Can you do a post on how to avoid the first year “fifteen” or “thirty,” besides the usual diet and exercise? Or, better yet, explain why it is that every male associate here is huge and has gained a ton of weight and looks terrible, while the women are all incredibly emaciated and end up losing 30 pounds after they start BigLaw? Is it because the men just don’t care and the women do, or do men and women at the firm just process stress differently (i.e. eat everything in sight vs. not eat at all)? Maybe there’s another explanation for it (Smoking? Coke?), but the extremely fat/extremely thin phenomenon seems to be extremely gender-related at the firm.
‘Fraid of Being a Fatass
Dear ‘Fraid of Being a Fatass,
What this weight gain/emaciation gender divide really comes down to is exacting revenge. When I stayed late as an associate, I would bide my time, toiling away and occasionally pressing my face against a legal pad to examine the oil stains. Then at 7 p.m., I’d mosey down to the cafeteria for some free-ass dinner, and there would be countless dudes piling their trays high with soggy pizza, salads dripping in Thousand Island dressing, chocolate-dipped biscotti and bizarro flavor Nutra-Grain bars, acting like they were carbo-loading for an Ironman and not a credit facility spell check session. One time I saw a guy buy $27.60 worth of food and then add on gummy bears until he was at $29.75. At that point, it became clear to me what was happening….
This week, we didn’t receive our usual “deluge” of reader questions. Rather than make up some crap question that you don’t care about, Elie and I thought we’d honor this most holy time in the Judeo-Christian calendar with a song and dance tribute to the Israelites’ 40-year tanning session and Jesus disappearing act.
For those not familiar with Passover, there’s a song called “Dayenu,” which translates to “it would have been enough.” The song gives thanks to god for magnanimously backtracking on his original decision to enslave the Jews the Egypt, giving them crummy bread that begat thousands of generations of IBS suffers, making them walk through a desert even though many of them were pale and required sun block, and tricking them into wasting all their nice jewelry on constructing a false idol made of gold. The song is a kind of a double-edged “thanks a lot,” and is one of my favorite holiday sentiments…
So I got Lathamed from my job last year. It was tough but I eventually found a job that I like. However, I live in constant fear of being Lathamed again. I guess since it came out of nowhere last time, it really has me on edge (received great feedback on my work product, but things were SLOW).
Other than keep a spare cyanide pill handy just in case, what do I do? My Lathaming has taught me some lessons about playing politics, but what else can I do other than that and good work?
Also, do you think I may have an IIED claim against my old firm?
People expect the world to function in certain predictable ways. If you look good on a date, you expect a call back. If you work hard, you expect to keep your job. If you do well in law school, you expect $160,000, 0% balance transfer offers and a completely amazing life. Until you get dumped by someone less attractive than you or fired for no reason, you won’t realize that the world is actually made of quicksand and that guts are meant to be sucker-punched.
In this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad world, some people manage portfolios; others manage anxiety. The fact is, there is nothing you can do to prevent an employer from firing you. Even Bill Clinton was fired and he was the damn President. So you have a choice: have diarrhea for the next few years, or get over yourself and learn to cope with uncertainty. Lucky for you, I’ve spent the past 29 years paralyzed by fear, and I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the most effective strategies I’ve found for managing anxiety. Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: High Anxiety”
Like many 2009 grads, I’m jobless, but not workless. I started an unpaid internship for a local government in January. They’ve been giving me a full caseload (as much as they give other employed attorneys), but no indication that they’re ready to hire me. At what point should I take a stand? And what should I say?
Taxation without Representation
Dear Taxation Without Representation,
Nothing is more infuriating than when people expect you to do the job for which you were hired. When you accepted the unpaid internship two months ago, you sent SEVERAL telepathic messages indicating that you would accept the job on the condition that it would transform into a paid position in eight weeks or less. Even though you agreed to work for free in exchange for valuable resume-building experience, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be entitled to a salary, 20 vacation days and a lump sum gross-up for accrued hours to date.Your employer’s failure to acquiesce to these reasonable demands is outrageous and potentially illegal.
If you bring the payment issue up with your job head on, they’ll probably use underhanded tactics like citing to your “internship agreement” or your “eight weeks on the job.” Seasoned attorneys will recognize these as red herrings, but lawyers with less experience like you may fall prey to such specious arguments. Accordingly, your best bet is to drop subtle hints that you’d like to get paid. That may mean changing your name to a symbol and writing the word “slave” on your cheek or spending lunch hour singing chain gang work songs and pretending to dig a ditch by the vending machines. If you still fail to get the message across, you can quit and become a hero to all interns who resent the very nature of their engagements. Or, you can spend the rest of your internship being an intern.
I am a junior associate with a good job, but sadly, job security for attorneys in this market is virtually non-existent. Especially in the secondary market in which I work. If I were ever to lose my job, finding another one here would be extremely difficult, despite excellent credentials: T-14 law school, honors, moot court, executive editor of journal, and substantive corporate-law related experience.
Thus, I am considering taking bar exams in some of the major markets (NY, IL, CA, TX) so that I would be licensed elsewhere and could hopefully job-search in a number of cities. Assuming I can still meet and exceed my billable requirement and maintain positive reviews, would I be wasting my time acquiring additional licenses because of the difficulties lateraling from secondary markets or would I be wise to collect bar licenses to expand my job search into several cities should I ever find myself unemployed?
Dear Garbage Collector,
Yes…let’s say you embark on this “ingenious” plan of yours, and start scheduling two bar exams a year. What could possibly go wrong?
For starters: after slogging away for 14 hours at work, you’ll arrive home, exhausted. You won’t feel like studying for the 87th day in the row, but since your ringer’s been off for the last three months and you’ve been ignoring personal emails, your friends aren’t talking to you anymore and you might as well crack the BAR/BRI books again this evening. So as usual, you pound a latte and a Marie Callender and study in your filthy apartment until you become delirious and pass out, only to wake up four hours later, pick some rumpled clothes from the floor and drive to work where you’ll attempt to stay awake by eating a bag of Sun Chips having a fan blasting cold air two inches away from your face. But your billables suffer anyway and you’re too lazy to pad them and this all comes to a head when you eventually miss a key issue when reviewing ground leases for a diligence memo. The head partner calls you into his office and fires you, so you text your girlfriend that you got fired and ask if she wants to come over and test you with crim flashcards, at which point she calls you screaming that you’re a selfish asshat who’s turning into Howard Hughes from The Aviator, but you point out that while you may have lost your job because of your incessant bar taking, you now have a large selection of places where you can look for new jobs. After your girlfriend dumps you and retrieves her Wii, you start papering every law firm located in New York, Illinois, California and Texas with your resume, and the three firms that are hiring in those jurisdictions look at your credentials and Google your name, whereupon they discover that you’ve taken four bar exams in the space of two years and assume you are a polygamist with wives in different cities, so they tear up your resume and notify Dateline.
My recommendation is to calm down, stop having heart attacks over a job that you do not appear to be in danger of losing and try for once not to be a complete nerd.
So today I told the head of our group and the assigning partner that I was done with empty calorie document review (yes, I used that term). Their response was less than understanding — something about my needing to have a better attitude and that I need to understand that the choice assignment is not always available.
At what point should I contact a recruiter? Or is hanging my own shingle the only way to go?
– Take That
Dear Take That,
You know what I used to say when partners asked me to do my job? I told them to shove it! Ha ha! I told them to shove their shitty work right up their asses! And when they tried to trick me by responding that I’m actually gaining experience and a paycheck for my efforts, I’d say, “if you love the work so much, why don’t you marry it?!” Yes! And then the partners would burst into laughter, mumble something like “Oh, that Marin!” and then scribble “partner track” on my file. This happened at least seven times. And if you believe that, then I’ve got a watch to sell you.
The thing with “empty calories” — in life and in law firms — is that sometimes they’re worth it. You may think you’re getting zero litigation experience by doing doc review (and you’d be right), but in that case, why would a lateral firm hire you to do substantive work? Because they like the cut of your Bates stamp? Get out of here. And if you go your own way without any drafting experience, no one will be there to tell you to remove that ludicrous Henry David Thoreau opening quote from your brief. Sorry to say, your best chance of getting substantive work is to stay put and trust that one day they’ll replace your G2 with the real thing.
I channel the Ghost of Vacation Elie, after the jump.
With Valentine’s Day coming up, do you think there is any merit to the argument that people should settle when they are trying to find a mate? Is there particular merit to this claim as to (busy) attorneys?
Litigate or Settle
Dear Litigate or Settle,
[Background: Lori Gottlieb, a 40-something hag, has been recently making the rounds promoting her book, "Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough" (based on her controversial article in The Atlantic). Her argument: "Educated ladies in your 20s and 30s, your ovaries are rotting. Stop being picky. Settle for some mediocre dude NOW before you get old and no one wants you." Gottlieb was later revealed by her ex-boyfriend to be a megalomaniac, borderline-personality-disordered shrew.]
People settle for a variety of reasons: they’re too lazy / busy to go out and find someone better, they’re scared that there IS no one better, or they feel like everybody else is changing their relationship statuses on Facebook and they’ve got to marry whomever they’re dating so as not to be left out.
That being said, lawyers settle for mates more readily than do other professionals. They’re risk averse and want to lock shit down early regardless of whether it’s “right.” They’re tired after billing 14 hours and just want to jackhammer someone, anyone, for 30 seconds, then pass out. On a subconscious level, many of them want sad-sack mates to match the resignation their feel in their own careers. If they’re gonna do this whole intercreditor agreement and soy sauce stained-life thing, they need the zitty husbands and lumpy wives to match.
However, if you’re a lawyer who’s unwilling to settle in your career (i.e., you genuinely enjoy your job or you’re taking steps to GTFO), you shouldn’t be willing to settle for a life partner, either. I know that’s easier said than done, especially when friends send “& Guest” wedding invitations on purpose to destroy you. Believe me, I am just as scared as you that I’ll spend the winter of my life training my dog to change my bedpan. But the rest of your life is a long time to spend resigned to a mediocre mate or career. Before you accept that date with a guy in mandals or a girl with a weak chin, I urge you to go to the gym have a little faith in your ability to attract a mate without settling. As my ex-shrink Dr. Laikin once said to me: If God made someone as awesome as you, surely there are others.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
I am a first-year litigation associate at a large law firm. Although I never really had any interest in doing transactional work, it has recently dawned on me that working in litigation severely limits my ability to transfer to my firm’s (or any firm’s) foreign offices. I don’t really care at this point whether I would prefer/be more suited for one practice area or the other, as it is becoming increasingly clear to me that, regardless of which I choose, the work will be boring and the hours will be long. Being able to spend my little free time in Paris, let’s say, as opposed to my current location, would make it that much more bearable.
My firm supposedly allows transfers between litigation and transactional work, but considering the current economic climate, I am a bit nervous about tinkering with the status quo. Is this an idea worth pursuing or should I just hold out for a clerkship on some South Pacific island?
Hallelujah! Finally, someone who realizes that there IS no difference between litigation and transactional. You’re just shoveling the same s*** into two separate piles.
The problem here isn’t the transfer request itself. You’re not asking the practice group head to be the guarantor on your apartment or to massage your bunion. You’re asking to look at different types of papers, and bill for doing so. They’ll either say yes or no, but there’s a 0% probability that they’ll fire you just for asking.
It’s what happens after the transfer that should worry you. Litigation and transactional is like Sharks v. Jets, and neither gang group takes to it kindly when associates defect for the other. At my ex-firm, a midlevel associate in my ERISA group once defected from our separatist military organization to join (gasp) litigation. Many from the brotherhood shunned her for turning her back on colleagues and the tax code. For a time, she also had to “transition off” several deals while also taking on a caseload.
The point is, if you want to leave litigation, prepare to be jumped out…and jumped in to transactional. It all comes down to whether Paris at night and on the weekends is worth a knife fight in a red leather jacket. WWMJD?
Dear Pls Hndle,
Recently, I was at a bar after work with a few other associates from my firm who are on the same case as me. I was drunkenly flirting with one of the midlevels on the case, whom I thought was flirting back with me (give me a break, I was working off little sleep and too many beers), but when I went to kiss her, she recoiled in horror and said something like “get away, what the hell are you doing?”
Needless to say, it was not my finest hour and it was a dumb move. I am now freaked out that this associate will say something to HR or give me a bad review (I’m junior to her) and I’ll be pegged as a womanizer/sexual harasser and fired. So…do you think it’s better to bring this up with her and clear the air upfront or just say nothing and hope it never comes up?
Dear Slick Willy,
Tempting as it is to believe that women at your firm (or elsewhere) walk around with Life Alert rape buzzers and names of employment lawyers on speed dial just itching for co-workers to so much as BREATHE at them the wrong way so they can press the buzzer, have a security team swoop in, strip you of your professional license, fire you immediately and put out a Megan’s Law alert, that is just not the case. You were drunk, you tried to make a move on a girl and she told you to get off. This happens literally millions of times a day, in bars and marital bedrooms throughout the world. Welcome to Planet Earth.
I know you’re worried that this will somehow get you fired, but I think most female attorneys in this midlevel’s position would just ignore the situation, make fun of you in an email to ten friends and call it a day. If you DO talk to her about it, what could you possibly say? “Not that you were worried, but I just want to reassure you that I won’t attempt to molest you again. Please don’t report me to HR”? That conversation will embarrass the both of you and only increase the size of her email distribution list. If she was, for some strange reason, planning on reporting you to HR anyway, a groveling/awkward apology wouldn’t stop her.
Your gross kiss happened in a bar, outside of work, and she has zero reason to give you a bad review for your extracurricular shenanigans as long as you conduct yourself in an extra-professional fashion going forward. That doesn’t mean you should start addressing her as “m’lady” or throw your jacket over a puddle in front of the water cooler. Just act like a normal human being, and either nothing will come of this situation or we’ll see you on the sex offender registry.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
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When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”
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