Well, at least one lawyer thinks he has this whole Biglaw thing figured out. And he’s happy to share his wisdom with new associates. Writing at the Texas Lawyer, Jason Braun has some harsh advice for young lawyers:
When I became a lawyer, a partner gave me what I now realize was great advice: “Don’t think like an associate,” she told me. “Think like a partner.” I wisely nodded my head. “Of course,” I solemnly replied, hoping she would not notice my confusion….
New associates love being lawyers — or at least should — and hopefully their first and foremost goal is to become a great lawyer. Over the past few years, several tenets have helped me on the way to that goal. Some I learned quickly; others I learned through trial and error.
Oh boy. When you start out declaring what new associates should love in life, you can see where Braun is going.
Check after the jump for more reasons why giving yourself completely to the Biglaw experience is the only way to go.
It doesn’t take long for Braun to make a passionate argument against the associate expectation of basic human civility in the workplace:
In a profession full of type-A personalities, most associates will work for partners who get visibly angry at something an associate does. They may even work for the dreaded partner who shouts at associates for making mistakes. In my opinion, those are the best partners because when you make a mistake, you will never forget it.
Lawyers are expected to sacrifice leisure time and family time to get projects done for clients. In a client’s world, there are no excuses for bad results. In an associate’s world, that means “my children are sick,” “my dog just died” or “I am going through a messy divorce” are never excuses for bad results. Clients may sympathize, but they will do so while searching for a new firm to represent them.
So much for a 3,500 sq/ft wife and a Lexus. Texas to partner hissy fits!
You have to love how sick children, family crisis, and dead dogs are all lumped into the “excuses” category. But the sad thing is that Braun is probably right. Having this mindset is probably to best way to become a Biglaw partner.
Whether or not achieving such a goal at that kind of cost is enough to make a person happy is another question entirely, but I suppose “happy” is not really the point of all this for some people.
Click on the link below to read Braun’s full road map to Biglaw success.
Commentary: Tough Love for New Associates [Law.com]