The Commonwealth of Australia is widely known for its farmers, sheep and chocolate. Professionals in these industries of venerable age are honored ubiquitously and welcomed everywhere. They enjoy their deserved rest on the sunny beaches of Sydney, travel across the globe, participate as a jury on various contests and fulfill social missions of various natures. In other words, they spent their precious time on the activities which were disregarded by them when they were active in their employment.
However, specific professional caste does seem to retire never. Although, they have already reached their official retirement age, some of them are still either counseling clients or writing briefs, or even speaking to the audience. Their physical, mental and social peculiarities considerably differ from the age traits of their peers of this age, who were engaged in other professional areas. I speak about lawyers, namely about corporate sharks and criminal defense attorneys. This professional category mostly attracted attention due to the specific lifestyle which is conducted by the lawyers, even if they are no longer licensed or they purposefully abstain from active practice.
The Interviewed People and the Procedure of the Interview
I have decided on the two managing partners of the leading Australian corporate law firms and on the practicing criminal defense attorney as interviewees. While the interviewed persons are well-known people in the community, they easily gave their consent to the interview, when the purpose of the interview was communicated to them. To ensure the observance of the confidentiality issues, I attributed the following nicknames to the questioned respondents. The first interviewed person is a head of the tax practice with a law boutique located in Sydney, with 45 practicing attorneys and 13 people of his administrative staff. His pseudonym is Jack, and he is 64 years old, a man of good physical complexity and clear mind. His colleague, whose name is Jim is an executive partner with a competing law firm and he heads a customs practice. He is 71 years old, and he is not going to abandon his career at least in the five upcoming years. The latest respondent is a criminal defense attorney with the Office of Public Defense, who is 62 years old. His name is cyphered under the pseudonym Harry.
The Invitation for and the Process Interview
Naturally, it was not an easy task to get accessed to those people. When I approached the law firms, I was introduced either to the junior associates or to the salaried partners. When I told the managers that I came with the purpose of interview and after that was communicated to the objects of my study, I was immediately admitted to their chambers and each of them dedicated at least one hour of their precious time to me. The public defender even spent 1 hour and 20 minutes giving the details of his life to me. When I proposed them to sign a consent statement, the corporate tycoons even proposed to incorporate several legally relevant changes to the documents.
General Information about the Interviewees
Each interviewed person is a married Australian citizen. The respondents reported that they married in their twentieth and they have been happy in their matrimonial relations. Every one of them has grandchildren. However, in contrast to their peers who are or have been engaged in other areas, these people spend averagely less time with their progeny than their peers, due to the fact that at least 30 hours per week they spend in their offices billing clients or drafting statements of claims. It was particularly remarkable, that the respondents willingly narrated about their families and friends. The information was not deliberately concealed, as it sometimes happen in other professions, but they even seemed to be desirous to boast about the success of their kids and children. Another peculiarity is that when they started to talk about their friends, all their friends happened to be from the legal worlds. Therefore, it can be inferred that the legal community shall be viewed as a closed universe, where the specific rules reign. Besides, when the respondents were questioned about the importance of their lore, the unanimous opinion was that the legal profession is the most important under the blue sky. Although the questioned people were amiable men, when talking about the legal world they were saying with a touch of haughtiness. At this moment, the conversation was directed to their personalities, because reasonable apprehensions that they could talk about the contracts, briefs, bailiffs and legal statements eternally emerged and these apprehensions were entirely justified.
Physical Issues of the Old Lawyers
The interviews indicated that health-related issues were of primary concerns for the old lawyers. However, the study corroborated the fact that all lawyers keep sedentary lifestyles and did not actively participated in sports activities. The only exception is Harry, who was actively practicing surfing, until he reached the age of 60 years. After reaching this age, he started to attend a swimming pool regularly. Those interviewees who practiced corporate law have never treated sport seriously.
All of the questioned people responded that their health started to deteriorate significantly since their 40s. The interviewees willingly retold all their medical complaints. The persons seemed not to have any difficulty talking about their ailments, some of which were of a serious gravity. All of them suffered from a number of cardiovascular diseases and stomach disorders. Besides, intense headaches permanently experience by them. Despite, age groups are different, the complaints are similar and even the slightest discrepancy is not evident.
Although initially the respondents seemed to be reluctant to respond to the answers about their health, probably due to the reasons of pride or desire to conceal the true state of affairs, ultimately, the lawyers expressed the confidence and started to narrate even about the peculiarities of their complaints, as if I was a physician.
Notably, all the lawyers told that their health and the related issues were considerably better when they were in their 40s. Since they transcended this threshold, the changes in their health were identified as minor by all of them, except the specialist in the customs law, who detected significant deterioration of his physical capabilities. Particular complaint that was inherent to every one of them was the sight-related ailments, but it is a professional illness of the lawyers. Most importantly, the decision to worsen their health was dictated by the personal motives of the interviewed persons, who admitted that when they chose the path of the lawyer, all of them realized that specific sacrifices, and health being among them, were purposefully and discreetly put at stake for their professional success. After being questioned whether this decision was carefully considered and weighted, all three responses were positive and they said that their careers were worth their physical sufferings.
Another peculiarity with this social group is that all of them hoped to continue their careers path at least five forthcoming years. Although health conditions are of great concern for them, according to their statements, these obstacles are not regarded as insurmountable ones by these people. After they were being asked whether they are admonished by their relatives to abandon their positions, to leave their offices and to relocate to their houses on a personal basis, the respondents did seem to be hit to the nerve by such a question. Old, venerable men in upscale and highly expensive suits immediately started to complain about constant grumbling of their wives, children and grandchildren who persevered hardly to convince their parents to leave their occupation. Although, they realized that their physical capabilities were the issue of paramount importance for their relatives and close friends, they inflexibly refused to retire. It is unique occasion of workaholic’s dedication of the old aged people. Being questioned, whether it is physically comfortable for them to transfer to work from home and to serve the needs of the clients, to appear in the courts of law, all of them responded that physical comfort cannot be paralleled with the moral satisfaction they obtain when a specific project is successfully completed by them. Moreover, it is evident that their decision was not dictated solely by the monetary motives, as all of them have made a significant fortune during their careers and they informed that their incentives were the professional greed, but not the necessity to provide their families with all necessities. Although, the scholars highly recommend not asking questions relating to the personal finance, the respondents willingly disclosed that information while being questioned about the impact their work exercise on their physical well-being.
Overall, the research indicated that the questioned people did not regard their physical issues as very important ones. Notwithstanding, their venerable age require rest and care about their relatives, their career ambitions still determine their lifestyles.
Mental Capabilities and Old Age among the Lawyers
It is highly recommended to put mentally related personal issues to the second part of the interview. This method is scientifically justified by the fact that mentally related issues are more sensitive in their nature than those that related to the physical conditions of the respondents or that cover pecuniary aspects of their lives. After these prescriptions were meticulously followed, the results were as expected. The respondents willingly revealed information relating to their mentally connected issues.
It is necessary to highlight the fact that the practice entirely corroborated the practice. In particular, two corporate sharks willingly replied to all the questions that had been posed by the interviewer. It was visible that the old people who managed to safeguard their ability to think clearly and transparently, being cool-headed and professional even in such a venerable age, cannot help themselves to mention this fact every time they have an opportunity to act so. Moreover, according to the verdicts of the physicians, the one after his 60th has to practice permanently in order to keep his mental capabilities effective and fully functioning.
Old Age and Peculiarities of the Legal Practice
First and foremost, in contrast to their peers who specialize in other professions, our lawyers unanimously confessed that neither their minds, not thinking capabilities were bleared by their age. The first respondent said that he is able to memorize the provisions of the law and even to cite the works of the leading legal scholars with the same level of efficacy as he did when he was young. His colleague who specializes in the customs law told that he was still capable of remembering all legal provisions that were in force in 1970th, 80th and 90th. Besides, after he was asked to provide an expertly comparative analysis of those provisions, he artfully succeeded in completing that task. When making that analysis solely orally, surprisingly he did refer neither to his notes nor to the legal database which was available for him. He did not express any outer emotion while giving this exemplary legal consultation. Old people are usually excessively excited, but the first two interviewees neither expressed nor deliberately concealed their emotions. They were merely devoid of those emotions when they were functioning professionally and nothing indicated that they were old aged. They do not stumble over the lack of knowledge or other types of lack of qualifications or relevant legal skills.
However, the respondent who practiced criminal defense in the office of public defense confessed that he extensively applied to the assistance of his younger colleagues, capable of providing prompt legal advice and who are capable of conducting quick and profound research. It can be reported nowadays that some lawyers started to face problems with citing legal sources and creating effective legal defense which does not require any corrections, modifications or updating. Harry mentioned that he sometimes forgets that certain precedents are no longer applicable or some provisions of the statutory law are no longer legally binding. Regrettably, but he realized that he cannot fully function as he did while he was a beginning trial criminal defense attorney. But according to his personal statement, these professional imperfections cannot be viewed as an impediment to continue his practice. Although he is no longer capable of arranging effective legal citing, the construction of complex legal defense schemes which do not involve knowledge of the modern legal trends and can be based solely on the traditional legal doctrine is still within the limits of his competence.
Attitude to Death
After this aspect of particular sensitivity was raised, the interviewees willingly replied to all the relating questions, although the hesitation and annoyance was initially expressed by the criminal defense attorney, who generally happened to be the most problematic subject and to whom extra caution should have been dedicated when posing questions of top importance and sensitivity. When this barrier was finally overcome, the opinion of all three attorneys and counsels at law was unanimous. Nobody was afraid of the death which is regarded as something inevitable and important, as a new trial or the adoption of the new bylaw. The managing partner, Jack said that, “the Parliament adopts the law, the judge delivers a verdict and people sometimes die. This process is natural and nothing can be done to break this eternal circle”. The death is accepted and the coming end of the life is neither regretted, nor deplored.
The justification of this attitude was similar in all three instances: the lawyers want to assure the well-being and prosperity of their relatives and upcoming generations. The thought that corporate cases and first degree murders can be left on the desks and more spare times can be spent with the children and grandchildren were immediately repelled by the questioned lawyers. Moreover, Harry, the one, who specialized in criminal law and procedure, confessed that his tribute must be paid not only to his relatives and friends, but to the society as well. His reasoning was clear, logical and understandable. Nevertheless, all respondents admit that all necessary precautions must be taken to avert death as long as possible. They admitted that they always take medication prescribed by their physicians timely and according to the schedule.
Having conducted the interview with the old lawyers of different age groups, several major inferences can be drawn. First of all, all of them expressed that health-related problems are their permanent companions, but the reasons that engendered those negative repercussions are fully comprehended by them. The attorneys willingly contributed their sight and normal cardio vascular circle for the well-being and financial prosperity of their families and commitment to the social responsibilities of their law firms and public defense office.
As far as mental health of the active old age fighters of the legal front is concerned, it must be recapitulated that they are healthier than some their younger colleagues. Surprisingly, the most emotionally distressed person was the youngest in the group, the 62 years old Harry, the criminal defense attorney. It can be assumed that lawyers who occupy positions in the public service are more susceptible to mental breakdowns, than their colleagues who are engaged in the private sector of lawyering. But the deviations are not easily evident and specific topics shall be touched in order to urge these people to express their vexation or indignation. Overall, this is a reaction of the ordinary people. To summarize, the interviews went successful. The relevant data was obtained, and the respondents did not express their dissatisfaction. Moreover it was evident that they willingly answered the questions. The policies of confidentiality and respect were obeyed and the objectives of the interviews have been ultimately achieved.