Sunday, July 25, 2004

The comments I deleted in the post below are just multiple copies of the same post -- I'm not censoring anyone. In fact, many of the recent comment threads have been very interesting to read, and I'm glad my thoughts have prompted others to chime in with their thoughts. Unlike at the office, I'm glad to not just have a bunch of people willing to nod their heads and agree with whatever I say, even if it's uninformed and silly. Especially with summers, but also young associates, it's almost embarassing how they treat partners -- with a reverence and fear we surely don't deserve. But if they want to eventually end up as one of us, I guess they want to be careful. But instead, they end up looking pretty pathetic at times. It would be much more helpful if they told me when I was misunderstanding something, asking too much, or being generally unexceptional. We certainly tell them when they are (well, not with summers, because we don't want to scare them away -- but with young associates I think so).

Knock knock.
Somehow you think that the legal world is different than any other profession in the business world. As someone who claims to notice details, you must notice that the employees at client corporations have to put in long hours in order to advance. Surely you must see the long meetings droning on and on and on all the time. Surely you see how junior members suck up to the executives. Life at BIGLAW is no different than at BIGBIZ.

On a related note, I have never met an executive that I liked, and I have told them as much. Arrogant, lazy and expense accounts that drive companies into the ground. I'm sure partners aren't any different. They are just the people who have put in their time -- that's all. No more, no less.
A close friend of mine who is a business adivsor to "bigbiz" has commented to me more than once how horrific the situation is for associates in biglaw.

It is different.
You want summers to tell you what they really think and when you're asking too much? This from a man who was outraged when a summer was too busy to accept an assignment from him?

It seems like you bounce between trying to see everyone at your firm as a person and seeing them as cogs in the firm machine. Some days you lament the loss of your soul, other days you're pulling rank and reveling in it.
Yes, life in the law is different from the rest of the world. Not only do lawyers have a specific code of ethics, behavior and honor, but lawyers at large law firms work *way* longer hours than the rest of the world.

9 to 5? Sorry, large law firms don't know what that means, except for secretaries and paralegals. The average associate at a large law firm is in the office twelve hours per day, every day, and at least one whole weekend a month. That's just not the schedule for the rest of the corporate world.
Don't know what corporate world you work in, but it's obviously not a very lucrative one.
Is money the only thing?
I don't know much about the financial world, but from what I see in the legal world the unique negatives of being a lawyer center around the billable hour, boring tedious work and the feeling that there is no out to do something else at even a somewhat comparable salary i.e. you have no other marketable talent. In contrast, other stressful positions like investment banking are usually jobs people do for a couple years after undergrad. They have an out in that they can go to B-school, law school or whatever. There is not the same feeling of helplessness as large firm lawyers often have. Also, in other professions I think you find more people who genuinely enjoy their work, ex. journalism, consulting and to a lesser extent medicine. It just seems that law brings together many different negatives that can make it an incredibly unpleasant experience.

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