Monday, November 01, 2004

I just got off the phone. We lost another kid to a peer firm. But not just any firm. We lost him to a firm I can't believe anyone would choose over us. I've said before that we're all the same, and most of us are. But this firm is really a sweatshop, beyond the normal bounds. Even we realize that, and people have called us worse. But while we might keep people here a few weekends a year, they'll keep you there every night until three and at least 6 days a week, consistently. I can't imagine life as an associate there, and I've been through a lot. And the work they do is not any different from the work we do, so it's just a culture issue. You give your life to one of these places, no matter where you work. But to lose someone to a place that is without question more unbearable, in almost every respect (I will admit their window views are nicer), makes me feel silly for even giving him an offer, since no one with half a brain would ever choose them over us. This was one of my future stars. He had the asterisk next to his name. But nope, won't happen. I hope he ends up on due diligence for his first eighteen months. Worthless law students.

maybe he feels like he has an 'in', like a relative. Or much higher pay.
Or maybe you really ARE the worse firm.
Skadden is not that bad. Though, the higher salary is offset by the nonexistent bonuses.
Irell? Skadden? Which firm could this be? I doubt that it's L&W, GDC, or OMM. What other firms in Los Angeles are *that* bad?
I thought AL was talking about Skadden too. I was there for a callback. One of the attorneys I interviewed with was filling out her lunch order. She said, "it's so great, we never have to leave the office to find something to eat." Isn't that the best part of the day?
Lets face it, kids dont really know anything. They can read and look and consider, but until they are in the trenches they just dont know. Plus, many kids think working to 3am is a badge of honour, until they have to do it.

Maybe you should tell him 'give me a call in six months'
Out of curiosity, how many kids have you lost?
AL - what made this individual a "future star"? What about him was so phenomenal?
irell isn't that bad.
That's so funny. Everyone immediately suspected he was talking about Skadden. Tells you something about their reputation.
heh, maybe he found this blog. :)
I recall being painfully ignorant of what there was to choose between during the law school interview process. All the firms say the same thing ("collegial atmosphere, exciting work") and associates everywhere bitch ("I work too much!"). I eventually ended up interviewing more-or-less at random among firms in the market I wanted to go to (New York) who indicated that they'd consider me (Georgetown, top third). I ended up with five offers: I discarded one after reading especially bitter complaints about them on "Greedy Associate;" another I ruled out because I'd heard rumors its recent merger wasn't going very smoothly; a third had a hiring partner who gave me a bad vibe (too much plastic surgery); and I ended up deciding between the final two because I seemed to hit it off really well in my interview with a 6th year associate at the one I chose.

As it turned out, that associate got canned the week after I accepted, but for what it's worth I think I got lucky anyway. The firm I landed at can be a pain in the ass, and I rarely get home before 9 or 10, but my weekends are almost always mine and there's nobody here that I'd murder (even if I knew I could get away with it). I have friends who went to the firms I passed on, and from what I hear, none of them would pass either test.

Trouble is, there's no easy way for someone looking in from the outside to figure out whether a firm is hell-on-earth or just a sweatshop (although it occurs to me that someone with a little time could get a pretty good idea by counting the black cars lined up outside a firm's offices on Saturday and Sunday evenings). So students continue to do what they always did: roll the dice and hope they get lucky. I'm more than a little convinced that that's what law school is mostly about, anyway: sorting people by how consistently lucky they are.
What hiring partner doesn't consider better firms "peer firms" and equal firms "lesser firms"? I'd suggest AL try to nab one of those Rehnquist clerks; they're pacing their rooms contemplating suicide right about now. I wonder which Gilbert & Sullivan costume he's going to model his hospital gown after?

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