Biglaw folks - do you care about clients?

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Biglaw folks - do you care about clients?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 15, 2016 4:25 am

I've noticed that many partners seem to care about their clients in a couple ways that strike me as odd. They seem to really care about the client achieving its goal as a per se matter, separate and apart from the pure self-interest that goes along with having a successful client. It's almost like they experience, and are addicted to, vicarious success. They also seem to really care what their clients think - not simply in the sense of "I hope you like me enough to keep hiring me," but they seem eager to get praise from clients and appear appreciative at an unnaturally deep level when it's given. This appears true even of partners that otherwise have a generally derisive attitude towards clients.

Both of these instinctual drives/reactions seem genuinely bizarre to me. My own feelings towards clients are almost entirely utilitarian. I care about them only to the extent that I want them to stay in business and to remain sufficiently impressed with my firm that they'll keep hiring us, so that I can keep the job that allows me to rent a decent place, buy food, pay off loans, etc. Occasionally (very occasionally) I'll end up with some mildly fond affect for a client that has nice people doing good things. But that has nothing to do with their status as clients; it's inevitably either a personal connection or a subjective appraisal that their projects are helping the world/morally accretive.

So, my questions for the other biglaw lawyers: where do you fall on the spectrum? what do you perceive as normal? how often do you see people falling on the extremes, and for the people who tend not to care about clients - do they seem generally happier/better adjusted than the others?

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Re: Biglaw folks - do you care about clients?

Postby favabeansoup » Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:38 am

Its bizarre to you that a client and a partner can be actual friends and root for each other's success beyond their own personal gain?

Dude, we aren't that terrible of people. Not helping the lawyer stereotypes here.

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Re: Biglaw folks - do you care about clients?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 15, 2016 10:17 am

Not in biglaw, but I noticed this when I was a SA. I think it's easier for partners to really care about their clients because they developed that relationship and have gotten to know them, most likely, on a personal level. It's easy at that point to care about them and want them to do well.

On the other hand, one of my misgivings about biglaw was that I did not care, and I found it hard to believe I would as a first-year. First years don't get to go into meetings with the client and get little contact. They're working on the most mundane parts of a case. It's hard to deeply care about someone's success when you've never met them. Instead, first-years care about pleasing the partner who cares about pleasing the client.

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Re: Biglaw folks - do you care about clients?

Postby FSK » Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:10 am

If you legitimately care whether BOA makes 2.3% more money this quarter off your deal you're a broken human.
Last edited by FSK on Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Biglaw folks - do you care about clients?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:23 am

Not Biglaw, but he have decent-sized clients. (clients generally have from $50 million to a billion in revenue annually) I do construction lit, which is a little different than working for BOA in that there's always a specific project at issue. In my practice area, I end up empathizing with the people who were on the job and responsible for the work. You don't want to see those guys get dragged through the mud if they did what they were supposed to do. I also want to see our clients get paid when they do a job. It's probably different in that there's always something physical that was actually built at issue, rather than purely financial transactions and margins.

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Re: Biglaw folks - do you care about clients?

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:11 pm

It's a service profession. We are supposed to care about our clients and their interests, and consider those interests in making strategic decisions, not just the legal issues in front of us. As for the personal connections, they make in sense in the context of how a senior attorney builds a book of business.

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Re: Biglaw folks - do you care about clients?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Thu Dec 15, 2016 2:23 pm

It's a combination of professional pride (good thing) and Stockholm syndrome. Even if your clients could give a shit about you, it's pretty tough to justify spending every waking moment helping them achieve something without convincing yourself to care about it.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Biglaw folks - do you care about clients?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Dec 15, 2016 2:41 pm

FSK wrote:If you legitimately care whether BOA makes 2.3% more money this quarter off your deal you're a broken human.

This doesn't really make sense to me. If it's your job to get BOA the most money off a deal, then you should legitimately care whether you accomplish that or not, just in the sense of wanting to do your job well.

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Re: Biglaw folks - do you care about clients?

Postby FSK » Thu Dec 15, 2016 2:53 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
FSK wrote:If you legitimately care whether BOA makes 2.3% more money this quarter off your deal you're a broken human.

This doesn't really make sense to me. If it's your job to get BOA the most money off a deal, then you should legitimately care whether you accomplish that or not, just in the sense of wanting to do your job well.


I was really just being an ass, this mentality is why i'm going bigfed.

Though, I think I was privileging "legitimate care" over "care/professional duty"
Last edited by FSK on Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Biglaw folks - do you care about clients?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 15, 2016 3:24 pm

I totally get this, but many of these people become friends so I get wanting people to do well generally. To me, the weirdest thing is seeing partners that are worth $10 million+ get anxious and frantic about pleasing a client and then chew out their associates to vent their frustration. I just can't imagine making that much money and truly giving two fucks, but that is why I will never make that much money. Honestly, I just think if you make it to partner at a big law firm, part of you is broken and can't come back. That is like 25% of your life and most of your adult life being subservient and doing anything you can to please others and being good at it. I've seen a few chill partners here and there, but for the most part these are people that have skewed perceptions of what is important in life and it shows.

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Re: Biglaw folks - do you care about clients?

Postby elendinel » Thu Dec 15, 2016 3:30 pm

If you legitimately care whether BOA makes 2.3% more money this quarter off your deal you're a broken human.

This doesn't really make sense to me. If it's your job to get BOA the most money off a deal, then you should legitimately care whether you accomplish that or not, just in the sense of wanting to do your job well.


I think we're talking about care as in "I genuinely hope you get that 2.3% because I think you deserve it, so I'm going to work hard to get it" as opposed to "It's my job to get you that 2.3% because you want it, so I'm going to work hard to get it," though. As in, I think everyone has to think the latter, but you don't have to legitimately care about your client and how much it helps them to get that 2.3% (outside of it helping you and your job).

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Biglaw folks - do you care about clients?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Dec 15, 2016 3:56 pm

elendinel wrote:
If you legitimately care whether BOA makes 2.3% more money this quarter off your deal you're a broken human.

This doesn't really make sense to me. If it's your job to get BOA the most money off a deal, then you should legitimately care whether you accomplish that or not, just in the sense of wanting to do your job well.


I think we're talking about care as in "I genuinely hope you get that 2.3% because I think you deserve it, so I'm going to work hard to get it" as opposed to "It's my job to get you that 2.3% because you want it, so I'm going to work hard to get it," though. As in, I think everyone has to think the latter, but you don't have to legitimately care about your client and how much it helps them to get that 2.3% (outside of it helping you and your job).

Yeah, that makes sense. I don't think anyone has to feel the former, but I guess I can see why people do. (Though in a hypothetical way not being in biglaw.)

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jrf12886

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Re: Biglaw folks - do you care about clients?

Postby jrf12886 » Thu Dec 15, 2016 4:09 pm

It's a job. You work hard and try to do well so you get paid and advance.

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Re: Biglaw folks - do you care about clients?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 15, 2016 4:24 pm

Lawyers that last that long are almost always EXTREMELY servile. They live for the "good job" from someone above them, and in a corporate biglaw department there's always someone above you even if you're the managing partner. Pathetic, yeah, but someone has to do the paperwork I guess. That's my experience after multiple years in biglaw, 2 firms, 2 different corporate groups. Litigation seems very different because at lease they're running their own show to a certain extent.

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Re: Biglaw folks - do you care about clients?

Postby Winter is Coming » Thu Dec 15, 2016 4:32 pm

FSK wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
FSK wrote:If you legitimately care whether BOA makes 2.3% more money this quarter off your deal you're a broken human.

This doesn't really make sense to me. If it's your job to get BOA the most money off a deal, then you should legitimately care whether you accomplish that or not, just in the sense of wanting to do your job well.


I was really just being an ass, this mentality is why i'm going bigfed.

Though, I think I was privileging "legitimate care" over "care/professional duty"


My pre-law school experience with Fed and state government has left me feeling that there is not much of a difference between "get BOA 2.3%" as a goal and some of the benchmarks prosecutor's offices use (and I imagine this will get worse over the next few years).



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