WHEN IS THE OLDER LAWYER TOO OLD TO WORK? CONSIDER “CRYSTALIZED INTELLIGENCE”

AGE-ISM, LAWYERS & WISDOM


The following comes from the OpEd page (A25) of NYT for November 13, 2020, Jennifer Senior wrote the short essay. Here’s what might apply under my title: “It is astonishing how our job system works.”

“According to a joint analysis conducted in 2018 by ProPublica and the Urban Institute, more than half of older American workers with stable jobs are forced out of them before they choose to retire–and once they’re out of a job, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show they struggle for far longer with joblessness. An unemployed 54-year-old, for instance, will search for a job for almost a year.)

‘In his thoughtful–if depressingly headlined–story for The Atlantic last year, “Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think,” Arthur Brooks noted that while most people’s happiness increases between the ages of 50 and 70 in wealthier countries, all bets are off after that, especially you are male: Both depression and suicide rates go up in men after 75.’ . . .

“But here, to me,” Senior says, “was the real takeaway from Mr. Brooks piece: If our fluid intelligence[–our ability to solve novel problems–]declines as we age, our ‘crystallized intelligence,’ or the ability to use what we know, increases.” 

So much for journalistic wisdom.

Are there much better places to use that idea than in the legal profession? As the ancient saying goes: age can bring wisdom.  Why is it that younger lawyers who are still building their careers don’t see this? Maybe it’s who gets how much? 

What about the problem of increases in depression? In fact, it’s only marginal, and the truth is that many younger lawyers have the same or similar problem.  Those are usually lawyers who do not have something “big” in their lives. Their practice has often been it and often forced into seeming to stay that way And there are other problems too:  repetitive activities, nothing new, no stimulating persons at hand are the most likely ones.  

By the way, the source of the quotes here is Jennifer Senior,  “Biden Soon Turns 78. Get Over It.”


Michael Sean Quinn, Esq. 

Austin Texas


Michael Sean Quinn, PhD, JD, CPCU, Etc

Michael Sean Quinn, PhD, JD, CPCU, Etc. (530)

One of Texas's leading insurance scholars, Michael Sean Quinn is a past chair of the Insurance Section of the State Bar of Texas and has a broad legal practice.

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