Monday, October 11, 2004

Finally, a day without any interviews. Just a scheduling fluke, but it's the first day in a while. I like to think I was a better person in law school than I am now, but the more law students I meet, the less I think that's true. Most of the law students I meet deserve to become like me, because they're already halfway there. There's a profound lack of humanity in a callback interview. It's all a farce, on both sides of the table. They're lying to me about how much they want to do this, regardless of the salary, and I'm lying to them about how much they should.

"You get to work on some of the most interesting and challenging cases in the country." Not a lie, but I don't say that what you'll be doing on them is mindless paper-pushing, and if you mess up, I'm going to scream at you until you cry.

"Our summer program gives you the chance to experience what an associate's life is like." Except the associates don't get to go to Dodgers games and sit in the firm's box, don't get to leave by six, and don't get nice lunches every day.

It is too late for me. I have forgotten what it's like to feel good about my life. It is not too late for the people who come in here with their revised resumes changing "line editor" to "article editor," like I really believe there's a difference. But maybe it is too late. Because they do want to work here. They desperately, desperately do want to work here. People have sent me resumes. Me Anonymous Lawyer, not Me Hiring Partner. You don't know who I am, and yet you send me a resume, begging for an interview. You've demonstrated lack of judgment just by sending it. Or maybe you haven't. Maybe you're just being smart. I've read the resumes. It's not getting anyone a job, but I've read them, just out of curiosity. So maybe it is too late. And maybe the money is worth it. I can't tell anymore. I only know the life I've lived. And what I have to show for it. I almost volunteered to take on a pro bono case this morning. But then I realized it won't replace the hours I spend on my clients, it'll just add to them. And I can't do that. There's only so many hours in the day, and only so much energy to expend. And it's not like pro bono work is any different anyway. The psychic rewards aren't enough. Such is life.

so typical to be discontent. how about getting an Anonymous Mistress or two on the side?
How do you know, AL, until you have done it for awhile? Isn't that the same as the students thinking they 'know' what they are getting themselves into (money, cars, hard work, but not the black hole you describe). One little pro bono case or few hours of volunteering will only be an added drain on your schedule. Unless you make it a habit - post again whether or not it's 'worth it' after you've handled a dozen such cases ~ spent an allotted amount of time each month or week for a YEAR. Then you might know -- for you -- whereof you speak. But how could you know the value or worth of something you have not committed yourself to for a period of time?
Stop your pathetic whining, AL. The fact is that 99% of the best job in the world (and your job is pretty close to the top) is mindless drudgery. If nothing else, the repetition is necessary to build the skill and confidence to do the really important stuff right when it needs doing. In even the best jobs, you're called on to make a decision that actually matters in the world very, very rarely. That's when the education, the training, the experience and the judgment come into play and you either make the world marginally better or marginally worse. Sure, that $500 million transaction may not cure cancer, but by doing it you have a helluva lot more impact on more lives than some schumck who's flipping burgers (or the ninny who's wasting his $150K education litigating $50 landlord-tenant claims). You also have infinitely more input as to what the final product looks like and even a bit of discretion as to what you do and don't work on.

I'm a freshly minted JD. I work in Biglaw and it'll be years before anybody trusts me to do anything beyond changing every third appearance of the word "May" to "June" in a stack of deal documents. Even so, I find my job interesting, exciting, and satisfying. If things look different to you from your dizzying heights, you might try a few hours standing over a deep fryer--or doing indigent litigation for the Legal Aid Society (which is the same thing, really).
i hope you feel better al.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
If you can state that you have forgotten what it is like to feel good about your life, than you remember that you once did. It may be difficult to bail out, but it is not impossible.

I see the debates on this forum as to whether AL is real or not. Whether this is part fiction or not, it certainly expresses my worst moods. But I'm certain that a way out of this corrupting business is there, just as I'm certain that no amount of pro bono work or reflection on how there are worse jobs out there (some of which I've done) will make this seem like a good one. This is a soul corrupting business, but if a person is resisting that, their soul must not be completely corrupted.
Some jobs are soul corrupting, others simply soul numbing. Your response to the effect is really a matter of your own resiliency. Are you past the point in your life where you can bring yourself to change again?

You can always get out and if you are a skillful and capable [anything] attorney, you can always get back in. It probably won't be easy unless you distinguish yourself in another job. Then again, if an action being the easiest available is a necessary characteristic for you to take it, then I would accuse you of having a weak character.

Do you have the tools to accurately and completely assess the risk and reward of getting out?
Grow a pair. Is life that hard? Are you living out of a box on the street looking for your next meal? This whole blog is becoming pathetic. Here is an idea, be "real" to whomever you interview next. Let them know your plan is to chew them up and spit them out, hopefully without a soul. Tell them they are going to get secretary spread from sitting on their ass all day long. Let them know they had better plan a serious illness if they want time off. Tell them Christmas used to be a holiday. Let them know the money is good. Let that person know if they want to have a relationship with someone outside of the firm, Saturdays between 3:30 AM and 3:45 AM will work best for them. Save the soul searching for someone you can bill.
You can have your cake and eat it too. Find a way, don't sell your soul, once it is gone, its gone.
So far, those of you advocating for a career change have not proposed a viable exit strategy. People like AL--senior associates or partners at BIGLAW--have likely developed a dependency on their high-six-figure salaries: long-term mortgage(s) and leases for homes, cars, boats, etc. Memberships to various clubs. It's easy to say, just give all that up, sell it, and move on. First of all, that's not an easy thing to do. People tend to grow accustomed to a particular lifestyle. A la Wallstreet, "It's much harder to have had money and lost it, than to have never had it in the first place." And before you throw back Charlie Sheen's line (to wit, "Oh yeah? Well that's bullshit!"), consider the effects that decision would have on his wife and kids. Private education don't come cheap. Well, you get the point. So, perhaps someone can float some suggestions for ways in which AL (and people similarly situated), might improve their happiness/QOL within the confines of their current jobs.
I recall AL having said he has invested well and doesn't really need the money. If that's really the case why not just quit the damn firm and go golfing every day? Or maybe spending time with your family, especially the anonymous kids. I can undersand his frustration with BIGLAW life sucking every ounce of your soul out of you, but I won't sit by feeling sorry for someone who has the ability to walk away from it all without financial hardship. To say it's "too late" is a cop out of the biggest proportions. Truth of the matter is the power and money mean more to AL than anything else. All depending, of course, on whether AL is a figmant or all our collectiv eimaginations.
Bikertrash has an excellent point. And its not just that people get accustomed to a big income, or that all law jobs, even the ones that people think are great, really pay as much as is commonly believed.

Typically when a person is at that stage where leaving will be easy, ie., they are starting out, single, etc., they think they need to give it a chance first. After a while life moves on, they marry, have kids, the kids are in school, the wife likes where she is, near her family, in a house that is comfortable, and a decision to leave means a lot more than leaving. It's one thing to leave and go back to school, on to another career, etc., if you are 26 years old. It's quite another to take your kids out of school, send your wife back to work, move, sell your house, with no guarantee that any of it will work out, when you are in your 40s.

Having said that, I desperately hope there's a way out. I'm sure looking.

By the way, on exit strategies, another aspect of this is that lawyers cannot easily apply their skills in another job. The idea that they can is a complete myth. In actuality having a law degree is a huge deterrant to anyone employing you outside the law. People hate lawyers, and they sure don't want a malcontent lawyer coming to work for them. They don't want any lawyer coming to work for them, unless he comes to work for them as a lawyer.

- I was arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine, in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol.
- I pled guilty, paid a fine, and had my driver's license suspended for 30 days.
- My Texas driving record has been "lost" and is not available.


- I joined the Texas Air National Guard and went AWOL.
- I refused to take a drug test or answer any questions about my drug use.
- By joining the Texas Air National Guard, I was able to avoid combat duty in Vietnam.


- I graduated from Yale University with a low C average.


- I ran for U.S. Congress and lost.
- I began my career in the oil business in Midland, Texas, in 1975.
- I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas.
- The company ! went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.
- I bought the Texa! s Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money.
- With the help of my father and our rightwing friends in the oil industry (including Enron CEO Ken Lay), I was elected governor of Texas.


- I changed Texas pollution laws to favor power and oil companies, making Texas the
most polluted state in the Union.
- During my tenure, Ho uston replaced Los Angeles as the most smog ridden city in America.
- I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas treasury to the tune of billions in borrowed money.
- I set the record for the most executions by any governor in American history.
- With the help of my brother, the governor of Florida, and my
father's appointments to the Supreme Court, I became President
after losing by over 500,000 votes.


- I am the first President in U.S. history to enter office with a
criminal record.
- I invaded and occupied two countries at a continuing cost of over one billion dollars per week.
- I spent the U.S. surplus and effectively bankrupted the U.S. Treasury.
- I shattered the record for the largest annual deficit in U.S. history.
- I set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12 month period.
- I set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12 month period
- I set the all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the
U.S. stock market.
- In my first year in office, over 2 million Americans lost their jobs
and that trend continues every month.
- I'm proud that the members of my cabinet are the richest of any
administration in U.S. history.
- My "poorest millionaire," Condoleeza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.
- I set the record for most campaign fundraising trips by a U.S.
- I am the all-time U.S. and world record holder for receiving the most corporate campaign donations.
- My largest lifetime campaign contributor, and one of my best friends, Kenneth Lay, presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in U.S. history, Enron.
- My political party used Enron private jets and corporate attorneys to assure my success with the U.S. Supreme Court during my election decision.
- I have protected my friends at Enron and Halliburton against investigation or prosecution. More time and money was spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair than has been spent investigating one of the biggest corporate rip offs in history.
- I presided over the biggest energy crisis in U.S. history and refused to intervene when corruption involving the oil industry was revealed.
- I presided over the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history.
- I changed the U..S. policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.
- I appointed more convicted criminals to administration than any
President in U.S. history.
- I created the Ministry of Homeland Security, the largest bureaucracy in the history of the United States government.
- I've broken more international treaties than any President in U.S. history.
- I am the first President in U.S. history to have the United Nations
remove the U.S. from the Human Rights Commission.
- I withdrew the U.S. from the World Court of Law.
- I refused to allow inspectors access to U.S. "prisoners of war"
detainees and thereby have refused to abide by the Geneva Convention.
- I am the first President in history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 U.S. election.
- I set the record for fewest number of press conferences of any
President since the advent of television.
- I set the all-time record for most days on vacation in any one year period.
- After taking off the entire month of August, I presided over the worst security failure in U.S. history.
- I garnered the most sympathy for the U.S. after the World Trade Center attacks and less than a year later made the U.S. the most hated country in the world, the largest failure of diplomacy in world history.
- I have set the all time record for most people worldwide to
simultaneously protest me in public venues (15 million people), shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of mankind.
- I am the first President in U.S. history to order an unprovoked,
preemptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation. I did so against the will of the United Nations, the majority
of U.S. citizens, and the world community.
- I have cut health care benefits for war veterans and support a cut in duty benefits for active duty troops and their families in war time.
- In my State of the Union Address, I lied about our reasons for
attacking Iraq, then blamed the lies on our British friends.
- I am the first President in history to have a majority of Europeans
(71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and security.
- I am supporting development of a nuclear "Tactical Bunker Buster," a WMD (Weapon of Mass Destruction).
- I have so far failed to fulfill my pledge to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice.


- All records of my tenure as governor of Texas are now in my father's library, sealed and unavailable for public view.
- All records of SEC investigations into my insider trading and my bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy! and unavailable for public view.
- All records or minutes from meetings that I, or my Vice President,
attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and
unavailable for public review.



<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?