Wednesday, November 24, 2004

 
I thought I would wish the people who read this a Happy Thanksgiving. I'm thankful that this year I finally don't have to go to Anonymous Wife's insipid relatives and give everyone at the table legal advice about their leaking implants, greedy creditors, or pending paternity suits. It takes all the fun out of the holiday. Instead, I'll go to my brother's house, tell everyone Anonymous Wife and Son are sick at home with the flu, and watch Aunt Fay eat an entire ham.

The one Thanksgiving table I wish I could be at is where a certain one of our first-year associates will be. The bar results came out last week, and she did not pass. Imagine having to explain that to your family. Like all of our peer firms, without a backbone, we give associates a second chance to do what they should have done the first time before we terminate them. I don't think we should. I think if you can't pass the bar on the first try you shouldn't even be allowed to take it again. You should be banned from the profession for life. It is frightening to think that you can spend millions of dollars on legal services and potentially find yourself working with someone who didn't pass the bar on the first try. Pathetic. We pay for any bar class you want to take. We give you a living allowance so you can afford to spend all day, every day for 2 months studying. If you can't manage to pass with all of those advantages, you deserve to work at In-N-Out.

She cried when she found out. Apparently she cried even more when she got called into a partner's office (not me) and screamed at. People who fail the bar leave pretty quickly, even if they pass the second time. You don't want to be known as the one who failed the bar. You need a fresh start. Of course, even with a fresh start, if you failed the bar, it's not like you aren't going to screw something else up eventually, so the fresh start doesn't last very soon. And, pretty soon, you're working for the government. Where everyone failed the bar.

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope your can of cranberry sauce is contaminated with botulism so you can sue Ocean Spray for millions and retire rich. Or you can just sue grandma for cooking the stuffing inside the turkey.

Comments:
It always strikes me as funny that the same firms that don't give a shit how you did your second year of law school let people take the bar over again. They want you in the top 10% of your law school class, but not even in the top 49% (in California -- do other states matter?) on the bar exam.

The bar exam really is not that hard. Well, it shouldn't be. It's just that a lot of law schools these days are doing silly things like getting rid of grades and class ranks... because they are so high on the US News they think their diploma is good enough to make those people good lawyers.

Good for a laugh at least.
 
What a happy puppy you are, AL. Granted in an ideal world a lawyer would pass the Bar Exam first time, but we don't live in that ideal world (as I am sure you appreciate from the tone of your posts over the recent weeks). The big city/international law firms such as I understand yours is have the resources to "cope" with this situation, and will no doubt "claw back" the billable hours from the first-year associate concerned in the foreseeable future. Enjoy your Thanksgiving Dinner. Regards, rhadamanthus (25/11/04 - 8:22:28 GMT).
 
You're so full of cheer today, AL.
 
Happy Thanksgiving to you too, AL.
 
Happy Thanksgiving!
 
Not to mention that bar passage rates are sort of rigged by the ABA to make sure that there aren't enough lawyers to meet the market demand--- so they make lots and lots of money by lowering the supply. The bar is less a test of ability as it is a hurdle that is variably set to control the influx of new labor. I wouldn't be proud of failing, but it hardly means I should go work in Burger King.

I got a really crappy grade of my first law school exam. Then I got an A on the next one. Mostly because I didn't drop out and go wash dishes, like I obviously deserved to do, since I did so badly.

Also, reading the post, you still haven't told your family that your wife left you? How long has it been now? Going to fake a double funeral in 6 months or what?

How passive-agressive is it to seethe about some poor woman's failure on a single test to cover up the rather pathetic fact you haven't had the cojones to tell your family what's going on for the last month!

Happpy Holidays! Maybe you can be subtle about it and send christmas cards to your family with your wife and sons head cut out of the photo!
 
5:42, where do you live that there is a shortage of lawyers and a surplus of legal jobs? (I hate it when law students ask me about job prospects: the picture is just too bleak for them.) I don't see how the bar makes money by admitting fewer fee-paying members, either ... no, the CA bar is purely about ability (if only ability to study, or focus).
 
Why do lawyers work 60-80 hours a week?

If a factory had every worker doing that much overtime a week, they'd need to hire more people.

As Anonymous lawyer likes to say, associates are mostly monkeys doing repetitive paperwork. Why not pay them half the salary with half the hours and treat them like normal workers? When every single member of the profession has to marry the job, there is something else going on there. Any profession could make lots of money if it could restrict work to the point where it was REQUIRED that every worker put in twenty to thirty hours of overtime.

Hey, maybe I'm wrong. I'm no expert. But it just seems odd that everyone has to put in so much time, but no one thinks that the ABA's requirments help create that.

And the ABA is not about dues; it is about protecting the status and money of lawyers. It serves the same basic purpose as a medieval guild; protect the members, make sure they make as much as possible.

Anonymous seems to have a conflicting attitude about lawyers; they're just doing silly and boring paperwork, and yet they have to have the highest achievment to do this stuff. Which is it?

And I'm not trying to attack the ABA, just making a point.
 
Burger king is No In-n-out. I would venture that a lawyer who barely fails the bar could probably work at In-n-out with all the med school dropouts and former cardiac surgeons. But to degrade them by saying burger king, whoaa. What did they ever do to deserve working there?
 
The ABA is about racism. The whole durn thing was set up to keep the Jews and Irish from joining the profession. If you want to know about a lawyer’s politics see if he is a member of the ABA. If the answer is, “Yes,” you got a bigot.
 
All I know about In-n-Out I learned from the Big Lebowski.
 
1 lawyer 80 hours a week, a 2 lawyers 40 hours a week.

well, there is little consistency in the volume of work that lawyers do. i know this and i'm just a 2L. also, lets think about this for a second before you start using big words and figuring out conspiracy theories. assume AL is at Latham. they have 1200 attorneys (that is a guess) with the most expensive real estate imaginable. so under your scheme their lease/mortgage would basically double.
 
Look, I'm not trying to advocate a 40 hour work week for lawyers. I'm ok with the current system. And changing it would cause a lot of problems.

But--- the fact remains that the ABA, with its school certifications & bar exams, work as a fairly high hurdle that help prevent lots of people from practicing as lawyers. When lawyers always work 80 hour weeks, you have to wonder. And why is it always more work, but it never seems like anybody ever puts in a twenty hour week every now and then when everything is slow? Maybe I'm just being stupid, but it seems like someone who can get through law school for three years is capable of a little more than working as a paralegal, whether the school is ABA accredited or not. What other profession knocks 50% of it's newest members out of the industry? What is the purpose of that?

And why do bar passage rates vary so much? CA has 45-50%, while less populated states have rates of 80-90%. Is South Dakota law really that less rigorous, or is it that there are a LOT less lawyers who want to practice in South Dakota & Utah? Less competition, perhaps? It would certainly appear that, unless all the smart people want to work in South Dakota, that the difficulty of bar exams depend on something other than the ABA wanting to ensure that every practicing lawyer has a high level of ability.

Just saying.
 
"Why do lawyers work 60-80 hours a week?"

Because they're workaholics, because they don't want to be fired, because they want a (big) bonus, and because they want to make partner and start raking in the real dough.

"If a factory had every worker doing that much overtime a week, they'd need to hire more people."

The industries are dissimilar. You're assuming that hours over 40/week are categorized as "overtime." Factory owners have to pay time-and-a-half or more for "overtime," which is why they limit it.

"As Anonymous lawyer likes to say, associates are mostly monkeys doing repetitive paperwork. Why not pay them half the salary with half the hours and treat them like normal workers?"

Because lawyers don't want to make half the salary. If they did, they'd quit. Make $75,000 and work 40 hours? What am I supposed to do with the other 40 hours? Take up a hobby? Ok, but now I can't afford it--I only make $75,000! Believe me, they want to make $150,000, even if it means 80 hours. It's all about the bucks.

"When every single member of the profession has to marry the job [blah, blah, blah, blah]. I'm no expert [obviously]. But it just seems odd that [blah, blah, blah, blah]."

At this point, I've stopped reading your comment. Maybe you wrapped it all up at the end. I don't know. I didn't make it.
 
Dear 10:35,

Guess what? You are a fucking idiot. Your analysis is utterly sumplistic; something I could see a pre-law writing. You have no understanding of the financial dynamics of the industry, or how it is set up to utterly exploit low level associates. Hope this helps.

Love,

Me
 
A law student lacking the mental capacity to pass the bar exam went through your firm's interview process and summer program yet you still hired her? This sound like a failure of the recruiting program. I'd fire the partner in charge.
 
Dear "Me":

You're a complete tool, and you need to brush up on your English. Young associates are not being "exploited" in any common sense of the word. These are not migrant farm workers with no education or work alternatives. These are people who volunteered, nay, begged!, for 80-hour jobs with Biglaw. If they TRULY felt they were being exploited--I mean REALLY exploited--they would trade down for a government job with less pay and fewer hours. But they don't. Why? Because they want the money. At the end of the day, to whatever extent they complain about being "exploited" by partners, that sentiment is outweighed by a realization that they're making bank for their mere 3 years of graduate education. And that, combined with the prospects for making even more dough shortly down the road, ensures their return to the office tomorrow for another day of "exploitation." I'm sorry if that reality check doesn't comport with your propensity for whining. You can call me an idiot all you want, and impugn my writing and analytical ability while you're at it. I'll take that criticism all the way to the bank in my nice new M3 convertible. Maybe I'll pass you in your Corolla on your way to your new 40-hour gov job. Hey, at least you're no longer being exploited, right?
 
YOUR POST REEKS OF IGNORANCE!!!!!! LAW FIRMS DO NOT FIRE NEW ATTORNEYS WHO FAIL THE BAR EXAM ON THE FIRST TRY!!! YOU ARE SO FULL OF SHIT!!! I failed the NY bar my first time and I have been told by the partners at my big firm that the bar exam is nothing but a stupid GAME to weed out potential lawyers. THAT IS IT. The bar pass rate would tell you that in a heartbeat!! Your posts are completetly fictional and devoid of truth!!! Stop perpetuating your hipocrisy!!!! ~NYC biglaw 3rd year
 
He who composes sentences using all caps, does so at the peril of his credibility as a rational person. Take a deep breath, then try re-reading AL's post. You are lambasting him for a statement he did not make.
 
10:12 AM

You are a moron. I would be willing to bet you're going to be a life associate. First, you are clueless. Second, do you have to rely on what the partners at your firm tell you to make arguments, because you so damn dumb you can't figure it out yourself?

Lastly, before you start calling people ignorant try availing yourself of a dictionary and make yourself less ignorant about proper spelling (or do the partners help you with the big words?) Jack off
 
i think he was using the term "eploited" as a term of art, genius. he was not actually comparing them so some kid working in guatamala.

the joke is on you. if you work 80 hours a week you make no more, actually, than a govt atty making 75k/yr working 40 hrs./wk. and the attrition rate in biglaw is 20-30%, but in the federal government extremely low, with most attorneys staying their entire careers. use your noodle, for chrissakes.
 
I think biglaw 3rd year assoc has intimated the problem with AL's post. Where is the assumption that bar failures go to work for the government??? What law firms actually believe failing bar results are indicative of ANYTHING but just poor test taking ability or a bad day???? I don't understand why the comments are attacking him/her. I find it more troublesome the part about AL's post about government attorneys having failed the bar at all as compared to private sector attorneys. If this post doesn't reek of ignorance, I am not sure what other post does.
 
"Bad test taker" is just a euphemism for stupid. I don't know anyone who's a "bad test taker" who's actually as smart as they think they are. The only people who fail the bar, or do poorly on the LSAT, are stupid, lazy, or both.
 
The joke is on me, huh? Fine, then you can take your $75K down to BOFA and try to get a home loan for a decent condo in LA. And when you're rejected, we'll see whether you still take comfort in the fact that you make just as much as a Biglaw attorney, when reduced to a per hour rate of income. And before you ask, no, a "charming 1-bedroom" in Monrovia does not count.
 
I assume this first year took the bar in CA. I want to mention that first-time test takers in CA actually have a higher pass rate than all test-takers, because CA has so many unaccredited law schools and that tends to drag down the average.

I can understand how people can fail the bar the first time around. I even know some people that failed (not in CA), and there were all types of reasons (from the I-made-law-review, so-I-don't-have-to-study reason to I-became-ill-and-my-doctor-put-me-on-a-medication-that-gave-me-a-migraine reason). While I understand that someone has to fail, and sometimes people don't really have control over things like illness or emergencies, there are also plenty of people that probably should and do fail, either because they managed to make it 25-odd years without learning how to take a standardized test or think they are so smart they don't have to study.
 
"first-time test takers in CA actually have a higher pass rate than all test-takers, because CA has so many unaccredited law schools and that tends to drag down the average."

i believe that is a non sequitur. did you mean "lower" pass rate??
 
"Not to mention that bar passage rates are sort of rigged by the ABA to make sure that there aren't enough lawyers to meet the market demand--- so they make lots and lots of money by lowering the supply. The bar is less a test of ability as it is a hurdle that is variably set to control the influx of new labor. I wouldn't be proud of failing, but it hardly means I should go work in Burger King."

Really? I am certain the board of law examiners of the various states would be interested to hear of this "rigging." Jesus, your comments would be laughable if they weren't so incredibly stupid. You do realize that EACH STATE administers its own bar exam and that you aren't admitted in every state just because you pass one bar exam, right? Perhaps that accounts for the mysterious differences in pass rates.

As far as the existence of this lawyer labor shortage, I am simply amazed that 1) you actually think this might be true and 2) that you can't figure out why lawyers aren't working 40 hour weeks.

1) If there is a shortage of legal labor, why aren't we all working reasonable hours for $100k+ a year? Why is the job search difficult? Why are there constant ads on television from crappy firms that will take your case, no matter how baseless it is? When I started law school lawyers were leaving the profession to the tune of 40,000 a year. Yet, amazingly, it's just as difficult or more difficult to land a top job with a top firm. Even if you manage that, your chances of making partner are slim. There's no shortage of lawyers out there.

2) Paying someone half the salary for half the hours sounds great from an employee perspective, but if you take three seconds to think about it from the firm's perspective it's quite clear why this isn't done. An employee's salary is not the only cost the firm bears. The firm has to pay for part of each employees social security/medicare tax, health insurance, 401K or equivalent, parking, bonus, etc. and so on. So you're doing half the work but it's not doubling their profit, which isn't acceptable for a business.
 
"So you're doing half the work but it's not doubling their profit, which isn't acceptable for a business."

Ridiculous. *Most* business/professions do not operate the way biglaw does. Biglaw has created a niche market within which the employer is able to "exploit" the associate, as the poster above mentioned.
 
9:55 A.M.: First time test takers from A.B.A. approved schools have an average pass rate of approximately 70%. The total pass rate for ALL test takers, including first timers from A.B.A. schools, was 48.2% for July 2004. Thus, the 48.2% figure is somewhat misleading, as that includes all test takers, including those from non-A.B.A. schools (including correspondence schools and schools not even accredited by the California Bar Association) and repeat test takers.
 
Heh. Yeah, I do realize it is a state by state exam. That is part of my point; why the difference in pass rates?

Two, har-har, what most of my critics aren't getting is that I'm trying to ask questions. Questions that don't accept the status quo. The question remain; pointing out that just not how its done is not an answer, at least not the one I am looking for.

Pointing out that lawyers are workaholics is not an answer. Or course they are; who the hell else would want to put in 80 hour weeks? Do lawyers HAVE to be workaholics, or does the current nature of the industry select workaholics, while everyone else does something else? I vote for selection.

And yes, I am aware of benefits. Of course, that argument is true in all industries; more employees, more outlay. Fine. And I know that being a lawyer is a demanding job where an 8 to 5, clock at at five every day model is not workable.

And yes, it is hard to find a job. Great. Every lawyer out there is putting in the work of 1.5 normal humans. I still haven't gotten an answer that isn't condescending or insulting. Perhaps that is my fault, but I still haven't heard of a reason why it HAS to be that way, or why there are so many hoops that one has to jump through to be able to put together a will a consumer could put together with $20's of software. I'm not trying to say "Burn the ABA", I just want to know.

Hey, I'm ignorant. I know it. Now explain, if you care to, and don't rely on "its just that way".
 
Man you are a total fucking asshole. I hope you burn in hell.
 
"or why there are so many hoops that one has to jump through to be able to put together a will a consumer could put together with $20's of software. I'm not trying to say "Burn the ABA", I just want to know."


Ah, the "$20 software will". It works if you don't have a taxable estate.
 
Unfortunately, it is obvious that the same 4 or 5 retards who ruined greedyassociates.com have now taken over this blog. Hey "I hate softball" and you other total idiots, go away, please. You are stupid.
 


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