QHonestly, I’m not a regular reader of Bitter Lawyer but a friend passed on a recent post from “Chank.” Who is this guy? What a crock, providing “SmallLaw advice for BigLaw.”
QI’m a new associate. I started at a mid-size Philadelphia firm in November 2010. Though I’m at a firm that doesn’t pay a ton (but apparently used to), I consider myself lucky. But, because I have enormous student loan debt from undergrad and law school, I’m pinching pennies. So much so that I have held on to a moonlighting job at Fogo de Chao, the Brazilian steakhouse downtown here in Philly.
Adjusted for inflation, BigLaw associates are two dimes for a dozen. Sure, the hiring partners talk about “investing” in associates and “grooming” them for success, but the bottom line is this: you’re a cog in a global machine. Not as fungible as crude oil or wheat, but fungible nonetheless. So, what do you do to stick out from the rest? What distinguishes you from all the other wunderkids? Two words: personal microbranding. Personal microbranding can set you apart, create an aura of competence, and lead to priority in the donut pool. Here are top considerations.
QI’m a fairly new associate at a mid-size West Coast law firm. There’s a partner here who brings in his dog Bruno nearly every day, which is no big deal by itself. Apparently I’m told it’s a West Coast thing, though I don’t know of anyone else doing it at a law firm.
At conferences throughout the year, I’m often pigeonholed by attendees, who look at my name and ask me this question: “Who the fuck are you?” After I explain who I am and I buy a few rounds of drinks, people start talking to me. After a few more drinks, I tell them why my advice for solo attorneys should be followed by all BigLaw associates.
At absolutely no charge, here’s my liquor-free version of why BigLaw should listen to me, now.
QI am a third-year associate who, after getting off to a rocky start, knows the ropes fairly well now at a mid-size firm (about 200 lawyers). But I’m stumped on how to handle a potential ethical lapse. The firm has a client that is a regional seafood distributor, among other things. I was involved in a litigation matter for the client doing document review and interviews at the client’s site over an extended period of time. I developed a nice working relationship with one of the managers at the site and, after two months of what I would call harmless flirting, he ended up giving me a case of crabs.
QI am finishing up my first year as an associate at a mid-sized firm. I clerked with this firm during my 2L summer and throughout my 3rd year, and they offered me an associate position. During my clerkship, a new associate started at the firm who was one year ahead of me (he had just taken the bar and I was starting my 3rd year). For my own amusement, I will hereinafter refer to this ass clown as “Douche bag Associate.” He was always very nice to me, even border-line flirtatious at times. However, it seemed like the minute I passed the bar and became an associate (as opposed to a bottom-of-the-barrel law clerk), he started treating me as his “competition.” I know it may sound egotistical, but it genuinely seems like this guy has spent the last year trying to undermine me and assert his superiority (of one year) over me.
My favorite time of year has arrived. Late spring. The flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, the skirts are short and the 2010 Summer Program is around the corner. As we all know, I struggle to resist the temptation of luring a hot female summer back to my lair for a night of meaningless sex.
However, this summer, I’m trying to avoid the temptation entirely.
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QI’m a third-year student at a T1 law school and near the top of my class. I have done fairly well in my interviews, and I am confident that I will be hired into a New York BigLaw firm, which has been a goal of mine since the tail end of high school.
Problem: I have the George Clooney bearded look (well-trimmed and proper) going on, but from what I have heard, this is not encouraged in the corporate world. Since it is a pretty awkward question to ask a future employer, I am just wondering what you think of a beard in the workplace?
AI assume you’re asking if it’s okay to rock a well-trimmed, Clooney-esque beard at a swanky NY law firm. And you’re also asking me to assume that you resemble Hollywood’s benchmark for handsome with a beard. Fine. I’ll take the leap.
If you’re still interviewing and have yet to be extended a job offer, what’s the point in making it a variable? Don’t leave it to risk. Shave and go into interviews clean cut. End of story.
If you already have a job offer, the answer is yes. It’s fine. I’m not sure I’d show up day one with it, but if you do, no big deal. If you keep it short and clean, you’ll be fine. Major law firms are far more concerned about your brains and billables than looks and facial hair. But in today’s world, even in the rarified world of BigLaw, a closely cropped beard is not terribly controversial. So wear it, and wear it proud.
The truth is, I’m far more intrigued with your statement that working in BigLaw was a goal of yours since the tail end of high school. At that stage of my life, my singular goal was to get drunk and get laid. I’d never even heard of BigLaw. But somehow I ended up there anyway. Sadly.
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