He’s the smiley, overly earnest dude who can’t wait to give you the inside scoop on everything and anything. He loves the firm more than any human being should love anything. Wears firm T-shirts on the weekend and is a member of every goddamn committee that will have him. He’s pretty darn active on the charity/political circuit too. And, of course, he can’t wait to mentor you. To teach you. To sprinkle avuncular nuggets of lawyer dust on you. Whether he’s giving you the head’s up on the best local lunch spot or spewing cautionary tales about cantankerous partners, this guy’s here to advise 24/7. He’s so helpful that you can’t help but hate him.
A 6 in a land in 4’s, so she looks like an 8. She’s the woman you hear about the first day you set foot in the firm. The one everyone talks about in hushed, reverential voices. The unimaginably unattainable legal goddess used as a ridiculous reference point for beauty in casual conversation. “You know that actress… She used to be a model… Sort of looks likes Liz Silver…” And then, alas, you meet her, and you want to cry. Because she’s barely cute. She’s the fifth-cutest chick at a random SOHO café at lunchtime—if she’s wearing her best-fitting jeans. That’s when you realize being a lawyer really sucks. When not-that-hot lawyer chicks are considered off-the-charts gorgeous.
The guy who reads law journals in his spare time, writes law review articles for fun, and genuinely gets “a kick” out of the law. He’s twenty-six (but acts fifty-six) and is prone to wearing a bow tie from time to time. He’s a lawyer and damn proud of it. The senior associates and partners love him too. He’s the guy who makes you feel stupid—who makes you wonder if becoming a lawyer was a major mistake since he’s so much more advanced and educated than you. He’s a tireless worker and a relentless go-getter. Then, one day, he screws up and everyone sort of stops talking about him. People begin to whisper that he’s not really that bright. “A hard worker, sure, but not much candle power.” A year later, he leaves the firm for “personal reasons” and becomes a punch line at the holiday party.
The 35-year-old playa who everyone thinks is way hipper than he really is. The law-firm equivalent of the “cool mom” who lets you drink at her house and allows her high-school son’s girlfriend to spend the night in his room. Or even worse, the dude who graduated from college three years ago but still hangs out at the frat house. He’s single, immature, not-that-great looking and dates a lot less than he suggests. He’s every socially presentable associate’s best friend, while the wannabe-cool associates fight and clamor to become part of his “fascinating” social circle. He’s an all-around great guy—until you work with him on a deal and he turns into just another disapproving, workaholic dick.
He went to Harvard or Yale, worked for NASA (for real) and is now some legendary M&A guy who constantly cites obscure Delaware cases and SEC regulations. In his spare time, he creates exotic transaction structures and tax loopholes. The other partners and associates can’t go three seconds without saying, “He’s brilliant.” That’s all they talk about. How goddamn smart he is. They act like he’s curing cancer or solving global economic problems—instead of simply closing deals or trying cases. But that doesn’t matter because being scary brilliant is the “thing” all lawyers want to be. It’s much cooler to be a brilliant geek than cool, which is why being a lawyer sucks.
The sweet, nondescript, innocent chick you barely notice the first six months you work there. But then, over time—and after a few drinks—you learn that practically every young associate and horn-dog partner has had sex with her. You start to look at her a little differently. And she notices. Then one night, after a firm function . . . . Well, you know what happens. And it ain’t pretty. The next morning, you show up at work hungover and nod to the “hot chick” who you used to think was 4 but now looks like an 8.
And that’s when it’s time to quit.