Interesting historical article on New York legal market

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Go_to_NYU
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Interesting historical article on New York legal market

Postby Go_to_NYU » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:18 pm

It's a good read, with some apropos quotes from 1999. (Perhaps there's been progress in quality of life, but regression in ability to attain the job?)

The white-shoe firms are making more money than ever, but success bears an onerous price tag. It's the blood, sweat, and tears -- outrageous hours and brutal infighting -- that have made practicing law no fun anymore.

--LinkRemoved--

"Reamers and dreamers" is how one ex-associate who recently took a job as an investment banker classifies his colleagues of the past three years -- the partners who mercilessly bombard associates with work and the associates who desperately yearn to escape as soon as a dent is made in the law-school loans. p. 2


"For this I killed myself to get an A in constitutional law?" asks an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell. "To pull three all-nighters a month chasing commas in a document and then get yelled at when a partner finds a typo I missed? p. 2


In today's law firm, there are the rainmakers, and there are the sponges, who absorb the work as best they can, producing thousands upon thousands of billable hours through a painful metabolic process involving eighteen-hour workdays, 24-hour word-processing departments, and piles of late-night delivery menus. p. 6


"There is something almost feminine about the work that the lawyers do -- conforming documents and checking for typos," his 28-year-old co-worker, a vice-president, snickers. "They tidy up and put everything in its place. The difference between banking and lawyering is the difference between hunting and weaving." p. 7


"They start calling as you approach the end of your second year," says Sascha Rand, a litigation associate who left Weil three weeks ago to study constitutional law at Oxford. "Everyone seems to leave after two years." p. 7


"I feel no personal bond at all with Skadden," says one lawyer of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where he was an associate for almost five years; he now works in the legal department of a large manufacturing company as in-house counsel. "I occasionally use them," he says. "But I don't let them get away with the kind of stuff that I got away with." p. 7


As one third-year associate who billed 2,900 hours in 1998 explains: "If I am at the firm for fifteen hours, I bill for all fifteen, even though I may only work twelve or so after personal phone calls, lunch, whatever. You feel justified if you are there until midnight every night on a deal -- it's sad, but my biggest sense of progress at the firm is watching the hours build up on the billing-status reports that the firm sends me every month." p. 8


With its 1999 first-year class numbering 143, Skadden is recruiting at 43 law schools. The partners make light of school rankings today and argue that getting top grades just about anywhere is a fair signifier of professional promise. B students at Fordham are suddenly finding they have the leverage of The Firm's Mitch McDeere; they command signing bonuses and salaries that topped $100,000 in 1998. p.9


You should see some of these kids," he continues. "I had an interview lunch with one a month or so ago. You should have seen him attack his food -- like an animal. He did everything but bang on the table with his knife and fork to get the waiter's attention. And all the time talking and chewing with his mouth open -- I swear, I didn't hear a word he said the whole meal." . . . He stares into space for a moment. "Twenty years ago, that would have been it -- you couldn't have a client see something like that," he says, shaking his head. "But this kid was smart and a hard worker, evidently. So we took him." p.9


"Cravath is sink-or-swim," complains one associate. "They don't want to hear your questions. There's no formal or informal training. They want you to be a Green Beret -- go into a situation and blow things up like Rambo." p. 10


'Hey, listen -- I've been here for three days straight, and I smell terrible.' There's nothing clean and noble about this stuff. It's down and dirty, like Uncle Lou's retail. It's business, baby, so let's not pretend." p. 10

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: Interesting historical article on New York legal market

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:14 pm

There is something almost feminine about the work that the lawyers do -- conforming documents and checking for typos," his 28-year-old co-worker, a vice-president, snickers. "They tidy up and put everything in its place. The difference between banking and lawyering is the difference between hunting and weaving.


This is essentially what I keep telling people on this site, but for some reason no one listens. I guess they'll find out sooner or later. Legal work = bitchwork, plain and simple. You are doing shit that is not hard, it's just shit that no one else has the patience to do because they are busy doing things that actually matter (like making important business decisions and innovating).

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Kronk
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Re: Interesting historical article on New York legal market

Postby Kronk » Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:23 pm

Cravath sounds f'ing awesome in that quote, though.

BeenDidThat
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Re: Interesting historical article on New York legal market

Postby BeenDidThat » Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:26 pm

Julio_El_Chavo wrote:
There is something almost feminine about the work that the lawyers do -- conforming documents and checking for typos," his 28-year-old co-worker, a vice-president, snickers. "They tidy up and put everything in its place. The difference between banking and lawyering is the difference between hunting and weaving.


This is essentially what I keep telling people on this site, but for some reason no one listens. I guess they'll find out sooner or later. Legal work = bitchwork, plain and simple. You are doing shit that is not hard, it's just shit that no one else has the patience to do because they are busy doing things that actually matter (like making important business decisions and innovating).


You aren't too good with nuance, are you? Why don't you get back to making important business decisions and innovating.

(lol)

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daesonesb
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Re: Interesting historical article on New York legal market

Postby daesonesb » Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:42 pm

Lol:

"Feeding the monkeys," says a senior partner at one of Manhattan's most prestigious firms, laughing. "Every year, they rattle the cage a little louder. I wish I had known that you could complain like that back when I was an associate. I would have rattled the cage, too. But, you know, it just wasn't done." p10

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: Interesting historical article on New York legal market

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:00 pm

BeenDidThat wrote:
Julio_El_Chavo wrote:
There is something almost feminine about the work that the lawyers do -- conforming documents and checking for typos," his 28-year-old co-worker, a vice-president, snickers. "They tidy up and put everything in its place. The difference between banking and lawyering is the difference between hunting and weaving.


This is essentially what I keep telling people on this site, but for some reason no one listens. I guess they'll find out sooner or later. Legal work = bitchwork, plain and simple. You are doing shit that is not hard, it's just shit that no one else has the patience to do because they are busy doing things that actually matter (like making important business decisions and innovating).


You aren't too good with nuance, are you? Why don't you get back to making important business decisions and innovating.

(lol)


Hugh Madbro? You speak of nuance like a self-important lawyer.

LawSchoolWannaBe
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Re: Interesting historical article on New York legal market

Postby LawSchoolWannaBe » Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:09 pm

NYC sounds like a great city to work in :-/

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Bronte
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Re: Interesting historical article on New York legal market

Postby Bronte » Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:11 pm

Julio_El_Chavo wrote:
There is something almost feminine about the work that the lawyers do -- conforming documents and checking for typos," his 28-year-old co-worker, a vice-president, snickers. "They tidy up and put everything in its place. The difference between banking and lawyering is the difference between hunting and weaving.


This is essentially what I keep telling people on this site, but for some reason no one listens. I guess they'll find out sooner or later. Legal work = bitchwork, plain and simple. You are doing shit that is not hard, it's just shit that no one else has the patience to do because they are busy doing things that actually matter (like making important business decisions and innovating).


You should read the book "Monkey Business," which is about how working at an investment bank is the shittiest job ever. The associates at investment banks are not making important business decisions or innovating nor are the entry level employees at corporations. Lawyers are just very pessimistic, grass is always greener people, and finance people are kind of the opposite, always believing they're on top of the world. However, you see plenty of ex-bankers in law school and at law firms.

mrloblaw
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Re: Interesting historical article on New York legal market

Postby mrloblaw » Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:15 pm

Bronte wrote:
Julio_El_Chavo wrote:
There is something almost feminine about the work that the lawyers do -- conforming documents and checking for typos," his 28-year-old co-worker, a vice-president, snickers. "They tidy up and put everything in its place. The difference between banking and lawyering is the difference between hunting and weaving.


This is essentially what I keep telling people on this site, but for some reason no one listens. I guess they'll find out sooner or later. Legal work = bitchwork, plain and simple. You are doing shit that is not hard, it's just shit that no one else has the patience to do because they are busy doing things that actually matter (like making important business decisions and innovating).


You should read the book "Monkey Business," which is about how working at an investment bank is the shittiest job ever. The associates at investment banks are not making important business decisions or innovating nor are the entry level employees at corporations. Lawyers are just very pessimistic, grass is always greener people, and finance people are kind of the opposite, always believing they're on top of the world. However, you see plenty of ex-bankers in law school and at law firms.


Shh, we're second class citizens, Bro.

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quakeroats
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Re: Interesting historical article on New York legal market

Postby quakeroats » Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:20 pm

Bronte wrote:
Julio_El_Chavo wrote:
There is something almost feminine about the work that the lawyers do -- conforming documents and checking for typos," his 28-year-old co-worker, a vice-president, snickers. "They tidy up and put everything in its place. The difference between banking and lawyering is the difference between hunting and weaving.


This is essentially what I keep telling people on this site, but for some reason no one listens. I guess they'll find out sooner or later. Legal work = bitchwork, plain and simple. You are doing shit that is not hard, it's just shit that no one else has the patience to do because they are busy doing things that actually matter (like making important business decisions and innovating).


You should read the book "Monkey Business," which is about how working at an investment bank is the shittiest job ever. The associates at investment banks are not making important business decisions or innovating nor are the entry level employees at corporations. Lawyers are just very pessimistic, grass is always greener people, and finance people are kind of the opposite, always believing they're on top of the world. However, you see plenty of ex-bankers in law school and at law firms.


If you're looking for a serious take on the rise of large law firms, you might want to add this to the reading list: http://www.amazon.com/Skadden-Power-Mon ... 141&sr=1-1

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MrKappus
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Re: Interesting historical article on New York legal market

Postby MrKappus » Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:55 pm

Holy shit. What a difference a decade can make. Watching a tuxedo-clad squirrel play a miniature cello wouldn't be as breathtaking as watching a V10 firm compete for T30 law students.

Anonymous User
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Re: Interesting historical article on New York legal market

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:34 am

MrKappus wrote:Holy shit. What a difference a decade can make. Watching a tuxedo-clad squirrel play a miniature cello wouldn't be as breathtaking as watching a V10 firm compete for T30 law students.


it's happening to myself and others on fordham law review...not too different.

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MrKappus
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Re: Interesting historical article on New York legal market

Postby MrKappus » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:21 am

Anonymous User wrote:
MrKappus wrote:Holy shit. What a difference a decade can make. Watching a tuxedo-clad squirrel play a miniature cello wouldn't be as breathtaking as watching a V10 firm compete for T30 law students.


it's happening to myself and others on fordham law review...not too different.


Eh. NYC V10 lawyers flying down to aggressively recruit Emory students seems pretty different than taking a cab to the west side to recruit 40-50 people at Fordham.

Omerta
Posts: 381
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Re: Interesting historical article on New York legal market

Postby Omerta » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:46 am

Hey! Cravath did a resume collect here -- basically the same boomtimes (kidding). Seriously, that was a great read. Thanks for posting.




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