Is STB the next Dewey?

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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
zweitbester wrote:It's funny because this actually happens at every firm, it's just that it doesn't always lead to a judgment against that firm. How many times have you encountered an agreement, but are so sleep deprived that you basically sign off on it while glazing over the words. Not really unique to STB.


I do finance work, and I can't imagine making the STB mistake. First off, I'd never let a paralegal prepare a UCC-3, that's a junior associate job. Second off, everyone knows UCC docs are one of the few docs with zero tolerance for errors, so each lawyer is fascistic about checking them CAREFULLY. Finally, we would always have multiple layers of checking on something as irrevocable as a UCC-3 just to be sure no one person is wholly responsible for catching a goof.

My understanding is that the RE guy who sent the email wasn't doing the reviewing, but one of the junior finance associates was and blew it. This still wouldn't happen at our shop because we have controls to protect against UCC fuckups (we heard of a couple of UCC-1s that were improperly prepared several years ago with thankfully no real consequences other than embarrassment). It speaks badly of the level of Balkanization of practice groups at STB, IMO.


:roll:

"That's junior associate work". Paralegals are more likely to do it right, anyway. They've actually prepared UCC-3s before.

I'm sure you spend hours of your practice time reading through UCC-3s dozens of times just to make sure everything is exactly correct, and your clients appreciate 20 hours billed on every matter to "UCC perfectionism".

And anyone who calls their law firm a "shop" is obviously trying too hard.


Paralegals don't understand what they're doing, which is how mistakes like this happen. Mechanistic work is crappy work.

And I AM a pain in the ass to work for, but I'm not trying to win popularity contests, just get transactions done without mistakes that, you know, cost the client (or noteholders, or the malpractice insurance pool, whatever) $1,000,000,000. You'd think the conclusion to draw from this wouldn't be "[foul] it, mistakes happen, dude, let's go bowling."

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Old Gregg
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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby Old Gregg » Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:53 pm

You'd think the conclusion to draw from this wouldn't be "[foul] it, mistakes happen, dude, let's go bowling."


It has to be, because your 3,000th hour billed is not going to be even close to as good as the 1st hour billed. It doesn't even matter that it's at 2am.

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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby v5junior » Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Paralegals don't understand what they're doing, which is how mistakes like this happen. Mechanistic work is crappy work.

And I AM a pain in the ass to work for, but I'm not trying to win popularity contests, just get transactions done without mistakes that, you know, cost the client (or noteholders, or the malpractice insurance pool, whatever) $1,000,000,000. You'd think the conclusion to draw from this wouldn't be "[foul] it, mistakes happen, dude, let's go bowling."


:roll:

Yeah, you're the only associate who tries to avoid costing the client large sums of money. If only the rest of the world cared as much as you did, if only they were okay with being a pain in the ass to work for, there would be no law suits! Everyone else is just too lazy and/or easy on their juniors.

Have you heard of (a) attribution bias or (b) hindsight bias?

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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby KidStuddi » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I do finance work, and I can't imagine making the STB mistake. First off, I'd never let a paralegal prepare a UCC-3, that's a junior associate job. Second off, everyone knows UCC docs are one of the few docs with zero tolerance for errors, so each lawyer is fascistic about checking them CAREFULLY. Finally, we would always have multiple layers of checking on something as irrevocable as a UCC-3 just to be sure no one person is wholly responsible for catching a goof.

My understanding is that the RE guy who sent the email wasn't doing the reviewing, but one of the junior finance associates was and blew it. This still wouldn't happen at our shop because we have controls to protect against UCC fuckups (we heard of a couple of UCC-1s that were improperly prepared several years ago with thankfully no real consequences other than embarrassment). It speaks badly of the level of Balkanization of practice groups at STB, IMO.


:roll:

"That's junior associate work". Paralegals are more likely to do it right, anyway. They've actually prepared UCC-3s before.

I'm sure you spend hours of your practice time reading through UCC-3s dozens of times just to make sure everything is exactly correct, and your clients appreciate 20 hours billed on every matter to "UCC perfectionism".

And anyone who calls their law firm a "shop" is obviously trying too hard.


Paralegals don't understand what they're doing, which is how mistakes like this happen. Mechanistic work is crappy work.

And I AM a pain in the ass to work for, but I'm not trying to win popularity contests, just get transactions done without mistakes that, you know, cost the client (or noteholders, or the malpractice insurance pool, whatever) $1,000,000,000. You'd think the conclusion to draw from this wouldn't be "[foul] it, mistakes happen, dude, let's go bowling."


You do realize that many paralegals have far, far more practical experience with things like this than junior associates, right? If your paras (or summers, or juniors) don't know what they're doing, it's because you're a shitty manager and haven't bothered to explain it to them -- how is that not exceedingly obvious to people like you? It sounds like you probably operate the same way this clown did, "the Mayer Brown associate asked a paralegal who was unfamiliar with the transaction or the purpose of the request to perform a search for UCC‐1..."

I have no idea how your takeaway from this was that "dire consequences await when you let paralegals work on your matters" when the entire story is about how all of the attorneys above the paralegal at MB, in-house counsel at both clients, and STB were all asleep at the wheel and failed to catch the mistake.

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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:52 pm

KidStuddi wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I do finance work, and I can't imagine making the STB mistake. First off, I'd never let a paralegal prepare a UCC-3, that's a junior associate job. Second off, everyone knows UCC docs are one of the few docs with zero tolerance for errors, so each lawyer is fascistic about checking them CAREFULLY. Finally, we would always have multiple layers of checking on something as irrevocable as a UCC-3 just to be sure no one person is wholly responsible for catching a goof.

My understanding is that the RE guy who sent the email wasn't doing the reviewing, but one of the junior finance associates was and blew it. This still wouldn't happen at our shop because we have controls to protect against UCC fuckups (we heard of a couple of UCC-1s that were improperly prepared several years ago with thankfully no real consequences other than embarrassment). It speaks badly of the level of Balkanization of practice groups at STB, IMO.


:roll:

"That's junior associate work". Paralegals are more likely to do it right, anyway. They've actually prepared UCC-3s before.

I'm sure you spend hours of your practice time reading through UCC-3s dozens of times just to make sure everything is exactly correct, and your clients appreciate 20 hours billed on every matter to "UCC perfectionism".

And anyone who calls their law firm a "shop" is obviously trying too hard.


Paralegals don't understand what they're doing, which is how mistakes like this happen. Mechanistic work is crappy work.

And I AM a pain in the ass to work for, but I'm not trying to win popularity contests, just get transactions done without mistakes that, you know, cost the client (or noteholders, or the malpractice insurance pool, whatever) $1,000,000,000. You'd think the conclusion to draw from this wouldn't be "[foul] it, mistakes happen, dude, let's go bowling."


You do realize that many paralegals have far, far more practical experience with things like this than junior associates, right? If your paras (or summers, or juniors) don't know what they're doing, it's because you're a shitty manager and haven't bothered to explain it to them -- how is that not exceedingly obvious to people like you? It sounds like you probably operate the same way this clown did, "the Mayer Brown associate asked a paralegal who was unfamiliar with the transaction or the purpose of the request to perform a search for UCC‐1..."

I have no idea how your takeaway from this was that "dire consequences await when you let paralegals work on your matters" when the entire story is about how all of the attorneys above the paralegal at MB, in-house counsel at both clients, and STB were all asleep at the wheel and failed to catch the mistake.


Paralegals have practical experience, which is totally worthless. Have you ever prepared a UCC-3? It is not exactly like cooking a soufflé. All that matters is understanding deal context so you notice if someone left off a zero. Put differently, understanding the big picture gives you the best chance of noticing stupid/clerical mistakes. Someone with no contextual understanding has no prayer of catching the mistake.

That's what this whole debacle illustrates. Because everything was outsourced or balkanized - the RE guy outsourced the UCC review to a collateral guy, the Mayer guy outsourced the preparation to a paralegal, etc, there was no one who understood the scope of the entire deal reviewing. Hence, a clerical mistake falls through all these layers of review, because no one really had ownership of the entire process and was equipped to catch the stupid glitches that happen in every matter, even something as rote and boilerplate as a payoff.

Work like this, done correctly, is inherently miserable and tedious, but you're paid to do it correctly. When I do this, I have the junior come into my office and spend an hour walking me through all the steps we took. Maybe that makes them hate me, but it means they had to understand every step of the process and then I have to understand it too. I think that reduces the risk of this sort of error significantly. Obviously, I think the STB concept of using a dedicated "collateral attorney" is really bad practice, but JPM disagrees, so good for STB.

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Old Gregg
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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby Old Gregg » Fri Feb 20, 2015 4:27 pm

And this is how someone bills 3,000 hours a year and is proud of it.

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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 20, 2015 4:38 pm

zweitbester wrote:And this is how someone bills 3,000 hours a year and is proud of it.


I will never understand why a forum for lawyers is so hostile to legal work. If you want to review quickly and pass it along, become a business person. But you're a lawyer, so you're being paid for smooth, error free deal execution. Whatever it takes to achieve that is the right answer. It's not really a profession for "perfection is the enemy of the good".

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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby Old Gregg » Fri Feb 20, 2015 7:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
zweitbester wrote:And this is how someone bills 3,000 hours a year and is proud of it.


I will never understand why a forum for lawyers is so hostile to legal work. If you want to review quickly and pass it along, become a business person. But you're a lawyer, so you're being paid for smooth, error free deal execution. Whatever it takes to achieve that is the right answer. It's not really a profession for "perfection is the enemy of the good".


I don't think there's so much hostility toward legal work as there is hostility toward excess. The fact that you don't blink at 3,000 hours but balk at spending less than 10 on a UCC is such blatant hypocrisy.

And BTW, I know plenty of senior associates who are considered stars and who all make detail oriented mistakes. The shitty ones, like you, are self righteous about it and can't see the errors they make (it's funny because, when confronted with one, they'll make all sorts of rationalizations for why it was intentional. The better ones acknowledge that shit slips through the cracks because they bill so much and are so exhausted, and try to do their best to mitigate it without resorting to auto-fellatio. Just something for you to think about while you take the elevator to get your seamless meal.

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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby mvp99 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 7:51 pm

someone here is too proud of simply being lucky

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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby KidStuddi » Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
zweitbester wrote:And this is how someone bills 3,000 hours a year and is proud of it.


I will never understand why a forum for lawyers is so hostile to legal work. If you want to review quickly and pass it along, become a business person. But you're a lawyer, so you're being paid for smooth, error free deal execution. Whatever it takes to achieve that is the right answer. It's not really a profession for "perfection is the enemy of the good".


It's not being hostile to legal work. It's being hostile to the proposition that delegating responsibility can only be done "right" if done in as condescendingly and officiously a way imaginable, which seems to be your approach. Moreover, I have no idea where you get the idea that clients want to pay attorneys to do "whatever it takes" to get the right answer. Have you somehow been oblivious to the ever-mounting client backlash against fee structures that reward inefficient attorneys? How do you reconcile the demand for flat fee structures and similar alternative billing arrangement that tie the firm's profitability to its efficiency with your claim that all clients care about is getting it done perfectly every single time? How have you not noticed that even the clients with the deepest pockets are now routinely asking for discounted fees and itemized bills so they can ask for write-offs of excessive time?

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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby Desert Fox » Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:30 pm

KidStuddi wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
zweitbester wrote:And this is how someone bills 3,000 hours a year and is proud of it.


I will never understand why a forum for lawyers is so hostile to legal work. If you want to review quickly and pass it along, become a business person. But you're a lawyer, so you're being paid for smooth, error free deal execution. Whatever it takes to achieve that is the right answer. It's not really a profession for "perfection is the enemy of the good".


It's not being hostile to legal work. It's being hostile to the proposition that delegating responsibility can only be done "right" if done in as condescendingly and officiously a way imaginable, which seems to be your approach. Moreover, I have no idea where you get the idea that clients want to pay attorneys to do "whatever it takes" to get the right answer. Have you somehow been oblivious to the ever-mounting client backlash against fee structures that reward inefficient attorneys? How do you reconcile the demand for flat fee structures and similar alternative billing arrangement that tie the firm's profitability to its efficiency with your claim that all clients care about is getting it done perfectly every single time? How have you not noticed that even the clients with the deepest pockets are now routinely asking for discounted fees and itemized bills so they can ask for write-offs of excessive time?


TBF the clients are demanding perfect and efficiency. It is stupid, but don't tell them that.

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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby KidStuddi » Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:55 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
KidStuddi wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
zweitbester wrote:And this is how someone bills 3,000 hours a year and is proud of it.


I will never understand why a forum for lawyers is so hostile to legal work. If you want to review quickly and pass it along, become a business person. But you're a lawyer, so you're being paid for smooth, error free deal execution. Whatever it takes to achieve that is the right answer. It's not really a profession for "perfection is the enemy of the good".


It's not being hostile to legal work. It's being hostile to the proposition that delegating responsibility can only be done "right" if done in as condescendingly and officiously a way imaginable, which seems to be your approach. Moreover, I have no idea where you get the idea that clients want to pay attorneys to do "whatever it takes" to get the right answer. Have you somehow been oblivious to the ever-mounting client backlash against fee structures that reward inefficient attorneys? How do you reconcile the demand for flat fee structures and similar alternative billing arrangement that tie the firm's profitability to its efficiency with your claim that all clients care about is getting it done perfectly every single time? How have you not noticed that even the clients with the deepest pockets are now routinely asking for discounted fees and itemized bills so they can ask for write-offs of excessive time?


TBF the clients are demanding perfect and efficiency. It is stupid, but don't tell them that.


Eh. I think they're expecting extreme competence, which I don't think of as the same thing as perfection. I'd point to the fact that JPM hasn't left or even decreased its reliance on STB in any measurable way since this incident as validation. The fault tolerance isn't huge, granted, but it's far from zero.

Let me put it another way: I've been told there are strict cost constraints on dozens of deals I've worked on; been told I could, under no circumstances, exceed X hours on a task. Even when it's related to something that's pretty fucking important in the grand scheme of things for the client. On the other hand, I've only once been part of a "unlimited budget, do whatever it takes to get it done" type deal where we were literally pulling associates from other continents and out of other practice groups to get it done because we were given a blank check and asked to move mountains. One is a weekly occurrence, the other was a fucking spectacle that had the executive committee frothing at the mouth and authorizing all kinds of stupid shit. My experience tells me the latter isn't very common, and certainly isn't the baseline expectation of clients.

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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I will never understand why a forum for lawyers is so hostile to legal work.


LOL. A perplexing mystery indeed!

"Sorry honey, Joe Boomer's internal deadline for moving those commas around is COB tomorrow. Maybe next anniversary."

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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:18 pm

KidStuddi wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
zweitbester wrote:And this is how someone bills 3,000 hours a year and is proud of it.


I will never understand why a forum for lawyers is so hostile to legal work. If you want to review quickly and pass it along, become a business person. But you're a lawyer, so you're being paid for smooth, error free deal execution. Whatever it takes to achieve that is the right answer. It's not really a profession for "perfection is the enemy of the good".


It's not being hostile to legal work. It's being hostile to the proposition that delegating responsibility can only be done "right" if done in as condescendingly and officiously a way imaginable, which seems to be your approach. Moreover, I have no idea where you get the idea that clients want to pay attorneys to do "whatever it takes" to get the right answer. Have you somehow been oblivious to the ever-mounting client backlash against fee structures that reward inefficient attorneys? How do you reconcile the demand for flat fee structures and similar alternative billing arrangement that tie the firm's profitability to its efficiency with your claim that all clients care about is getting it done perfectly every single time? How have you not noticed that even the clients with the deepest pockets are now routinely asking for discounted fees and itemized bills so they can ask for write-offs of excessive time?



If you're at STB or its peer firms, there hasn't really been that much pressure on fees. That's more of an issue with the second rate places. The whole reason a client is hiring a STB is because they want the gold-plated work product.

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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:20 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I will never understand why a forum for lawyers is so hostile to legal work.


LOL. A perplexing mystery indeed!

"Sorry honey, Joe Boomer's internal deadline for moving those commas around is COB tomorrow. Maybe next anniversary."


But your job is to move those commas, for the first two years or so. And they pay you a shitton of money to do it. And then you never move commas again. It's like a marine complaining about having to go through basic training. They TELL YOU IN ADVANCE. And still people complain.

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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby Old Gregg » Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:41 pm

and then you never have to move commas again


LOLOLOLOL who the fuck are you???????

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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:14 am

zweitbester wrote:
and then you never have to move commas again


LOLOLOLOL who the fuck are you???????


I'm a sixth year transactional associate, and I cannot imagine how you can be reasonably senior and still "moving commas". Maybe if you do straight cap markets but that's not a feature of being a transactional associate, that's a feature of being the moron who picks cap markets as their practice group.

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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby JohannDeMann » Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:20 am

posting anonymous - outed as a bitch and 80% chanceof liar. didnt read.

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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:25 am

JohannDeMann wrote:posting anonymous - outed as a bitch and 80% chanceof liar. didnt read.



I'm not lying. I just don't want to be accused of shilling for my firm (which I've identified under my username).

Sometimes I wonder if I just ended up in the most cherry of cherry biglaw jobs, but that seems highly improbable to me. I tend to think y'all just bitch a lot. I'd say the work was pretty tedious for the first year, year and a half, but quickly became less so after that. Drafting is technical but it's not "moving commas" - its more like a brain teaser than drudgery. The conceptual stuff - the issue spotting when you're doing a markup, keeping up with the new material in your specialty - that's clearly not moving commas. Client management / client development is as far from moving commas as possible. Once in awhile, I guess, I'm too lazy to staff a junior to do something menial and I handle it myself, and so there's your moving commas, but that's what, 5-10% of my workload?

This is not to say you don't work your ass off, but it's not boring or pointless.

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Old Gregg
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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby Old Gregg » Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:30 am

Anonymous User wrote:
zweitbester wrote:
and then you never have to move commas again


LOLOLOLOL who the fuck are you???????


I'm a sixth year transactional associate, and I cannot imagine how you can be reasonably senior and still "moving commas". Maybe if you do straight cap markets but that's not a feature of being a transactional associate, that's a feature of being the moron who picks cap markets as their practice group.


You do merger agreements, right? I guarantee that you've moved at least one comma when marking one up or drafting it.

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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:39 am

zweitbester wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
zweitbester wrote:
and then you never have to move commas again


LOLOLOLOL who the fuck are you???????


I'm a sixth year transactional associate, and I cannot imagine how you can be reasonably senior and still "moving commas". Maybe if you do straight cap markets but that's not a feature of being a transactional associate, that's a feature of being the moron who picks cap markets as their practice group.


You do merger agreements, right? I guarantee that you've moved at least one comma when marking one up or drafting it.


Sure, all the time. I might move a comma when marking one up, but that's a literal application of a metaphorical concept. Very little of marking up a merger agreement is menial, substance-less changes. Its a lot more of "how the fuck does this rep apply to this sort of business and why the fuck is this here in this precedent shit where is the counsel who knows this industry and can explain to me how the fuck this works welp fuck I guess I'm going to become a 10-day-expert in the [redacted] industry oh shit what the fuck are the tax guys trying to say here I better get them on the phone so he can walk me through this shit damn I wish I took corporate tax oh god there are patents no not the patents" etc etc.

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Old Gregg
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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby Old Gregg » Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:52 am

thanks man. you sound super awesome and not like a moron at all.

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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby wiseowl » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:03 am

I wish this thread was the next Dewey.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:46 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I will never understand why a forum for lawyers is so hostile to legal work.


LOL. A perplexing mystery indeed!

"Sorry honey, Joe Boomer's internal deadline for moving those commas around is COB tomorrow. Maybe next anniversary."


But your job is to move those commas, for the first two years or so. And they pay you a shitton of money to do it. And then you never move commas again. It's like a marine complaining about having to go through basic training. They TELL YOU IN ADVANCE. And still people complain.


Yeah, it is like the Marines. That's the point. People are unhappy in a job that can reasonably be compared to being in the fucking Marines, if only Annapolis cost $250k in addition to whatever you paid for an undergrad degree. Do you still not get why a lawyer might hate his/her job?

Also, "you signed up for this" is not a reason to be happy. A healthy proportion leave the instant their loans are paid; some earlier than that. Precisely zero people who go in house go on and on about how much they want to be back in Biglaw. And even the ones that are swayed by the money aren't thinking "You know, I really shouldn't be so hostile to legal work!" when it's 1 AM, they still have to review 500 more documents, and they're staring out a window wondering how hard they'd have to throw themselves at it for it to break.

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Re: Is STB the next Dewey?

Postby bearsfan23 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:46 am

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I will never understand why a forum for lawyers is so hostile to legal work.


LOL. A perplexing mystery indeed!

"Sorry honey, Joe Boomer's internal deadline for moving those commas around is COB tomorrow. Maybe next anniversary."


But your job is to move those commas, for the first two years or so. And they pay you a shitton of money to do it. And then you never move commas again. It's like a marine complaining about having to go through basic training. They TELL YOU IN ADVANCE. And still people complain.


Yeah, it is like the Marines. That's the point. People are unhappy in a job that can reasonably be compared to being in the fucking Marines, if only Annapolis cost $250k in addition to whatever you paid for an undergrad degree. Do you still not get why a lawyer might hate his/her job?

Also, "you signed up for this" is not a reason to be happy. A healthy proportion leave the instant their loans are paid; some earlier than that. Precisely zero people who go in house go on and on about how much they want to be back in Biglaw. And even the ones that are swayed by the money aren't thinking "You know, I really shouldn't be so hostile to legal work!" when it's 1 AM, they still have to review 500 more documents, and they're staring out a window wondering how hard they'd have to throw themselves at it for it to break.


Aren't you a 2L?




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