After seven years as a hospice volunteer and four years as an integral coach to the legal community, I have witnessed tremendous suffering - remarkably, more among those “living” in our legal communities than those dying in our public hospitals. What is it about our work that brings about such outcomes?
In 2002, a middle-aged partner of a prominent San Francisco law firm was exiting the UCSF Cancer Center after a quarterly checkup. It had been 10 years since his original prognosis when he was told that he might only have two years left to live. As he reached the street door of the center, which also gave access to the adjacent hospital, he ran into a founding partner of his firm, a man 15 years his senior whose cancer was metastatic and highly advanced. They had seen one another at the office that morning, but this would be the last time that they would meet. The senior partner died three days later. The surviving partner then vowed that his last day in life would not be in the office, unless his work became his calling.
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