Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I was on a panel this morning, a breakfast for unemployed lawyers through some organization that sprouted up sometime during the recession to help unemployed lawyers network with other unemployed lawyers so they can all pretend they're accomplishing something by talking to each other about unemployment. I like to go to these panels, collect resumes, and sprinkle them around the firm on the desks of associates slightly less qualified than the people whose resumes I collect, just to make the associates a little nervous. "See, there are people out there who we could hire, with just a little more experience than you, just a little better GPA, just a little higher LSAT score (yes, the LSAT score is on a good number of these resumes)." No, seriously, networking is great, I've seen a lot of my former associates at these events and I'm absolutely thrilled to run into them and find out they've had no success in the job market. Perhaps I shouldn't be happy about it-- perhaps it means our firm isn't respected in the industry, that our former associates aren't valued, and that we need to work on our image. But maybe I shouldn't overthink it. It probably just means there aren't any jobs out there, and it's not anyone's fault that they can't find legal work. Except it's no fun to think about it that way, no fun to believe it's all just about the economy, and the fact that all these specialists we trained to do securitization deals and real estate transactions just don't have much value in a world where those deals aren't happening. No, I choose to blame the individual.

That's what I talked about on the panel this morning. "Blaming yourself for the economy, and what you should have done better." That was the title of my talk. 74 slides, where I itemized out a series of things lawyers should have been doing before they got laid off. Not sleeping. Gaining experience in every other area of the law. Going to school at night for an additional degree. Training to be an expert in social media and search engine optimization. Inventing Facebook. And so forth. There were lots of things lawyers could have done to prevent being laid off, or to set themselves up for a fine career even once the legal industry imploded. Not my fault they didn't win that million-dollar Netflix prize for improving their who-likes-what-movie algorithm. Could have been working on it in their spare time. Not my fault they didn't win the lottery. Not my fault they didn't invest in land that ultimately proved to have oil beneath it. None of these things are my fault, or the firm's fault.

For some reason, no one seemed to like my speech.

I was at a garage sale last week and bought a box of new books for $1 (he only asked $0.50 but I felt generous since he was wheelchair-bound) was some piece of garbage called Anonymous Lawyer - it's ugly and poorly written (the first page was anyway...) but at least now I have something I can throw at the children as they pass my outside gate...river stone is more expensive than they deserve. I've reassigned my security to stand around the pool with shotguns so they can shoot at news helicopters trying to get footage of the preparations for my daughter's bat mitzvah. The front gate is my domain - there's not much that's better than watching a 4-year-old bleed.

By the way, are you still forcing associates to get bootleg Viagra for you when you send them to see that 'client' in Mexico? Poor poor AL...a hiring partner that only hires from the escort section of the phone book (bet most of your hires had higher LSAT scores than you).
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Times are rough. Everyone is saving what they can and not spending much. Things will get better in time, we just need to stay strong.
' hmmm does this mean that there a lot people who are just too lazy and complacent? that creative juices flowing are hard to come by.. geezz, that wud indeed spell recession..
- perhaps, your audience juz dont like the idea of them being slapped on their faces that they are somehow to blame for their fix. it takes pounds of maturity before anyone wud it see it differently, constructively.
' one smooth read you have here.. i hope you don't mind me invading your space.. keep it up atty! =)
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i just wanted to say how much i enjoy reading your blog. in a world full of spin, it's nice to get some fact-based analysis.
keep up the good work.
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Hopefully, sustenance will be easy and simplified in all matters :-)
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