Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Megan Grandinetti — an attorney, health coach, and yoga teacher, whom we recently profiled — offers seven health tips for junior associates.
Law school does not prepare you for what it takes to be a junior associate. As a junior associate, you are experiencing a brand new kind of stress (the really bad kind!), which on its own can cause weight gain. Stress can also increase your blood pressure, prevent you from sleeping, give you unpleasant digestive symptoms (yuck), and wreak havoc on even the healthiest relationships.
Because you might be in a bit over your head, with very little time to take care of yourself, it is really easy to make choices that are bad for your health when you start your legal career.
Here are seven easy tips to help you make the first couple of years just a little bit healthier.
If so, you’re not alone. We’ve written before about how a legal career can be hazardous for your waistline. In a reader poll asking whether you’ve gained weight during your career as a legal professional, almost 60 percent of you answered in the affirmative (“yes, and I’m tipping the scales of justice”).
So what can be done? Meet a former Biglaw associate who can help you turn things around. Based on her own fit and fabulous physique, this attractive attorney knows a thing or two about getting and staying in shape….
A few weeks ago, I blew your collective mind with a post about marijuana cigarettes and the lawyers who love them. Everyone agreed that it was a true revelation and a rare insight into the human condition. Lawyers stopped each other on the Subway, put down their five-dollar foot longs, and talked about pot use and what it means for lawyers who are still struggling to find jobs in an economy that deems them superfluous and sometimes even magnanimous about their superfluity. The words. They just pile up sometimes, one after another.
You know what else takes the edge off?
Good old ‘bating. Partner drops a big ol’ pile of suck on your desk at 5 p.m.? Might as well ‘bate. Judge says your motion is denied? ‘Bate. Your client is found guilty of ‘bating? Well, we’ll get to that.
When it comes to lowering stress, there’s not a single thing better than masturbation. It’s sex with someone you love, as Woody Allen once said (before he impeached himself on issues of appropriate objects of love).
Yesterday, New York Magazine highlighted a movement to deny oneself… oneself. And if you or David Lat or anyone else not named you or David Lat thinks I can’t stretch the connections between that New York Magazine article and the legal community into something approaching an entire post, you’re sorely mistaken.
Because we’re about to talk about the most Learned of Hands….
This scale might not be just, but it's usually truthful.
Recently, I decided I wanted to lose some weight. Not a lot of weight — that would require an entire lifestyle change and result in me eating a lawn or a salad or something. I just wanted to take off the weight I gained from quitting smoking. I asked erstwhile advice columnist Marin what to do, and she simply suggested that I stop drinking soft drinks. I probably go through five Cokes a workday, and that doesn’t include however much I pour into my rum at night. And I don’t drink Diet Coke because it doesn’t taste like Coke so much as it tastes like carbonated liquid s**t.
I ignored Marin and went online. There I found a true cacophony of the dumbest advice ever collected. Searching for porn on the internet results in a more grounded reality than searching for weight loss advice. From magic pills to magic frozen foods and magic workout tapes that can allegedly turn you into an elite kickboxer on steroids in 20 minutes a day, the internet is replete with products that do not work and faulty advice. If I had some venture capital, I’d design an app that comes out of the computer screen and smacks the food out of your mouth every time you search for “weight loss” on Google. It would work.
Not surprisingly, weight loss advice tailored for “professionals” or “lawyers” is equally dumb and unhelpful. Lawyers, especially Biglaw lawyers, have some unique challenges when battling to stay physically respectable. One of those challenges is being too smart for stupid weight loss tips….
When I visited New York back in January, I stayed with some friends. When I woke up Saturday morning on the couch, my buddy and his roommate had already taken out their laptops and were typing away. I asked, “What are you guys doing today?” They both responded, “Working.”
I could not believe it. It was a surprisingly warm winter day. And my friends decided to remain cooped up in their literally windowless Manhattan apartment. Why wouldn’t they go outside? Go to park, or a bar for some day drinking.
But that’s America. We are always connected, always on call, and ignoring your BlackBerry for more than 90 minutes may be a fireable offense.
It wasn’t always this way. And there are some heretics among us who make a compelling case for a return to the 40-hour work week. Before you shoot the scruffy Californian, hear me out….
We tend to think of the biggest Biglaw firms as “sweatshops,” while we view small firms, midsize or regional firms, or even Am Law 200 firms as “lifestyle” shops. The thought is that the big bad firms that service Wall Street clients will grind you up and spit you out, while somewhat smaller firms will allow you to have a normal life as you pursue your career.
It’s a great story, but it’s not necessarily a true one. Sometimes working at a smaller firm or a regional firm just means the same work with more pressure and less pay. Attorneys at such firms, whether partners or associates, don’t always have the kind of resources that Biglaw attorneys enjoy. There aren’t multiple layers of staffing available to double- or triple-check every document. It’s a lot of stress.
And stress can be just as deleterious to your health when working at a regional firm as it is when you work for a truly huge firm. This week, we’ve been fielding a bunch of reports about an associate who passed away at home after working what some tipsters report as maniac hours at his regional law firm the week before.
It’s a sad story, one that some accuse the law firm of trying to cover up, but it’s another opportunity for us to remind readers to take care of themselves even when work seems overwhelming…
Law students are starting to get a little loopy about receiving their first semester grades. It’s still too early to feel like grades are “late,” but competitive law students are starting to get antsy.
Speaking of competition, we’ve now seen a couple of examples of top law schools trying to reassure students who might receive less than stellar grades. The Dean of Students at the University of Chicago Law School sent around an important safety tip earlier this month. And you’ll remember that Columbia Law went so far as to share the unimpressive grades of Columbia faculty in an attempt to calm students.
Now another top law school is getting into the “dear God these millennials are made of porcelain” game. Note: people at low-ranked law schools, do not try this at home. Your grades actually matter, A LOT.
But even when you are being soothed by the Student Bar Association at your great law school, you should beware of the classmate that is willing to out-compete you for treats….
The first day of the bar exam is about 13 days away. THIRTEEN DAYS. The number thirteen is just evil (especially for those with triskaidekaphobia), but pairing that number with the term “bar exam” makes it that much worse. You’re probably on edge. Your Facebook statuses are bordering on homicidal. You’re so pissed off at the pen-clicking guy in the library that you’re contemplating slicing his throat with the worst notecard paper-cut ever.
I know that we’re not supposed to panic, but some people are panicking, and rightly so. The powers that be at the University of Minnesota Law School are not making it pleasant for recent graduates to study for the bar exam at the school’s law library. Apparently, there’s a lot of banging going on between the stacks, and not of the variety you’d brag to your friends about….
According to Hildebrandt, lawyers aren’t naturally overly critical, risk-averse people who are emotionally dead inside. It’s stress that makes lawyers behave this way.
Those are the top-line results of a Hildebrandt study. The consulting firm did personality tests on 1,800 lawyers from four large law firms. The surveys tested both partners and associates, in attempt to find the traits of “high performers.”
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
When you talk to a prospective lateral about your firm during their first meeting, the conversation can go deep, sideways, and in circles. There is so much to share and discuss. What path of a dialogue can you follow to get better odds of a favorable conclusion?
Consider this template as a model you can use to discuss your firm’s opportunity. This simplifies the conversation and gives you a mental framework so the discussion is meaningful, relevant and moves things forward.
The Four P’s
In my transition from retained corporate executive search to legal search, I saw that there were many levels of complexity in the move of a partner transitioning from firm A to firm B. In placing an executive in a corporation, it was simple because of the linear nature of relationships in corporations. In a law firm, because of the multi-layered aspect of the interdependent relationships that each partner must manage with others, the dialogue is much more involved.
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