NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

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Anonymous User
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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:20 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What I'll never understand is the complete loss of perspective by people that have millions of dollars. They could literally quit tomorrow, or be fired and likely never have to work another day in their lives. If they get into trouble, they can arrange their life to have a good, fulfilling life and maybe get rid of the fancier things they have (like private schools, huge house, Hampton house, etc). If I get into trouble, then I'm out on my ass with six figures of debt and a failed career. These guys didn't even have close to the debt burden that we have coming out, and so they can't possibly understand the psychological effect that has.

The work is stressful enough because of the deadlines and closing timelines and client expectations. By being a partner that screams and berates and micro-manage to the point where you feel like just a limb hanging off a partner, they make that stressful situation much worse psychologically and even physically. The firm I worked for had intense, but tolerable (even good) partners to work for and the work was still so stressful that I quit after a year and a half. I can't imagine being in a place where the work is as stressful and your colleagues are complete assholes. The firm I am at now has one of those guys and I already know I won't survive getting staffed on a deal with him. I'd likely just give notice the minute I found out.

Two problems, I think. One is there is always someone with more, and it's natural (and/or we are socialized) to discount the value of what you already have and to want what others have. Sure, you could quit with a million in the bank, but then you can't do [thing the guy down the hall did].

Two is that people get to this point in the profession by dedicating themselves 100 to their work. You do that for a decade or more and it becomes tough to envision anything else. You're gonna quit? And do what? You don't have any hobbies or interests, you haven't seen your friends in years, there's a good chance you're divorced or your family hates you. What's the point?

The kind of person who feels comfortable stepping away from a "successful" career to reinvent themselves in their 40s or later is generally not the kind of person who grinds away in biglaw to that extent in the first place.


Leaving biglaw for something less intense with a million in the bank sounds pretty ideal. For the sake of pursuing that hypothetical, how many years would it take the standard biglaw associate saving 15-20% to get there? Probably still over 10 years....maybe 500k is a better number. That can probably be done by the time you're a 6th year if you're super diligent and get relatively good (8% or so on average) investment returns, even with 100-150k in student loans. Just trying to think of the right cushion to make you feel comfortable before taking dat pay cut.

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rpupkin
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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby rpupkin » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:25 pm

elendinel wrote:
se7en wrote:I'm surprised nobody mentioned that it also looks like the lawyer was divorced from the wife a few years before this article - certainly that may have contributed to this poor guy's depression, and maybe even exacerbated and/or led to the drug abuse. Especially if he was the breadwinner, and in California, he may have been stuck with alimony payments etc. that could have prevented him from quitting the job, even though he grew to hate it.

I think no one mentioned it because there are so few details in the article to speculate the extent to which the divorce could/couldn't have exacerbated the issue; we don't know that he had to pay alimony, or how much, we don't know when the divorce was or when the drug abuse started, etc. And also because this is a problem even for non-married attorneys, so talking about his potential alimony payments (if existent) is arguably getting a little too far into the weeds.

Of course there were alimony payments. There have been plenty of things stated in this thread that are far more speculative than the assumption that this guy was paying alimony.

Speaking of assumptions that folks are making, here's one that needs correcting: that becoming partner means you've made it to the top. At many law firms, a significant percentage of the partners make only marginally more than senior associates. Many partners bill more than associates while also being burdened with various administrative responsibilities. You can tell from the article that this lawyer was a service partner. He had minimal autonomy and probably did not have his own book of business. His level of stress (and his level of compensation) was likely much closer to that of a senior associate than that of the median WSGR partner.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby jd20132013 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:36 pm

rpupkin wrote:
elendinel wrote:
se7en wrote:I'm surprised nobody mentioned that it also looks like the lawyer was divorced from the wife a few years before this article - certainly that may have contributed to this poor guy's depression, and maybe even exacerbated and/or led to the drug abuse. Especially if he was the breadwinner, and in California, he may have been stuck with alimony payments etc. that could have prevented him from quitting the job, even though he grew to hate it.

I think no one mentioned it because there are so few details in the article to speculate the extent to which the divorce could/couldn't have exacerbated the issue; we don't know that he had to pay alimony, or how much, we don't know when the divorce was or when the drug abuse started, etc. And also because this is a problem even for non-married attorneys, so talking about his potential alimony payments (if existent) is arguably getting a little too far into the weeds.

Of course there were alimony payments. There have been plenty of things stated in this thread that are far more speculative than the assumption that this guy was paying alimony.

Speaking of assumptions that folks are making, here's one that needs correcting: that becoming partner means you've made it to the top. At many law firms, a significant percentage of the partners make only marginally more than senior associates. Many partners bill more than associates while also being burdened with various administrative responsibilities. You can tell from the article that this lawyer was a service partner. He had minimal autonomy and probably did not have his own book of business. His level of stress (and his level of compensation) was likely much closer to that of a senior associate than that of the median WSGR partner.

Still trying to figure out what's worse: senior associate or junior partner.

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grand inquisitor
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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby grand inquisitor » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:00 pm

the fact that he dialed into a conference call while he was dying was too real

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby sanzgo » Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:15 pm

shit why'd i go to ls when i should have just invested my tuition money in bitcoin/ethereum. i'd legit be worth over $39mil right now fuk

this is making me question my life choices all over again. i think the real winners in the legal field are the yale -> clerkship -> publish -> professor at TTT teaching about the legal ramifications of the copulating mechanisms of interdimensional gay frogs while getting paid six figures folks. seriously fuk this shit and i haven't even graduated yet.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby Phil Brooks » Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:26 pm

sanzgo wrote:shit why'd i go to ls when i should have just invested my tuition money in bitcoin/ethereum. i'd legit be worth over $39mil right now fuk

this is making me question my life choices all over again. i think the real winners in the legal field are the yale -> clerkship -> publish -> professor at TTT teaching about the legal ramifications of the copulating mechanisms of interdimensional gay frogs while getting paid six figures folks. seriously fuk this shit and i haven't even graduated yet.


My professor/mentor told me quite frankly that he and all of his colleagues know that their lifestyle is not sustainable because it's built on a giant student loan bubble that is about to burst.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby Mr. Blackacre » Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:39 pm

Phil Brooks wrote:
sanzgo wrote:shit why'd i go to ls when i should have just invested my tuition money in bitcoin/ethereum. i'd legit be worth over $39mil right now fuk

this is making me question my life choices all over again. i think the real winners in the legal field are the yale -> clerkship -> publish -> professor at TTT teaching about the legal ramifications of the copulating mechanisms of interdimensional gay frogs while getting paid six figures folks. seriously fuk this shit and i haven't even graduated yet.


My professor/mentor told me quite frankly that he and all of his colleagues know that their lifestyle is not sustainable because it's built on a giant student loan bubble that is about to burst.


Meh. It's been about to burst for 10 years and it's still not bursting. If it survived the recession, the ABA doesn't care, and there is a constant stream of naive 22 year olds to fill the spots, there's no reason for it to stop any time soon, at least for the T2s and most of the T3s. Only the really weak schools are going to fail.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:16 pm

I read that article and, though I've only taken "smart drugs" a handful of times (modafinil) to survive 300 hour months, it was a wake up call for me about how slippery the slope must be.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Leaving biglaw for something less intense with a million in the bank sounds pretty ideal. For the sake of pursuing that hypothetical, how many years would it take the standard biglaw associate saving 15-20% to get there? Probably still over 10 years....maybe 500k is a better number. That can probably be done by the time you're a 6th year if you're super diligent and get relatively good (8% or so on average) investment returns, even with 100-150k in student loans. Just trying to think of the right cushion to make you feel comfortable before taking dat pay cut.


10-20% savings is pretty low on a big law salary. Maybe if you have kids and live in NYC, but living in DC on a big law salary I usually save well over 50% of my after-tax salary. I've paid off nearly 200k in student loans in about 3 years in DC; when you consider how much bonuses go up, gotta imagine that I'd be able to make it to 300-400K in 3 more years. Not sure I would have the stamina to do that even if I wanted to, though.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Leaving biglaw for something less intense with a million in the bank sounds pretty ideal. For the sake of pursuing that hypothetical, how many years would it take the standard biglaw associate saving 15-20% to get there? Probably still over 10 years....maybe 500k is a better number. That can probably be done by the time you're a 6th year if you're super diligent and get relatively good (8% or so on average) investment returns, even with 100-150k in student loans. Just trying to think of the right cushion to make you feel comfortable before taking dat pay cut.


10-20% savings is pretty low on a big law salary. Maybe if you have kids and live in NYC, but living in DC on a big law salary I usually save well over 50% of my after-tax salary. I've paid off nearly 200k in student loans in about 3 years in DC; when you consider how much bonuses go up, gotta imagine that I'd be able to make it to 300-400K in 3 more years. Not sure I would have the stamina to do that even if I wanted to, though.


Fine, so assuming 30-40% post-tax savings and standard student loans (lets say 150k), how long would it take to stockpile 500k or 1M?

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Leaving biglaw for something less intense with a million in the bank sounds pretty ideal. For the sake of pursuing that hypothetical, how many years would it take the standard biglaw associate saving 15-20% to get there? Probably still over 10 years....maybe 500k is a better number. That can probably be done by the time you're a 6th year if you're super diligent and get relatively good (8% or so on average) investment returns, even with 100-150k in student loans. Just trying to think of the right cushion to make you feel comfortable before taking dat pay cut.


10-20% savings is pretty low on a big law salary. Maybe if you have kids and live in NYC, but living in DC on a big law salary I usually save well over 50% of my after-tax salary. I've paid off nearly 200k in student loans in about 3 years in DC; when you consider how much bonuses go up, gotta imagine that I'd be able to make it to 300-400K in 3 more years. Not sure I would have the stamina to do that even if I wanted to, though.


Fine, so assuming 30-40% post-tax savings and standard student loans (lets say 150k), how long would it take to stockpile 500k or 1M?

Just long enough to decide you should stay until you save 1 or 1.5 million.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby thexfactor » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:53 pm

When I was a first year associate, an older mid-level told me that biglaw associates are like NFL running backs. Similar to NFL running backs who usually only last 3-4 seasons, most BL associates only have a lifespan of 3-4 years. After your first year you will know deep down whether you are Adrian Peterson or the avg serviceable back that lasts 3-4 years in the NFL.

Regardless of who you are, you should plan for your "career" after the NFL (or biglaw). Even if you are an AP type of running back, you never know when injuries (or recession, group downturn, firm downturn, personality conflict in biglaw) may derail your career.

http://www.thesoapboxers.com/what-is-th ... ks-career/

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:31 pm

My situation is a bit more unique, I don't take any type of drugs, but I've fallen into the habit of seeing escorts. I've literally wasted so much money on this sex addiction, at least thousands of dollars. And I can't seem to control it. Even before going to work this morning, I went to see an escort. I feel so horrible, but I always seem to go back to it again and again. I've been in this rut for 2 years.

The worse part is that I am married and I know it would kill my SO if I told them of this addiction, I just wish I can conquer this. I need help.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby bk1 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:37 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Leaving biglaw for something less intense with a million in the bank sounds pretty ideal. For the sake of pursuing that hypothetical, how many years would it take the standard biglaw associate saving 15-20% to get there? Probably still over 10 years....maybe 500k is a better number. That can probably be done by the time you're a 6th year if you're super diligent and get relatively good (8% or so on average) investment returns, even with 100-150k in student loans. Just trying to think of the right cushion to make you feel comfortable before taking dat pay cut.


10-20% savings is pretty low on a big law salary. Maybe if you have kids and live in NYC, but living in DC on a big law salary I usually save well over 50% of my after-tax salary. I've paid off nearly 200k in student loans in about 3 years in DC; when you consider how much bonuses go up, gotta imagine that I'd be able to make it to 300-400K in 3 more years. Not sure I would have the stamina to do that even if I wanted to, though.


Fine, so assuming 30-40% post-tax savings and standard student loans (lets say 150k), how long would it take to stockpile 500k or 1M?

Just long enough to decide you should stay until you save 1 or 1.5 million.

@OP: You're probably not making it long enough to pay off 150k and save up 500k.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:54 pm

thexfactor wrote:When I was a first year associate, an older mid-level told me that biglaw associates are like NFL running backs. Similar to NFL running backs who usually only last 3-4 seasons, most BL associates only have a lifespan of 3-4 years. After your first year you will know deep down whether you are Adrian Peterson or the avg serviceable back that lasts 3-4 years in the NFL.

Regardless of who you are, you should plan for your "career" after the NFL (or biglaw). Even if you are an AP type of running back, you never know when injuries (or recession, group downturn, firm downturn, personality conflict in biglaw) may derail your career.

http://www.thesoapboxers.com/what-is-th ... ks-career/


I tell juniors the same thing. Learn, save your $ and plan for Career 2.0: Life After Biglaw.

$$$$$$
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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby $$$$$$ » Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:01 pm

bk1 wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Leaving biglaw for something less intense with a million in the bank sounds pretty ideal. For the sake of pursuing that hypothetical, how many years would it take the standard biglaw associate saving 15-20% to get there? Probably still over 10 years....maybe 500k is a better number. That can probably be done by the time you're a 6th year if you're super diligent and get relatively good (8% or so on average) investment returns, even with 100-150k in student loans. Just trying to think of the right cushion to make you feel comfortable before taking dat pay cut.


10-20% savings is pretty low on a big law salary. Maybe if you have kids and live in NYC, but living in DC on a big law salary I usually save well over 50% of my after-tax salary. I've paid off nearly 200k in student loans in about 3 years in DC; when you consider how much bonuses go up, gotta imagine that I'd be able to make it to 300-400K in 3 more years. Not sure I would have the stamina to do that even if I wanted to, though.


Fine, so assuming 30-40% post-tax savings and standard student loans (lets say 150k), how long would it take to stockpile 500k or 1M?

Just long enough to decide you should stay until you save 1 or 1.5 million.

@OP: You're probably not making it long enough to pay off 150k and save up 500k.


Seriously, I'm extremely frugal and in 4 years, I've saved $120,000 (not including $55,000 401K) and paid off $130,000 of loans (still have $130,000). You aren't going to get anywhere near those numbers unless you work until year 6, and that freaking sucks.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:28 pm

Seriously, I'm extremely frugal and in 4 years, I've saved $120,000 (not including $55,000 401K) and paid off $130,000 of loans (still have $130,000). You aren't going to get anywhere near those numbers unless you work until year 6, and that freaking sucks.


On the one hand, yes. On the other hand, you just invested $200k and 7 years of your life (plus lost income for 3-4+ years) into the big-law rat race. Why not try to stick it out another two and have a (little) something to show for it?

Of course, 80% of people leave before that, so there is obviously a powerful answer to this question. A big part of it is that one way or another, the firm expects (read: needs) 80% of people to be gone by then to make their numbers work. (Don't get me started on how this level of attrition can't be the best way to run a business).

When you say "extremely frugal", could you (or anyone similarly situated) elaborate on your monthly expenses?

The whole thing (grinding for 7 years to get to a net worth of zero, so you can exit to a job paying $100k) seems slightly absurd.

Does anyone have thoughts on solid exit options for generalist corporate associates?

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby Art Prior » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:34 pm

The article sort of blames it on biglaw. What was this guy doing in his chemistry lab in pharma? The same thing no doubt. I didn't like the exwife acting like she didn't know until Peter died. Shes hes wife of course she would find some evidence of use throughout life. Probably the reasons they are divorced is the drugs.


I feel this distinction needs to be made because there are three different types of drug users in biglaw I would guess (its a guess because nobody talks about it so this is from personal experience :wink: ).

1) those that use the drug for a legit medical reason
2) those that use the drugs as a tool because it makes them work much longer hours or more efficiently
3) those that do it to unwind after work/weekends

Peter really was taking drug use too far by injecting hard stimulants like meth. Many people use and are more toned down about it and probably use it just to cope with the long hours, but that doesn't mean you have to IV the drugs or use cocaine, which in my opinion is not a good work drug. Amphetamines or certain opiates work wonders on getting work done fast and giving the desire to keep working when you would normally stop for the night. I would say I'm a number 1 and 2 type user and try not to be a 3.

Anonymous User wrote:My situation is a bit more unique, I don't take any type of drugs, but I've fallen into the habit of seeing escorts. I've literally wasted so much money on this sex addiction, at least thousands of dollars. And I can't seem to control it. Even before going to work this morning, I went to see an escort. I feel so horrible, but I always seem to go back to it again and again. I've been in this rut for 2 years.

The worse part is that I am married and I know it would kill my SO if I told them of this addiction, I just wish I can conquer this. I need help.


man that's quite an addiction to have, especially married. Can't imagine the mental toll that takes on you, I know I would have to do tons of drugs to deal with that type of guilt.
Last edited by Art Prior on Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:42 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby lagamemnon » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:51 pm

Art Prior wrote:The article sort of blames it on biglaw. What was this guy doing in his chemistry lab in pharma? The same thing no doubt. I didn't like the exwife acting like she didn't know until Peter died. Shes hes wife of course she would find some evidence of use throughout life. Probably the reasons they are divorced is the drugs.


I feel this distinction needs to be made because there are three different types of drug users in biglaw I would guess (its a guess because nobody talks about it so this is from personal experience :wink: ).

1) those that use the drug for a legit medical reason
2) those that use the drugs as a tool because it makes them work much longer hours or more efficiently
3) those that do it to unwind after work/weekends

Peter really was taking drug use too far by injecting hard stimulants like meth. Many people use and are more toned down about it and probably use it just to cope with the long hours, but that doesn't mean you have to IV the drugs or use cocaine, which in my opinion is not a good work drug. Amphetamines or certain opiates work wonders on getting work done fast and giving the desire to keep working when you would normally stop for the night. I would say I'm a number 1 and 2 type user and try not to be a 3.


You come off as pretty defensive, man. Most of us wouldn't make a distinction between injecting meth and using amphetamine/opiate cocktails, in terms of whether or not the user is a drug addict.

I know people who have struggled with serious drug problems. Many of them have gotten through those problems successfully. If you feel like that might be you, it's not too late to seek help.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby rpupkin » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:52 pm

Art Prior wrote:The article sort of blames it on biglaw. What was this guy doing in his chemistry lab in pharma? The same thing no doubt.

Oh please. You have "no doubt" this guy was injecting meth and heroin 30 years earlier based on the fact that he worked as a chemist? C'mon.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby BernieTrump » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:08 am

Art Prior wrote:The article sort of blames it on biglaw.


I would bet you $50K on that timeline. Biglaw is a sad place, filled with a lot of substances. If you give me odds, I'd bet another $50K he started (or at least spiraled) at either (x) his 3rd to 5th year of biglaw, where the job goes from being ok to being the terrible, or (y) the time his wife left him and got CA alimony (CA has extreme alimony) that assumed he would make whatever he was making or more forever, which is not a safe bet for a service partner and would never allow him to ever step off the track.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby Art Prior » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:49 am

People don't typically start doing drugs at 45, they start younger 20s even if its softer drugs. I don't know when this guy started, his wife does but she didn't talk about his addiction at all nor seem to know about it.

The guy listened to hendrix and was into philosophy as a grad student and into chemistry the article says, suggestive of an interest in drugs.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:50 am

Anonymous User wrote:My situation is a bit more unique, I don't take any type of drugs, but I've fallen into the habit of seeing escorts. I've literally wasted so much money on this sex addiction, at least thousands of dollars. And I can't seem to control it. Even before going to work this morning, I went to see an escort. I feel so horrible, but I always seem to go back to it again and again. I've been in this rut for 2 years.

The worse part is that I am married and I know it would kill my SO if I told them of this addiction, I just wish I can conquer this. I need help.


Hey man, I'm sorry you're going through this. You can change. You might not change right away but there's still hope for you to change.

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:30 am

I play the lottery weekly praying for a miracle

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Re: NY Times Article-The Lawyer, the Addict

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:14 am

Anonymous User wrote:I play the lottery weekly praying for a miracle


Those fuckers at NY Lotto deliberately put them on the paths of high-traffic streets in business areas.

You get off the subway thinking about the revisions you have to make to the PPM, and by the time you get to the door you're thinking about the $232 million (pretax) you'd have if the universe just cut you a goddamn break one time and how you don't know how you're gonna make it through 3-5 more years of this shit.




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