Farewell to BigLaw: Ten People I Forgot to Thank on the Way Out


On my last day as a BigLaw attorney, I sent a firm-wide farewell email. It read: “Today is my last day. It has been an honor to work with such an amazing and diverse group of people. Thank you to everyone who has made my time here so enjoyable. Please be in touch.

What I really meant was:

Today is my last day here. I’d like to specially thank the following people who have helped make my time here so memorable.

1To my partner mentor: Thank you for taking the time to invite me out to a welcome lunch on my first day of work. I look forward to the day that we can finally make that happen.

2To the head of my practice group: I appreciated the handful of times that you acknowledged me when we passed in the hall.

3To the assigning partner: Thank you for taking the time to sit with me and discuss the new and exciting matters that I would soon be working on after completing another large document production. I eagerly await those opportunities!

4To the senior associates: Thank you for letting me attend meetings with you and write down your each and every word. I always hoped my hand would some day begin to look like my arthritic grandmother’s. I now can see why it would have been distracting for me to take notes on a computer. Wait. No, I don’t.

5To the legal assistants: Thank you for making binders for me. I hope that putting documents in chronological order and dividing them into numbered tabs has helped you make a decision about whether you should still go to law school. Everyone appreciates that you will ignore the advice that you’ve received and go to law school anyway. I’m certain it will be a completely different experience for you.

6To the document review team: Thank you for taking the answer I provided to one question and extrapolating that into an arbitrary rule that you applied to everything else you ever did. You were really good at remembering that rule and responding to everything I said with, “but what about when you said . . . .”

7To the legal technology department: Thank you for telling me that my requests are not technologically possible. Even when it is to do something that I had literally seen you do before.

8To the cafeteria: Thank you for charging me a different amount for the same sandwich every day. I didn’t know it was possible, but you added a level of excitement to my turkey on wheat sandwich that I didn’t know could exist. I can see how you thought it looked like a yogurt.

9To my secretary: Thank you for offering to copy something after you saw me complete the task. Those generous offers encouraged me to ask you to do more for me in the future. Thanks also for responding to those requests with a death stare and an infuriatingly slow response time. Also, I’m not sure exactly how many vacation days you had, but I was always amazed it was enough to cover all fifty-two Fridays.

10To the associates who are taking over the cases that I was working on: I’m sorry.

Bill S. Preston, Esq., recently left the world of BigLaw to pursue other dreams. And he's talking about it.

5 Comments

  1. Magic Circle Jerk

    February 1, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Nicely done. Death stare was 180.

    you forgot HR, for making you fill out reams of useless reporting forms and incessantly bothering you (and your supervising partner) with email reminders re: the same

  2. Johnny Cockring

    February 1, 2012 at 10:19 am

    This post should’ve started

    On my last day as a BigLaw attorney, I sent a firm-wide farewell email. It read: “Today is my last day. It has been an honor to work with such an amazing and diverse group of people. Thank you to everyone who has made my time here so enjoyable. Please be in touch” I promptly received 1,000 responses that read “It’s too bad I never met you and have no idea who you are. Good luck.”

  3. Alan Doucheowitz

    February 1, 2012 at 10:35 am

    WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
    HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
    HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
    LAWYERS WERE MEAN TO ME!
    WAHHHHHHHHHHHHH
    HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

  4. Skibabenyc

    February 1, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    I feel your pain!

  5. Mean Partner

    February 2, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    FROM: MEAN MANAGING PARTNER
    TO: ALL PARTNERS

    A tetoserone-free man named Preston who evidently worked here has evidently left. He was one of those “You pretend to pay me, I pretend to work” lawyers. All the laziness and none of the cleverness of say, Matt Richardson (has anyone seen him recently?).

    He was the one you all complained about. Yes, the one that stopped random people in the hall to “talk.” When you told him “let’s do lunch,” he asked “when?”

    He treated our legal secretaries –accustomed to a curt command and a snort– with the snuggly softness of the Charmin man. Of course, they immediately treated him with the well deserved contempt routinely dished out to nice and fumbling guys at bars, and held up the work. Many of our partners had to be extra rude to restore the needed employer/employee–or “Master/servant” -eqilibrium. Some partners reported that several swats to the rear portion of some younger secretaries were also needed. The male secretaries were swatted by one of our female partners.

    The departure of this “preston” shows once more that fumbling nice guys destroy the equlibrium of he Firm. No more of them!

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