Biglaw alcoholics?

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Anonymous User
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Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 13, 2011 3:44 pm

Hi everyone. I'm a 1L (I guess rising 2L now) at a top 20 law school. Very high grades, north of top 5%. I'm going into OCI looking for a biglaw job. I'm looking for some advice from those who work or have worked at biglaw firms.

I don't drink at all. I've had some trouble in my life with alcohol & drugs, but I've been sober now for about 4 years. I still occasionally attend AA meetings, but not regularly anymore. In law school, I rarely go out to the usual bar review and other social events, but I've gone to a few and I'm definitely not uncomfortable being around alcohol. I'm a pretty social person.

With respect to the biglaw firm recruitment process and SA, I know there's likely going to be a good bit of booze involved. I'm curious as to how I'll be received. I know I won't be the first alcoholic they've ever encountered, but I wonder if I'll have a few points knocked off for not "fitting in" in this way. Does anyone have any experience with this?

When offered a drink, should I say, "No thanks", "No thanks, I don't drink", "No thanks, I'm an alcoholic"? I know the third option sounds stupid, but I'm really curious as to what will raise the fewest eyebrows while not making people think I'm antisocial.

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OGR3
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Re: Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby OGR3 » Fri May 13, 2011 3:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hi everyone. I'm a 1L (I guess rising 2L now) at a top 20 law school. Very high grades, north of top 5%. I'm going into OCI looking for a biglaw job. I'm looking for some advice from those who work or have worked at biglaw firms.

I don't drink at all. I've had some trouble in my life with alcohol & drugs, but I've been sober now for about 4 years. I still occasionally attend AA meetings, but not regularly anymore. In law school, I rarely go out to the usual bar review and other social events, but I've gone to a few and I'm definitely not uncomfortable being around alcohol. I'm a pretty social person.

With respect to the biglaw firm recruitment process and SA, I know there's likely going to be a good bit of booze involved. I'm curious as to how I'll be received. I know I won't be the first alcoholic they've ever encountered, but I wonder if I'll have a few points knocked off for not "fitting in" in this way. Does anyone have any experience with this?

When offered a drink, should I say, "No thanks", "No thanks, I don't drink", "No thanks, I'm an alcoholic"? I know the third option sounds stupid, but I'm really curious as to what will raise the fewest eyebrows while not making people think I'm antisocial.


I think it's perfectly acceptable to use either of the first two responses. In my limited experience, firms will have non-alcoholic beverages available at social events and you won't be looked down upon for choosing a sprite over a beer.

Congrats on four years btw!

warumnicht
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Re: Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby warumnicht » Fri May 13, 2011 5:46 pm

Just politely decline. No need to offer any kind of explanation, not even "I don't drink." In many cases, the people serving you the drinks won't be the ones you're trying to mingle with. And if you're having dinner with a few attorneys, if you place your soft drink order confidently, no one will care. The important things is NOT to sound meek, apologetic, or like you're afraid of being judged when declining a beer or asking for a Coke instead. Confidence is key. 4 years is something to be proud of, and don't let any biglaw lawyers make you feel bad about your accomplishment.

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afc1910
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Re: Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby afc1910 » Fri May 13, 2011 5:59 pm

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Last edited by afc1910 on Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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rocon7383
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Re: Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby rocon7383 » Fri May 13, 2011 6:37 pm

Congrats on 4 years! I'm an 0L and know nothing about your situation but would think any firm where this would be an issue is not the firm for you--or any non-asshole for that matter.

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dood
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Re: Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby dood » Fri May 13, 2011 6:51 pm

lots of mormans practice the law, they seem to be doing ok.

Renzo
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Re: Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby Renzo » Fri May 13, 2011 6:57 pm

dood wrote:lots of mormans practice the law, they seem to be doing ok.


Do mormans marry morwomans?

OP: You'll be fine. Not drinking isn't so unusual that you'll really stand out, and it'll only be as awkward as you make it. Saying something like, "no, thanks, but you guys go ahead and get what you want" is all it takes.

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thecilent
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Re: Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby thecilent » Fri May 13, 2011 6:58 pm

If you ain't getting drunk get the fuck out the club!

No one will care you don't drink.. as long as you do blow.

LurkerNoMore
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Re: Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby LurkerNoMore » Fri May 13, 2011 9:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
When offered a drink, should I say, "No thanks", "No thanks, I don't drink", "No thanks, I'm an alcoholic"?


D. None of the above.

Yes, thank you. I'll have a tonic and lime/coke/glass of water/iced tea/etc.

This is only a big deal if you make it.

On the very rare occasion that you are in a situation where you would be "expected" to drink, work it out with the bartender in advance. This would be an extremely rare situation though.

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northwood
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Re: Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby northwood » Fri May 13, 2011 9:13 pm

OP: just order your soda. Dont make abig deal out of it and they shouldnt make a big deal out of it. I would stay away from letting them know you are a recovering alcoholic though.

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Leira7905
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Re: Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby Leira7905 » Fri May 13, 2011 9:13 pm

Don't worry about it at all. I know a couple of attorneys who don't drink/drink rarely, and it's not because they're alcoholics, it's just because they don't want to be drunk in public. Your personal business is just that, PERSONAL. No explanation of any kind is needed. They may actually respect you more for your discipline.

Additionally, you get to be the composed "straight man" when everyone else is acting like drunken fools. This can work in your favor. (Be ready to capture video evidence :P )

Renzo
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Re: Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby Renzo » Fri May 13, 2011 9:18 pm

Leira7905 wrote:
Additionally, you get to be the composed "straight man" when everyone else is acting like drunken fools. This can work in your favor. (Be ready to capture video evidence :P )


I know you are joking, but this is exactly what the OP should not do.

No one actually cares if you drink or not; they just don't want to be made to feel self-conscious because they're drinking/getting drunk and you are staying sober. Not drinking is fine, and no one will care, so long as you don't do or say anything to make it awkward. That's why a "nothing for me, but you should order what you want" is a good way to handle it--it makes clear you aren't judging them, and that they don't have to worry about you being a sober, videotaping wet blanket.

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MrPapagiorgio
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Re: Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby MrPapagiorgio » Fri May 13, 2011 9:23 pm

thecilent wrote:No one will care you don't drink.. as long as you do blow.

180

jarofsoup
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Re: Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby jarofsoup » Fri May 13, 2011 9:24 pm

I think you just decline the drink or say you do not drink. And then maybe after you have been around for a couple years and you can share your problem with booze and that you dont drink.

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Leira7905
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Re: Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby Leira7905 » Fri May 13, 2011 9:33 pm

Renzo wrote:
Leira7905 wrote:
Additionally, you get to be the composed "straight man" when everyone else is acting like drunken fools. This can work in your favor. (Be ready to capture video evidence :P )


I know you are joking, but this is exactly what the OP should not do.

No one actually cares if you drink or not; they just don't want to be made to feel self-conscious because they're drinking/getting drunk and you are staying sober. Not drinking is fine, and no one will care, so long as you don't do or say anything to make it awkward. That's why a "nothing for me, but you should order what you want" is a good way to handle it--it makes clear you aren't judging them, and that they don't have to worry about you being a sober, videotaping wet blanket.


Yes, I was joking. Obviously OP should not take video of his coworkers while they're drinking. I was simply trying to may OP feel less awkward.

Anonymous User
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Re: Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 13, 2011 9:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hi everyone. I'm a 1L (I guess rising 2L now) at a top 20 law school. Very high grades, north of top 5%. I'm going into OCI looking for a biglaw job. I'm looking for some advice from those who work or have worked at biglaw firms.

I don't drink at all. I've had some trouble in my life with alcohol & drugs, but I've been sober now for about 4 years. I still occasionally attend AA meetings, but not regularly anymore. In law school, I rarely go out to the usual bar review and other social events, but I've gone to a few and I'm definitely not uncomfortable being around alcohol. I'm a pretty social person.

With respect to the biglaw firm recruitment process and SA, I know there's likely going to be a good bit of booze involved. I'm curious as to how I'll be received. I know I won't be the first alcoholic they've ever encountered, but I wonder if I'll have a few points knocked off for not "fitting in" in this way. Does anyone have any experience with this?

When offered a drink, should I say, "No thanks", "No thanks, I don't drink", "No thanks, I'm an alcoholic"? I know the third option sounds stupid, but I'm really curious as to what will raise the fewest eyebrows while not making people think I'm antisocial.


I'm posting anonymously in case my previous employment could somehow get traced back to me. It seems unlikely, but I'm just trying to be safe, so hopefully this isn't viewed as abusing anonymous posting.

That said, I spent a short time working in sales at a bankruptcy firm that was terribly shady. The owner/founder was a guy who loved to drink and party. He was always taking everyone out to drink, and putting quite an effort into making sure the young female attorneys and receptionists were getting as much to drink as he could give them (he was coming on to the women in more ways than this, but I won't get into it). There was one attorney who was hired on around the same time as me, and he politely told us that he didn't drink. He was friendly and went out with everyone, but just didn't drink and get as crazy as some of the other people did.

It was clear that he was not "in the club" both in and out of work, and I'd be surprised if it didn't affect him negatively at work as well as outside of work.

Take it with a grain of salt, because I was a third party to it (I myself, drank like crazy and didn't have the issue he did :mrgreen: ), but it seemed to me that there was no way he could have politely declined drinking without excluding himself a bit.

The lesson I took from this, is that when I go to law school and finish law school (I'm a 0L starting in the fall), I will do whatever I can to make sure I'm working with a group of people I want to work with. I am skeptical that there's a way to work at a firm full of partying alcoholics and still be in the club as a more straight-laced person, unless they are exceptionally mature partying alcoholics.

notanumber
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Re: Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby notanumber » Fri May 13, 2011 10:12 pm

Renzo wrote: No one actually cares if you drink or not; they just don't want to be made to feel self-conscious because they're drinking/getting drunk and you are staying sober. Not drinking is fine, and no one will care, so long as you don't do or say anything to make it awkward. That's why a "nothing for me, but you should order what you want" is a good way to handle it--it makes clear you aren't judging them, and that they don't have to worry about you being a sober, videotaping wet blanket.


TITCR

I wouldn't even say "I don't drink," just order a soda and/or pleasantly decline offers of booze.

People who drink typically don't care if other people don't drink - but we do care if they're self-righteous about it.

Big time congrats on your sobriety.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby Lawquacious » Fri May 13, 2011 10:54 pm

Congrats on 4 years, and on doing well in law school. I spoke with a successful defense attorney here in town at the beginning of the school year who is 15 to 20 years sober. He was pretty wild back in the day (kind of still is I think lol, but doesn't drink now). He said that law has changed over the last 20 years-- there is more scrutiny in the legal profession related to problem drinking now than there used to be, and it is less acceptable to drink socially during the work day. That being said...

I think the main question that you have to answer is whether you are prepared to stay sober in that environment (assuming you consider that essential). There will likely be plenty of pressure at times to partake or party coupled with the pressure of long and demanding work hours. I'm sure it is very possible for you to stay sober though, and I'm sure there are lots of sober alcoholic/addict lawyers out there (including those who actively work in biglaw). But I do imagine it can be a hard job in certain ways for those who are in recovery...

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Re: Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 14, 2011 4:21 am

LurkerNoMore wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
When offered a drink, should I say, "No thanks", "No thanks, I don't drink", "No thanks, I'm an alcoholic"?


D. None of the above.

Yes, thank you. I'll have a tonic and lime/coke/glass of water/iced tea/etc.

This is only a big deal if you make it.

On the very rare occasion that you are in a situation where you would be "expected" to drink, work it out with the bartender in advance. This would be an extremely rare situation though.


OP here. Really appreciate all the advice. I hadn't thought of downplaying my sobriety - I usually figure it's something I have to apologize for - if I just turn down a drink I worry that people will think I'm ungrateful or choosing not to drink right now. Or, like many people have said, that I don't drink because of a sense of superiority. I think I just worry too much. Super anxious people make awful addicts.

With regard to this post above, this is something I was really curious about. Under what circumstances would I be "expected" to drink?

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tyro
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Re: Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby tyro » Sat May 14, 2011 4:47 am

I imagine that much of it will come down to your image/stature as perceived. I feel that you will want people to be thinking this man is confident and knows what he is doing. A level of understanding will be achieved if done properly. Ultimately, just portray a sense of undeniable certainty and no questions will be asked.

Fark-o-vision
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Re: Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby Fark-o-vision » Sat May 14, 2011 5:56 am

The lawyer I know in a similar situation orders a drink, walks around with it, and dumps it when possible. For some AA members, this attempt is too close to the truth. For those who just don't like booze, it works.

Fark-o-vision
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Re: Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby Fark-o-vision » Sat May 14, 2011 5:59 am

Anonymous User wrote:
LurkerNoMore wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
When offered a drink, should I say, "No thanks", "No thanks, I don't drink", "No thanks, I'm an alcoholic"?


D. None of the above.

Yes, thank you. I'll have a tonic and lime/coke/glass of water/iced tea/etc.

This is only a big deal if you make it.

On the very rare occasion that you are in a situation where you would be "expected" to drink, work it out with the bartender in advance. This would be an extremely rare situation though.

Same attorney and same situation. many people assume he has had drinks because he is able to open up. I assume being upfront and honest would work, but letting people think you are what they want you to be can't hurt. Just be open, not offensive, and know that people will appreciate you for it.

OP here. Really appreciate all the advice. I hadn't thought of downplaying my sobriety - I usually figure it's something I have to apologize for - if I just turn down a drink I worry that people will think I'm ungrateful or choosing not to drink right now. Or, like many people have said, that I don't drink because of a sense of superiority. I think I just worry too much. Super anxious people make awful addicts.

With regard to this post above, this is something I was really curious about. Under what circumstances would I be "expected" to drink?

Renzo
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Re: Biglaw alcoholics?

Postby Renzo » Sat May 14, 2011 9:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:
LurkerNoMore wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
When offered a drink, should I say, "No thanks", "No thanks, I don't drink", "No thanks, I'm an alcoholic"?


D. None of the above.

Yes, thank you. I'll have a tonic and lime/coke/glass of water/iced tea/etc.

This is only a big deal if you make it.

On the very rare occasion that you are in a situation where you would be "expected" to drink, work it out with the bartender in advance. This would be an extremely rare situation though.


OP here. Really appreciate all the advice. I hadn't thought of downplaying my sobriety - I usually figure it's something I have to apologize for - if I just turn down a drink I worry that people will think I'm ungrateful or choosing not to drink right now. Or, like many people have said, that I don't drink because of a sense of superiority. I think I just worry too much. Super anxious people make awful addicts.

With regard to this post above, this is something I was really curious about. Under what circumstances would I be "expected" to drink?


This. Don't worry about it, and it won't be a big deal. The only time you would be "expected" to drink is when someone says, "we're going out for drinks, do you want to come?" You can either say, "sure, I'd love to" and tag along for the company while politely ( non-anxiously), and without drawing too much attention to it, declining alcohol; or, if that's too awkward/uncomfortable, just say "no thanks, maybe next time."

There will be plenty of dinners, parties, events, etc. where booze is available, but trust me, no one is watching or keeping count to make sure you drink.




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