The half-truths, omissions, and outright lies about floating through law school.

Sunday 02/20/05

Sunday, February 20, 2005

This guy I don't know emails me out of the blue. Apparently he is a friend of a friend of a friend or something and he is working at the firm where I spent the summer last year and wants to know all about it. "I turned down Firm X, Firm Y, and Firm Z," writes Senor Dumbass, "because I heard that this firm had a better lifestyle." Then it's followed by a bunch of questions too asinine to repeat. What can I possibly say to this guy? I mean Firms X,Y, and Z are hands down better places to spend a 2L summer, they do better work, make more money, send their discarded associates to better jobs, etc.

The firm that hired me and lured this poor fucker in is basically staying profitable through a policy of making the associates extremely unhappy [really shitty benefits, really shitty bonuses] and milking them for all they are worth before sending them away with not even a decent name on the resume. They gave me a job as a 1L because they are a horrible employer no one in their right mind should go to. So they hire 3-4 1Ls from target schools and hope that they liked their free lunches so much they will lure their friends in. As for "lifestyle," that really means "we have a few practice groups so slow due to key partner departures that you will have a hard time meeting your billable hours and we will kick your ass out even sooner." Oh yeah and one other thing: there is no official billable hours target. They tell you that all the time. The recruiting literature is filled with it. The recruiting website notes it, right next to the obligatory pictures of some friendly partners warmly smiling and a sufficienly diverse group of associates sitting in a conference room. But go out to dinner with this firm and hang around late enough, after there have been more wine bottles that people present consumed and you get to find out that dipping below 2200 hours means that, well you should be polishing your resume. Oh and that layoffs have been a constant since about the late 1990s. But that's neither here nor there.

Also, the work performed is largely the kind of cookie-cutter stuff that the better firms don't do because it isn't profitable enough [think a lot of airplane lease agreements on the corporate side and securities ligitation where you want to put up a little fight, then quickly settle]. The people are miserable, including the partners, who if they are worth anything jump ship to better firms. And yet stupid 2Ls throw themselves down the well.

So being in a good mood, I decide not to divulge this guy's career suicide and wish him well. I tell him he is going to have a FANTASTIC summer and to be sure to do an assignment for Partner Joe Blow because he does REALLY interesting work [yeah right]. Good luck, chump. You will need it.


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