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Lawyers Are (And Happiness Is) A Warm Gun

In 1970, Charles Schultz (the creator of the timeless cartoon, Peanuts) wrote a book entitled, "Happiness Is A Warm Puppy". That book later inspired the title of a gun magazine piece entitled, "Happiness Is A Warm Firearm", which in turn inspired the title to John Lennon's song, "Happiness Is A Warm Gun". And that song inspired me to write this piece, associating lawyer wellbeing with the maintenance of a gun. How sad, and ironic.

Lawyers are well-educated "hired guns", and in a strange way are aptly analogous to a well-oiled gun-- as long, that is, as we're well. And "oiled". When we are not well, we can be very dangerous. Which leads me to consider (again) how important it is for law firms to prioritize lawyer wellbeing. Both lawyers and guns are instruments of much that is good, but they can also be instruments of pain and destruction-- particularly if they are not regularly maintained and cared for.

Any lawyer-- like any gun-- can "go off" unexpectedly, and the cost (both financial and human) can be devastating. How senseless. How predictable-- and how manageable. It's a tragedy that is entirely avoidable, and anyone touched by such a tragedy has every right to be outraged.

Ultimately, everyone understands that the comparison between lawyers and guns, is just an analogy-- and it's not intended to point fingers or call into question anyone's intentions. Rather, it's intended to shed light on two related, and curiously underappreciated, conditions: Lawyer wellbeing and mental health.

Every responsible gun owner is taught the importance of good sense and good intention in the handling of a firearm-- including the importance of regular maintenance. Isn't it time that more of us in the legal profession pay as much attention to the care of our brothers and sisters, as we would to the care of a gun?

Lawyers-- like guns-- need to be handled with care!


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