Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Q. "I've heard that NYU is not as highly regarded on the West Coast as it is in NY. Have you found this to be true? If so, assuming I want to work on the West Coast, should I try to attend a lower ranked West Coast school, a more 'national' East Coast school, or just go for the highest ranked school I can get into?"

A. NYU? Never heard of it. What is a "national" school? Don't these places have statistics in the job placement offices?

Q. "What does an associate have to do to get fired in their first few years? And how do you go about it?"

A. Kill someone. Fired is a bad word. Encouraged to begin looking elsewhere for employment is a nicer way to put it. A lot of what happens is pretty arbitrary. You either seem like partner material or you don't. Maybe it's your shoes. They're not shiny enough. Your tie isn't tied quite right. You have a weak handshake. Your wife needs you home too often. Arbitrary things like that.

Q. "how generous are you with billing time to the client? some people don't keep diaries, so a month later, they know they've worked on it, but aren't too sure for how long...."

A. More generous than you were with capital letters. I scrawl things down on a sheet throughout the day and hand it to the waste of a subsidized gym membership who sits at the desk outside my office and answers my phone. She records the numbers. We charge so much per hour and have enough clients with work for us to do that there aren't tremendous incentives to pad bills. Clients are relatively savvy. They've worked with all of our competitors. If we need more money, we'll raise our rates or start charging an extra dollar for photocopies. I can't speak for my colleagues, but my hours are pretty accurate, except for the time I bill clients for writing posts on here.

Q. "I asked this before, but how favorably would you look upon three years of public accounting experience with a big four accounting firm? or how about a year of public accounting experience and a couple years of experience with a well-known consulting firm? Also, do you place any value on the CPA if I were seeking to go into corporate law?"

A. I don't remember why I didn't answer this before, but I'm sure I had a good reason, so I'm not going to answer it again.

Since you are doing question day, how long did it take you to climb the ranks from associate to partner?

Is this less/more than the average and what about you did they like that made you "partner material"?
AL, or anyone else for that matter, I ask you to answer/discuss the following:

Would you believe it if I told you there is a partner at my firm who gets to work every day at 4:45 a.m. (or thereabouts) and leaves every day at 6:30 p.m., and further that said partner does not take long lunches or travel much, and finally that he is not a litigator? Regardless of your answer to the foregoing question, assume it is true and give me your thoughts on the issue. Thank you.
I forgot to add to my above post, by every day I include Saturdays, but not Sundays. Sundays are "flexible days" - 2 to 3 hours in the office.
I guess it depends. If this person actually enjoys his work and the hours then more power to him. I mean, really, how many people are actually happy with what they do for a living? On the other hand, is his life outside the office so meaningless that he must work nearly 14 hour days 6 days a week, not travel, take lunch? Is a huge salary worth that kind of life? I'm far from adverse to hard work, but this is just a bit over the edge.
I posted above re: the "hypothetical" partner. My thoughts, as a new partner (lateral) at this hypothetical firm, is that the partner is in dire need of professional help. Unfortunately, the attitude here is that self destructive behavior is acceptable if it is also profitable.

I'm not sure whether he likes his work or not. However, I do know that he spent 15 minutes at his mother's funeral b/c he had to get back to work. How do I know? Because he brags about it.

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