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Small Law Comes to Above the Law

Don’t panic, you’re in the right place. This is a Small Law column on ATL — a non-sequitur to top all non-sequiturs.

This isn’t the first time Above the Law has delved into the world of small law firms, but now we’re going to attack it regularly and with passion. This column will appear on Mondays (appearing today due to the holiday) and Thursdays, as a catalyst for discussion of life in Small Law – the commonalities, the salaries, the benefits, the pitfalls, etc.

I believe that, like Biglaw, there is a certain shared culture in Small Law, one that’s part of a growing but still-fragmented dialogue in the blogosphere. It’s our hope that, in time, this column becomes a lighting rod for those who are working in Small Law — and those who want to work in Small Law. And, of course, Biglaw attorneys are welcome to stop by and express their obvious jealousy in the comments.

So who am I, and what are my qualifications? Let the judging begin…

I just moved across the country and am mired in phase two of my life plan:

* Step 1 – Quit job in Small Law.
* Step 2 – ???.
* Step 3 – Profit.

I’m a product of public schools, including a degree from the journalism school at a large state university known more as a bastion of booze than as an epicenter of education. Spurning those roots, I decided to spend my future life’s savings at a private law school, a decision I regret once a month when Sallie Mae comes calling. I spent my one-L summer in Biglaw, though my hiring had little to do with credentials and a lot to do with happening to meet the right 3L who’d previously worked in the same spot. After a brief should I actually go through with this moment, I stayed in law school, graduated, moved back south, and spent close to four years practicing in Small Law, before deciding that Rotary Clubs and afternoons in the records rooms of stuffy courthouses were not my life’s ambition.

Now I reside on the west coast, where I work in the HQ of a fashion retailer by day and explore my writing by night. Realizing that the sum of my life’s work is still less than any one of your Biglaw parts, I’ll do my best to litter this and all my other posts with the typos, grammatical errors and logical inconsistencies that are attendant with my socio-legal class.

With that, let’s hear from the readers.

I know you’re out there, Small Law, and we’ve got a tabula rasa here. What do you want to hear about? Where do you currently go for Small Law discussions? What juicy nuggets of naughtiness can you share from your life in the Small Law trenches? We’ve been called up to the show, so let’s give ‘em our best stuff.

Send me your column ideas, tips, feedback, and comments inappropriate for public forums, by email: I look forward to hearing from you.

(hidden for your protection)

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