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Message to all you biglaw aspirants

IN MY CLOSET, UNDER A BEIGE LATHAM & Watkins baseball ca...
Effete church
  09/01/09
tl; dr
Mildly autistic liquid oxygen
  09/02/09
cr
Buck-toothed university tank
  09/03/09
AHAHAHAHAHAHA
vengeful blathering area
  09/18/09
tyft author?
laughsome field
  09/18/09
my EXACT experience at Latham. except there was no work and...
Crystalline abode travel guidebook
  09/18/09
jesus
Learning disabled know-it-all keepsake machete parlor
  09/21/09
That's probably the most realistic portrayal of biglaw life ...
slippery balding theater kitty cat
  02/13/11
Damn you must work in a miserable sweatshop if that is reali...
Floppy Cerise Stag Film
  02/13/11
here
Soggy Factory Reset Button
  08/21/11
tldr
Henna Aphrodisiac Nibblets
  09/01/09
titmfcsp
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  09/01/09
tyft
Chocolate Splenetic Clown Sweet Tailpipe
  09/02/09
ROFL tl;dNr
Excitant sticky cumskin depressive
  09/02/09
TCR
Red patrolman
  02/13/11
it's long but well written and entertaining, good post.
Chocolate Splenetic Clown Sweet Tailpipe
  09/02/09
cliffs?
beady-eyed dull hell
  09/02/09
1. guy goes to work for Latham 2. decides it sucks ass 3. ...
180 rigpig
  09/02/09
Every year, thousands of the most perfect young Americans ap...
Misunderstood locus
  09/02/09
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_Giraldo#Death
narrow-minded brindle spot azn
  02/13/11
tyft I can sympathize with Victor.
Ungodly vigorous business firm national security agency
  09/02/09
tcr
Unhinged Mustard Juggernaut
  07/07/10
someone link to the XO classic thread that advises you to pr...
low-t scourge upon the earth resort
  09/02/09
Congratulations!
cheese-eating indian lodge
  09/02/09
oh fuck, thank you. I have been looking for that forever.
low-t scourge upon the earth resort
  09/02/09
One of the greatest posts in XOXO history
carmine federal nursing home death wish
  09/02/09
...
black dog poop
  10/11/11
...
Costumed fluffy kitchen brethren
  07/07/10
This was worth reading. Was it published in Time or somethin...
Rose coffee pot foreskin
  09/02/09
scotus justices make 400k+, not under 160
salmon cuckoldry
  09/02/09
great catch!!!!
low-t scourge upon the earth resort
  09/02/09
"scotus justices make 400k" eh, no.
Claret theater stage
  09/02/09
I read the HLS article a few years ago. I love the part abou...
racy elite lay hairy legs
  09/02/09
it's rly sad, like most of the rest of the article
Misunderstood locus
  09/02/09
TL, DR BIGLAW. It has its pluses and minuses. It's easy...
Exhilarant Geriatric Immigrant
  09/02/09
...
low-t scourge upon the earth resort
  09/02/09
"a race that began in kindergarten" -why I felt so...
Self-centered boltzmann gaping
  09/02/09
...
low-t scourge upon the earth resort
  09/03/09
I used to work with an electrical company. One of the doods...
startled haunting yarmulke mental disorder
  09/03/09
lol keep telling yourself that.
idiotic deep national
  11/20/09
...
low-t scourge upon the earth resort
  09/17/09
...
indigo windowlicker
  09/18/09
I thought this would end up with KING OF RUCKUS in a MAYBAC...
Seedy Dysfunction
  09/18/09
Learn 1. Psychiatry 2. Psychology 3. Philosophy
Arrogant Native
  09/18/09
...
low-t scourge upon the earth resort
  10/07/09
very long and those symbols instead of apostrophes was annoy...
Vibrant saffron bawdyhouse
  10/07/09
yeah lol at billing 320 hours a month.
Big glassy market personal credit line
  10/07/09
and of course he neglected to mention the biggest problem at...
Vibrant saffron bawdyhouse
  10/07/09
The Worthington Law
Arrogant Native
  10/07/09
...
low-t scourge upon the earth resort
  11/19/09
...
low-t scourge upon the earth resort
  03/13/10
...
low-t scourge upon the earth resort
  06/10/10
so did you reply three times with no text just to bump the t...
Silver Reading Party
  06/11/10
nothing gets by you, huh?
low-t scourge upon the earth resort
  10/01/10
180
sick nighttime wagecucks
  06/11/10
"In the 1970s, associates billed about 1,400 hours a ye...
Cream Pit Knife
  06/11/10
the fucking baby boomers don't want that. they're selfish s...
sick nighttime wagecucks
  06/11/10
i agree. i think we need to confiscate most of the wealth th...
Cream Pit Knife
  06/11/10
cr. but are you sure it wouldn't be better to turn them int...
sick nighttime wagecucks
  06/11/10
lol yes, i would love to fertilize my lawn with baby boomers
Cream Pit Knife
  06/11/10
tcr
Unhinged Mustard Juggernaut
  07/07/10
titcr
narrow-minded brindle spot azn
  02/13/11
...
electric brass private investor striped hyena
  02/14/11
If young people or young lawyers organize and are serious ab...
fighting rehab
  06/11/10
we were trained to be cowards. they got us in chains via deb...
Unhinged Mustard Juggernaut
  07/07/10
women in the workplace, partly
Fragrant crawly menage
  10/07/10
what did we gain by changing it? profit, dear xo libertarian...
orchid well-lubricated preventive strike hissy fit
  02/13/11
Wow, what a bunch of pussies. SUCK IT UP.
cyan chapel quadroon
  07/07/10
TCR. little faggots love to bitch.
Rambunctious doobsian heaven indirect expression
  10/01/10
...
Histrionic Ceo
  10/01/10
Truly prophetic
razzmatazz maniacal office
  10/01/10
I was going to ask, "Is Greedy Associates still around?...
Apoplectic site kitty
  10/01/10
...
low-t scourge upon the earth resort
  10/06/10
...
Sable public bath
  02/10/11
NEVER FORGET *holds candle light vigil outside Lipstick Bu...
provocative emerald mother state
  02/12/11
Question to those in biglaw Is it really that bad? What ...
Hateful aromatic property
  02/13/11
It's only that bad if (1) you really, really care about maki...
razzle-dazzle gay parlour
  02/13/11
tyft insightful comment. i actively avoid high-stress peeps...
Hateful aromatic property
  02/13/11
The comment is not insightful and the analogy is patheticall...
vivacious underhanded locale
  02/14/11
No. This is a compilation of the worst people telling their...
Floppy Cerise Stag Film
  02/13/11
i do notice that my anxiety correlates strongly with how man...
Hateful aromatic property
  02/13/11
Send this whiny bullshit to someone who is unemployed and ha...
awkward flushed meetinghouse
  02/13/11
cr
pearl alpha sex offender
  02/13/11
And the person who is unemployed and has creditors banging d...
mind-boggling avocado step-uncle's house associate
  02/13/11
120
cowardly dead blood rage
  02/13/11
Your writing style, the style above, bothers me. I cannot d...
Stimulating puppy
  02/13/11
T-I_T/C-R-
narrow-minded brindle spot azn
  02/13/11
should forward this to businessinsider or someone that doesn...
razzle roommate church building
  02/14/11
...
electric brass private investor striped hyena
  02/14/11
That sucks
Thriller pea-brained dingle berry tattoo
  02/14/11
...
Histrionic Ceo
  02/15/11
...
low-t scourge upon the earth resort
  09/04/11
Never gets old.
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  09/04/11
CR Pharaoh, solid bump.
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  09/06/11
http://books.google.com/books?id=KywEAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA53&a...
arousing bronze police squad toilet seat
  09/05/11
this is my life niggers
provocative emerald mother state
  09/05/11
To the people above who are asking if it's really like this-...
concupiscible doctorate shitlib
  09/05/11
law school only required effort 2 weeks every semester. you ...
Rose coffee pot foreskin
  09/05/11
I do agree, it's probably worse than other jobs. That said,...
concupiscible doctorate shitlib
  09/05/11
So your complaint is you have to work hard year round to e...
Drunken Box Office
  09/05/11
law = rich. there are tons of legal jobs out there too now. ...
out-of-control forum
  09/06/11


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Date: September 1st, 2009 11:25 PM
Author: Effete church

IN MY CLOSET, UNDER A BEIGE LATHAM & Watkins baseball cap, sits a faded brown T-shirt with LATHAM BOOT CAMP 2006 on the front. The firm had flown about 100 other new associates and me to an Arizona resort. I had just spent a month traveling the Mediterranean on Latham’s dime — a “bar stipend,” the firm called it — and had clerked the previous summer in the firm’s offices, where for nearly $ 2,000 a week I sailed on the Chesapeake Bay, enjoyed barbecues in the gardens of partners’ homes, and soaked up the sun at beachside retreats.

At the Latham Boot Camp, we were served cocktails and platters of grilled alligator. Then we jumped from pool to hot tub to open bar before competing in a contest to see who could build the fastest stock car. (My team’s crashed, causing a bloody knee but no lawsuit.) Firm superstars greeted and flattered us. One California partner told us how lucky we were.

I suppose she was right. Of the 40,000 students who graduate from law school each year, only a fraction snag jobs at elite firms, the sort of places that require a gilded resume to get in the door and a trial of fancy meals to ensure your social graces. By gaining admission to Latham, my comrades in Phoenix — mostly Ivy-bred superachievers with winning smiles — had won a race that began the day they entered kindergarten. Even among the world’s top law firms, Latham stands tall. Industry gurus consider it among the best-managed firms in the country.

The Insider’s Guide to Law Firms approves of its brilliant, good-looking associates, and American Lawyer ranks its partners among the highest- paid on earth.

Founded in 1934, the firm has grown into a 1,300-attorney empire. Its millionaire partners are wealthier than ever and its reach even wider, with 18 offices from Washington to San Francisco to Singapore.

Today, three years after that Phoenix boot camp, Latham oozes success. The firm pays new law-school graduates $ 165,000 a year plus a bonus— slightly more than what a US Supreme Court justice earns.

There’s one problem. For all that Latham pays, it can’t figure out how to hang on to its young attorneys. Nearly half quit within a few years.

This Could Be Yours

THE EXODUS FROM THE NATION’S TOP law firms confounds insiders.

A partner in one prominent DC firm complains, “The more we give in to associates’ demands — sky-high salaries, sabbaticals, in-house massages — the more they leave.” She leans forward and places her hands on her antique oak desk: “What do these associates want from us?”

She’s right about the perks: The world awaiting our return from Phoenix made the fantasy law shop in John Grisham’s The Firm seem austere.

Latham’s Washington offices boasted a Pennsylvania Avenue address with a marble lobby and a changing gallery of Asian art. My own office overlooked the Capitol. I worked with the latest in computer technology, swung around in the most ergonomic of chairs, and adorned my walls with expensive prints. The nameplate outside shone bright.

The firm makes working as easy as possible. There are free soft drinks and gourmet coffee, 24-hour copying services, dinners delivered to the office every evening, chauffeur-driven Lincoln Town Cars when it’s too dark to go home safely, and showers and toiletry kits when you have to spend the night.

Shortly after I began work, the DC office celebrated its 20th anniversary by treating us to a resort weekend at the Home-stead in Hot Springs, Virginia. We feasted while watching a skit mocking the pressures of the partnership track (the laughter was nervous) and enjoyed golf, spa treatments, and horseback riding.

A few months later, the office threw a black-tie holiday party at Sequoia at Washington Harbour. We were invited to regular dinners at partners’ suburban estates — what one friend calls TCBY affairs, for This Could Be Yours.

SURE IT COULD, THOUGH EVEN THE most naive among us knew it wouldn’t come without a price. We’d have to work hard — “They don’t pay you that kind of money for nothing,” everyone reminded me — and it would be seven or eight years before we’d have a shot at a stake in the firm.

What we didn’t know was what many young lawyers before us had blissfully ignored and then understood only too late: Behind all the pomp, sheen, and spoils lies one of the most destructive work environments imaginable, one that offers endless money and security but saps your freedom and soul.

If anything, I held out longer than most. Soon after I arrived, an associate quit, telling a partner, “I’d rather live in a box than work here one more day.”

How could this be? What about those smiling faces who’d treated us to boat rides on the Chesapeake when we were summer associates? I was sure her experience was a fluke, and I continued to revel in the excitement of the firm. I sought out every project, approached everyone I could. Friends at Latham poked fun at my exuberance.

A few months later, I overheard a conversation outside my office.

“Did you hear Dick billed 320 hours last month?”

“Really? I heard he wasn’t even on budget last year.”

“I heard that, too. But in any case, he better watch out for Jane — she billed 2,730 last year and 2,860 the year before and is on pace this year for even more.”

Then came the war stories.

“You know, I haven’t slept for three days.”

“Me neither. Actually, it’s been four. And I’m off to the printer’s all night tonight. By the way, did I tell you our Hawaii vacation is off?”

These two young attorneys had sterling credentials; they had once enjoyed hobbies, families, lives. Now they were talking about who had the more miserable lot.

The Cult of Hours

HOURS-AND-BILLING TALK WAS THE one thing that brought everyone together.

Now that the firm had seduced us, the days when partners shooed us out at 6 PM were no more. Instead we heard the drumbeat of budgeted hours; of annualized hours and targeted hours; of average, median, and projected hours. Latham and its competitors make time into a fetish and attorneys into production units.

It comes down to simple math. Every minute a law firm squeezes out of its associates means more money in the partners’ pockets. It’s a system of surplus value and exploitation that would impress Karl Marx.

It also promotes psychic warfare. Latham had abandoned the practice of publicizing monthly rankings of how much each associate billed, but many area law firms still circulate “productivity reports” to prod their charges into working every waking moment.

The big firms rarely spell these things out, but associates get the message when partners brag about how they never saw their family when they were associates.

LAW-FIRM VETERANS AGREE THAT A Career in a large firm, once the crown jewel of the profession, has fallen victim to an obsession with the bottom line.

“A lot of us hate ourselves for what we’ve become,” one soon-to-retire big-firm partner tells me as we look out the floor-to- ceiling windows in his K Street office. “We no longer recognize the practice of law as we knew it. I’d never want my kids to lead the life I’ve led.”

He adds, “See those trinkets?” He points to a shelf lined with glass-encased corporate icons and other memorabilia clients have given him. “Each of those reminds me of another slice of my family’s life that went to pot because I had to stay holed up at work.”

In the 1970s, associates billed about 1,400 hours a year; in the 1980s, 1,800 was the target at even the largest firms. But at today’s Latham & Watkins, billing 2,300 hours is typical, and 3,000 hardly raises eyebrows.

Some of what lawyers do all day — using the restroom, dealing with firm bureaucracy, explaining to spouses why they can’t come home for dinner — doesn’t count, so billing 2,300 can translate into working 3,000 hours or more. For many attorneys, that means getting home after 9 PM most weekdays and working weekends too. And it’s not just for a short hazing period but month after month, year after year — for some, decade after decade.

One young Latham partner says, “Becoming a partner here is like winning an ice-cream-eating contest where the prize is a lifetime supply of more ice cream.”

The cult of hours has other effects. Cheating, known as “timesheet padding,” is a dirty little secret.

“What do you expect?” says an associate on the verge of leaving her DC firm. “There’s every incentive for you to lie. The firm rewards you for your hard work and gets more money out of your inflated timesheets, you beat out your colleagues in the rat race, you’re shielded from further assignments, there’s almost no chance you’ll get caught, and you tell yourself that it’s a victimless crime — something you’d never do if your clients weren’t wealthy corporations.”

Like most other people interviewed, this associate denies cheating, though she suspects that many otherwise upstanding attorneys falsify their timesheets and attribute their behavior to the realities of law- firm life.

Billable Showers

WHEN LAWYERS ACCUSE THEIR FIRMS of being sweatshops, firm honchos blame “client demands.”

“That’s bull,” says an associate at a top DC law shop. “There are so many ways firms could make our lives a little less miserable. How about just hiring more associates? But that would mean paying out more salaries. How about capping the number of clients? But that would mean the partners would have to make do with a little less.”

At his firm, that would mean a drop in a partner’s income from about $ 1 million a year to, say, $ 900,000.

He calls me back the next day with some numbers: “An average fourth- year at my firm bills about 2,250 hours a year at $270 an hour, which means he brings in more than $ 600,000 but gets paid less than $ 2,000. Assume he had to bill only 1,800 hours — a joke at this place but hard work anywhere else. He would still bring in $ 486,000, which would leave more than $ 280,000 for overhead and partner profits. The reason we have no life is that the partners are greedy — no matter how much they make, they recoil at the thought that the guy down the street might earn more. They’ve got nothing else to show for their lives, so it just kills them.”

Associates are so angry with partners over these issues that the law-firm Web site Infirmation.com (click on “Greedy Associates”) runs a network of self-mocking message boards. (”If the French truckers can strike, so can we,” reads one post.) Co-founder Tom Antisdel says it’s the only way for associates to have a voice.

Still, in their actions and outlook, associates mimic the people they scorn, quibbling over salaries and dividing their lives into billable time (good) and non-billable time (bad).

I once went to a movie with two law-school friends who worked at another firm. After the show, one said, “Frankly, those were two hours would rather have been billing.”

The other said, “I would rather have billed the first hour and watched the second, when all the good stuff happened.”

ASSOCIATES REPORT FEELING GUILTY eating lunch or attending their children’s school events. Some have been known to ask if they can bill for shower time as long as they think about their cases while soaping up. The answer is generally yes.

Firms debate whether you can bill for more than 60 minutes in an hour if you place several short calls during a single slot on your timesheet, whether you can count greetings and small talk, whether you can bill more than 24 hours in a day if you travel and cross a time zone. But these debates are only distractions from what matters most: trying to remember whether 2:06 to 2:12 was when you drafted interrogatory number three or called a partner about document number seven. And did it really take a whole tenth of an hour? Says Patrick Schiltz, a former Supreme Court clerk and big-firm partner who has published an article in the Vanderbilt Law Review cautioning law students against following in his path: “Law firms must be the worst human-resource managers on the planet. When associates say they have no life, no variety, and no mentoring, all the firms do is throw more money at them. It’s no surprise that retention, already dismal, is now worse than ever.”

MORE TROUBLING THAN THE NUMBER of hours, associates say, is the feeling that they’re perpetually on call. One former associate’s account is typical:

“There was a partner notorious for calling an associate at random every Friday at 5 PM and assigning a bunch of miserable busywork that he made you finish by 9 AM Monday. If you weren’t there, he would track you down. You could never make any weekend plans.”

That associate lasted a year. Other young lawyers talk about being forced to carry pagers and beepers, about receiving 7 AM calls on Saturdays and midnight calls in the middle of the week. To show they’re “team players,” these attorneys summon themselves on the office intercom late at night, leave their jackets on their chairs after they’ve left, and change the time on their computers so their supervisors think they sent an e-mail at 3 AM.

“Enjoy your honeymoon,” a senior associate told me before I got married. “It’s the last real vacation you’ll ever take.”

“WAIT,” THE BIG FIRMS MIGHT SAY. “We offer our associates a month of vacation, generous paid leave, the most progressive benefits.”

Sure they do — on paper. But try telling that to the lawyer who took his family out west for a week, only to return on the first flight back to DC. Or the lawyer who had a fax machine wheeled into her delivery room. Or the one who worked through the night while suffering from an abscessed wisdom tooth.

I spent all day in the office one Fourth of July. The roof of Latham’s building offered a vista of the Mall’s fireworks. Several of us went up to enjoy the festivities, but most of the attorneys brought along binders stuffed with documents, and the clamor of shop talk drowned out the explosions.

On Halloween, an associate went home to take his kids trick-or-treating to a single house, then returned to the office while his wife picked up where he’d left off.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s saw no shortage of lawyers who celebrated the holidays in the office, but one Valentine’s Day stands out: A partner had made reservations at the extravagantly priced Inn at Little Washington but gave away the dinner and suite that afternoon so he could spend the night working on a deal.

“Is This Why I Went to Law School?”

IT’S A SIMPLE FACT THAT EVERY HOUR ATtorneys spend at work, thinking about work, or obsessing about work is an hour they can’t spend playing with their children or being active in politics, religion, or community — all “nonbillable” activities.

Lawyers are hardly the only ones to make sacrifices. What bothers many associates is having to waste so much time on busywork — drafting memos no one reads, plodding through cases when they don’t know what’s at stake. It’s a far cry from what attracted them to law.

Firms like Latham boast that they handle the most “cutting-edge” matters for the most “high-profile” clients — the cases that are featured “on the front pages of major newspapers.”

That’s true. At Latham, I worked on a harassment claim against a talk-show host, the Salt Lake City Olympics bidding controversy, the largest Medicare-fraud investigation in history, and a lawsuit involving a Hollywood film library. I enjoyed telling family and friends I was a player, if only a bit one, in such “sexy” disputes.

But I left out a few details. Like the month I spent transcribing boxes of invoices into a 40-page table. Or the day and night I spent photocopying, indexing, and collating 300 exhibits due in federal court the next morning — only to climb into a taxi at 8:30 AM with all of my boxes, unshaven and dizzy from exhaustion, to complete the assembly in the cab. The clock was ticking so fast that the lawyer I worked for barked driving directions into my cell phone. On arrival, I was smeared with ink and dirt and had to find someone else to carry in the boxes. I returned to the office, took a shower, and resumed work on a new pile of documents that had arrived while I was out.

That was a bad day, but it’s a story that rings true with many associates. One young lawyer who was recruited by a top DC firm after years as a Justice Department trial lawyer did virtually nothing but make charts for six months before he finally quit.

Another associate tells of an 18-wheeler parked behind his firm filled with 15 million pages related to a merger the firm was handling. “There but for the grace of God go I,” he thought as he saw friends holed up for months looking through those papers one by one.

“IT WAS A SUNDAY NIGHT, AND I’D spent all weekend in the office,” recalls a former big-firm associate who took an 80-percent pay cut to move to a public-interest job. “The lawyers I worked with were off in Japan, and they’d left me alone to fax thousands of pages halfway around the world using ten different fax machines. By 2 AM, three of the machines had broken down. Then one of the partners called me, screaming about some missing document. I burst into tears. ‘Is this why I went to law school?’ I wondered.”

Part of the problem is that the job of a corporate attorney is an accidental profession. Few dream of devoting their lives to bankruptcy workouts or to the federal preemption of the state employee- benefits laws. Even fewer expect to be screamed at for their poor faxing abilities.

No matter how much they’re paid and no matter how proud their parents may be, young big-firm attorneys say they resent seeing friends businesses, helping the homeless, prosecuting criminals, or working in any job where their labors have meaning.

Therein lies the biggest problem facing law firms today.

One young lawyer quit the DC branch of a New York firm after just two years. “I did corporate deals,” he says, “which sounds glamorous but turned out to be nothing more than high-priced secretarial work — shepherding faxes, producing boilerplate, chasing after commas all night at the printer’s.”

A litigation associate says, “A paralegal could do most of what I do. It’s just that some sucker is willing to pay $ 250 an hour for my time.”

Another associate who quit law to start his own company blames law-firm partners for being so mistrustful and risk-averse:

“Unlike doctors, who make life-and-death decisions from the get-go, young lawyers are constantly told, ‘You can’t take a deposition,’ ‘You can’t talk to a client,’ ‘You can’t appear in court.’ Instead, they escort you to a warehouse to create an index.”

I HAD THE CHANCE TO TAKE A DEPOSITION and to hobnob with clients — the “rewards” dangled in front of young associates. But the reality, I learned, was that taking a deposition means spending days in a windowless room asking a reluctant witness in 12 different ways whether she recognizes her own signature. “Client contact” often consists of accompanying partners to “beauty contests” to drum up business or listening to an angry litigant complain that the law firm’s billing rates are out of control.

What people need from their jobs, psychologists say, is to feel as if their work has a tangible effect. Lawsuits take years, and corporate deals come and go; in the meantime, associates are left with no idea what role they play or what the client’s ultimate goals are — or whether anyone cares what they think.

My six-figure salary, hefty billing rate, and graduate degrees aside, the biggest decision I made at Latham was to choose between two copy services. After much reflection, I chose the one that charged a half- cent less per page.

Looking for Soul

STUDIES SHOW THAT LAWYERS — BIG-FIRM lawyers in particular — suffer from higher-than-average levels of depression, substance abuse, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, divorce, and suicide. Part of the problem is that the public ranks lawyers’ ethics somewhere below those of car salesmen — and many big-firm lawyers feel the same way about themselves. After your elite law school instills a respect for the majesty of the lawyer’s life, your heart may sink at devoting years to a nitpicking defense against a valid claim. Or at inhabiting a world of attorneys so obnoxious that the Virginia bar put together a civility code that promotes handshakes. Or at being assigned to research which countries allow the importation of leaded gasoline or unfiltered cigarettes or how a company can defeat safety regulations.

But what bothers many young lawyers is something more basic: the feeling that they’re wasting so much time fighting for a cause that doesn’t exist.

According to one study, 75 percent of lawyers don’t want their children to follow in their footsteps. And in 1997, the National Law Journal described a survey in which nearly one-third of big-firm partners wished they’d chosen another profession.

Former attorney Benjamin Sells wrote in The Soul of the Law that the psychological figure of the tyrant thrives in large law firms, dominated as they are by the careerist intolerant of debate and free expression, the workaholic who subscribes to a dog-eat-dog worldview.

In Sells’s view, it’s not that law-firm culture attracts the psychologically unfit. Instead, he says, law firms transform the balanced and thoughtful law-school graduate into the young attorney irritated at his grandfather for falling ill before an important court appearance, the attorney frustrated that his wife’s shifting due date makes it hard for him to schedule a deposition, or the partner who assigns a project on Christmas Eve and demands that it be completed the next day.

Says an associate at an old-line DC firm: “Almost all the partners here have terrible family lives. Even the ones who aren’t divorced never see their children or are estranged from them. The thing is, I never know whether the partners’ personal lives are bad because they work all the time or whether they work all the time because they’re afraid to go home.”

AT LATHAM, I LIKED ALMOST ALL OF THE attorneys, and I admired several for striking a balance in their lives or for having passion for their work. Compared with many firms, Latham had few real tyrants. I saw and experienced my share of abuse, but Latham was an agreeable place as big firms go.

What I discovered, however, was that the more time people spent at the firm, the more they jumped at perceived slights, harbored resentment toward colleagues, and buried themselves in minutiae at the expense of the world around them. Almost no one seemed better for having worked there.

So why do they stay? Are they seduced by the promise of wealth? It’s hard to think of many professions that offer 25-year-old neophytes $ 130,000 and pay many partners $ 1 million a year or more.

But after the luxury of the “this could be yours” events, I was surprised to find that few partners lived in the sprawling homes with basketball courts and poolside kitchens we were taken to as summer associates, whether because of personal taste or divorce costs and high taxes.

Do people stay for the promise of partnership? Striving to become a partner — and being a partner if you make it — is much less enticing now than in the past. The perception at Latham and many other firms is that partnership is a shot in the dark: A popular and respected associate is passed over, a schmoozer of middling talent rises to the top. Even those who make it find little real partnership. Partners now abandon their firms at the drop of a hat; firms have responded in kind by slicing partners into subcategories and forcing the less lucrative into retirement.

SO IS IT THE JOB THAT MAKES PEOPLE stay? Some attorneys find a niche in the law that intrigues them, get a kick out of defeating an opponent in litigation, or enjoy massaging the fine points of a deal. For the most part, though, associates say they feel buttonholed into a specialty that leaves them cold.

In the end, I think associates stay in law firms because of who they were before they arrived — hard-working young people who respected hierarchy and saw life as a series of hoops to jump through. Law firms, with their cult of conformity and laddered structures of advancement, reward those who find a way to make the system work for them.

From your first days at a firm, the reviews you receive, the productivity reports you read, the hubbub you hear about who will and won’t make partner feed your insecurities about whether you’re good enough, smart enough, or dedicated enough. And for those who aren’t sure they care, golden handcuffs keep many from making a move.

The Great Escape

AFTER A YEAR AT LATHAM, I REALIZED law-firm life wasn’t for me. Headhunters were calling, and I made a small effort to start afresh somewhere else in the law. “There are much better places out there,” one assured me as he picked me up in a gold Lexus. But I knew the problem wasn’t really with Latham & Watkins.

One day, the firm sent in one of its minions, someone we joked would shine the partners’ shoes if he thought it would help him get ahead. He plopped down in my guest chair and wasted no time.

“Your hours are way down,” he said. “And it seems you have — let’s say . . ”

Pause.

” . . . a bad attitude. It seems you’re not interested in taking on much work.”

I thought about buying some time by inventing a family crisis. The problem was, the exchange we were having reminded me of everything I couldn’t stand about law firms.

“You’re right,” I said. “I do have a bad attitude. And you know why? Because I really don’t like working here.”

He left in a huff.

A few days later, his superior, a strapping partner with a politician’s touch, stopped by.

“Is there anything we can do to make things better?” he asked. “Could we find you more reasonable supervisors? More interesting cases?”

At least this guy is a human being, I thought.

“I appreciate it,” I said. “But I don’t think that would make a difference.”

I gave notice. The firm set its departure apparatus into motion — there were forms to fill out, files to close. On March 31, 2000, I joined the select group who can write “former law-firm attorney” on their resumes.

I’LL NEVER REGRET GIVING THE BIG LAW firm a try. But will I regret having left? Since that spring day, I’ve been sleeping peacefully, enjoying my family.

Now I write for a living, but I’ve also handled projects for the sort of elite firms that once repelled me. I’ve dealt with some great partners; the work has been interesting and the pace of work humane. I sometimes wonder if I was too hasty to abandon the security, or at least the salary, of a fast-track associate.

During a rainstorm this summer, I found myself downtown and decided to visit Latham’s new offices; the firm had outgrown its Pennsylvania Avenue address. As I walked down 11th Street, a stern partner, two glum associates, and a summer clerk walked past me, heads down, hands in pockets.

In the lobby, near the elevators, I saw another partner, one I’d always liked.

“So you’re a writer now?” he said. He was struggling with some packages, and I offered to help.

I went up the elevator, dropped off the box, and walked down the halls, glancing at the new nameplates. Nothing else had changed: Secretaries were huddled in groups of three or four; the copier fluid reeked and the fax machines rattled; the younger lawyers sat straight- backed in front of their computers, and the older ones slumped over theirs.

I bumped into a white-haired partner who pursed his lips as he struggled to remember me.

Then another partner, one of my favorites, saw me and flashed a smile.

“What a surprise,” he said, congratulating me on an article I’d written. “Any chance you’ll come back?”

Before I had a chance to say “you never know,” he slipped into his office, trailed by a young charge carrying a foot-high stack of legal opinions.

CLOSER TO THE ELEVATORS, I RAN INTO friends, people who had never ceased to complain about their job when I was there.

They were giddy about a new associate who’d broken all records for billable hours in a month: 445. I did the math — that’s about 15 hours a day, seven days a week.

To my former colleagues, he was a champion:

“He slept in the office every night!”

“He barely ate a meal!”

It was for a trial. Talk turned to whether the client would balk at the fees — which they estimated at about $ 75,000 for this wunderkind’s monthly service.

I felt like an outsider.

“What was the case about?” I asked. “Did we win?”

No one knew.

I rode the elevator to the lobby and pushed the revolving door. The rainstorm was over, and the sun was shining. I drove off to pick up my son. He was happy to see me, though not as happy as I was to see him.

On our way home, I thought about the response I’d nearly given my favorite partner.

Would I ever go back?

Not on your life.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12649751)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 2nd, 2009 12:54 AM
Author: Mildly autistic liquid oxygen

tl; dr

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12650729)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 3rd, 2009 4:02 PM
Author: Buck-toothed university tank

cr

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12661887)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 18th, 2009 1:48 AM
Author: vengeful blathering area

AHAHAHAHAHAHA

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12774828)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 18th, 2009 2:06 AM
Author: laughsome field

tyft

author?

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12774923)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 18th, 2009 2:19 AM
Author: Crystalline abode travel guidebook

my EXACT experience at Latham. except there was no work and a bunch of first years got lathamed after numerous assurances were given by Bob Dell.

*wipes away a sentimental tear*

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12774984)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 21st, 2009 8:21 AM
Author: Learning disabled know-it-all keepsake machete parlor

jesus

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12798448)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 13th, 2011 10:53 AM
Author: slippery balding theater kitty cat

That's probably the most realistic portrayal of biglaw life I've read. Won't stop anyone from applying to law school and biglaw of course.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17273646)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 13th, 2011 11:03 AM
Author: Floppy Cerise Stag Film

Damn you must work in a miserable sweatshop if that is realistic

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17273691)



Reply Favorite

Date: August 21st, 2011 8:52 PM
Author: Soggy Factory Reset Button

here

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#18805107)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 1st, 2009 11:28 PM
Author: Henna Aphrodisiac Nibblets

tldr

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12649792)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 1st, 2009 11:55 PM
Author: slate irate roast beef whorehouse

titmfcsp

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12650107)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 2nd, 2009 12:13 AM
Author: Chocolate Splenetic Clown Sweet Tailpipe

tyft

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12650307)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 2nd, 2009 12:13 AM
Author: Excitant sticky cumskin depressive

ROFL tl;dNr

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12650311)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 13th, 2011 6:35 AM
Author: Red patrolman

TCR

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17273204)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 2nd, 2009 12:14 AM
Author: Chocolate Splenetic Clown Sweet Tailpipe

it's long but well written and entertaining, good post.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12650321)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 2nd, 2009 12:27 AM
Author: beady-eyed dull hell

cliffs?

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12650460)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 2nd, 2009 1:30 AM
Author: 180 rigpig

1. guy goes to work for Latham

2. decides it sucks ass

3. quits and does not regret it years later

There's a lot of talking shit about biglaw lifestyle in there

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12650983)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 2nd, 2009 12:25 AM
Author: Misunderstood locus

Every year, thousands of the most perfect young Americans apply for admission to Harvard Law School. And every year, the fabled institution of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Kissinger, and five ninths of the current Supreme Court, the school whose name inspires reverence from garbagemen and presidents alike, replies with a thin envelope containing a single sheet of woven-cotton stationery that says, essentially, Fuck you.

Harvard Law School seeks inner beauty. It desires passion, creativity, interestingness in its applicants and thinks nothing of rejecting Yale's top undergrad if that undergrad is an anal-retentive bore. Furious parents of straight-A student-council presidents have been known to make the pilgrimage to Cambridge to demand justice for their rejected offspring, and admissions officers might gently suggest the word intangibles to explain the kid's shortcomings. Hip Harvard Law School students take in the spectacle and smirk.

Smirking, in fact, might be the official facial expression

of Harvard Law School. At least it was when I was graduated from there ten years ago. And why not? As a Harvard Law student, you've got the world by the balls. The degree, the most potent, fearsome weapon in all of academia, confers upon its holder a near guarantee of riches, freedom, prestige, and happiness. Listening to those parents hopelessly invoking the virtues of their well-bred sons and daughters, we knew we had it made. We knew we were the complete package. We knew we were golden.

THE CLASS MOTHER HEN sends me the phone directory he's been compiling. He doesn't flinch at the word souls when I tell him I'm interested in exploring what happened to the souls of the class of '90. "Get ready to be depressed, man," he says. "You won't find all that many people, at least those still in law, who love their lives."

I open the directory. There's the guy who impaled himself on the metal volleyball spike during an intramural basketball game. Here's the math major who, in surveying the women in our class, lamented that "at Harvard Law, it appears brains times beauty equals a constant." There's Andrea, maybe the most brilliant mind in the class, who included this melancholy note by her entry: "So much for visions of changing the world . . ."

I reach a guy who went to divinity school in order to resolve inner questions that cropped up about the universe. "You start dealing with those issues," he says. "You can't show up in a law firm and really care about another merger." I catch up with a roommate who ditched his firm to become a big shot at Motown and is now the point man at a risky Internet start-up. An old buddy, suffering as a real estate lawyer, tells me that he fantasizes about using the blood money he's saved to buy a "faraway convenience store."

A former hippie type now writes the television program The Street and an occasional Ally McBeal. He has no job security, but he's happier than hell and couldn't fathom going back to law. A woman who loved science fiction and crossword puzzles left law to sell cruises and is now a part-time secretary with a temp agency. "A failure, I know," she says, "but I'm finding myself--and at least I'm out of the firms." One partner at one of the country's fanciest firms confides that he's finalizing plans to quit his job. "I'll go crazy if I stay," he says. "But please don't print anything more about me. If my plan folds, I'll still need the firm."

One after another, those who have left law, especially law firms, seem happy. Those who have not are suffering or, worse, resigned. They talk about losing themselves. These are strange times in the workplace, and one need only look to Harvard Law School for example. Harvard doesn't keep such statistics, so it's difficult to tell with precision, but a look through the current class directory reveals that fewer than half the members of the Class of 1990 work in firms and roughly a quarter of those with entries do not appear to practice law. Young people for whom the world of work opened its arms as a mother would have forsaken their degrees and found another line of work. More vow to leave the law with the next infusion of cash or gumption. What happened, I ask my classmates, to the days when we had the world by the balls? What happened to the days when we were golden?

"I don't believe we thought much about happiness as young men. If you had a steady job with decent pay and a good family at home, that was a pretty fine life. The chance to go to a top law school and get a good job, one you knew would set you apart, well, we thought that was pretty good. And the idea of quitting law after you'd studied for years and had all that opportunity? Why would anyone do that?"

--robert hupp, class of 1950, partner, murphy,

hupp & kinnally, aurora, illinois

"I hate my job, man. I'm dying to get out of here. I'm dying to talk about it with someone. I thought all weekend that if I talk to you for your story, maybe that will give me the momentum I need to quit. I know you said I could remain confidential. But there's always that one tenth of one percent chance someone will figure out it's me. And I can't put this job in jeopardy. I know that's depressing, but that's the way it's gotta be. So sorry, man. I can't talk to you."

--anonymous, class of 1990, partner at a large

east coast law firm

Victor Bernace

SOMEWHERE NEAR THE BOTTOM of his sock drawer, Victor Bernace keeps one of his few happy childhood memories. It's a photograph, and the star of the picture is none other than Victor, all of eight years old, grinning and clutching a wad of money--must be a million dollars there--and hoisting that dough into the air as if he's conquered the world, which is exactly what his father told him to do with his life just seconds before he said, Smile, and pressed the shutter. And even though the kid in the picture is clutching just a pile of typing paper cut into money shapes, his father said, Keep that picture and look at it, Victor; make a million dollars, get the American dream. And Victor kept the picture and he still looks at it, even though he can't remember how old he was when his father died from alcoholism and his mother started trying to murder him.

No one spoke English at Victor's house in Chicago, only Spanish, but the family had a TV, so he studied cartoons, learning grammar from Bugs Bunny and vocabulary from Scooby-Doo. His dad made ends meet as a waiter, not at a joint, but at one of Chicago's grand hotels, the kind, he'd tell Victor, where guests don't hear plates clinking and they get three forks. Victor figures he might have been nine when his family moved to Inwood, the hardscrabble section on the northernmost tip of Manhattan, and his father died of cirrhosis. By then, he knew his mother was nuts. While Victor was figuring how to become the man of the house, his mother kept telling him he was going to die tomorrow, that she was the chosen woman dressed in white in the Bible who gives birth to the man-child, and it was all tinged with sexual themes, like Victor would be a virgin forever and die a virgin. She tried to poison Victor twice. The people at Bellevue Hospital, where Mrs. Bernace resided after trying to kill Victor, called it paranoid schizophrenia, and Victor was sent to a foster home. Victor didn't mind so much that schoolteachers believed he was retarded and needed special ed. All Victor knew was that he was always hungry and that childhood--except for Charlie's Angels and science-fiction library books--didn't feel so good.

Andrea Kramer

FIRST GRADE IS WHEN MOST kids learn what sound a T makes. First grade is when Andrea Kramer started reading astronomy books.

Were she not cute in just the way it's great to be cute at six--apple cheeks, boy crushes, rapid-fire giggle--Andrea might have been pegged by classmates as pure dork. By second grade, she had shunned Barbies to learn about space flight. Her parents, neither of whom had graduated from college, watched in wonder as she slew math puzzles intended for boys who had already shaved.

What her mom and dad didn't see was that during second grade, Andrea was also studying the poverty of her Lower East Side neighborhood in Manhattan. In the Bowery, Andrea found a spot where she could watch bums sleep outside vacant tenements. To her mind, which swooned at the justice inherent in math problems, there was no equilibrium in homeless human beings sleeping outside empty homes. While the bums dozed, Andrea fantasized about saving them, and when she was eight, she announced at the dinner table that that's exactly what she intended to do with her life.

Chris Crain

CHRIS CRAIN'S FATHER rose from Kroger bag boy to vice-president of the grocery behemoth, and, by God, it was no accident. When a man lives the strict Christian life, when he gives generously to Pat Robertson and keeps a traditional southern home and leads Boy Scouts and community groups, he can achieve the American dream. And so, of course, can his children.

The second of three children, Chris shone brightest of the perfect Crain offspring. By 1974, the fourth grader was a Boy Scout, a little gentleman of "yes, sir"s and "no, ma'am"s who made straight A's and was known to pals as "Crain-Brain."

Around the Crains' dinner table, talk was archconservative, and it was discussion without dissent. The Crain children were expected to trust in Christ and the Republican party, to set examples for other youngsters, and to attend church modestly dressed. They were not, despite their desires, to watch Happy Days or Laverne & Shirley, perfect examples of the extent to which profanity had infected family television. Sex talk, naturally, was impermissible in the Crain household, so when it came time at thirteen for Chris's birds-and-bees discussion, his parents instead gave him a book titled The Christian Approach to Sex, in which, he remembers, the author explained that "the penis fits into the vagina like a key into a keyhole." Chris wondered if a man therefore must turn his penis once it's inside, but it was a fleeting question. More important, he wondered why he couldn't stop thinking about touching another boy's penis. And he wondered this especially during prayer time in church, when the congregation closed its eyes and couldn't see him crying.

Greg Giraldo

KIDS WHO PULL STRAIGHT A'S in grade school don't often scare teachers. But for all his smarts, Greg Giraldo couldn't focus in fifth grade, and it disturbed those in charge. The kid from Queens daydreamed about funny people, guys who made other guys laugh. How thrilling to live at a time when John Belushi roamed the earth! How glorious to be Mad magazine artist Don Martin and to invent words like thwap and glork! Watch the face of a kid in love with laughter; it's not a face that soothes the schoolteacher's soul.

Mr. and Mrs. Giraldo were summoned to school and asked, Is something wrong at home? Is something troubling Greg? Nothing that we know of, the parents replied. And they returned home and asked Greg if there was something wrong. Not that I know of, he replied, and he returned to recording funny little thoughts in the journals he kept. Mom and Dad couldn't protest much; Greg was a perfect student, the kind who might fulfill an immigrant parent's dream that he become a doctor or a lawyer, or, better yet, an Ivy League doctor or lawyer. Or, best yet, a Harvard doctor or lawyer.

A HARVARD LAW SCHOOL graduate could expect in 1960 to bill fifteen hundred hours a year at a major big-city law firm. In return, he was virtually certain to make partner in six years, share in the firm's profits, and enjoy a collegial, relaxed, lifetime position of prestige. His desk and office would be kept for him until he died, sometimes for years after, as a show of respect.

Today's Harvard Law School graduate can expect to bill twenty-two hundred hours a year, and often as many as twenty-four hundred. In return, he stands perhaps a one-in-eight chance at making partner after eight years, and even then he might not share profits. As a partner, he will never be allowed to relax; if his revenues or hours drop, he will be invited to resign. When a Harvard Law School graduate fails to make partner, he is seen as the worst kind of failure by colleagues and prospective employers, because he entered with staggering advantages and promise. If he does make it to partner, then to retirement, no one will think to keep his desk around.

"Young Harvard lawyers are less content today than we were. They work harder, longer hours. They don't have the time to indulge themselves, to become Renaissance people. My classmates still believed that it was possible to go to plays--every night if we wished--to learn music, to have intellectual discourses. We led pretty decent lives in the law firms. Today, a Harvard Law graduate comes in conditioned to give up large parts of his life for a number of years. I don't know if it's a pretty decent life."

--samuel b. fortenbaugh iii, class of 1960, former managing partner at morgan, lewis & bockius, new york

"I have so much to say about this job. I have fantasies about leaving. There's not a day I don't think about buying a cabin somewhere and just leaving it all. But I can't do it. I'm a pussy. You know, we didn't get into Harvard Law School by taking chances. Most of us are conservative. Except that being conservative is fucking killing me. Now I have to be conservative again. I can't talk to you. I hope you find someone who will talk--God knows there's enough of us suffering out there. But knowing our class-.-.-.-well, good luck."

--anonymous no. 2, class of 1990, partner at a large east coast law firm

Victor Bernace

VICTOR'S MOTHER BELIEVED that only religion could save the world. Or if not the world, at least Victor. With her son in tow, she joined the Mormon Church, the Catholic Church, the Jehovah's Witnesses. During sermons she'd stand and shout, "I'm the woman! I'm the woman! My son is the chosen child! He must die!" And it embarrassed Victor, not because of what she said, but because the church elders always asked them to leave, and each time it felt more like Victor would never find a family. Maybe it was during church one day that Victor found that he stuttered, a stutter he worked hard to cure, a stutter about which he asks friends even today, "I've gotten rid of it, right?"

The teachers bright enough not to equate Victor's stutter with mental retardation realized that the withdrawn, always-hungry-for-lunch sixth grader was reading at college level. They saw to it that he skipped eighth grade. They enrolled him in Kennedy High School's law program, an eighth-floor safe haven for bright kids with leadership ability. To Victor, these teachers seemed clairvoyant. He knew from reading books that leaders were often lawyers, and he wanted nothing more than to be a leader.

Challenged academically and now in possession of a dream, Victor began pulling straight A's in high school, doing better than kids with supportive parents and plenty of food. He became his own father and mother during high school, finished second in the law program, and applied only to NYU, City College, and Manhattan College, three schools to which he could afford to commute. When the girl who finished third decided to attend Princeton, Victor wondered how she could afford bus fare to New Jersey. He chose NYU, which offered him full tuition.

At NYU, Victor majored in history, his first love, but he changed to philosophy because history textbooks were too expensive and in philosophy they'd debate a paragraph for a week, which was cheaper. When it came time to apply to law school, Victor had a 3.7 GPA and a lofty admissions-test score.

Harvard waived the application fee, then admitted Victor nearly as soon as they read his essay. In it, Victor said that he'd struggled in life but still wanted to be a leader. Congratulations, Harvard wrote Victor, we'd love to have you.

Victor decided to turn down Harvard Law School. Didn't see how he could afford bus fare all the way to Boston. His childhood friend Ben pleaded. Are you nuts, Victor? I'll drive you. For free, goddammit. Please, Victor, trust me. Victor still has the picture in his album. "Me and my friend," as Victor remembers it, "in August on the way to Cambridge."

Andrea Kramer

BY SOPHOMORE YEAR in high school, Andrea was first in her class and duplicating the perfect math scores only the legendary Ricky and Lenny had achieved before her. By seventeen, Andrea had her pick of colleges. She chose Wellesley, the prestigious Massachusetts all-women school, because in addition to desiring first-rate academics, she felt she had become a little too defined by her penchant for boys (with whom she still got really ditsy), and it was time to get serious with life.

At Wellesley, Andrea began her push to change the world by running for various class offices. She was defeated each time as reality trumped ideals; elections at Wellesley were popularity contests, and she was never popular enough. But Wellesley was still glorious to Andrea. She found a soul mate in a sociology professor, and their change-the-world talks would go on for hours. Does practice advance theory or vice versa? Just look at the Civil Rights Act of 1964--professors didn't do that! One night, after a long conversation and a good dozen cups of tea, they agreed that Andrea could do the most good for the world by changing practice, not theory. And that meant law school--the best goddamned law school you can find. Andrea used the essay portion of her application to inform Harvard Law School that she felt an obligation, a calling from her soul, to help people.

Chris Crain

WHEN GOD IGNORES a teenager, who picks up the slack? Ashamed of his sexual fantasies, Chris willed himself to be the most perfect of young southern gentlemen, a straight-A nice guy who never smoked or sipped a beer and who dated girls but wouldn't take advantage. No homosexual behaved like that. Did those San Francisco weirdos in their mascara and leather cop uniforms go to church every Sunday and join Eagle Scouts and become editor of the high school newspaper and co-valedictorian? How many of them intended to marry a woman once God helped cure their perverted fantasies? Time, discipline, and more prayer, Chris resolved. In the meantime, he found himself developing a fire in his belly for journalism that almost made the world seem right.

At Vanderbilt, Chris joined the school newspaper, thrilled to the idea of muckraking, and rose quickly to editor in chief. Senior year, Chris began writing freelance for The Tennessean in Nashville, and his stories made the front page. He lost himself when he wrote; time disappeared, and with it much of his inner agony.

During one college class that touched on the Constitution, the instructor employed the Socratic method, the famously intimidating teaching style of Harvard Law School. Chris fell in love with the challenge, decided then and there to apply to law school. Those who knew him considered it a splendid idea, except for another of his favorite professors, who told Chris that law school would stunt his ability to think and write creatively, which he viewed as Chris's true calling. Chris thought the comment odd; law school was supposed to train a student to think and write, and besides, the whole world believed law school to be about the finest next step for a promising young man. When the thick envelope arrived from Harvard, that lone professor's words were already ancient history.

Greg Giraldo

THE HIGHEST COMPLIMENT ever paid to Greg Giraldo came when his pals in Queens refused to believe he'd been admitted to Manhattan's prestigious Regis High School. We never knew you had a brain, they told their friend. We thought you were a fucking retard.

Once inside, Greg tore up the place. Shunning nerdiness, he pulled A's without losing his affection for the word fuck or his taste for the off-color joke. He read great literature, not because he was an egghead, but because Swift and Shakespeare were damn funny guys who knew how to construct a joke. His classmates dug his memory for Saturday Night Live dialogue, and they'll still tell you that his Eddie Murphy impressions were scary good. The Jesuits--great teachers, to Greg's mind--appreciated passion in a student, whatever the passion, so no one panicked about the joke-and-gag notebooks Greg continued to assemble. In a school where the graduates matriculated to Ivy League colleges as a matter of routine, Greg was getting Columbia University to commit to him early.

And Columbia would be great. Greg would live downtown, keep his friends, and enjoy the kind of life that comes with having the kind of non-dickwad, covertly cool brain that sneaks up on people.

Columbia proved to be no sweat; he'd already read half the books assigned to English majors. Around junior year, he began to hear what many verbally talented college kids hear from well-meaning mentors: Go to law school if you're good with words and like to argue. Sounds good, Greg figured. And if I can get into Harvard Law School, I'll be rich to boot. Without studying a lick for the entrance exam, he scored in the 99th percentile, deity territory to those who cared about such things, which he didn't. He got the thick envelope from Harvard, and while he still had no clue what lawyers did for a living, he figured it was time to go out and make his parents proud.

ABOUT 80 PERCENT of incoming Harvard Law School students express a desire to practice public-interest law. After graduation, fewer than 5 percent work in that sector. This despite the school's offer to forgive the loans of students who take lower-income jobs.

Most students arrive at Harvard Law School having refused full scholarships from other law schools. Harvard Law School offers no merit scholarships; it provided an average of just $9,700 last year in need-based aid, and then only to a quarter of its students. Tuition this year is $25,000; room, board, and fees, another $16,430. By graduation, many in the class will have incurred debts in excess of $120,000.

"A young lady recently said to me, 'I understand you graduated from Harvard Law School in 1940.' She wanted to know how much I made when I joined the firm. When I told her I earned $300 a month, she asked if I felt bad watching new lawyers in Chicago start at $90,000. Well, I told her, my tuition at Harvard Law School was $400 a year, and we paid as we went. Yours was $25,000 a year. When I graduated, no one owned me."

--stephen milwid, class of 1940, retired partner at lord, bissell and brook, chicago

"My dream is to become a clerk at Barnes & Noble. Not the manager or the guy who orders the books, but the lowliest clerk they've got. I've got the store picked out. I literally fantasize about this. I'm disappointed in myself. I'm not who I thought I would be. I thought I'd be doing something meaningful. Beyond that, I can't talk to you."

--anonymous no. 3, class of 1990, partner at a large east coast law firm

Victor Bernace

SATAN SENT VICTOR to law school, so his mother took what little money they had saved and flushed it down the toilet. Victor ate just cornflakes and water--then just water--for two weeks and lost twenty pounds. His first day at Harvard Law School, he asked the school for an emergency loan. When they asked why, he said he needed to eat. They thought he was joking.

By the end of the first day of classes, Victor stood in awe of his classmates. Never did he imagine that so many brilliant people could exist in one place. At NYU--a good school, to be sure--maybe half the people did the assigned reading. Here at HLS, everyone did the reading, and then everyone did the optional reading. Not ninety-nine out of one hundred, everyone. Though he was shy and didn't dare announce this aloud, he thought of ancient Greece when he thought about Harvard Law School, how the Greeks would assemble in central places to debate great ideas, and how every Greek was equal. And that's what Harvard Law School was to Victor--a magnificent idea center where all the students were equal, where Victor and the rich kids all had the same professors and the same health plans. When he was elected class representative during his first semester, Victor called it the happiest day of his life and dreamed of how wonderful it must feel to be a politician.

His first summer, Victor took a job with the New York City corporation counsel. The position sounded perfect--he'd deal with clients and gain real battlefield experience, benefits that reportedly didn't accrue to summer associates at big law firms. That the position turned into a twelve-week library-research project didn't sour Victor much; he'd simply find more meaningful work next summer.

Victor began to groove academically during his second year. Local Government Law class resonated with him because it required a consideration of real people, not just dry facts. His second summer, he accepted a six-week public- interest gig with a Puerto Rican legal-defense fund, then flew to Ecuador to wage a six-week defense of abused kids. Latin American countries, he learned, didn't provide safety nets for hurting children the way the United States had provided welfare and food stamps and foster homes for Victor.

Third year is for chilling at Harvard Law School. Students load up on electives, join clubs, hang out. Mostly, they select careers. Standing in line during fall registration, Victor decided that it was time to lock in a job offer and to give the big Manhattan law firms a try. He made his way to Career Services, asked to see the list of New York firms conducting on-campus interviews, and signed his name to the best of them.

Andrea Kramer

BY THE TIME SHE walked onto the Harvard Law School campus in 1987, Andrea was already a civil-rights attorney in her heart; the next three years would simply formalize the arrangement. So what if jaded back-row assholes snickered at the indignation she whipped up just by raising her hand? She always made her point, and her point was always to change the world.

Harvard Law School uses B as a default grade; a student must perform spectacularly to get an A, or spectacularly badly to get a C. Andrea got mostly A's her first year, and that's even after she raised money for abortion-rights action programs and labored for the Women's Law Association. While her classmates drifted to lucrative summer party jobs in June, Andrea accepted six dollars an hour from outgoing professor Clare Dalton to research midwifery. Andrea found midwifery interesting, but Dalton had just been ousted by a faction of the HLS faculty, and Andrea found that unjust.

Second year, more A's, more good works. Andrea made her mark at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau doing poverty law, and she found herself fighting--in her spare time--for various young mothers, an older mentally disturbed woman with housing problems, and three children involved in a messy divorce. Still, she took a big-dollar, big-firm job during her second summer because she needed the money, and it was only fair to check out that side of the law. But the partners were on to her; they could tell that Andrea's heart wasn't in helping corporations. They didn't extend her an offer, a failure unheard of for a second-year from Harvard. Andrea told them they were right about her, then made herself a perfect third-year at HLS by advocating for the downtrodden. She greeted June 7, 1990--graduation day--as the first day of the rest of a life well led.

Chris Crain

ONE OPINION EXISTS at Harvard Law School, and that is the liberal opinion. Others are hissed until they turn silent. No member of the Class of '90 suffered the hiss more than Chris. First week at school, he used girl instead of woman and was hissed. In class, he said that homosexuals could become heterosexual. Big hiss. Harvard shouldn't subsidize do-gooding students, the death penalty deters, prisons aren't too harsh. Hiss, hiss, hiss. Famed crim-law professor Charles Ogletree took to calling Chris "Crime-Control Crain," because here was the only guy who had the stones to wax conservative. Many men branded Chris a fascist; many women thought him a sexist pig. If anyone was perfectly suited for big-firm life, Chris decided, it was him. The money, prestige, challenging work, contact with movers and shakers--could life be better? He split his first summer between blue-blood firms in Atlanta and Nashville, got full-time employment offers from each.

Set for life, Chris returned to Harvard Law School and availed himself of the school's myriad extracurricular activities. None rewarded him so much as editing the Harvard Law Record, where he was delighted to find that his newspaper instincts hadn't atrophied. He made the Record so fresh, so provocative, that it won the American Bar Association award for best law-school newspaper. Chris's editorial--a plea to the HLS student body to be more civil in conversation--won top honors, too. The secret of the paper's success? All I'm doing, he'd tell people, is re-creating the best job I've ever had, editor of the college newspaper. By graduation, Chris had agreed to a yearlong clerkship for an ultraconservative Atlanta judge, then planned to join Covington & Burling, an old-line D. C. law firm. He still wrestled with concerns about doing the work of a real lawyer, and he still wasn't right with God. But he was a Harvard Law School graduate, and things always were supposed to work out for them.

Greg Giraldo

MR. AND MRS. GIRALDO delivered Greg to Cambridge full of hopes and dreams, but without the right clothes. Harvard Law School was throwing a get-acquainted cocktail party the first night, and the Queens kid had never had occasion to dress for splendor. Greg scoured the town for what he assumed to be the staple of high-fashion evening wear--the blue blazer. That he purchased one with zippers was not to embarrass him for a full four hours, since the party didn't start until eight.

The law-school social scene never stopped being bizarre to him. HLS would plan boat rides or nickel-beer Thursdays or L. A. Law Night at the pub, events that were supposed to break the ice but that, to Greg, just sucked indescribably--"in the deepest way," he'd tell buddies back home. Everyone was so used to being perfect, so sheltered, that they hadn't a clue about the real world, it seemed.

The legal minutiae Greg expected to be de rigueur at Harvard Law School never materialized. Professors concerned themselves instead with sweeping issues of grand importance, about the role of society and the responsibility of citizens, and it thrilled Greg. Never the "gunner" type to shoot his hand up in class, he lived in the back rows during the first weeks of school, marveling at his classmates' intellectual might. There were no chinks in the armor here. A student might sit for six weeks without uttering a peep, praying to be ignored. Then the professor would pick that student's name at random from the seating chart, whereupon that student would launch into a multilayered explanation of the difference between Kant's and Spinoza's conceptions of free will. Greg had long ago mastered the art of skating through school on brainpower alone. But this wasn't school. Here, among titans, he decided to commit 100 percent to his studies. Any less and he'd drown.

Greg pulled a B-plus average the first year, then landed a sweet summer gig with a small Manhattan litigation firm. The little work he was assigned worried him, though. The law wasn't majestic in these offices the way it was at Harvard Law School. Cases seemed petty, one corporation trying to fuck another corporation. Greg chalked up his reaction to immaturity. He'd never had to buckle down--things had always come easy. Snap out of it and grow up, he'd tell himself. It's time to become an adult. Not everything needs to be fun.

Greg pep-talked himself back to Harvard Law School. Just grow up and you'll want to be an attorney, he repeated as if it were a mantra, but his soul wasn't buying it. He remembered the weariness on the faces of the lawyers who took him to lunch to recruit him.

Back in Cambridge, Greg bought prepackaged outlines to cram for finals in classes he wasn't bothering to attend. Money became a primary motivator. The firms paid a shitload of money, and he intended to keep the promise he'd made to his parents when he was seven--a restaurant for his father, shiny dresses for his mother.

Second summer--another fancy Manhattan firm. His duties: Attend Mets games, eat four-star lunches, collect $1,750 weekly paychecks. As in the previous summer, his few real assignments struck him as meaningless. Every day, Greg toyed with the idea of dropping out. Every time, his conclusion was the same: Grow the hell up. Become an adult. You'll love this stuff.

Standing in line to register for third-year classes, Greg found a buddy and compared summer notes. Listen to this, Greg said. A recruiter tried to sell me on his firm. You know what he uses as his closer, the thing to seal the deal? He tells me, "We really encourage associates to have a life here. I'm taking a tax class at NYU and I can leave work at 7:30 p.m. two days a week, and no one says boo!" Greg and his buddy traded jokes about the kind of guy who says, "no one says boo," but neither of them was laughing much inside. Third year was a cakewalk, then Greg took a job even most Harvard students couldn't get, with Manhattan's Skadden Arps, one of the most prestigious, highest-paying law firms in the world. I'm going to grow up there, Greg told himself. I'm going to give it everything I've got.

LAST YEAR, a Harvard Law graduate and Notre Dame law professor named Patrick Schiltz published an article in the Vanderbilt Law Review on overwork, depression, suicide, mental illness, and general misery in the law. In it, he cited a recent survey of the 125 largest firms in the country that found that one third of the partners in these firms, lawyers at the very top of their profession, would choose a different career if they had it to do again.

But life at work used to be simpler--give me fifty years of your life, I'll give you a gold watch. Employers and employees never discussed "soul-searching" or "spiritual crisis"; the words would have been gibberish to them. "Have a good weekend, Phil." "Thanks, Jerry." That was the language of American work. No whining.

And Harvard doesn't earn its reputation by turning out only sensitive types. The place also breeds the legal assassin, the guy born to the law, the guy who will die in the law. He doesn't understand all this crying:

"Harvard Law students are whiners. They're removed from reality. They thought the Harvard Law crown would stay on their heads forever, then they get into the soup and their problems don't go away, and it hurts.

"Law is a brutal business. A lot of it is a devil's bargain. But I love it; I love my job. This whole crisis-of-the-soul thing should be addressed before law school. I spent three years in Nepal, I spoke Nepalese, and I explored my soul so much that when I got to Harvard Law School, I couldn't wait to practice law. Explore your soul before you go to school and you won't wonder so much."

--peter gilhuly, class of 1990, partner in transactional bankruptcy at latham & watkins, los angeles

"I loved my time at Wachtell. I worked among some of the smartest people in the world doing some of the best work. It was an intellectual feast. Working for David Stern was similar, because he has the same kind of standards, and those standards make legal work beautiful. It never crushed my soul to work to such a high standard, to strive for perfection. In ways, I miss it every day."

--george postolos, class of 1990, chief operating officer, houston rockets; former attorney for wachtell, lipton, new york

"I know you're supposed to hate working in a law firm. I'm sorry, I don't hate it. Law is not an easy career, but it can be tremendously satisfying, and it satisfies me. I hear classmates complaining, but it's not just law that's doing this to people. There are enormous demands across the workplace. Where do people think they're going find ideal jobs? Look at teachers. They'll tell you what I'm telling you. Work is hard these days."

--george marek, class of 1990, partner in environmental law, quarles & brady, milwaukee

"Law-firm practice is a phenomenal opportunity. But you have to take the initiative, like with most things in life. I work extremely hard. I'm a lawyer; it's a labor- intensive business. I wish it took less time, but that's not the way the world works.

"I don't know what 'soul-crushing' means. I've never viewed my work that way. The client has a deadline and I get mov-ing. I love it."

--lance t. brasher, class of 1990, partner in project finance, skadden arps, washington, d. c.

Victor Bernace

Something's wrong.

At first, Victor says, the big-firm interviewers loved him, laughed at his jokes, nodded when he compared Harvard Law School to ancient Greece. Many had attended NYU as undergrads and were happy to be with one of their kind. But during each interview, they would ask him, Don't you love this trendy café in the Village, or that chic French restaurant in SoHo? This, Victor thought, was the critical "one of us" question, the only thing a firm really wonders about a Harvard grad: Can we hang with this guy?

Every HLS class, it seems, has the few oddballs who do the impossible and convince interviewers to run like hell. In the class of 1990, it was the Orthodox Jewish woman who, as per her religion, wore wigs and wouldn't shake a man's hand, the hippie with the butt-length ponytail, and Victor; the big firms judged them to be social retards. These firms look past many flaws, but they don't abide retards.

And it's impossible to say exactly what does it. Maybe Victor should have pretended he'd been to those fancy restaurants. Instead, he told his interviewers that he'd grown up on welfare and had never had the money to go anywhere nice. Hmmm. Partners don't want associates talking like that around clients. Then the interviewer would review Victor's summer law experience--all random, quixotic even--and see that it didn't really indicate a man on the move, no rainmaker here. And the interviewer's face would change. Soon, he would ask to see Victor's Law School Admissions Test score, big-firm code for "No, thanks."

Victor turned numb after interviews. Law spoke to him, even if its fanciest representatives had abandoned him. After graduation, he straightened his tie, neatened his résumé, then set out to apply for paralegal jobs, legal-secretary jobs, any job that would place him near the law. Prospective employers delighted in Victor's comportment; the job was his until their fingers traced down to the part of his résumé that said Harvard Law School, 1990. Then they asked Victor, Are you kidding? Is this a joke? And Victor couldn't get into law.

Riding the subway in Harlem, Victor spotted a poster--become a teacher. He tore off a slip and followed the map to the Board of Education, where he stood in line with thousands of hopefuls, because he was $70,000 in debt and needed a job. When he learned that the line was four days long, he jumped back on the subway to Kennedy High, his alma mater, where he tracked down a teacher who had put an arm around him once. I want to be a teacher, Victor told him. When the man asked why a Harvard Law School graduate wanted to teach high school, Victor said it was because he'd been rejected. The school hired Victor on the spot.

Kennedy students could be rough and occasionally threw a punch at Victor, but he never backed down, because if you back down, they'll own you. He earned $25,000, plus a small bonus for his advanced degree. When the smart kids asked what a Harvard Law School graduate was doing teaching inner-city high school, Victor just told them that he'd had problems. He stayed on at Kennedy for a second semester, then a second year, then four more years. All the while, he told himself, Wait for your spot, Victor, wait for your spot. Law can still work for you. The Harvard Law degree can still work for you. Wait for your spot.

One day, Victor ran a red light in front of a cop who wasn't interested in explanations. That disturbed Victor's sense of justice, and he circled the calendar day when he'd have the chance to defend himself. In traffic court, Victor noticed that only one or two attorneys defended the dozens of foreign cabdrivers waiting to see the judge, and he could hear the fees these guys were charging--outrageous, because Victor lived among these cabbies and knew that they couldn't afford to pay $150 for such trivial representation. This was Victor's spot.

He took a leave of absence from teaching, then found every taxi base in his community and hung signs promising to represent cabbies for a fair price. Traffic tickets, he knew, was the lowest rung of the legal ladder--gutter law, he called it--but he was coming alive; he sensed that he might start loving being a lawyer the way he imagined he would during that first day in Contracts class ten years before.

Fifty bucks a case, and Victor never rushed a client. Chopped the legs out from under the shysters and made enemies at traffic court. "What the fuck is Harvard Law doing here?" his competition mumbled loudly. "If I had a Harvard Law degree, this shithole is the last place you'd find me." Here's the part you don't understand, Victor would think to himself. I grew up alone. I didn't have a family. Do you see how these drivers look at me? The way they listen to me? The way they thank me? I'm their family. They have no one, and I know that feeling. Next year, Victor will run for City Council, where he can do real good for his family. He'll be the underdog. He's preparing his campaign today, on the subways between traffic tickets, on the subways where he still thinks about his classmates, the ones at the big law firms making all that money, wondering if their successes are so immediate, their satisfactions so tangible, whether their clients cry when they win a case.

Andrea Kramer

Third year was mostly joy for Andrea at Harvard Law School. She was made for electives like Employment Law and Family Law, courses that hinged on fairness and confirmed that she was meant to serve the public good. Only the public good wasn't so keen to serve Andrea. While classmates locked in full-time jobs, various agencies, fellowships, and associations "dinged" Andrea until she was punchy. Just before sleep, Andrea questioned whether she had demonstrated true commitment to public service. She'd taken that job at the law firm last summer; that's not what other civil-rights-minded students had done. She'd studied midwifery first summer, but what's that got to do with civil rights? By graduation, she found herself agreeing to move to Connecticut so her physicist husband could attend his preferred graduate school, and she wondered whether real civil-rights champions moved to Connecticut for this reason.

But Andrea's husband could never earn enough to keep Andrea in her dreams. His salaries--$10,000, $11,000--wouldn't support two kids and a foster child and a wife with do-gooding desires. Andrea took a job teaching legal writing at the University of Bridgeport law school and spent her spare time working for a pro-choice organization.

After her teaching contract expired, Andrea signed on with New Haven's biggest law firm doing commercial litigation for $60,000 a year. Driving home from work, she repeated this to herself: I'm learning skills, I'm making friends. But when it came time to write a hello to Harvard Law School classmates in the fifth-reunion directory, she found herself using the phrase "So much for visions of changing the world . . ." Here she was, needing to support a family and a student husband and drowning in student loans, and the burdens of life, of reality, were killing her dreams. She thought about erasing those words--why bum people out? But she was losing herself, losing ambition, and when you lose ambition you don't have the energy to hide the truth. She mailed in the comment and they printed it, and some who read those words remembered Andrea as naïve and immature, the way Andrea was starting to remember herself.

Postdoctoral work called Andrea's husband back to Boston in 1995. He'd be earning $33,000 a year, still not enough to subsidize a public-interest-law career. This time, she took a job with a premier Boston firm for $100,000 and adjusted her thinking. Lives have different paths, she figured. I can make a difference on a smaller level, through charitable donations, by recruiting people to my synagogue. I can coach my son's soccer team. But no matter what Andrea told herself, she still ached when she saw women on television who made a difference. Those women, she knew, weren't worrying about baking cranberry bread and coaching their sons' soccer teams.

Last year, Andrea burned out at the big Boston firm and quit. A friend told her about a more relaxed place where she could practice litigation three days a week, and she took the job, which she holds today. She still looks in that reunion directory every now and again, sees the positions of power held by so many of her classmates. And she thinks, I was as smart as any of them. I had their promise. And she says, "You know that saying 'Man makes plans and God laughs'?" Then she reminds herself that at least she's on her first marriage and has two fantastic children, and she allows the word rationalization into her thoughts for only a moment before she unloads the groceries and calls the kids in for dinner.

Chris Crain

This had to happen. Chris met a guy at a gym, invited him to dinner. During the meal, the man confided that he was gay. Chris spilled his guts. I'm gay, too. I think I've always been gay. Here are my fantasies, my prayers, my history. He told the man that when he was clerking, he cried in the judge's office because he couldn't keep pretending to be someone else. Chris was twenty-five years old; until that night, he had never breathed a word to anyone about who he really was. He remembers that the man didn't laugh at him. Today, he calls that dinner "a moment."

Now Chris was gay. He worked for the judge and dated the gym man for seven months, then made good on his commitment to Covington & Burling, D. C.'s old-line firm. The Covington partners embraced their new associate, welcomed him without prejudice, then piled his desk high with work. Only now those piles looked different to Chris. Without a raging secret to displace, a secret that had found expression in every A he'd ever pulled and every award he'd ever won, Chris discovered that he no longer cared about the problems of Corporation A or Conglomerate B. Those piles of work were intended for Crime-Control Crain, but he was nowhere to be found. After Chris fell in love with a man named Dale during Thanksgiving break in Memphis, the couple decided to pick a town and move in together. They settled on Atlanta. The short career of Chris Crain, Washington power broker and attorney, was over.

Chris took a position with a prestigious Atlanta law firm while he decided what he really wanted to do. He had admired The Washington Blade, D. C.'s gay newspaper, saw in it the kind of tabloid-type, muckraking sensibility that had thrilled him when he'd edited the high school, Vanderbilt, and Harvard Law School newspapers. Someday, a talented person will build a chain of quality gay newspapers, he thought, one that will push for civil rights and ask the tough questions of America's leadership. This was his thinking when he heard a rumor that the publisher of the Southern Voice, Atlanta's gay newspaper, wanted out.

Chris made the phone calls, but it was Harvard Law School that opened the heavy oak doors of Atlanta's important gay businessmen. The degree made Chris credible to them, and these businessmen, strangers to Chris, wrote him checks until he co-owned the Southern Voice and made himself its editor, copublisher, and editorial writer. He quit law the same day he signed the papers. Circulation jumped, ad rates grew, and within a year Chris owned two more gay papers, one in Houston, the other in New Orleans. His dream was building steam.

Mr. and Mrs. Crain do not accept Chris's lifestyle. They ask only about his two beagles, never about the newspapers or Dale, whom they refuse to meet. Chris's father hates that Chris quit law, can't fathom that someone would waste a Harvard Law degree. Chris says it's embarrassing to admit, but during the times he feels most challenged, he starts wearing his Harvard Law School class ring. "Not so anyone can see me," he says, "but in my office, with the door closed. I look at it, and it makes me feel better."

Greg Giraldo

New suit, new attitude. Greg showed up at Skadden Arps determined to grow up and knock 'em dead. Then they handed him two hundred documents and told him to close a real estate deal. He studied the documents, the fine print, the hereins and the wherefores. Each was uniquely necessary to the deal, and each looked so goddamned identical that he wondered if God was playing a cruel joke on him. He was earning $87,000 a year as a glorified clerk. No one at Harvard Law School during those discussions on the nature of man and society had bothered to mention that you needed to be a clerk to do this job.

Greg brought his improved attitude to closings but always managed to forget or misplace critical documents. One partner--he'll never forget the look she gave him--asked, "What are you thinking? Who are you?" He left that closing crushed, defeated in a way he'd never known. This work was doable, yet he couldn't get himself to care about monolithic companies trying to fuck each other for another dollar a square foot. His dreams to get rich and provide for his parents, to make them proud, were going to shit. The only decent thing in his life, he thought, was the comedy writing he'd been scribbling in notebooks--fanciful, escapist stuff he thought might work on Saturday Night Live or even onstage. But Skadden Arps didn't pay for nonsense like that.

Snowed under a mountain of documents one evening at work, Greg reached into his bottom desk drawer and found that notebook of jokes. This is insane, he thought, paging through Back Stage for the listing of clubs that sponsored open-mike nights. Later that night, and nights after, people laughed at material he'd written, which Greg figured to be about the greatest feeling in the world. He became acquainted with an important moment, the moment that happens when you're doing what you're meant to be doing. Not long after, he quit the law. Once people laugh at your jokes, he thought, there's no doing law.

Greg moved back into his parents' home and took odd jobs to support his comedy. He helped a director move offices once, even agreed to polish the guy's trophies. Sitting on the ground with a pail of borax and a bunch of rags, Greg thought to himself, I graduated from Harvard Law School. What am I doing with a pail of borax? Then he thought about those piles of legal documents, and he made those trophies shine.

A comedian like Ray Romano or Jerry Seinfeld works ten, fifteen years before he gets a shot at a sitcom, and then only if he's lucky. Greg had been doing stand-up for three years when ABC offered him a prime-time show. The program, Common Law, would star Greg as a hippie-ish Harvard lawyer who, despite being trapped in a major law firm, needed to be true to himself. The network promoted the hell out of the show, plastered Greg's mug on every McDonald's place mat in the country. Greg is correct when he says that the show sucked. The acting, the writing, Greg's hair--it all sucked. ABC canceled Common Law after four episodes.

Saturday night, just after the millennium, Manhattan's sold-out Comedy Cellar. Greg Giraldo is featured this evening. "Direct from his own ABC sitcom, Politically Incorrect, and NBC's Later show, please put your hands together for Greg Giraldo!" Lots of applause, then Greg launches into his gay-bodybuilder routine. Later, near the end of his set, he ponders why courts recently awarded a man millions of dollars for scalding his genitals in a defective shower. "That's a hell of a way to test the water," he says, thrusting his pelvis into an imaginary stream of boiling shower water. The crowd eats it up and stands to cheer for Greg, who will be playing Milwaukee next week, if you happen to be there.

Robert Kurson

Shortly after graduating from Harvard Law School, I joined a major Chicago law firm. Like many of my classmates, I didn't want to be there. Like many of my classmates, children of single-career fathers who never whimpered about happiness, I figured I'd tough it out.

At least the firm took us to baseball games, and early on I was invited to join some partners in the firm's Comiskey Park luxury box. The Sox were playing the Indians, Greg Hibbard versus Tom Candiotti. Comiskey Park luxury boxes feature two rows of movie-theater-style seats and a roomy lounge area. Talk during the early innings that evening was of Corporation A and Conglomerate B. No one sat in the seats to watch the game. Early in the game, a White Sox hitter fouled off a Candiotti knuckleball, and damn if it wasn't whistling our way. The ball flew into our box and lodged under the first row of seats.

My breeding kicked in. I lunged under the seats, scrambling and flailing until I snagged the ball. I jumped up and raised the ball triumphantly, as a baseball fan does instinctively. My white shirt was blotched black with grease, my tie a horror. All I could see was that none of the lawyers had made a move for the ball, and none were approaching to slap me a high-five. Taking my seat, I wondered if I hadn't hurt myself politically at the firm, just weeks into the rest of my life. As I fingered the baseball, clutched it, really, a different thought came to me: What happened to the days when I had the world by the balls? What happened to the days when I was golden? A couple months later, I quit the law.

http://www.esquire.com/killing-lawyers-harvard-0800#ixzz0Pv6CXfTl



(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12650442)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 13th, 2011 2:26 PM
Author: narrow-minded brindle spot azn

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_Giraldo#Death

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17274870)



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Date: September 2nd, 2009 12:37 AM
Author: Ungodly vigorous business firm national security agency

tyft

I can sympathize with Victor.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12650569)



Reply Favorite

Date: July 7th, 2010 3:34 PM
Author: Unhinged Mustard Juggernaut

tcr

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#15437336)



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Date: September 2nd, 2009 12:39 AM
Author: low-t scourge upon the earth resort

someone link to the XO classic thread that advises you to print all these horror-stories out and keep them in your desk drawer for future reference.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12650587)



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Date: September 2nd, 2009 12:44 AM
Author: cheese-eating indian lodge
Subject: Congratulations!

Based on your reaction to getting the offer, this is probably the best thing that could have hever appened to you. I encourage you to enjoy the summer and take accept their offer as nothing in the world will cure you of your prestige obsession quicker than some time at S&C.

During orientation, they'll give you an S&C shoulderbag and you'll wear it with the S&C logo facing outward so any other commuters in the know can see it and you'll just know that they're either impressed or envious. And that will make you happy and proud. And then you'll try to figure out the best way to ensure that you're sworn in as soon as possible after receiving your bar results because then you'll get the box full of business cards that say "Sullivan & Cromwell LLP" with your actual name underneath. You'll be giddy at the thought of casually passing one (mid-conversation) to some acquaintance from undergrad you've lost touch with.

You'll start working and you'll notice that there are an awful lot of "Farewell" emails and someone will tell you that the farewell emails can only contain 4 names at a time per firm policy because the partners decided sometime in 2004 that emails indicating 6 or 7 people were leaving the firm in a two week period might cause some unhelpful whispering. You'll talk to a midlevel associate who is super-psyched to work at S&C and you'll find out that he (not a lot of shes) lateralled from some firm that frankly you would never have considered working for (too TTT for you). When you get back to your office, this will trouble you a bit, you'll wonder if your own escutcheon is being blemished by the presence of this type of person (i.e., non-elite) at your S&C. But that feeling will pass as you'll find plenty of other like-minded first years who equally relish the prestige as you you head for a drink at Ulysses (shoulderbag logo facing outward).

Then you'll get staffed on your first big deal and you'll work late night after late night and then on the weekend and on to the next weekend and then on to the weekend when you had planned to go to a friend's wedding. And you won't go because the work has to get done and you have dues to pay (or so you'll be told). You'll get a little bit upset about this turn of events, but the arrival of those business cards will soften the blow.

You'll meet more and more laterals from firms that you would never work for (some you've never even heard of). You'll note in the farewell emails that some of the junior and midlevel associates leaving S&C are going to those very same firms. Survival of the fittest you'll say. But late at night, when the air conditioning clicks down from a barely perceptible hissing sound to complete silence, these things will bother you. But you'll tell yourself you're just tired and frustrated and anyway you have work to do.

You'll have lunch with Rodge and he'll tell you that business is good and that he's listening to associates' concerns about quality of life issues. You'll notice that some of the senior associates visibly roll their eyes at each other when this comes up, but you won't mind that much because, really, what other firm's managing partner regulalry has lunch with associates to hear their concerns (and takes notes!)

A few months will pass, a few marathon deals will happen, you'll have to re-schedule a vacation but you'll tell yourself that that is to be expected.

About a year in, a couple of your classmates will crack and start talking about how much the job sucks. They'll very likely have gone to Yale Law School. You'll joke that they couldn't hack it when they leave the firm for a clerkship, or an academic position or to go to a firm in another city.

Things will go on in this pattern and you'll notice the fact that you're working a lot harder than your friends who went to "peer" firms. At first you'll be proud of this and brag about it, but after a while you'll find yourself downplaying it. At least when you have the time to get out and socialize with your law school friends.

Something will happen: a partner will scream at you, a senior associate gunning for partner will blame you for her mistake, the partner will tell you that the trip to Europe your spouse meticulously planned just won't be able to happen (he'll be really sorry and will tell you a funny story about the exotic vacation he missed or cut short). Doesn't matter what, but you'll get really pissed and you'll start to take some of the 4 or 5 calls from headhunters that you'll receive every day at that point (vultures spell blood). They'll give you the names of firms that you laughed on in the days when you posted on the XOXO board, but you'll find yourself looking into them. The headhunter will encourage to just listen to their offer and you'll consider doing so. But you won't leave because then you'd have to give up your business cards. And stop wearing the shoulder bag. And the bonus is only x months away so you'll start thinking about it then.

Until one day you won't be able to take it any more and you'll find yourself arranging to meet with people from a lightly regarded firm for a position in their New York office. And you'll worry that the XOXO crowd will see you.

And you don't believe any of this will happen, but I suggest you print this out and keep it in the top desk of your drawer so late at night when you're feeling sorry for yourself, you can add to the list of reasons to be miserable this fact: someone told you this was going to happen and you thought that person was crazy.

http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=514098&forum_id=2#6872237

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12650632)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 2nd, 2009 12:46 AM
Author: low-t scourge upon the earth resort

oh fuck, thank you. I have been looking for that forever.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12650645)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 2nd, 2009 1:12 AM
Author: carmine federal nursing home death wish

One of the greatest posts in XOXO history

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12650860)



Reply Favorite

Date: October 11th, 2011 11:27 AM
Author: black dog poop



(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#19147693)



Reply Favorite

Date: July 7th, 2010 2:48 PM
Author: Costumed fluffy kitchen brethren



(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#15437037)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 2nd, 2009 12:45 AM
Author: Rose coffee pot foreskin

This was worth reading. Was it published in Time or something?

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12650637)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 2nd, 2009 12:46 AM
Author: salmon cuckoldry

scotus justices make 400k+, not under 160

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12650647)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 2nd, 2009 12:57 AM
Author: low-t scourge upon the earth resort

great catch!!!!

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12650755)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 2nd, 2009 1:19 AM
Author: Claret theater stage

"scotus justices make 400k"

eh, no.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12650907)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 2nd, 2009 1:02 AM
Author: racy elite lay hairy legs

I read the HLS article a few years ago. I love the part about Chris Crain.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12650784)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 2nd, 2009 1:30 AM
Author: Misunderstood locus

it's rly sad, like most of the rest of the article

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12650978)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 2nd, 2009 1:15 AM
Author: Exhilarant Geriatric Immigrant

TL, DR

BIGLAW. It has its pluses and minuses. It's easy to list the minuses when you're in a bad mood. It's not so often that you'll be in a good mood in BIGLAW but when you are there are lots of pluses too!

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12650880)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 2nd, 2009 3:13 AM
Author: low-t scourge upon the earth resort



(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12651533)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 2nd, 2009 4:17 AM
Author: Self-centered boltzmann gaping

"a race that began in kindergarten" -why I felt so stupid at times

*hates life*

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12651593)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 3rd, 2009 3:41 PM
Author: low-t scourge upon the earth resort



(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12661759)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 3rd, 2009 4:01 PM
Author: startled haunting yarmulke mental disorder

I used to work with an electrical company. One of the doods I worked with was a 280 lb, bald, chain smoking, drug addict whose "girlfriend" fucked other men for money. He used to show up at the job site hung over and tell me "We all got our problems brah. My problem is I had to wake up and come to work this morning."

The only difference between the lawyer and the electrician is eloquence.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12661879)



Reply Favorite

Date: November 20th, 2009 12:30 PM
Author: idiotic deep national

lol keep telling yourself that.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#13318879)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 17th, 2009 11:19 PM
Author: low-t scourge upon the earth resort



(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12773391)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 18th, 2009 1:44 AM
Author: indigo windowlicker



(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12774807)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 18th, 2009 2:06 AM
Author: Seedy Dysfunction

I thought this would end up with KING OF RUCKUS in a MAYBACH filled with BITCHEZ.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12774924)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 18th, 2009 2:15 AM
Author: Arrogant Native

Learn

1. Psychiatry

2. Psychology

3. Philosophy

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12774964)



Reply Favorite

Date: October 7th, 2009 3:03 AM
Author: low-t scourge upon the earth resort



(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12926952)



Reply Favorite

Date: October 7th, 2009 3:46 AM
Author: Vibrant saffron bawdyhouse

very long and those symbols instead of apostrophes was annoying as fuck, but a good read. unfortunately, it's dated as fuck.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12927078)



Reply Favorite

Date: October 7th, 2009 3:50 AM
Author: Big glassy market personal credit line

yeah lol at billing 320 hours a month.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12927088)



Reply Favorite

Date: October 7th, 2009 5:03 AM
Author: Vibrant saffron bawdyhouse

and of course he neglected to mention the biggest problem at latham.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12927261)



Reply Favorite

Date: October 7th, 2009 5:18 AM
Author: Arrogant Native
Subject: The Worthington Law

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aF8wLg5Asgo&feature=related

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#12927282)



Reply Favorite

Date: November 19th, 2009 10:38 PM
Author: low-t scourge upon the earth resort



(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#13313805)



Reply Favorite

Date: March 13th, 2010 8:02 PM
Author: low-t scourge upon the earth resort



(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#14383505)



Reply Favorite

Date: June 10th, 2010 7:33 PM
Author: low-t scourge upon the earth resort



(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#15212136)



Reply Favorite

Date: June 11th, 2010 6:21 AM
Author: Silver Reading Party

so did you reply three times with no text just to bump the thread?

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#15217109)



Reply Favorite

Date: October 1st, 2010 3:50 PM
Author: low-t scourge upon the earth resort

nothing gets by you, huh?

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#16189886)



Reply Favorite

Date: June 11th, 2010 6:33 AM
Author: sick nighttime wagecucks

180

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#15217111)



Reply Favorite

Date: June 11th, 2010 7:01 AM
Author: Cream Pit Knife

"In the 1970s, associates billed about 1,400 hours a year..."

life was better in the 50s-70s. the pace was more sane, real incomes were higher, job security was much greater, employers took care of their employees, etc. what did we gain by changing things? we should get back to that.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#15217114)



Reply Favorite

Date: June 11th, 2010 7:07 AM
Author: sick nighttime wagecucks

the fucking baby boomers don't want that. they're selfish shits who want to leech all they can from this world. they're a plague that needs to be wiped from the face of the earth.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#15217117)



Reply Favorite

Date: June 11th, 2010 7:18 AM
Author: Cream Pit Knife

i agree. i think we need to confiscate most of the wealth that baby boomers have accumulated, then strictly ration their health care after age 70 (i.e. basically let them die). they had their fun.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#15217122)



Reply Favorite

Date: June 11th, 2010 7:24 AM
Author: sick nighttime wagecucks

cr. but are you sure it wouldn't be better to turn them into soylent lawn fertilizer as soon as they hit the social security benefits age? it'd save a lot of money, and think of how nice our lawns would look.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#15217123)



Reply Favorite

Date: June 11th, 2010 7:37 AM
Author: Cream Pit Knife

lol yes, i would love to fertilize my lawn with baby boomers

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#15217130)



Reply Favorite

Date: July 7th, 2010 3:36 PM
Author: Unhinged Mustard Juggernaut

tcr

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#15437351)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 13th, 2011 3:58 PM
Author: narrow-minded brindle spot azn

titcr

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17275596)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 14th, 2011 2:40 AM
Author: electric brass private investor striped hyena



(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17281327)



Reply Favorite

Date: June 11th, 2010 10:53 AM
Author: fighting rehab

If young people or young lawyers organize and are serious about demanding this, they can change it.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#15217522)



Reply Favorite

Date: July 7th, 2010 3:36 PM
Author: Unhinged Mustard Juggernaut

we were trained to be cowards. they got us in chains via debt.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#15437358)



Reply Favorite

Date: October 7th, 2010 12:38 AM
Author: Fragrant crawly menage

women in the workplace, partly

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#16234106)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 13th, 2011 10:29 AM
Author: orchid well-lubricated preventive strike hissy fit

what did we gain by changing it? profit, dear xo libertarian, profit.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17273549)



Reply Favorite

Date: July 7th, 2010 11:18 PM
Author: cyan chapel quadroon

Wow, what a bunch of pussies. SUCK IT UP.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#15441081)



Reply Favorite

Date: October 1st, 2010 6:08 PM
Author: Rambunctious doobsian heaven indirect expression

TCR. little faggots love to bitch.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#16190954)



Reply Favorite

Date: October 1st, 2010 3:49 PM
Author: Histrionic Ceo



(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#16189882)



Reply Favorite

Date: October 1st, 2010 4:18 PM
Author: razzmatazz maniacal office

Truly prophetic

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#16190088)



Reply Favorite

Date: October 1st, 2010 5:50 PM
Author: Apoplectic site kitty

I was going to ask, "Is Greedy Associates still around?" when I saw the 2000 date.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#16190814)



Reply Favorite

Date: October 6th, 2010 11:36 PM
Author: low-t scourge upon the earth resort



(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#16233524)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 10th, 2011 8:26 PM
Author: Sable public bath



(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17255502)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 12th, 2011 9:43 PM
Author: provocative emerald mother state

NEVER FORGET

*holds candle light vigil outside Lipstick Building*

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17270364)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 13th, 2011 6:30 AM
Author: Hateful aromatic property

Question to those in biglaw

Is it really that bad? What socioeconomic background do most have? Would strivers coming from a poor as fuck family be able to thrive because their limitless ability to endure being shat on while coming back for more help? TYIA

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17273196)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 13th, 2011 10:13 AM
Author: razzle-dazzle gay parlour

It's only that bad if (1) you really, really care about making partner, and/or (2) you are prone to seeking out the most anxious, neurotic, competitive people in the room.

Ever noticed at law school how people in the very same section would describe their law school experiences in wildly differing ways? Between two people who spent 90% of their 1L years in the same room, one would describe the school as "laid back and collegial for the most part" and the other would say it was "generally competitive and unfriendly"? How the former would describe the workload as "stressful and, at times, overwhelming" while the latter would say it was "pretty much a breeze except for 2 bad weeks at the end of each semester"?

It's the same way at law firms.

Certain people (whether they admit it or not) seek out stress, anxiety, and unhappiness. Others find a way to do enough to get by without running afoul of management, but generally are pretty good at striking a balance. And I don't think any socioeconomic background dictates which box you fall into.

Many people are able to coast through 5-6 years at a firm without it ever breaking them in the way the author of the above article was broken in under a year.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17273482)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 13th, 2011 7:07 PM
Author: Hateful aromatic property

tyft insightful comment. i actively avoid high-stress peeps in LS and in life so this is good to hear.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17277347)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 14th, 2011 8:34 AM
Author: vivacious underhanded locale

The comment is not insightful and the analogy is pathetically flawed.

Your biglaw experience will depend, almost completely, on the partner(s) you work for. Not the firm, nor the practice area, but the partners who own you.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17281832)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 13th, 2011 10:27 AM
Author: Floppy Cerise Stag Film

No. This is a compilation of the worst people telling their worst stories. I have been in biglaw for 5 years and 11 month out of the year it is quite manageable if you aren't an uptight stressball....but catch me during those couple of weeks a year when things are crazy and I might say the same thing.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17273543)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 13th, 2011 7:10 PM
Author: Hateful aromatic property

i do notice that my anxiety correlates strongly with how many times I visit xoxo...

i've done long hours(>60) for a $25 job before and constantly getting berated by bullshit managers/supervisors. i lasted 3 years doing that so i really don't see the fuss about biglaw

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17277375)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 13th, 2011 10:25 AM
Author: awkward flushed meetinghouse

Send this whiny bullshit to someone who is unemployed and has creditors banging down the door.

A lot of people would suck AIDS-infected dicks to have any job right now, let alone a job paying six figures. Shut the fuck up.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17273537)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 13th, 2011 11:36 AM
Author: pearl alpha sex offender

cr

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17273908)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 13th, 2011 11:45 AM
Author: mind-boggling avocado step-uncle's house associate

And the person who is unemployed and has creditors banging down the door could be living in Central Africa without a door to bang on -- so should the unemployed person with the door not be able to be upset about their situation in life?

Many of the six-figure making Biglaw types have income, but no wealth, because of student debt. There's something to be bitter about in that situation, too, particularly if their primary reason for doing what they do each day - rather than something they would rather do - is to service their debt

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17273960)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 13th, 2011 2:29 PM
Author: cowardly dead blood rage

120

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17274895)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 13th, 2011 3:24 PM
Author: Stimulating puppy

Your writing style, the style above, bothers me. I cannot describe - rather than being able to describe - exactly what it is about your writing that irritates me. It's like, a high school student wrote it -- but wouldn't a high schooler have written better?

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17275334)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 13th, 2011 4:03 PM
Author: narrow-minded brindle spot azn

T-I_T/C-R-

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17275641)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 14th, 2011 2:29 AM
Author: razzle roommate church building

should forward this to businessinsider or someone that doesn't know what's going on in the latest trends of the BIDNEZZ world

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17281280)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 14th, 2011 2:41 AM
Author: electric brass private investor striped hyena



(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17281330)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 14th, 2011 8:52 AM
Author: Thriller pea-brained dingle berry tattoo

That sucks

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17281854)



Reply Favorite

Date: February 15th, 2011 5:56 PM
Author: Histrionic Ceo



(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#17292092)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 4th, 2011 11:24 PM
Author: low-t scourge upon the earth resort



(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#18908153)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 4th, 2011 11:25 PM
Author: odious orange shrine place of business

Never gets old.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#18908162)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 6th, 2011 8:50 AM
Author: disrespectful macaca stain

CR

Pharaoh, solid bump.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#18917244)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 5th, 2011 1:04 AM
Author: arousing bronze police squad toilet seat

http://books.google.com/books?id=KywEAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA53&ots=9TxXAE5J4m&dq=empires%20of%20paper%20texas%20monthly&pg=PA53#v=onepage&q&f=false

idk, 2000 hours was standard in texas 40 years ago

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#18908817)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 5th, 2011 12:07 AM
Author: provocative emerald mother state

this is my life niggers



(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#18908550)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 5th, 2011 12:08 AM
Author: concupiscible doctorate shitlib

To the people above who are asking if it's really like this--no, not really. The hours are long (longer than law school), but they're also really variable. You will pull some all-nighters, and you will have some really bad months, but you also will have some weeks where you are going home between 6 and 8 every night. It only really becomes excruciatingly painful if you are unlucky enough to be on a massive trial (or whatever the equivalent is for corporate lawyers).

It's also less menial than what they describe above. You will end up doing a lot of legal research and writing (if you are a litigator). If you liked law school, you'll probably like this part of the job.

The real question that I have--which isn't addressed above--is what people do when they decide they don't want to make partner in a biglaw firm. Some corporate types go in house, but I'm still trying to figure out what litigators do.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#18908557)



Reply Favorite

Date: September 5th, 2011 12:28 AM
Author: Rose coffee pot foreskin

law school only required effort 2 weeks every semester. you didn't even have to show up most the time. this is a shitton more work.

and before you say it's like every other job, no, no it's not. most jobs you can go home from. those you can't you get equity. here you're ran into the ground for a bullshit paycheck.

lol@ legal research and writing being remotely interesting.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#18908651)



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Date: September 5th, 2011 1:07 AM
Author: concupiscible doctorate shitlib

I do agree, it's probably worse than other jobs. That said, I do have several friends who work the same hours for less money in other professions. But yeah, overall, it's probably worse than most jobs.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#18908832)



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Date: September 5th, 2011 9:57 AM
Author: Drunken Box Office

So your complaint is you have to work hard year round to earn a paycheck? What did you expect?

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#18909967)



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Date: September 6th, 2011 9:28 PM
Author: out-of-control forum

law = rich. there are tons of legal jobs out there too now. 4,100 created in july.

(http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=1076613&forum_id=2#18921441)