Wednesday, July 21, 2004

As luck would have it, it's a slow day in the office today.  So, more questions.  I received two questions via e-mail, and there are some more in the comments I will attempt to answer.

Q (via e-mail). I will be a 1L at a highly ranked second tier school (ranked in USNews between 50-60) this fall.  If I happen to do well enough to transfer to a school ranked 15-25 would you recommend it?  Of course there's a 90% chance that I won't have to worry about doing well enough to transfer.
A. Isn't this what career services offices are for?  Your school's recruitment statistics can answer this better than I can.  Depends on what school you're in, what school you would transfer to, what city you want to work in, and how the two choices do in that city.  My hunch is that it's not much of an advantage to transfer from Mississippi State to Fordham if you want to work in Jackson.  Please no e-mails about whether Mississippi State actually has a law school.  It's just an example.  I don't even know if Mississippi has electricity yet.

Q (via e-mail). What have you used, if anything, from your experience in law school?  Classes, socially, ability to work with minimal amount of sleep?
A. Are you kidding me?  If you're getting a "minimal amount of sleep" in law school, you're not going to survive six months at a firm.  Law school is a joke.  Anything you learn in class you're going to forget after the bar exam, and I don't know what you're getting at with "socially" except that you learn that law students / lawyers are not the warmest people in the universe. 

Q. What is the purpose of the endless conference call? Are such things necessary, helpful? Only the number of participants needed to get the job done or are there a lot of you out there flipping pages and manning web sites?
A. The purpose is billable hours.  While I'm unsure if anyone else spent the call answering questions from readers of his anonymous weblog, I'm pretty sure there were people whose minds were elsewhere.  Or whose bodies were elsewhere.  There's a reason the phones have a Handsfree Mute button.

Q. Would you go go law school and take a job with your firm if you had it to do over?
A. Knowing what I knew then, I made the best choice I could make.  Knowing what I know now, I'd probably spend more time practicing the guitar.  I only know the fictional life I have lived.  At $600/hour, I don't have time to ponder "what might have been."

Q. After making partner what does a lawyer have to work towards? Are bonuses the only motivation? Or is there a hierarchy governing the partners as well?
A. Of course there's a hierarchy.  Everyone wants to be head of the firm.  There's junior partners, senior partners, etc.  I read an article about a baseball team that assigns its ushers numbers for their hats based on seniority.  They're happy when their number goes down (even though it usually means someone died).  I'm happy when my number goes down.  Besides that, $$$$ is a pretty good motivator at this point.  Houses are expensive.

Q. Have you ever considered starting your own firm? What were your thoughts on it?
A. Too much grunt work.  Do I really want to handle all the infrastructure of finding office space, making a web page, hustling for new clients?  For all the negatives of firm life, they do make it very easy to just come in, do work, and leave, without lots of hassle.  If I don't know the answer to something, there are people here who do.  There's a safety net.  There's a word processing department.  There's a custodial staff.  It makes it easier.

Q. What are the chances for a UCLA/USC student with a 3.4 GPA?
A. Chances for what?  Graduating?  Pretty good.

Q. Why don't you decide on a nominal level of 'comfort' and retire?
A. What's so comfortable about retirement?  What am I going to do all day?

Q. 1) What law school did you (or your web persona) go to? 2) How many law schools do you consider "good" schools? U.S. News top 3? Top 5? Top 15? 3) What happened with your summer-associate crush?
A. 1) Sorry, not telling.  2) Probably about a dozen.  You can name them as well as I can.  3) I got to know her a little better.  She's kind of a bitch.

Just wasting valuable comment space to say thanks for answering my question.
Thanks for answering my question also, I really enjoy the occasional question and answer sections.
I, too, would like to kiss-up by thanking you for answering my questions.
You say that you don't want to "hustle" for business if you start your own firm. Are you saying then that partners at big law firms who don't market and just sit and eat what others "kill?" That sounds far more like grunt work to me than setting up a website or finding an office rental.
Carolyn Elefant - "Great things come in small practices"

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