Sunday, May 06, 2007

Roger Clemens reminds me what's right about the world. In case you missed it, this afternoon he announced that he's signed with the Yankees. Most players sign with teams during the offseason, go to spring training, and then try and play the whole season. Not Roger. Roger's better than that. And a terrific demonstration of why people who are better than everyone else should get to play by different rules. If Randy Wolf had told the Dodgers he wanted to wait until May to decide who he wanted to play for, they would have said, "Okay, Randy, that's fine, but we can't wait for you. We probably won't have a spot for you, or the budget flexibility to sign you at top dollar." That's because Randy is merely a run-of-the-mill major league starting pitcher. He's good, but he's no Clemens. Clemens, on the other hand, gets to wait until the entire Yankees rotation is on the disabled list, and they're desperate for pitching help. And then he can swoop right in and volunteer to help them out, in exchange for just a couple dozen million dollars.

I'm not intending any sarcasm here. I applaud Clemens. I applaud him for being able to tailor the system to his needs, and I celebrate the ability of the free market to adjust to a player like Clemens, who only wants to pitch part of the season, and who wants to keep all of the cards in his hand for the longest time possible. I'm just glad the law firm recruiting market doesn't work the same way. It would make my job a lot harder. Imagine the normal recruiting season. The run-of-the-mill Ivy League law students interview and get offers. But what if the standouts got to bypass the system? What if they were able to call us the day after we signed Big Client X to a headline-making deal, and offer their services for 50% above the normal rate? Well, we'd laugh at them. We'd say they should have gone through the normal recruiting process. We'd send paralegals over to their houses to throw eggs at their windows.

But that's only because there are no standouts. Associates are all the same. They're all equally capable of doing the mindless work we assign, and the "standouts" are just the ones who never go home. They're all fungible parts, easy to swap in and out when they leave for the hospital after their nervous breakdowns. That's just the way the system works.

And the way it works here makes me forget that there are other places in the world where skill and talent actually make a different, and standout performers deserve special treatment. Not here. But on the Yankees. And that's what Clemens reminds me. Good for Roger. I wouldn't hire him to do document review outside of the normal recruiting calendar (although he'd probably do just fine at it), but I'm glad he gets to pitch for the Yankees and get $30 million for half a season's work. Congratulations, Roger.

Aw, c'mon. Tell me you don't secretly favor Julio Franco. At age 48 years, 8 months the guy clubs a 418 foot homer off of Randy Goddamn Johnson on the road and then puts off meeting with the press until he's concluded his POST-game workout. Now that's a rainmaker's work ethic. And he's busting ass for the sheer love of the game. It remains to be seen whether Clemens will be much more than a cost center with a break-even prospect at very best.
Sorry, but I can feel the pain in your post.
You wouldn't let Clemens near a pile of fresh documents.

How could you authenticate the tobacco spit stains on them at trial without calling him as a witness at $434,517 a day?
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thank you very comment...
Clemens annoys me just as much as lawyers do.
Take a break from promoting your book and post!
please comment on HR 916!
funny,and tricky
I am from China,first time on your blog
Of course law firm hiring is merit-based. Except in the case of big firms, the merit is short for meritricious. Any young grinder who can turn a blindingly obvious question into a 20-page research memo is on his way to great things.

But enough with the cynicism: Meritricious and a happy new year!
Umm.. "make a different"?? Is that the kind of grammatical expertise that allows you to decide who's good enough for document review? Sad... I thought you were better than typos.
"Well, he came home one midnight, liquored deep--
Worse than I'd known--
"Of course law firm hiring is merit-based. Except in the case of big firms, the merit is short for meritricious. Any young grinder who can turn a blindingly obvious question into a 20-page research memo is on his way to great things."

----[cough cough]--what a bunch of BS. I was in the top 5% of my class; magna cum laude; 2 law reviews; published comment; 2 years clerking for a state supreme court justice; lost 2 serious relationships in law school due to working my tail off; phi beta kappa in college---I did everything the right way---and I can't even get an interview at a single big firm in the metro area in which I live.

WHY one might ask. Numerous theories abound.
1) I come from a blue collar family, don't like golf, and have absolutely no business connections
2) My daddy wasn't a judge, lawyer, CEO, or other blue-blooded rich prick
3) I wasn't part of the right "socioeconomic group" to participate in any "special hiring program"
4) I don't schmooze people. I am smart, work harder than the guy next to me, come up with the right answers, and fight to win.

Big firms would rather hire the average "B" student whose dad works at the firm across the street and will sit in his office, not ask questions, and be a good little automaton.

Hiring at big law firms is anything BUT merit based. Its IMAGE based. If you don't come from the right background, you won't get a job at one of these places no matter how hard you work, how high your grades are, how many law reviews you were on, or how many prominent references you have.
Hate to tell you, but top 5% at Yale or Harvard, law reviews, clerkships, etc. is just average these days. We look for multiple advance degrees, work experience in the field in which you want to practice and something the firm can sell to our clients. Wall paper and publishings is average. Law reviews take anyone these days because there are so many of them vs. a decade or two ago. With the advent of the interent, more people are being heard and publications are easier to distribute. Law review or publishing is average is almost a min. to have us even look at your resume. Clerkships are a step in the right direction, but again, average. Its a tough reality, but it is America. Best of luck.
Entertaining post! I think you should now concentrate on your blog.
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