tomwatts wrote:This also explains part of why biglaw sucks so much. As an associate, you're basically just a cog in the machine trying to make FamousPartner look good. You don't actually get to do anything real; if you go out and show your face in court or wherever, the client will be like, "Who is this clown? I paid for FamousPartner, not this bozo!" So the work is pretty mundane and boring pretty much all the time.
This is well argued, and definitely part of the answer, but still doesn't quite feel like a complete response.
Investment banking and consulting run similar business models, but the "cogs" in the former feel that they're getting something worthwhile out of their devil's bargain, and anecdotally the cogs in the latter actually seem quite happy! There's something else specific to biglaw that causes it to be such a miserable career, even compared to other professional services.