Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:16 pm

SweetTort wrote:Thanks for doing this thread!

Have you noticed any relation between the quality of school attended and the odds of making partner? For instance, if two associates are hired, one from Harvard/Stanford and the other from Northwestern/Georgetown/Cornell, do they both have an equal shot of making partner, all else being equal?

I'm just curious if there are benefits to degree name after initial hiring.

Thanks!


Not at all. In fact the numbers really work the other way. We take more grads from Harvard and Chicago than we do from lower ranked schools and there are similar numbers in terms of partners from the schools. Meaning more elite law school grads leave the firm before they get to income partner than lower ranked schools. The committee does not look at degree when deciding who to promote. They honestly do not care. Out of law school, the degree matters a little more because we feel like we can get a larger number of people from the top schools to come here initially. But the laterals here come from all across the range of schools. To make partner you have to find the right group and work hard/survive the first 6-7 years.

And here in Chicago, a Northwestern grad is gold. Those attorneys know how to work.

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby JohannDeMann » Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:23 pm

What job fields would you recommend your kids get in? Obvi this will change in the future as job demands change, but if they were 18/19 and deciding what to major in, would you have any recommendations?

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:If you could do it all over again would you - going to law school I mean ? Do you have a family? Longest vacation you've taken in biglaw? Billables arch over career?


I would like to think I would do something else, knowing what I know now. I always wanted to be more creative or work in sports/coaching. But then again, I had those chances before and took the "safer" route. I do have a family (wife and multiple children). I have taken three weeks off to go to Europe (not a honeymoon); vacation is pretty well respected around here and pretty much everyone seems to take it. Which is pretty rare, I am told.

Even if the alternative option would come with a much lower salary? I guess I'm asking if the job is worth sacrificing time with your family. My apologies for the bluntness.

Thank you for answering questions.


It's a question I think about a lot and there are so many variables that it is hard to say definitely. Obviously this is a personal choice and many many people fight with this their entire lives. For me, the salary is necessary because of (1) choices I made earlier in life, mostly school cost, and (2) choices I made later is life, mostly living in an expensive home and spending too much money. To be honest, I did other things and saw other sides of the coin, so this job is not too bad once you detach yourself from the BS and get past the first few years.

Is it worth sacrificing time with family, of course not, no. But because of my income, my children have a much better life than I had in almost every way: they are being raised by my wife who graciously stays at home with them, they go to better schools, have nicer things, more opportunities, etc. I just miss out on some things, which the part that is not worth it, I believe.

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:57 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:What job fields would you recommend your kids get in? Obvi this will change in the future as job demands change, but if they were 18/19 and deciding what to major in, would you have any recommendations?


Yeah I think about this a lot. I would recommend some sort of engineering or technology/computer major first and foremost but would not discourage them from law if they seemed to like it after I told them all the pros and cons. I never knew what I was getting into and they will not go to law school without knowing almost 100% what they are doing. I am genuinely hoping that their talents kind of make the decision for them. My son for example is ridiculous at tennis and is only a handful of years away from being able to play on the tour (if he keeps improving).

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby nygrrrl » Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:01 pm

Great thread - thanks for doing this.

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Can you describe how your firm's culture and hours compare to your Chicago peers? Is it as intense as people say, or is it about the same as other firms in the market? Are the development or exit opportunities relatively better?


The firm culture is great here, not at all like the bad rep the firm gets generally. I think certain practice groups here kind of set our reputation as a sweat shop because inevitably those attorneys leave the firm and bash the place. It is intense in that there are high expectations for associates to be self-motivated and not in need of hand-holding. Some groups have higher hours expectations than others because those partners are busier and expect associates to bill more. I would also note that our NY office is a bit more intense than Chicago in my experience.

I cannot speak to other firms here first hand because I have not worked at any other place but I have peers at other firms. It seems in line with other places. Our clients pay high rates and with that comes high expectations, sometimes unreasonable but mostly in line with what I would expect if I were on the other side.

I think development here is tremendous. There is a training every day and if you have the personality to reach out to a "mentor" the people here will be happy to forget hat relationship. Some attorneys are so loyal to their mentors that they will do anything for them. I know when I am slammed if my mentor needs anything, I make the time because he made the time for me as a junior.

Exit opportunities here seem great. The other firms here are always willing to take our associates. We work with a large number of top corporate clients who have use for our stronger practice areas. And the private equity clients are perhaps second to none so there are always opportunities to go to portfolio companies. Also, the firm is well connected to the Chicago establishment so there are those connections to be had (we placed a few people with the new governor for example). But I cannot say that these opportunities are better than others, at least not objectively. But there are plenty of opportunities to be had.


This is awesome, thanks for answering.

As a follow up, what sort of work will you give junior associates early on and how does that change over time? I guess I'm imagining it starts off with diligence and closing checklists, but I'm not sure how soon people can begin drafting substantive portions of ancillary documents and the like.

Also, I am splitting between corporate and another smaller transactional group (not yours). If I'm leaning more toward corporate, would there be any animosity if I ended up choosing corporate after my summer? I'm afraid that I will offend the people who I developed relationships with in the smaller group and I'm not quite sure how to artfully navigate this issue, and whether people really mean it when they say I can go wherever I want.

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby Cobretti » Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:And here in Chicago, a Northwestern grad is gold. Those attorneys know how to work.

I love our alums.

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby kcdc1 » Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:17 pm

Is it worth sacrificing time with family, of course not, no. But because of my income, my children have a much better life than I had in almost every way: they are being raised by my wife who graciously stays at home with them, they go to better schools, have nicer things, more opportunities, etc. I just miss out on some things, which the part that is not worth it, I believe.

Any advice for a junior that wants to stick around in biglaw for 5+ years but also wants to minimize missing their kids' lives? Obviously, there's tension because you only have so many hours in a day. But are there techniques you learned along the way to set time aside for your family without coming across as uncommitted to your development at the firm?

60 hours per week is a lot, but it sounds like you still make it to e.g. tennis matches here and there.

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 27, 2015 3:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Can you describe how your firm's culture and hours compare to your Chicago peers? Is it as intense as people say, or is it about the same as other firms in the market? Are the development or exit opportunities relatively better?


The firm culture is great here, not at all like the bad rep the firm gets generally. I think certain practice groups here kind of set our reputation as a sweat shop because inevitably those attorneys leave the firm and bash the place. It is intense in that there are high expectations for associates to be self-motivated and not in need of hand-holding. Some groups have higher hours expectations than others because those partners are busier and expect associates to bill more. I would also note that our NY office is a bit more intense than Chicago in my experience.

I cannot speak to other firms here first hand because I have not worked at any other place but I have peers at other firms. It seems in line with other places. Our clients pay high rates and with that comes high expectations, sometimes unreasonable but mostly in line with what I would expect if I were on the other side.

I think development here is tremendous. There is a training every day and if you have the personality to reach out to a "mentor" the people here will be happy to forget hat relationship. Some attorneys are so loyal to their mentors that they will do anything for them. I know when I am slammed if my mentor needs anything, I make the time because he made the time for me as a junior.

Exit opportunities here seem great. The other firms here are always willing to take our associates. We work with a large number of top corporate clients who have use for our stronger practice areas. And the private equity clients are perhaps second to none so there are always opportunities to go to portfolio companies. Also, the firm is well connected to the Chicago establishment so there are those connections to be had (we placed a few people with the new governor for example). But I cannot say that these opportunities are better than others, at least not objectively. But there are plenty of opportunities to be had.


This is awesome, thanks for answering.

As a follow up, what sort of work will you give junior associates early on and how does that change over time? I guess I'm imagining it starts off with diligence and closing checklists, but I'm not sure how soon people can begin drafting substantive portions of ancillary documents and the like.

Also, I am splitting between corporate and another smaller transactional group (not yours). If I'm leaning more toward corporate, would there be any animosity if I ended up choosing corporate after my summer? I'm afraid that I will offend the people who I developed relationships with in the smaller group and I'm not quite sure how to artfully navigate this issue, and whether people really mean it when they say I can go wherever I want.


I give juniors all they can handle. I had a first year draft sections of an S-1 and OM in addition to DD and checklist work, which someone has to do. Juniors often run the backup by themselves with little supervision from me unless they need the help or advice. All the corp gov docs that go along with the deals I do are drafted by juniors, admittedly based on precedent but juniors run this show also. Juniors do specific research and often get the chance to draft other important ancillaries, although they usually don't get free range to draft these, just make the substantive changes based on some general guidelines and I usually revise. I have had 2nd-3rd years drafting most if not all of the risk factors for deals. It just depends on the associate and how much they can handle.

As for offending people, no. Unless you make some unique connection with a mentor/partner there wont be any hard feelings at all, no one will care. If you do make a unique connection, it may be worth keeping however. All first years pretty much choose to be generalists for a while here to figure out what they like.

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 27, 2015 3:43 pm

kcdc1 wrote:
Is it worth sacrificing time with family, of course not, no. But because of my income, my children have a much better life than I had in almost every way: they are being raised by my wife who graciously stays at home with them, they go to better schools, have nicer things, more opportunities, etc. I just miss out on some things, which the part that is not worth it, I believe.

Any advice for a junior that wants to stick around in biglaw for 5+ years but also wants to minimize missing their kids' lives? Obviously, there's tension because you only have so many hours in a day. But are there techniques you learned along the way to set time aside for your family without coming across as uncommitted to your development at the firm?

60 hours per week is a lot, but it sounds like you still make it to e.g. tennis matches here and there.


60 hours is a lot but once you do say 8 in the office each weekday, say 9-5, then dinner and activities takes you to bedtime, it's like 10. I usually work another 2 hours on something from home, but low key stuff like business development or admin type stuff. But I bill when I'm in the office, pretty much like 90 percent of that 40 hours. There are the occasional weeks where I bill 80-100 hours but its pretty stable with all the public company reporting work I do. Add in those 2 night hours and I'm asleep at midnight or later and back up at 6am. This is a typical week. I function on 6 hours of sleep. Weekends are full of kids activities and family time but I still usually do a few hours per day related to work, either billing some time or other low key stuff. It's really impossible to get the typical week down to generalize because every week seems to be different. For example I might do like 40 hours in the office or billing on Tues - Thu and then have more free time on other days and not work on the weekend.

The absolute key here is to find a firm/practice group with no face time requirement that encourages remote working. That's the main reason I am able to see my family. I would say that over the course of the year I probably don't average out to 60 hours per week committed to work but its somewhere in that 50-60 range. And in terms of techniques, getting work done quickly helps and learning how to delegate helps. But the most important factor is being flexible with office hours requirements, which my firm gives at an early stage but others may require more seniority/trust first.

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 27, 2015 4:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
kcdc1 wrote:
Is it worth sacrificing time with family, of course not, no. But because of my income, my children have a much better life than I had in almost every way: they are being raised by my wife who graciously stays at home with them, they go to better schools, have nicer things, more opportunities, etc. I just miss out on some things, which the part that is not worth it, I believe.

Any advice for a junior that wants to stick around in biglaw for 5+ years but also wants to minimize missing their kids' lives? Obviously, there's tension because you only have so many hours in a day. But are there techniques you learned along the way to set time aside for your family without coming across as uncommitted to your development at the firm?

60 hours per week is a lot, but it sounds like you still make it to e.g. tennis matches here and there.


60 hours is a lot but once you do say 8 in the office each weekday, say 9-5, then dinner and activities takes you to bedtime, it's like 10. I usually work another 2 hours on something from home, but low key stuff like business development or admin type stuff. But I bill when I'm in the office, pretty much like 90 percent of that 40 hours. There are the occasional weeks where I bill 80-100 hours but its pretty stable with all the public company reporting work I do. Add in those 2 night hours and I'm asleep at midnight or later and back up at 6am. This is a typical week. I function on 6 hours of sleep. Weekends are full of kids activities and family time but I still usually do a few hours per day related to work, either billing some time or other low key stuff. It's really impossible to get the typical week down to generalize because every week seems to be different. For example I might do like 40 hours in the office or billing on Tues - Thu and then have more free time on other days and not work on the weekend.

The absolute key here is to find a firm/practice group with no face time requirement that encourages remote working. That's the main reason I am able to see my family. I would say that over the course of the year I probably don't average out to 60 hours per week committed to work but its somewhere in that 50-60 range. And in terms of techniques, getting work done quickly helps and learning how to delegate helps. But the most important factor is being flexible with office hours requirements, which my firm gives at an early stage but others may require more seniority/trust first.

Anon who asked the "job worth the sacrifice" question here. Thank you very, very much for your honesty and specificity. It means a lot and is super valuable.

How do you feel about your LS debt? Might seem like a dumb question, but how risk averse were you entering LS versus now with taking on debt? Any thoughts or feelings change in hindsight?

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 27, 2015 5:00 pm

What made you pick your anonymous firm, that may nor may not SHATTER market bonuses? Were you considering other firms in the area?

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 27, 2015 6:37 pm

Law School debt in many ways played a huge role in shaping my career, which is kind of sad and regrettable. I graduated with over $300k in debt between LS and UG but I also believed in making investments rather than paying off debt. So I started working at my firm in 2007 and did not get laid and was lucky enough to get what I believe were very generous bonuses. Instead of throwing bonus money at student loans (mine were fixed at very low interest rates compared to today's students), I invested with a business partner (a midlevel private equity friend) in a logistics company that ultimately went public and was purchased by another bigger logistics company. My small investment paid off in multiples after roughly three years and I parked the best in large bank stocks and bought some real estate at massively deflated levels. When I sold my first two properties in 2012, I paid off my student loans completely after making minimum payments for five years or so.

I tell you this as a way to say I was not risk averse at all with taking on debt. I just knew that I would land at a firm making six figures and could service my debt with that salary. And with whatever extra, I knew I wanted to make investments. I never had money so when I got it, it seemed unreal so I was just kind of "careless" with it, although now it looks like I was a smart investor when really I got lucky and read the tea leaves, so to speak after the housing crash. And again, I was fortunate to have some income to invest when everything bottomed out. I'm still not rich but I do have a pretty sizeable investment account compared to my peers, thanks to my business partner (who is incredibly brilliant and now a multi-millionaire).

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 27, 2015 6:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What made you pick your anonymous firm, that may nor may not SHATTER market bonuses? Were you considering other firms in the area?


I knew I wanted to live in Chicago because I grew up in the area and I wanted to be at a big firm; there are a few choices so I interviewed with them all and took the first offer. My firm is notorious for making fast offers to candidates they like. So yes, I considered all the other major firms here with a decent footprint in the area.

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby skers » Tue Jan 27, 2015 7:42 pm

Do you do a mix of debt and equity work or just a specific one and what are the differences? Do you recommend going all in on, say, cap markets or M&A or splitting time between the two?

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby AReasonableMan » Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What made you pick your anonymous firm, that may nor may not SHATTER market bonuses? Were you considering other firms in the area?


I knew I wanted to live in Chicago because I grew up in the area and I wanted to be at a big firm; there are a few choices so I interviewed with them all and took the first offer. My firm is notorious for making fast offers to candidates they like. So yes, I considered all the other major firms here with a decent footprint in the area.

How did you and associates you see bringing in business actually find clientele? In addition, who would one talk to at your firm about bringing a client in without appearing too gunnery?

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 27, 2015 9:54 pm

OP, I'm not being facetious when I say you are my role model. I am in the position you were in 10 years ago, albeit with half the debt and starting at a lower-ranked Chicago firm, and your outcome is what I think of when I imagine my best case scenario.

Good for you on doing this life right and my deepest gratitude for sharing your experience; reading it made my dream feel a little more attainable.

This thread is truly encouraging. Thank you.

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP, I'm not being facetious when I say you are my role model. I am in the position you were in 10 years ago, albeit with half the debt and starting at a lower-ranked Chicago firm, and your outcome is what I think of when I imagine my best case scenario.

Good for you on doing this life right and my deepest gratitude for sharing your experience; reading it made my dream feel a little more attainable.

This thread is truly encouraging. Thank you.


*reads a thread about Lebron James*

*gets more confident about having an NBA career in the future*

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby mickey_mouse » Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:31 pm

IIRC somewhere earlier you said your job doesn't entail much creativity.

That said, how challenging is your work on a daily basis? e.g. how much problem solving, developing solutions, etc. do you do for your clients? Is it intellectually stimulating?

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:19 pm

Thanks so much for posting.

I'm a mid level corporate associate deciding between a strict corporate role that is in house (commercial agreements, financings, 33 Act, governance etc) versus more generalist in house role that includes those elements (minus 33 Act because it's not public) and some litigation management, probably some comp/benefits and working on corporate policies. The latter role is for a younger company that is a subsidiary of a very large corporation - it has a very small legal team. The former had a larger legal team and is more hierarchical. Both businesses seem healthy long term. I don't have much concern in that respect.

I recognize its hard to say, but, in your experience, which in house role will be better for building my career long term? Any other advice you've gleened from your peers that are in house in terms of how to manage a career in house? All of my mentors are at firms and I haven't gotten much helpful advice in this area. I want to ensure my career path remains on an upward trajectory.

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby mvp99 » Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:38 pm

Anyone could probably answer this question... is 6 hours of sleep typical for the average big law attorney?

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby 2014 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:03 am

As a Capital Markets attorney did you ever feel any temptation or pressure to do a stint in New York? Either with your firm or another.

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:08 pm

skers wrote:Do you do a mix of debt and equity work or just a specific one and what are the differences? Do you recommend going all in on, say, cap markets or M&A or splitting time between the two?


I do like 60% high yield bonds/secondary issuances, 15% IPO, and 25% public company reporting (Exchange Act and Section 16). HY/SI is fast paced and at my level I am only starting to negotiate certain terms ahead of the grunt work. For juniors and midlevels, the work can be exhausting when approaching launch and there are a lot of mundane yet necessary things to be completed in a relatively short amount of time. I looked at the capital markets description on the thread that has info on what lawyers do with their days and it is pretty accurate across the board so take a look there for more detail. IPO at my level is a great deal of drafting and working with underwriter's counsel (since I do mostly issuer side deals) to massage language. Public company reporting, most people hate but I really enjoy it and it's a steady flow of work that is pretty easy to do. Mostly I edit drafts from juniors or midlevels.

I recommend going all in after you figure out what you like. Some attorneys here do both and they have been successful at it but it seems a bit harder to make it up the ranks if you do not choose one or the other. Of course there are exceptions but mostly those exceptions are attorneys who would kill it at anything they do because they work super hard and are very personable.

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP, I'm not being facetious when I say you are my role model. I am in the position you were in 10 years ago, albeit with half the debt and starting at a lower-ranked Chicago firm, and your outcome is what I think of when I imagine my best case scenario.

Good for you on doing this life right and my deepest gratitude for sharing your experience; reading it made my dream feel a little more attainable.

This thread is truly encouraging. Thank you.


Well happy to be encouraging but as you will see in a number of my posts I have been pretty fortunate in my path. I have worked really hard as well and had moments where I wanted to give up but as I have alluded to before, I just kind of accepted it and decided to tough it out. Being a junior in biglaw is mostly a really difficult job that very few want to/have the stomach to survive, especially if you have a bad practice group or crappy partners. Again, I wanted to be an encouragement here and offer a different perspective. The fact is that I am not an anomaly and many many attorneys do make it. But I have also caught a few big breaks along the way.

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Re: Biglaw Income Partner Taking Qs

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:19 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP, I'm not being facetious when I say you are my role model. I am in the position you were in 10 years ago, albeit with half the debt and starting at a lower-ranked Chicago firm, and your outcome is what I think of when I imagine my best case scenario.

Good for you on doing this life right and my deepest gratitude for sharing your experience; reading it made my dream feel a little more attainable.

This thread is truly encouraging. Thank you.


*reads a thread about Lebron James*

*gets more confident about having an NBA career in the future*


My story is less Lebron James and more Derek Fisher. Got in with a good organization to start my career, played a decent role on a winning team, mentored by a great coach, now trying to do the same. But the point is still that both players made it to the NBA and that, like making partner in a firm, is rare.




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