Regulatory controls and not-so-free markets

Not just doctors but all sorts of students and professionals scrambled to figure out how to deal with their high-stakes exam during the pandemic. Lawyers were no exception. Some states had new lawyers take the bar remotely. But a few states just got rid of it altogether and allowed diplomas from accredited schools to stand on their own.

NPR’s Planet Money, “Most People Can’t Afford Legal Help. 1 Reformer Wants To Change That” is an interesting quick discussion of slowly changing legal regulations that has plenty of parallels with medicine:

The National Conference of Bar Examiners, which helps states administer the bar, argues that the bar remains important in protecting the public. “Every high-stakes profession, including engineering, medicine, aviation, and others, relies on licensure to ensure that practitioners meet minimum standards of fundamental competency, and the practice of law is no exception,” the organization said in a statement.

But Gillian Hadfield, a law professor and economist at the University of Toronto, argues there’s no evidence that the bar actually protects the public. She thinks not only it is time we reevaluate use of the bar exam — it’s time to completely revamp how we regulate the practice of law in the United States.

The bar exam, she says, is one part of a broader system that raises the cost of legal services and contributes to an “access to justice crisis” in the United States. “My estimate is well over 80% of Americans who need legal help can’t get it because it’s too expensive,” Hadfield says. “And the main reason for that is a crazy regulatory system. The bar exam is part of that.”

It’s kinda like cafe baristas getting control of the coffee market by using the regulatory system to prevent restaurants, Keurig machines, and gas stations from providing you coffee. They’re like, “It’s for your safety! You could get burned or poisoned! The coffee will be worse!” Meanwhile, a cup of coffee costs $20.

Sales on WCI2021 and L&G2021

A couple of affiliate/sales/conference things on this fine Tuesday that I participated in this month. As always, these are the sorts of things that help support this site when they interest you and should be ignored when they don’t:

First:

WCI2021 is now available as an online course worth 17 CME credits and featuring not one but two talks from yours truly: one finance talk about student loans and one CME/wellness talk about building a writing habit. The course is normally $779 but is $100 off ($697) through midnight tonight as part of the launch event.

(For students/residents reading, yes these are CME-fund prices. I appreciate that I wouldn’t have been shelling out that kind of money as a trainee either! But given that live conferences are still a bust this year, it’s a good use of funds for those that have them).

Second:

The 2021 Leverage & Growth Summit for Physicians, which featured 39 interviews with physician entrepreneurs about starting a business, real estate, branding, marketing, writing (e.g. me), podcasting, social media, expert witnessing, consulting, venture capital, and product creation. And while some of the speakers had moved on from practicing medicine to focus on their ventures, others were doing some pretty bonkers stuff while still seeing patients. Even for someone pretty content with their 12+ year side project, it was pretty inspiring.

The lifetime access for that course is still $147 through tonight before increasing to $247. It’s a great collection if you’re interested in side hustles and seeing what people have been doing out there. You should still be able to get access to the Facebook group and check out some of the content today before it’s archived.

Leverage & Growth 2021

Last year, Peter Kim (Passive Income MD) put on a free virtual summit comprised of interviews with physicians doing interesting/entrepreneurial things outside of medicine. There were some pretty neat sessions.

I always enjoy talking shop, so Peter and I did an interview for this year’s conference about writing/blogging/self-publishing.

The Leverage and Growth Summit is free and runs from March 22-28 with videos available on Facebook. My interview will be released on Day 2, March 23.

You can register for free by dropping your email here.

There will be an option to upgrade to a “VIP All-Acess Pass” if you so choose in the future. That includes lifetime access to the recordings (normally each only available for 48 hours), invites to speaker Q&As, and additional networking. That VIP pass is $97 before the conference, $147 during the event, and $247 afterward. If you decide to upgrade, that link is an affiliate link and I will earn some money. (If you decide to just enjoy the free conference like I did last year, then no one earns anything except warm fuzzies).

 

The Support Page

It’s one of those things I probably should have done around a decade ago, but last week I put up a “support” page. As I don’t run any ads and the vast majority of my writing is unmonetized, this site is largely a labor of love (and I’m happy with that).

But…

I also talk to enough folks who want to support my efforts that it’s silly for me to make that challenging.

So while the page does include a way to directly send me money, it’s mostly a collection of the active affiliate arrangements I have, which are easy ways to get someone else (Amazon, educational products, physician survey companies, etc) to provide me with financial support at no cost to you if/when such things meet your needs (and usually with a reader discount).

Also, please feel free to ignore it entirely.

Regardless, I will continue to accept virtual high fives, which remain my primary currency.

Productive Procrastination

From Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life:

I discovered that living the life we want requires not only doing the right things; it also requires we stop doing the wrong things that take us off track.

If distraction costs us time, then time management is pain management.

That’s a catchy line.

Being okay in your skin, being okay within your own mind is part of it. We reach for the phone because it’s easier.

There’s a lot of navel-gazing writing about how you should just stand in the grocery line and be mindful: to find space in that brief time to just be.

And that sounds so nice.

But…I also start a lot of drafts in those in-between moments. I haven’t conquered being alone with my thoughts, and maybe I never will. But at least I’ve practiced sublimating them into something I consider meaningful.

If you’ve ever chewed over something in your mind that you did, or that someone did to you, or over something that you don’t have but wanted, over and over again, seemingly unable to stop thinking about it, you’ve experienced what psychologists call rumination. This “passive comparison of one’s current situation with some unachieved standard” can manifest in self-critical thoughts such as, “Why can’t I handle things better?”

But there’s the rub.

I’m not sure it’s really possible to avoid the rumination and bad habit loops without dealing with that pain management directly. I see a lot of workaholics that are good at doing things but not so good at just being alive, and perhaps our work-focused, over-scheduled, and outcome/comparison-focused society is at least partially to blame.

Certainly, the resume-fluffing requirements we place on students for competitive colleges, graduate schools, and jobs like medical residencies are teaching those lessons early enough at young enough ages that we’re likely still susceptible to making them part of our personalities.