how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

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philo-sophia
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby philo-sophia » Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:12 pm

a couple insights on the business model...and i agree that working that much sucks and i wouldn't prefer to do it (though i probably will, at least at first).

First, people need the big paycheck, especially in NYC. I just left a low six figure salary job in NYC. Even with that very healthy paycheck by mortal standards, that didn't go very far in NYC. I still lived in a shitbox of an apartment that would not look out of place in one of those telethons about impoverished African nations and which i could still barely afford. If i were to tack on $150K in debt, an $80K salary just wouldn't cut it.

Second, it's a leverage model. At a place like Cravath, about 20% of associates will make partner. Others will leave after two years b/c they hate it, or leave after 5 years b/c they're told they don't have a chance of making partner. These people can put up with the hours for a few years. For people who do make partner, life definitely does get better...usually leave the office at 6, sick corner offices, and 7 figure salaries.

Third, i think it was on Vault where a Cravath associate was quoted as saying "i'll learn more here in two years than most will in six." For those who stay for just a couple of years, their time at the V10 firms serves as a sort of boot camp and they leave with the resume and the experience to pursue a wide range of options, from partner track at a smaller firm to, in-house corporate counsel, to investment banking.

Working that much sucks, there's no doubt. But it has its rewards.

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iwasgoingtobeasenator
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby iwasgoingtobeasenator » Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:18 pm

philo-sophia wrote:a couple insights on the business model...and i agree that working that much sucks and i wouldn't prefer to do it (though i probably will, at least at first).

First, people need the big paycheck, especially in NYC. I just left a low six figure salary job in NYC. Even with that very healthy paycheck by mortal standards, that didn't go very far in NYC. I still lived in a shitbox of an apartment that would not look out of place in one of those telethons about impoverished African nations and which i could still barely afford. If i were to tack on $150K in debt, an $80K salary just wouldn't cut it.

Second, it's a leverage model. At a place like Cravath, about 20% of associates will make partner. Others will leave after two years b/c they hate it, or leave after 5 years b/c they're told they don't have a chance of making partner. These people can put up with the hours for a few years. For people who do make partner, life definitely does get better...usually leave the office at 6, sick corner offices, and 7 figure salaries.

Third, i think it was on Vault where a Cravath associate was quoted as saying "i'll learn more here in two years than most will in six." For those who stay for just a couple of years, their time at the V10 firms serves as a sort of boot camp and they leave with the resume and the experience to pursue a wide range of options, from partner track at a smaller firm to, in-house corporate counsel, to investment banking.

Working that much sucks, there's no doubt. But it has its rewards.


Yeah the boot camp would train you well, and you'd definitely have your options. I just don't think that working those kind of hours leads to happiness. To me, a large part of going through the extra work of three years of school is to improve my quality of life, not have it decline. Now, obviously money gets better, as does life after making partner. But I'm not convinced that 8 years (or roughtly 1/10 or your natural life) is a good trade off, especially when I've already given away about 1/3 of my life to school alone. By the time your head is finally above water, you've already passed what most people look back on as the best years of your life. Money is nice, but there's only so much I'm willing to do to get it.

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Gilgamesh
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby Gilgamesh » Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:23 pm

iwasgoingtobeasenator wrote:
Yeah the boot camp would train you well, and you'd definitely have your options. I just don't think that working those kind of hours leads to happiness. To me, a large part of going through the extra work of three years of school is to improve my quality of life, not have it decline. Now, obviously money gets better, as does life after making partner. But I'm not convinced that 8 years (or roughtly 1/10 or your natural life) is a good trade off, especially when I've already given away about 1/3 of my life to school alone. By the time your head is finally above water, you've already passed what most people look back on as the best years of your life. Money is nice, but there's only so much I'm willing to do to get it.


I agree. Who cares how much money you are making if you have no time to enjoy it?

philo-sophia
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby philo-sophia » Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:24 pm

^^ the sort of healthy perspective i'd like to have myself. Unfortunately, i'm a masochist.

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iwasgoingtobeasenator
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby iwasgoingtobeasenator » Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:25 pm

Gilgamesh wrote:
iwasgoingtobeasenator wrote:
Yeah the boot camp would train you well, and you'd definitely have your options. I just don't think that working those kind of hours leads to happiness. To me, a large part of going through the extra work of three years of school is to improve my quality of life, not have it decline. Now, obviously money gets better, as does life after making partner. But I'm not convinced that 8 years (or roughtly 1/10 or your natural life) is a good trade off, especially when I've already given away about 1/3 of my life to school alone. By the time your head is finally above water, you've already passed what most people look back on as the best years of your life. Money is nice, but there's only so much I'm willing to do to get it.


I agree. Who cares how much money you are making if you have no time to enjoy it?


What confuses me is that there seem to be a pretty significant amount of people who feel like we do, yet the model continues. And we're not exactly a useless sample, many of us are ones who will get that shot at "biglaw" if we so choose. (I'm fairly confident I'll get the chance)

philo-sophia
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby philo-sophia » Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:25 pm

"Of course he's not happy. The only happy people in this town are the losers. Look at me, i'm miserable. That's why i'm RICH."
-Ari Gold

The Agitator
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby The Agitator » Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:28 pm

What confuses me is that there seem to be a pretty significant amount of people who feel like we do, yet the model continues. And we're not exactly a useless sample, many of us are ones who will get that shot at "biglaw" if we so choose. (I'm fairly confident I'll get the chance)


It's not that confusing. I've heard the work is manageable for a short time, unless you are at the really sick V5 firms in NYC, in which case it's somewhat offset by even crazier bonuses. I've heard 60-65 is more the norm, which I think that link bears out.

It's a pretty good deal to just do that for two -three years, have sick and prestigious experience on your resume, and a huge bank account and paid off law school debt. It's a trade off but it's a good deal in the end.

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iwasgoingtobeasenator
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby iwasgoingtobeasenator » Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:29 pm

philo-sophia wrote:"Of course he's not happy. The only happy people in this town are the losers. Look at me, i'm miserable. That's why i'm RICH."
-Ari Gold


Lol. In NYC that may not be far off. That's my stereotype coming out, I've never even been. I just know that with a cost of living as high as they've got... you better be working your A$$ off.

agent433
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby agent433 » Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:34 pm

so, how come biglaw firms in other large cities don't have these ridic hours? or are they bein misleading? for example, in LA:

akin gump (160k)-avg hrs worked-2100 in 05, 2300 in 06. and isnt that over only 47 weeks or so, with vacation?

bryan cave (145k)-2000 hrs worked on avg

dla piper (145k)- 2250 and 2300 avg hrs for last 2 years

lord bissell (160k)-2200 and 2100 avg hrs last 2 years

winston and strawn (160k)-2100 avg hrs last 2 years

so, are these crazy hours just in NYC or am i not gettin something?

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iwasgoingtobeasenator
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby iwasgoingtobeasenator » Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:35 pm

The Agitator wrote:
What confuses me is that there seem to be a pretty significant amount of people who feel like we do, yet the model continues. And we're not exactly a useless sample, many of us are ones who will get that shot at "biglaw" if we so choose. (I'm fairly confident I'll get the chance)


It's not that confusing. I've heard the work is manageable for a short time, unless you are at the really sick V5 firms in NYC, in which case it's somewhat offset by even crazier bonuses. I've heard 60-65 is more the norm, which I think that link bears out.

It's a pretty good deal to just do that for two -three years, have sick and prestigious experience on your resume, and a huge bank account and paid off law school debt. It's a trade off but it's a good deal in the end.


At Wachtell, they have you working 70 hrs/wk. That means as some have pointed out that you'd got some 100 hour weeks, some 85 hour weeks, some 50 hour weeks. I just can't imagine a 50 hour week significantly helping my average work hours/week. I'm not sure bonuses can compensate me for that, especially since you spend so much money in NYC anyways.

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iwasgoingtobeasenator
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby iwasgoingtobeasenator » Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:36 pm

agent433 wrote:so, how come biglaw firms in other large cities don't have these ridic hours? or are they bein misleading? for example, in LA:

akin gump (160k)-avg hrs worked-2100 in 05, 2300 in 06. and isnt that over only 47 weeks or so, with vacation?

bryan cave (145k)-2000 hrs worked on avg

dla piper (145k)- 2250 and 2300 avg hrs for last 2 years

lord bissell (160k)-2200 and 2100 avg hrs last 2 years

winston and strawn (160k)-2100 avg hrs last 2 years

so, are these crazy hours just in NYC or am i not gettin something?


Are those billable? IF they're billable then you're right in the alley of NYC firms.

The Agitator
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby The Agitator » Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:39 pm

At Wachtell, they have you working 70 hrs/wk. That means as some have pointed out that you'd got some 100 hour weeks, some 85 hour weeks, some 50 hour weeks. I just can't imagine a 50 hour week significantly helping my average work hours/week. I'm not sure bonuses can compensate me for that, especially since you spend so much money in NYC anyways.


Senator, neither you or I will be working for Wachtell. We will luckily probably (hopefully) be working at one of the 60/hr week firms, where we will variously be hit by 45, 50, 60, 70, and 80 hour weeks.

And really, people in NYC are taking a hit. You can earn a relatively better salary by going to another city. But people want to live the big life in Manhattan, so that's another trade-off they're making.

agent433
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby agent433 » Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:40 pm

iwasgoingtobeasenator wrote:
agent433 wrote:so, how come biglaw firms in other large cities don't have these ridic hours? or are they bein misleading? for example, in LA:

akin gump (160k)-avg hrs worked-2100 in 05, 2300 in 06. and isnt that over only 47 weeks or so, with vacation?

bryan cave (145k)-2000 hrs worked on avg

dla piper (145k)- 2250 and 2300 avg hrs for last 2 years

lord bissell (160k)-2200 and 2100 avg hrs last 2 years

winston and strawn (160k)-2100 avg hrs last 2 years

so, are these crazy hours just in NYC or am i not gettin something?


Are those billable? IF they're billable then you're right in the alley of NYC firms.
nah man, all are avg hours worked, i made sure, lol. and these are just a few of em, theres a bunch more i saw on the OCI list for Loyola w/ similar hrs worked

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iwasgoingtobeasenator
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby iwasgoingtobeasenator » Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:51 pm

The Agitator wrote:
At Wachtell, they have you working 70 hrs/wk. That means as some have pointed out that you'd got some 100 hour weeks, some 85 hour weeks, some 50 hour weeks. I just can't imagine a 50 hour week significantly helping my average work hours/week. I'm not sure bonuses can compensate me for that, especially since you spend so much money in NYC anyways.


Senator, neither you or I will be working for Wachtell. We will luckily probably (hopefully) be working at one of the 60/hr week firms, where we will variously be hit by 45, 50, 60, 70, and 80 hour weeks.

And really, people in NYC are taking a hit. You can earn a relatively better salary by going to another city. But people want to live the big life in Manhattan, so that's another trade-off they're making.


True that. Wachtell wouldn't give me time of day if I begged them. Regardless, I don't think of it as a privilege when they've got you working hours like that. I can handle 70-80 hour weeks just fine. I have some screws loose, I can handle abuse. I do worry about my significant other leaving me though, because I'm not sure they'd put up with crazy hours and not seeing me.

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Pavlov's Cat
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby Pavlov's Cat » Tue Feb 05, 2008 2:37 pm

iwasgoingtobeasenator wrote:I do worry about my significant other leaving me though, because I'm not sure they'd put up with crazy hours and not seeing me.

Mine says he wants me to do it for a few years so I can buy him a BMW, then go somewhere else for better quality of life. I'm not sure whether to be happy that he is supportive of my career, or offended that he can put up with not seeing me for 3 years . . .

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the rza
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby the rza » Tue Feb 05, 2008 2:49 pm

Pavlov's Cat


nice

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nipplehead
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby nipplehead » Tue Feb 05, 2008 2:57 pm

here's what i don't understand:

you work in NYC for 160K to start, right? but the COL is so high in NYC that 120K in Chicago or a smaller market would seem to go way, way farther........right?

so why the hell do people work in NYC, other than prestige?

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iwasgoingtobeasenator
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby iwasgoingtobeasenator » Tue Feb 05, 2008 2:59 pm

nipplehead wrote:here's what i don't understand:

you work in NYC for 160K to start, right? but the COL is so high in NYC that 120K in Chicago or a smaller market would seem to go way, way farther........right?

so why the hell do people work in NYC, other than prestige?


Well, they get bigger bonuses, a better line on their resume, and becoming "partner" would pay off big.

The Agitator
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby The Agitator » Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:03 pm

so why the hell do people work in NYC, other than prestige?


Because living in NYC when you have a lot of money to throw around is fun.

Da Stain
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby Da Stain » Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:04 pm

Alos, there's no question that NY has the biggest need for firm lawyers in the country....

kritiosboy
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby kritiosboy » Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:21 pm

A lot of ppl are from nyc and have the majority of their social network in and near it. So, some of the very little free time that these nyc townie biglaw associates have can be spent with family and old friends.

philo-sophia
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby philo-sophia » Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:23 pm

NYC has its drawbacks...expense, stressful atmosphere, overcrowding, etc.

But at the same time there's absolutely no place like it in the world. When you're there, you feel like you're at the center of the universe, and in a way, you are.

If you're working for a V10 firm in NYC, it's pretty typical to pick up the Wall Street Journal and read about a deal you just worked on (on the front page). At Cravath, you might be descending the escalator in the huge marble lobby on the way to the starbucks, reading about a deal you just closed, and wave hello to Jay-Z as he gets out of his Maybach and walks into Def Jam. Turn on the TV, or go to the movies and you'll see all the stories unfolding on the streets you walk along every day. I know it's weird for a grown man to get excited about these sorts of things, but when you're in a movie theatre and your office is actually in the movie...that's kind of cool. I sort of idolize Stephen Schwartzman, the Blackstone CEO. When in NYC i'd walk by his apartment building, 740 Park, every day on my way home. When you're in NYC, you have a feeling like you're part of a select group of people crammed onto this tiny island from which the nation (and even the world) is largely run.

And since you're too busy running the world 14 hours/day to do things like laundry or going to pick up food, there's in-building dry clean concierge, shoe repair and seemless web where you click to order food from any of several hundred restaurants and it promptly appears in your lobby. To be in a place where "big things are happening", big things need to get done, and that can take long, intense hours. But the buzz that comes from being at the heart of the action is worth the sacrifice to a lot of people.

EDIT: I'll provide one anecdote from my first couple of months in NYC. We were closing an $850 million financing transaction for a big oil company. As is typically the case, we pulled an all nighter. Throughout the course of the evening i was riding in black town cars back and forth between Cravath and O'Melvany's NYC office in Times Square. During my first trip, as I got into the car and rode through the lights of times square, i thought to myself "i'm a long way from Chapel Hill". In the morning, back in Cravath's 49th floor conference room with floor to ceiling windows looking out on NYC, we had a row of laptops lined up to wire funds to the various accounts. About five minutes after we hit "Enter" on the first laptop, someone popped their head in and said "the seventy five million just hit the Tokyo account.".....wow.

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the rza
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby the rza » Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:33 pm

to each his own, but damn, ^ that is sure not the life for me.

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iwasgoingtobeasenator
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby iwasgoingtobeasenator » Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:37 pm

philo-sophia wrote:NYC has its drawbacks...expense, stressful atmosphere, overcrowding, etc.

But at the same time there's absolutely no place like it in the world. When you're there, you feel like you're at the center of the universe, and in a way, you are.

If you're working for a V10 firm in NYC, it's pretty typical to pick up the Wall Street Journal and read about a deal you just worked on (on the front page). At Cravath, you might be descending the escalator in the huge marble lobby on the way to the starbucks, reading about a deal you just closed, and wave hello to Jay-Z as he gets out of his Maybach and walks into Def Jam. Turn on the TV, or go to the movies and you'll see all the stories unfolding on the streets you walk along every day. I know it's weird for a grown man to get excited about these sorts of things, but when you're in a movie theatre and your office is actually in the movie...that's kind of cool. I sort of idolize Stephen Schwartzman, the Blackstone CEO. When in NYC i'd walk by his apartment building, 740 Park, every day on my way home. When you're in NYC, you have a feeling like you're part of a select group of people crammed onto this tiny island from which the nation (and even the world) is largely run.

And since you're too busy running the world 14 hours/day to do things like laundry or going to pick up food, there's in-building dry clean concierge, shoe repair and seemless web where you click to order food from any of several hundred restaurants and it promptly appears in your lobby. To be in a place where "big things are happening", big things need to get done, and that can take long, intense hours. But the buzz that comes from being at the heart of the action is worth the sacrifice to a lot of people.

EDIT: I'll provide one anecdote from my first couple of months in NYC. We were closing an $850 million financing transaction for a big oil company. As is typically the case, we pulled an all nighter. Throughout the course of the evening i was riding in black town cars back and forth between Cravath and O'Melvany's NYC office in Times Square. During my first trip, as I got into the car and rode through the lights of times square, i thought to myself "i'm a long way from Chapel Hill". In the morning, back in Cravath's 49th floor conference room with floor to ceiling windows looking out on NYC, we had a row of laptops lined up to wire funds to the various accounts. About five minutes after we hit "Enter" on the first laptop, someone popped their head in and said "the seventy five million just hit the Tokyo account.".....wow.



I admit, it sounds glamorous. I'd like to dabble in it, but I couldn't live it. Too much for me.

agent433
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Re: how many hours do NYC BIGLAW attorneys work a week?

Postby agent433 » Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:38 pm

philo-sophia wrote:NYC has its drawbacks...expense, stressful atmosphere, overcrowding, etc.

But at the same time there's absolutely no place like it in the world. When you're there, you feel like you're at the center of the universe, and in a way, you are.

If you're working for a V10 firm in NYC, it's pretty typical to pick up the Wall Street Journal and read about a deal you just worked on (on the front page). At Cravath, you might be descending the escalator in the huge marble lobby on the way to the starbucks, reading about a deal you just closed, and wave hello to Jay-Z as he gets out of his Maybach and walks into Def Jam. Turn on the TV, or go to the movies and you'll see all the stories unfolding on the streets you walk along every day. I know it's weird for a grown man to get excited about these sorts of things, but when you're in a movie theatre and your office is actually in the movie...that's kind of cool. I sort of idolize Stephen Schwartzman, the Blackstone CEO. When in NYC i'd walk by his apartment building, 740 Park, every day on my way home. When you're in NYC, you have a feeling like you're part of a select group of people crammed onto this tiny island from which the nation (and even the world) is largely run.

And since you're too busy running the world 14 hours/day to do things like laundry or going to pick up food, there's in-building dry clean concierge, shoe repair and seemless web where you click to order food from any of several hundred restaurants and it promptly appears in your lobby. To be in a place where "big things are happening", big things need to get done, and that can take long, intense hours. But the buzz that comes from being at the heart of the action is worth the sacrifice to a lot of people.

EDIT: I'll provide one anecdote from my first couple of months in NYC. We were closing an $850 million financing transaction for a big oil company. As is typically the case, we pulled an all nighter. Throughout the course of the evening i was riding in black town cars back and forth between Cravath and O'Melvany's NYC office in Times Square. During my first trip, as I got into the car and rode through the lights of times square, i thought to myself "i'm a long way from Chapel Hill". In the morning, back in Cravath's 49th floor conference room with floor to ceiling windows looking out on NYC, we had a row of laptops lined up to wire funds to the various accounts. About five minutes after we hit "Enter" on the first laptop, someone popped their head in and said "the seventy five million just hit the Tokyo account.".....wow.
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