Biglaw, Job Searches, Lateral Moves

The Lateral Experience

Ed. note: Please welcome Above the Law’s new poet-in-residence, Qui Tam. You can read the rest of his law-related poetry over here.

In football, a lateral pass by definition cannot go forward. I thought about that in the merry-go-round lateral market of the mid 00s; a whole lot of sideways movement and shuffling around, most of it just trying to put off a little longer the oncoming inevitability of a bone-crunching tackle in the form of Biglaw up and out. Two lateral experiences…


A friend and I, recruited together
Wined and dined and signing-bonused
And all the bells and whistles, everyone so friendly and welcoming.
Except for two associates, just a blank stare and an awkward handshake.
In retrospect I guess it must be hard
To stomach making small talk with your replacements.

At the Club

You remarked on the separate elevators for men and women, chuckling how quaint.
I observed the non-white staff, mild and glassy-eyed.
We ate sole meuniere and a shrimp louie
And drank iced tea and lemonade.
Looking at my offer letter that evening
I couldn’t help but think
Of indentured servitude in a pair of white shoes.

Qui Tam, a weekly column of poetry about the legal profession, is penned by an arrogant T1 law graduate, former Biglaw associate, and current in-house lawyer. You can reach Qui Tam by email:

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