I just don't get it

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I just don't get it

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:48 pm

I feel like I'm pretty good at lawyering, but I'll just never understand how this particular machine works. And it's not that I'm not personable, or unwilling to grind when grinding is called for, or that I'm unable to follow orders. I'm just slightly eccentric, slightly older, slightly more of a creative. It seems weird for all of that to appear to be such a barrier. I would chalk it up to a round-peg/square hole problem, but I really like the law, and I love researching and writing about it, and I would love to have the resources of one of these firms at my disposal to do all of that on a larger scale, so if it really is a round-peg/square-hole thing, then that's unfortunate for everybody. But I suppose it's not over yet; maybe I'll luck out somehow. I've been trying my very best, and my credentials are solid, but I feel like this is much harder than it should be for no good reason in particular.

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IAFG
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Re: I just don't get it

Postby IAFG » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:52 pm

Pretty sure OP sat behind me at the bar

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hichvichwoh
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Re: I just don't get it

Postby hichvichwoh » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:57 pm

seems like you should read this: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=214732

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: I just don't get it

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I feel like I'm pretty good at lawyering, but I'll just never understand how this particular machine works. And it's not that I'm not personable, or unwilling to grind when grinding is called for, or that I'm unable to follow orders. I'm just slightly eccentric, slightly older, slightly more of a creative. It seems weird for all of that to appear to be such a barrier. I would chalk it up to a round-peg/square hole problem, but I really like the law, and I love researching and writing about it, and I would love to have the resources of one of these firms at my disposal to do all of that on a larger scale, so if it really is a round-peg/square-hole thing, then that's unfortunate for everybody. But I suppose it's not over yet; maybe I'll luck out somehow. I've been trying my very best, and my credentials are solid, but I feel like this is much harder than it should be for no good reason in particular.


Out of curiosity, how much older? I may have some helpful advice, but it depends on your answer.

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Re: I just don't get it

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:27 am

Thirty-three. Also, didn't go to any bars recently.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: I just don't get it

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:31 am

Anonymous User wrote:Thirty-three. Also, didn't go to any bars recently.


Meh, that's close enough in age to most law students that your age shouldn't make a huge difference in your outlook and how you're treated. My advice: get out of law right now. I don't care if you like it. Law is infinitely easier to figure out and enjoy in law school than it is in practice. If you're having trouble now, you're really going to be screwed later in your career. The chances of you "lucking out" are inordinately low. This is an extremely competitive field in which confidence (to the point of almost being a fault) is essential. If you don't think you "get it," you're going to get ravaged in the knife fight that is legal practice.

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Re: I just don't get it

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:02 am

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thirty-three. Also, didn't go to any bars recently.


Meh, that's close enough in age to most law students that your age shouldn't make a huge difference in your outlook and how you're treated. My advice: get out of law right now. I don't care if you like it. Law is infinitely easier to figure out and enjoy in law school than it is in practice. If you're having trouble now, you're really going to be screwed later in your career. The chances of you "lucking out" are inordinately low. This is an extremely competitive field in which confidence (to the point of almost being a fault) is essential. If you don't think you "get it," you're going to get ravaged in the knife fight that is legal practice.


I appreciate the advice--it seems sincere enough--but that doesn't make sense in my position. I have a nearly full ride at a good school, my grades are good, etc. And clerkship--> government is a possibility, although by no means definite, so I may be able to avoid firms altogether. Confidence isn't the problem, either. I've also had jobs that are much harder and more grueling than working at a law firm will ever be, so I'm not worried about being ravaged, either. I think you are circling around a good point, though. There are a few firms I've interviewed with that I would like to work for, and the rest would likely be not-so-great decisions, although you're obviously being a little melodramatic about how bad those decisions would be.

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Re: I just don't get it

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:30 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thirty-three. Also, didn't go to any bars recently.


Meh, that's close enough in age to most law students that your age shouldn't make a huge difference in your outlook and how you're treated. My advice: get out of law right now. I don't care if you like it. Law is infinitely easier to figure out and enjoy in law school than it is in practice. If you're having trouble now, you're really going to be screwed later in your career. The chances of you "lucking out" are inordinately low. This is an extremely competitive field in which confidence (to the point of almost being a fault) is essential. If you don't think you "get it," you're going to get ravaged in the knife fight that is legal practice.


I appreciate the advice--it seems sincere enough--but that doesn't make sense in my position. I have a nearly full ride at a good school, my grades are good, etc. And clerkship--> government is a possibility, although by no means definite, so I may be able to avoid firms altogether. Confidence isn't the problem, either. I've also had jobs that are much harder and more grueling than working at a law firm will ever be, so I'm not worried about being ravaged, either. I think you are circling around a good point, though. There are a few firms I've interviewed with that I would like to work for, and the rest would likely be not-so-great decisions, although you're obviously being a little melodramatic about how bad those decisions would be.


It sounds like you've figured things out enough to escape biglaw and do something cool (i.e, government or maybe academia) if you want to, which is something most biglaw associates can't say (myself included). My advice only applies to private practice. The most successful lawyers I know have never exuded any measure of doubt about whether they've figured things out when it comes to the practice of law. In fact, most of them are arrogant assholes.

My advice was admittedly over the top, but I just want to emphasize that the practice of law has a lot more to do with being a super-confident asshole than it has to do with being "creative," at least when you're a junior associate. I've seen a few "creative" associates get absolutely reamed for failing to realize that 99% of the battle in private practice is just getting shit done and applying whatever template you've been given by the partners (or client or court).

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Re: I just don't get it

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:58 am

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thirty-three. Also, didn't go to any bars recently.


Meh, that's close enough in age to most law students that your age shouldn't make a huge difference in your outlook and how you're treated. My advice: get out of law right now. I don't care if you like it. Law is infinitely easier to figure out and enjoy in law school than it is in practice. If you're having trouble now, you're really going to be screwed later in your career. The chances of you "lucking out" are inordinately low. This is an extremely competitive field in which confidence (to the point of almost being a fault) is essential. If you don't think you "get it," you're going to get ravaged in the knife fight that is legal practice.


I appreciate the advice--it seems sincere enough--but that doesn't make sense in my position. I have a nearly full ride at a good school, my grades are good, etc. And clerkship--> government is a possibility, although by no means definite, so I may be able to avoid firms altogether. Confidence isn't the problem, either. I've also had jobs that are much harder and more grueling than working at a law firm will ever be, so I'm not worried about being ravaged, either. I think you are circling around a good point, though. There are a few firms I've interviewed with that I would like to work for, and the rest would likely be not-so-great decisions, although you're obviously being a little melodramatic about how bad those decisions would be.


It sounds like you've figured things out enough to escape biglaw and do something cool (i.e, government or maybe academia) if you want to, which is something most biglaw associates can't say (myself included). My advice only applies to private practice. The most successful lawyers I know have never exuded any measure of doubt about whether they've figured things out when it comes to the practice of law. In fact, most of them are arrogant assholes.

My advice was admittedly over the top, but I just want to emphasize that the practice of law has a lot more to do with being a super-confident asshole than it has to do with being "creative," at least when you're a junior associate. I've seen a few "creative" associates get absolutely reamed for failing to realize that 99% of the battle in private practice is just getting shit done and applying whatever template you've been given by the partners (or client or court).


It did make me realize, more than I did previously, that signing up for whichever biglaw firm decides to hire me is a bad idea. I can totally follow orders, although I think subordinates also have a duty to make their higher-ups better "bosses." So if they are orders without much sense or logic behind them, I am likely to show up with a by-the-book version that is exactly what was ordered and another, better version that the partner will be able take credit for.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: I just don't get it

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Thu Aug 15, 2013 2:35 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
Meh, that's close enough in age to most law students that your age shouldn't make a huge difference in your outlook and how you're treated. My advice: get out of law right now. I don't care if you like it. Law is infinitely easier to figure out and enjoy in law school than it is in practice. If you're having trouble now, you're really going to be screwed later in your career. The chances of you "lucking out" are inordinately low. This is an extremely competitive field in which confidence (to the point of almost being a fault) is essential. If you don't think you "get it," you're going to get ravaged in the knife fight that is legal practice.


I appreciate the advice--it seems sincere enough--but that doesn't make sense in my position. I have a nearly full ride at a good school, my grades are good, etc. And clerkship--> government is a possibility, although by no means definite, so I may be able to avoid firms altogether. Confidence isn't the problem, either. I've also had jobs that are much harder and more grueling than working at a law firm will ever be, so I'm not worried about being ravaged, either. I think you are circling around a good point, though. There are a few firms I've interviewed with that I would like to work for, and the rest would likely be not-so-great decisions, although you're obviously being a little melodramatic about how bad those decisions would be.


It sounds like you've figured things out enough to escape biglaw and do something cool (i.e, government or maybe academia) if you want to, which is something most biglaw associates can't say (myself included). My advice only applies to private practice. The most successful lawyers I know have never exuded any measure of doubt about whether they've figured things out when it comes to the practice of law. In fact, most of them are arrogant assholes.

My advice was admittedly over the top, but I just want to emphasize that the practice of law has a lot more to do with being a super-confident asshole than it has to do with being "creative," at least when you're a junior associate. I've seen a few "creative" associates get absolutely reamed for failing to realize that 99% of the battle in private practice is just getting shit done and applying whatever template you've been given by the partners (or client or court).


It did make me realize, more than I did previously, that signing up for whichever biglaw firm decides to hire me is a bad idea. I can totally follow orders, although I think subordinates also have a duty to make their higher-ups better "bosses." So if they are orders without much sense or logic behind them, I am likely to show up with a by-the-book version that is exactly what was ordered and another, better version that the partner will be able take credit for.


If you have time to do this, more power to you. If do end up in biglaw, I think you will find out that you rarely have time to create two versions of flawless work product.

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Re: I just don't get it

Postby mrsmartypants » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:53 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm just slightly eccentric, slightly older, slightly more of a creative.


If the way you project these various qualities gives the impression that you are slightly incapable of taking direction, that might be influencing your outcomes.

In my experience (and I was older than you when I started LS), firms do generally value older, more experienced candidates who demonstrate that they're easy to work with and recognize that experience in one field does not necessarily make one an expert in all things. Unfortunately, some older candidates project a "been there, done that" attitude and give interviewers the sense that they may be resistant to the reality that more experienced attorneys might actually know a thing or two also.

It's a cliche to say that firms simply want automata who'll do what they're told. No decent firm wants to hire a baby attorney who isn't capable of exercising independent judgment. But there is unquestionably a hierarchy of experience and authority in firms, and folks who chafe against that should probably look outside the box for better-suited opportunities. Firm life isn't terribly well suited to entrepreneurs and mavericks--the most eggheaded of those might end up in academia, and others in their own firms.

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manofjustice
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Re: I just don't get it

Postby manofjustice » Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:01 am

Wouldn't the very qualities that OP feels make him a frustrated associate make him a great partner? A partner once described a senator who used to be his partner at a firm as a guy who was a "great partner, horrible associate."

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Re: I just don't get it

Postby fxb » Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:18 am

manofjustice wrote:Wouldn't the very qualities that OP feels make him a frustrated associate make him a great partner? A partner once described a senator who used to be his partner at a firm as a guy who was a "great partner, horrible associate."


Possibly, but is that a reason to sign up to be a first year associate?
Last edited by fxb on Thu May 08, 2014 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: I just don't get it

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 18, 2013 2:11 pm

I've seen a few "creative" associates get absolutely reamed for failing to realize that 99% of the battle in private practice is just getting shit done and applying whatever template you've been given by the partners (or client or court).


Could you talk more about this? How off the rails were these "creative" associates? Are these people that were doing drastic things like switching around brief sections or is it really a situation where adding a helpful cite or changing a topic sentence will get you screwed?

Same goes for non-writing tasks as well. Being good at the "tasks" of law is not what gets you promoted.


What would you say is? Do you agree with the other associate that it's just about self-confidence to a fault?

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: I just don't get it

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sun Aug 18, 2013 2:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
I've seen a few "creative" associates get absolutely reamed for failing to realize that 99% of the battle in private practice is just getting shit done and applying whatever template you've been given by the partners (or client or court).


Could you talk more about this? How off the rails were these "creative" associates? Are these people that were doing drastic things like switching around brief sections or is it really a situation where adding a helpful cite or changing a topic sentence will get you screwed?

Same goes for non-writing tasks as well. Being good at the "tasks" of law is not what gets you promoted.


What would you say is? Do you agree with the other associate that it's just about self-confidence to a fault?


Adding a helpful cite will never get you screwed. Changing a topic sentence, after it's written by a partner who has experience on the case, is probably ill advised but also wouldn't get you screwed. I'm talking about associates who go off on their own and create work where it doesn't exist instead of just pounding things out the boring way. I don't want to give a concrete example because there are always millions of caveats that could or could not make work unnecessary and frivolous, but I'll just say that a lot of what makes a crappy associate is simply miscommunication and failure to understand expectations.

Also, I never said it's 100% about self confidence. I just said that self confidence is a necessary, but not sufficient, characteristic to succeed in the law.

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Re: I just don't get it

Postby NYstate » Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:09 pm

Why are you assuming that the assignments you are given wont make sense or have logic behind them? And why are you looking at your work as being given orders?

Believe it or not most biglaw partners are really good at their jobs and are experts in their fields. Not sure why you would think they aren't going to be smart about the work.

I'm not sure what your question really is. You seem to have an attitude about biglaw but I'm not sure what it is.

Viewing yourself as the eccentric outside probably doesn't help.

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iThwl
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Re: I just don't get it

Postby iThwl » Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:22 pm

OP, if possible, go get a summer associate position at BigLaw. Your perception or perhaps imagination of associate's life is a bit strange.

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Re: I just don't get it

Postby iThwl » Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:23 pm

...and if you cannot get such a position, just forget about big law.

fxb
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Re: I just don't get it

Postby fxb » Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Same goes for non-writing tasks as well. Being good at the "tasks" of law is not what gets you promoted.


What would you say is? Do you agree with the other associate that it's just about self-confidence to a fault?


It's not just about self-confidence to a fault. In my view, it's about judgment and maturity. Confidence is related to both of those. And good legal skills are necessary but not sufficient. But you get promoted when you show that you have good legal judgment, which is judgment about client's needs, judgment about how to use the right tool for the right problem. The ability to see the forest for the trees with respect to your individual case AND your client's broader business. The ability to say, "I think we need to do X and Y, but not Z, for these reasons, even though we might do Z in another case" rather than automatically saying, "let's throw everything we've got at this." Specific examples are hard because good judgment is not a specific virtue and success in BigLaw can't be boiled down to a self-help sermon about "do this ONE secret and you'll be golden!"

I agree with others that it seems like you are seeing a lot more "giving orders" in Biglaw than I think we really have. I think it might be helpful for you to examine and articulate a little bit more about what it is that you've heard about Biglaw that you think isn't for you.

jd20132013
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Re: I just don't get it

Postby jd20132013 » Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:00 pm

Sorry guys, I was the anon you just responded to, not the OP. Accidenal anon. Thanks for those responses though. Apologies for misquoting you as if you said it was 100% about self-confidence.




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