I Hate Being Called ‘Doc Bitch’ Lawyer


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.

Ex-Bitter is a former big firm lawyer who now doles out advice to anyone who asks. Got a question? Email it to advice@bitterlawyer.com. Or read more Advice from an Ex-Bitter.

25 Comments

  1. Alma Federer

    January 27, 2010 at 6:16 am

    Why are you tools deleting my comments?  You are very stupid people for doing so.  I have alot to say and you are very silly men.  Fooey on you.

  2. Smurf

    January 27, 2010 at 6:36 am

    Comments based on false assumptions are worthy of deletion.

  3. BL1Y

    January 27, 2010 at 7:06 am

    How is it that so many lawyers are spineless wimps?

  4. Storm

    January 27, 2010 at 7:35 am

    Because they are not litigators.

  5. Anon

    January 27, 2010 at 9:06 am

    Shut up, Alma, er Guano… You’re pathetic.  Really.

  6. Evil Lawyer

    January 27, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Don’t tell Alma to shut up!  Isn’t she living proof of the reasons not to marry?

  7. Question

    January 27, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Completely unrelated to doc bitches and er bitches named Alma, does anyone have any thoughts about working at a very small firm with your girlfriend/soon-to-be fiance/wife?  I just set up my own practice with 3 other buddies.  We’re off to a good start and we want to add 1 more person.  Everyone is supportive of her joining since we all know each other from law school.  I like the idea because she is sharp and would be easy on the eyes during the long hours at the office.  She is hot as hell (one reason I’m marrying her).  Anyone care to share an opinion?

  8. R Smith

    January 27, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Endless reasons not to do it: (1) When she sides with you it’ll cause tension between you and buddies, reducing business decisions (borrow, hire an attractive secretary, go to a strip club, to loyalty tests; when she doesn’t side with you, you’ll be pissed (2), you’ll see her too much during the day and she’ll want to talk to you all the time; (3) after a fight, a spat or for the weirdest reason, one of your buddies will wind up kissing her no matter what you think, spliting dynamics for good; (3), you’ll get sick of talking about work when you come home; (4) your buddies will insist that she perform to their levels no matter what excuse she has; (5), ultimately she’ll either stay with you (tension between you and buddies) or break with you (tension between you and everyone else). Don’t.

  9. Magic Circle Jerk

    January 27, 2010 at 11:22 am

    alma- because you’re insane or, more likely, an increasingly annoying schtick
    re: banking- you think the legal job market is unstable and insecure? try finance

    we give up a lot of potential upside for avoiding some very big downside

  10. BL1Y

    January 27, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Definitely do not go into business with your wife.  It’s going to multiple the stuff you fight over.  Do you really want to get read the riot act every time you finish your work earlier than her?  Also, intermingle your fates like that.  If you divorce, the firm will probably get split, and if the firm dissolves you can bet it will wreck your marriage.  Working at different firms will give you more marital and economic stability.

  11. Schadenfreude

    January 27, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    BL1Y, you are not a 1st year at all, are you?….. Well said sir.

  12. BL1Y

    January 27, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Schad, I was technically a second year when I left the firm, but I was a second year when I was given notice of the layoff, so no, not truly a first year.  And it wasn’t very well said.  The mistakes make me cringe.  Sorry.

  13. Son of Guano

    January 27, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    What was Alma’s comment-the one that was deleted? Inquiring minds want to know!

  14. Craig

    January 27, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    regarding the wife-law firm question … It depends on the type of guy you are.  If you are the type of guy who likes to keep their “worlds” separate, like me, then clearly do not.  If you are the type that always likes all of your friends, wife, family, coworkers, etc … to hang out together and be friendly, then it might be more for you.  It sounds like you belong in group two, considering your good friends are also your coworkers and your wife and coworkers/friends are also friends.  Soon, your wife, friends and coworkers will all be one and the same.

  15. Guano Dubango

    January 27, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    As long as I have a pay check, I do not mind what they call me.  I think people get too concerned with what others think of them. In my country, men are considered superior to women, and this is not always a good thing.  I try to be equal in my treatment of women, so that if I come home with a US woman, she will be considered my equal.  This is not that interesting a topic to me.

  16. Guano Dubango

    January 27, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    As long as the others are talking off-topic, let me give my opinion, that I would not work with my wife.  When I work, I work, and when I come home I would not want to be talking about work with my wife.  My wife will be strictly for family duties; bearing me children and rearing my children.  She can talk to me all she wants about that, but not about work.  In my country, there is a saying:  Please never to eat where you poop.  My wife will cook me meals, but I have not any interest in her poop.

  17. KateLaw

    January 28, 2010 at 4:37 am

    My boyfriend and I have talked several times about my coming to work with him.  While I think it has its upsides, Ive been beyond hesitant given the likelihood of it causing way more stress than it’s worth.  Plus I just don’t know if I even want to practice law.  With something like this, I say err on the side of caution and don’t do it.  I think the reasons expressed by some of the others were pretty dead on.

  18. Alma Federer

    January 28, 2010 at 5:00 am

    I have to agree with Kate Law and Guano.  I want for my home to be for non-legal issues which should be completely separate from my work environment.  I work very hard at my job, and am there from 9am until well after 7 pm on most days.  The last thing I need is to come home and continue my legal discussions with my spouse.  I would not live with a man, even a boyfriend, until I am MARRIED, so that would not be an issue, like Kate Law would have, but I would hope that KateLaw would have the same common sense as I do.  That is to make sure that the guy is the right one before having sex with him.  In her case, she is not even sure she wants to be a lawyer.  All the more reason to be MARRIED before she gives up her legal training for motherhood.  I intend to try and do both law and family.  I want my husband to be supportive, by helping out around the home whereever possible, and holding down a responsible job.  After all, I am willing to be a wife and mother as well as an attorney, admitted to the NY Bar.  I think that is very fair for both of us.

  19. KateLaw

    January 28, 2010 at 6:05 am

    Alma, you seem pretty focused on marriage.  I agree that I’d probably want to be married before having kids, but I don’t see the rush.  Also, I get that you want to have some kind of real committment from a guy before having sex, but doesn’t that get pretty frustrating & lonely?  I mean, guys aren’t the only ones who enjoy it so I wonder how you manage being so prudish.

  20. Alma Federer

    January 28, 2010 at 6:54 am

    Kate Law, I have had sex before with more than 1 man, and the men promised me the moon (practically) before I slept with them, expecting a committed relationship leading to marriage. But then in both cases, within a month afterwards, they decided they did not want what they had promised and literally went out of my life.  I cannot be assured that the next guy will be telling the truth.  More importantly, the sex with those 2 was not spectacular.  The first guy, Ben, literally was a slob who cared only about pleasing himself in bed, not me, and the second, Jon, was very predictably dull, again not thinking of anything but sex as a sporting event.  I did not return the ring Jon gave me when he decided he did not want a commitment, and I sold it, but am still trying to figure out how I could have missed these obvious signals.  I think I bring alot to the table, and will not settle for anything less in a man.  At work, they value me and my father has told me never to settle for a loser.  So I won’t, and I do not have any trouble meeting men who want to date me.  But I reserve sex for marriage.  That’s just the way I am.

  21. KateLaw

    January 28, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Alma, we clearly have different outlooks and opinions as to how to live your life and find a good guy to spend it with.  I think you may be focusing too much on the ultimate act of sex as being some kind of huge prize that you build up in the man’s mind by making him jump through your relationship test hoops, etc, before giving it up.  In my experience, it’s important not to offer it up immediately, but it’s definitely something that you need to experience in order to know if you’re compatible as a couple.  Have fun with it.  I’ve never regretted any of my good times as they have ultimately led me to where I am and who I am with today.  You may be able to tell from this post that I really don’t advocate waiting until marriage for sex.  I think that is a horrible idea.  I can’t imagine the world of disappointment awaiting you when, on your magical honeymoon night, you experience absolutely no magic.  Similarly, I completely believe in the necessity of living with someone before marriage.  It teaches you alot about the person and helps you decide if a future together could feasibly work and be Happy.  I realize this is all my opinion and I’ve totally strayed from the original topic of this article, but I think I am just trying to explain a different perspective.  It’s important to keep your mind open with things like life/love/sex because if what you’re doing is not working, you’ll be more willing to make a change and try something new.  Isn’t it worth it?

  22. Guano Dubango

    January 28, 2010 at 10:27 am

    I would like to make myself available after hours to either Alma or KateLaw.  I find both attractive and worthy of legal pursuit.  I offer a wonderful dinner, flowers and safe sex, either at your place or mine (on East 81st Street).  If either or both of you want to participate, let me know and I will make dinner reservations.

  23. Evil Lawyer

    January 28, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Kate law, whoever screwed on your head did an excellent job.  Alma, letting life pass you by while you look but don’t touch or be touched is almost a sin against life.  Witholding intimacy deprives you and others that want you of life. Plus the guy you hold at a distance might be the perfect one. Your dad said not to settle for a loser. He didn’t say you had to take a hands off approach to finding the winner.

  24. Guano Dubango

    January 29, 2010 at 4:09 am

    Evil Lawyer is right.  Alma, how about it?  I will provide you with the sexual release you need.  Also, to be fair, I understand Kate Law has a boyfriend, but if she decides to sample others like me, I remain open to providing her with the same services, free.  It might be too much to think about, but both together would be equivalent to mudwrestling with the Centerfold of the Year.  I’d pay $500 for the privilege.

  25. Evil Lawyer

    January 29, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Guano, you are pathetic.  Its not just a physical release that Alma needs. She is (and I don’t mean this in a mean way) emotionally constipated.  Like a man ripped off in a divorce that concludes all women are out to get him, Alma has raised her bar so high no man can get over it on the first try.  She need a lot of stroking, TLC and simultaneously, a lot of teasing. She is so clueless, she’s looking at bloodless bankers no less.  But you are someone from whom she should flee, like one would from a drunken 50ish secretary at a christmas party.  A russian mail order bride might work for you. Or a swedish nanny since word is out in nanny-world again that its the way to marry a celebrity.  You must stay away from Alma though: she would seize on your desperation and make you miserable. Only a man very sure of himself can handle her.

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