QI am currently an associate at a large corporate firm. While I enjoy my job, it irks me when friends who are working in finance label us as “proof-readers” or “document-bitches.” Is there anything that corporate lawyers have as part of our profession to be more proud of than people in finance?
How hard is it to make the transition? Is it simply a case of “the grass is always greener on the other side”?
AThe truth hurts, hombre. Let’s face it; junior corporate associates are, for the most part, document bitches. We’re smart document bitches, of course, but document bitches nonetheless. I mean, if you really think about it, what else do corporate associates really do but generate (and proofread) documents? Merger agreements, proxy statements, research memos, tender offers. They’re all just documents.
As time goes on and you make partner, the paper pushing diminishes and the client-management and negotiating increases. But as an associate, you’re definitely a doc bitch.
With respect to your first question about corporate lawyers having anything to be more proud about than financiers? The answer is: Who knows? It depends on how you define “proud.” I suppose the most obvious thing to be proud of these days, relative to bankers, is that lawyers are actually bound by a code of ethics that bankers aren’t. (It’s a bunch of horse shit, I know, but I felt compelled to point out the obvious here.)
I can also tell you that being a junior investment-banking analyst ain’t no day at the beach. If corporate lawyers are document bitches, these clowns are spreadsheet and pitch book bitches. Trust me.
As for the “grass is greener thing,” yes, bankers make more money than lawyers. A lot more. And it’s hard to transition? Very. For starters, see my advice on leaving law for a private equity capital gig.
The real question here is: Do you enjoy being a lawyer, or are you just pissed off that your snooty banker-wanker cronies call you names? If that’s the case, get over it and be thankful you actually like your job. If you don’t like your job, join the crowd.