If your top partners are dividing up that kind of profits, the lower-paid attorneys have to be making decent money. For there to be a huge discrepancy, it would be a very large firm. At a smaller firm, not so much difference. My point is, whatever you are making is not "failure" compared to the rest of the world, only in your eyes, compared to some top mega-lawyers. That's like a family physician comparing themselves to a heart surgeon in a bypass mill, knocking down $1,000,000 a year but maybe working or on the phone 110 hours a week. It's false to compare such unequal careers.

I know you must be in your late forties, but have you considered moving to a smaller city that lacks your specialty, or looking for a top-notch smaller firm looking to grow a little by adding your specialty? Again, just wearing my consultant hat, looking for a solution that is right in front of you.

The root question is, how much money would it take to make you feel "not a failure", and how much would it take for your wife to treat you with some respect, too? I'll bet neither one of you can really say.