lifelong love of reading. It is time away from clients, contracts, and cases.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always found time to read. Most people, especially self-important lawyers, claim to have no time for leisure reading. But if I have to wait for anything, I take my book. Eating out alone? Take my book. Haircut? Take my book. Air travel? Book. In my car? Audiobook.
Fortunately, I read quickly. At any given time, I juggle two, sometimes even three books at a time. I am currently in the middle of Michael Connelly’s The Drop, Matthew Dunn’s Spycatcher and for weightier fare, a few chapters shy of completing Sylvia Nasar’s Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius.
A college speech professor once advised that to optimally inform one’s world view, we should read widely from as broad a range of diverse opinions as possible. I’ve tried to follow his wise counsel over the years.
Overlawyered except for small towns.
So last Thursday, I got a chance to broaden my world view. After reading the local paper and The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal had a story, “A One-Horse Town Down to Two People,” about the residents of Messex, Colorado. The population of Messex is two.
According to the 2010 Census, Messex is one of 13 towns in the U.S. with one or two residents. Additionally, some 119,000 people live in towns with less than 100 residents.
All that made me recall the quote that correctly or incorrectly has been most attributed to Mark Twain, “If there’s only one lawyer in a small town he will starve. If there are two lawyers in that small town, both will prosper.”
A single lawyer electing to set up practice in one of those 13 one or two-horse hamlets, then, would likely starve. Is it any wonder that “Rural communities struggle with a lack of lawyers”?
Making the leap that the dearth of rural lawyers is a given and that such scarcity is a bad thing, then something is systemically out of whack.
What with all those lawyers the law schools keep turning out, there’s a Lawyer Surplus, State by State. That announcement came courtesy of the New York Times this past June. It was taken from data produced by Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. (EMSI) at “Data Spotlight: New Lawyers Glutting the Market (Updated)” « EMSI.
So here’s my ‘take-away’ from that data and the report about lawyer-bereft small towns. Two-by-two, the glut of struggling young and out-of-work lawyers should consider setting off for rural America. Surely with two of every sort of lawyer migrating to all those one-horse hamlets, prosperity’s bound to follow.
But if nothing else, there’ll be plenty of time for reading.