Thursday, August 10, 2006

BigLaw, BigSchmaw

law.gifIt’s on nights like tonight that I realize things could have been a lot worse. It’s on nights like tonight when I’m dip spitting into a VOSS bottle (a definitive piece of product design) at 2:30 AM, wishing that there weren’t such a large gap between the bathroom stall and the stall door that I realize that as tough as work is, I could have definitely ended up in much a shittier situation. For example, I could have been a Corporate Lawyer.

This thought is usually cemented when I get an email from my boy Andy.

To: logan.olsen@

And I oh so cheekily respond.

From: logan.olsen@
BigLaw, baby?

Which usually elicits something like:

To: logan.olsen@
biglaw, bigschmaw, motherfucker. more like big dick up my ass.

Tee-hee. Ah, call me a jerk for reaping such pleasure out of the pain of a friend, but whatever. I suppose I do feel bad for Andy sometimes, but mostly I just feel good I’m not him.

Andy’s story is a real tearjerker: Andy actually originally wanted to be in finance. Rather, Andy was obsessed with finance. We went to Princeton together, and he interviewed for banking even more enthusiastically than any of the rest of us. I can still picture that overeager fuck scampering around campus to 13 interviews a day in his suit carrying his embossed little “Princeton” folder—a folder full of 2 resumes printed on 24 lb. linen paper, some Lehman dude’s business card, and a dream.

And a dream it would remain. Because Andy is, as it were, not the most “analytical” cat. He seemed to articulate his finance fetish eloquently enough to nail all his fit interviews, but he always got tripped up on some simple formula or calculation in the technical part. I swear that dude doesn’t even understand the concept of debt.

I told him: “It’s just like that time we securitized $3000 of your debt to pay off all that cash you owed to Anthony for adderall. You issued us bonds and paid us a coupon rate based on your rating, Andy.” We made out like bandits on that deal (we rated him CCC even though he obvs was more of a BAABaa because his Dad’s mad opulent), and I still don’t think he’s grasped the concept.

Net-net, Andy didn’t get a job in banking, and he was devastated. This was a guy that claims to have made a fake pitch book in 4th grade for the IPO of a snap bracelet company. This was the same guy that spent 3 months courting a black chick with the last name Ranieri because he thought “there was a chance she’s related.”

I thought Andy was going to drive up to Cornell and jump off of a gorge when he didn’t get any offers. And if he had, who would have been brave enough to follow him up to that hybrid-state-school, Ivy League-dregs-wilderness to stop him? Not me, no way.

So we kind of just let him simmer for a little while. We left him alone to come to terms with his newfound mediocrity. And a few weeks post-tragedy, Andy seemed to accept his fate. He must have chilled out with some classic Dave because he really seemed to want to make the “Best of What’s Around ” (epic track). We were all out drinking one night, and he informed us:

“Guys…after deep deliberation, I’ve decided that what was originally Plan B will now be promoted to Plan A status. What I had originally thought was suboptimal, I have now deemed hyper-optimal,” and he paused dramatically, allowing us to prepare for his revelation.

“I’ve decided that I’m going to be a big time corporate lawyer!!! BigLaw, baby. BigLaw!!””

He genuinely seemed stoked about it! Someone started a slow clap, but it faded out quickly. And then we all just stared at him and shook our heads slowly in disbelief. A passerby shouted encouragingly, “Yeah! Go get ‘em Matlock!” And that was that.

So Andy took the LSATs and was apparently much more “logical” than “quantitative.” Or maybe Kaplan is actually worth the $1k they charge to teach you to draw 6 dudes sitting around a circular table jerking each other off, because he managed to scrounge up a 168.

Andy, Jeff, Paulos, Shane, Samir, and Rex are all biglawyers. There are exactly 6 chairs evenly spaced around a circular table. The chairs are numbered 1 through 6, with successively numbered chairs next to each other and chair 1 next to chair 6. Each chair is occupied by exactly one of the biglawyers. The following conditions apply:

Rex sits immediately next to Shane.
Jeff sits immediately next to Paulos, Shane or both.
Andy does not sit immediately next to Paulos.
If Samir sits immediately next to Rex, Samir does not sit immediately next to Paulos.

Which one of the following seating arrangements of the six biglawyers in chairs 1 through 6 would NOT violate the stated conditions?

A. Andy, Rex, Shane, Paulos, Samir, Jeff
B. Andy, Jeff, Paulos, Samir, Rex, Shane
C. Andy, Samir, Rex, Shane, Jeff, Paulos
D. Andy, Shane, Jeff, Samir, Paulos, Rex
E. Douchebag, douchebag, douchebag, douchebag, douchebag, douchebag.

And then Andy got into Law School. I won’t say which, but he got into one of the Top 14 (yes, Law is indeed that elite that 14 schools are considered prestigious). The story wraps up that Andy managed to rock out amongst the rejects, make law review, and land a highly sought-after position at the firm Sullivan Cromwell, about as close to the M&A world that he so desperately wanted to be a part of without being an outsourced Indian PowerPoint drone (perchance the better choice?).

Note: Sullivan Cromwell is a “V5” firm. Law is apparently so pure-breed that they’ve gone with as their official prestige benchmark.

This leads us to now, when Andy is working the hours of some 1st year banking analyst for less pay, presumably making someone’s logo on a tombstone read 14pt Helvetica instead of 12pt and still scratching his head and feigning comprehension of the “complex” underlying calculations.

Poor Andy. He used to want to run a hedge fund, now all he can hope for is to be In-House Counsel. He used to want to deck himself out in the cutting edge finely tailored business apparel, but now he’s bound for a closet full of golf shirts and tassel-y shoes. Andy used to want to be in the heat of things, sealing deals and wooing clients, but now he’s destined to be support staff.

Holla back, office?

Heart wrenching, but I guess someone’s gotta be in the marching band; some folks just aren’t meant to be Varsity starters. It’s around this time that I pull out my dip, cross myself and thank God I’m one of His selected few. It’s also around this time that I realize I’m going to have to stay at work for another 2 hours. Eh, whatever, it’s comforting to know that at least there’s an Andy out there somewhere waiting up to legalize whatever bullshit document I send him.

Barely Legal: The Blog
xoxohth: Law School

64 comments for this post.

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  1. 0 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Absolutely fantastic. Make it a weekly thing, I can?t get enough?

  2. -5 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Some of the best hedge fund managers were lawyers?the skills you develop are great for running value/distressed funds. In fact, I?d venture those legal skills will be as handy as your banking skills..I went from banking, to buyside research, and now PE, and I can tell you that banking was HIGHLY overrated for skill development?

  3. -2 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    The above poster hit it on the head, ur shit just keeps us wanting more.

  4. -7 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    this couldntv been written by the man who came up with ”the citadel of culture capital” (lyrical gold). very weak sauce. usually i like to print out a copy and reread it during my post-lunch poop, this one dosent get a reread.

  5. +4 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    I thought the Ranieri comment was even better than the ”Citadel of culture capital.”

  6. -3 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Good story, but c?mon man, even the biggest banking douche has to know that a first-year at a top corporate law firm makes more than a first-year analyst.

  7. 0 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    I concur. The Ranieri comment had me running to Paul Stuart to get a new suit, since I had just soiled the one I was wearing. Would Logan?s middle name happen to be Sanderson, as in the Louisburg Square Sandersons? G. Anderson Yates, IV

  8. +8 votes + -
    DZi Said:

    ‘Holla back, office?” Priceless.

  9. +5 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Ha! Hilarious. I love that douchebag, douchebag, douchebag comment on the LSAT. Ha! Running to throw myself off a gorge now.

  10. +3 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    This shit is great!!! Cornell 05

  11. -13 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Two errors: + ”He managed TO scrounge up a 168.” + There are only five ”douchebags” in the last solution while there should be six. Attend to your details.

  12. +3 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    the fake LSAT question was pretty funny.

  13. +1 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    The fake pitchbook, Ranieri comment, and LSAT question were hilarious. Best piece in a while, props and keep it up.

  14. +2 votes + -
    Digital Option Said:

    you?ve surpassed yourself in this post. Outstanding. From the Ranieri-quip to..wait, i wouldnt do the aggregate post justice by singling out further. It was fuckin great. Keep ?em coming. (ISDAs for Andy!)

  15. 0 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Very clever and witty. I love the stuff you be dishin?. Keep it up.

  16. +10 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    very funny, but no way M&A associates work the kind of hours that 1st-year analysts do. maybe 75-80% of the hours

  17. -6 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    I think it?s hilarious how the writer(s) of this blog get off thinking that bulge bracket means big bulge down below? seriously, get over yourselves and stop acting like you own the world. You guys really need some @$$ to relieve your angst or something.

  18. +2 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    I do pity da fool who gets tricked into law school. So many law school suckers get tricked into thinking that 3 more years of school will make the realities of the corporate world less miserable.

  19. -2 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    This one was just plain boring.

  20. -1 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    the snap braclet business! that brings me back?

  21. +2 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    First years at all the big firms in NYC make $145,000 plus their year end bonus (which was $35k last year). Some of the work does suck, though. However, you do get an office, a secretary, and a few other perks. You even get car service! (see greedy associates board for a great discussion of the declining service levels of car services for the wall street law firms)

  22. +4 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    To the author, while this entry lacked some of your usual panache, the blog is generally excellent. To the commenters above, the comparison between 1st year associates at a law firm and 1st year analysts is a red herring. To say the lawyers make more completely ignores the fact they?ve spent an additional three years and almost two hundred thousand dollars getting a degree. Analysts get their jobs right out of college. The more appropriate comparison is between the lawyers and first-year associates straight out of business school. If money alone is the question, work in private equity, hedge fund management or investment banking is the better choice.

  23. +1 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    good point, lawyers sacrifice way more income due to a longer education to work longer hours for eventually less pay than the banker track

  24. 0 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    time value of money. another reason it?s clear the poster above is a lawyer. also, bankers are idiots. pe or hedge funds are the way to go.

  25. +1 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Cheers mate! Indubitably Hilarious!

  26. -1 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    The author seemed like he had many good lines that he forced in there. The ”holla back, office?” and the LSAT sample question were no doubt hilarious, but a bit forced in this piece.

  27. 0 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Cornell ?05? Are you kidding? That?s like saying South Western Florida COmmunity College. Way to represent!

  28. -3 votes + -
    hairykrishna Said:

    I had planned on going to law school after college and interned at S&C – that?s when I discovered it sucks to be a lawyer. If there?s someone out there working harder than you for less money its a corporate lawyer – and my 1st year bankers get to scream at them. It?s great Even my in-house counsel feels pain. That being said a law degree is probably a good thing to have, if they could only pack it into 6 weeks?

  29. +2 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    ^ douche

  30. -2 votes + -
    Flip Said:

    Cornell?? They still consider that a school? Pleassse?I just soiled myself and, what?s this? My poo smells like fresh-baked goods?haaah!?Damn It Feels Good to be a Bankah

  31. +9 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    everyone knows that bankers are as much the hired help as outside counsel

  32. +1 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    i agree, corporate america rocks!! holla back, dilbert!

  33. -1 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    I suggest you all get laid and then think about how fun your lives are behind your desks? however many hours you sit there fanticizing about what big shits you think you are. Let me scrounge one up from the playground to compete with your caliber. Get a life. Real men don?t preen and strut and think their hot shit because they have drivers and can pay for expensive ”girlfriends” and prissy, fussy fucking clothes. Empty, perhaps? Balls lost, perhaps? But your sad little lives do make for a rather amusing blog for me to read when I?m at home, enjoying a real life. Keep ?em coming.

  34. +15 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Classic poorly constructed flame from hating poster. May the obligatory response indicating the blatant stupidity of aforementioned poster commence: + ”fantacizing” = fantasizing + ”Let me scrounge one up from the playground to compete with your caliber.” = What the fuck are you talking about? + ”caliber” = calibre + ”their” does not equal ”they?re”; they?re is a contraction for ”they are”, whilst ”their” indicates possession. Did you not manage to graduate from elementary school? + ”prissy, fussy fucking clothes” = ”clothes that I can?t bear to look at; ever since my crack addict mother tried to lift some BCBG shirts from Nordstrom, I?ve had nightmares of security guards pumping her full of lead” + ”But your sad little lives do make for a rather amusing blog for me to read when I?m at home, enjoying a real life.” = ”But your sad little lives do make for a rather amusing blog for me to read when I?m at home unemployed, fired from my retail merchandising job because I was not enough of a flaming homosexual. At least I met my Brazilian stallion, Bruno, who gives me ravishing blowjobs all day, so that I can enjoy the real life.”

  35. -3 votes + -
    Lubin Said:

    Ithaca is GORGES Bitches!!!!

  36. -26 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Oh, sigh, 10:20 Anon. To begin, I?m a woman. To end, I did graduate from elementary school before earning two masters and beginning my career in the field of human rights. To be more specific, I work on the problems of trafficking in women and children for sex. I suppose that?s not quite as important as what you do and how much money you make and how much better you are than every other poor sap in the world. Ho hum. Whilst you make gobs of money and spend it on nice shirts and suits, I work do what I do. I wish that I had gone after something more meaningful and satisfying, like you. Something more intellectually and personally challenging. You make me see that now. You really do make me feel like a loser, you know? Have a great weekend!

  37. -11 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    ?and I do so hope that I used ”whilst” correctly.

  38. -1 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Its so funny how you bankers spend so much time trying to justify your lives.

  39. +24 votes + -
    Fake Man Said:

    To begin, I?m a man. So working in the field of human rights makes you a better person than an investment banker? Please, spare us your moralizing. Do you just find blogs like this so you can grandstand and post comments telling everyone what a better person than them you are? That?s pretty lame and shallow all things considered. Also, I think you?re missing a point – this blog is meant to be funny. It?s fictional, it?s not real. The guy that writes this lives in the east village and has never worked in finance. So ?your sad little lives do make for a rather amusing blog for me to read when Im at home, enjoying a real life? is hilarious. You?re stupid enough that you read this and don?t understand it?s a joke. There you are all smug, with a ?real man? (they?re the ones that don?t buy their girlfriends expensive things) and the joke is completely on you. Well done, you?re an idiot.

  40. +15 votes + -
    anonymous Said:

    I actually drew a diagram of lawyers sitting around in a circle until I read choice E. Brilliant

  41. +12 votes + -
    Benny Said:

    It?s all the same sh*t. People trying to say, ”I am better than you.” Be it bankers, lawyers, paralegals, analysts, human rights activists, bimmer drivers, etc. No exceptions. At least poke some fun in the process. That?s what?s important.

  42. -1 votes + -
    aznaznaznazn reborn Said:


  43. +9 votes + -
    1L Seeking Employment Said:

    I am a first-year law student and I am seeking summer employment for next summer. If anyone seriously knows of anyone that?s hiring first-years for general corporate, securities, or mergers and acquisitions, please reply. I would be happy to send a cover letter and resume. Thanks.

  44. 0 votes + -
    cool guy Said:

    One of my best friends graduated from Princeton in ?01 and there really was a ton of adderral going around in the late 90?s. Funny sh!t!

  45. +22 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Dear 1L, I am currently seeking a law student to intern as my personal attach this summer. If you?re too fucking stupid to find your way the career center and find a job the same way as anyone else, then the odds are good you?re just the sort of dumb, hot bitch I?m looking for. If interested, please respond with pictures of yourself in a suit, business casual, biz casual with short skirt and low cut blouse, sans blouse, etc., etc. in descending order of clothedness.

  46. -3 votes + -
    E. Pierson Rawlings IV Said:

    AHEM. I think the preferred nomenclature of late is ”large law”, as in ”large and in charge” and ”skillz to make millz”. But I will forgive a layperson like you for this minor indiscretion?. just this ONCE.

  47. +6 votes + -
    Cardsfan Said:

    Assuming you want to live in NYC, the analysis is spot on. Doing IB monkey work pays more than Corplaw monkey work. Probably because IBers work more hours, but also because banks get to raise capital by selling their stock (building equity and selling their profits to suckers on main street at a 20x markup, rather than just selling time) while law firms are prohibited from doing so by their foolish ”ethics” rules. However, assuming that you don?t want to live in NYC your whole life, being a lawyer isn?t so bad and compares favorably with trying to IB outside of NYC. A decent plaintiff?s attorney in a 2nd-tier city in the midwest can make 500k a year, and a real good one 1 million. That?ll let you live like a king in Indianapolis, Stl, KC, Houston, etc. A relative of mine?s ex-partner runs a social security practice in southern Illinois and takes home 600k a year. Works

  48. -12 votes + -
    BigLaw Guy Said:

    If you?re not intelligent enough to land an analyst position at an i-bank you probably don?t belong at a big law firm, nor are you likely to do well enough in law school to land a job at one, but then again so many more morons get hired as lawyers at big law firms than as analysts at i-banks perhaps I?m wrong. In any event, if you?re only smart enough to shit out a 168 on the LSAT you don?t belong at any firm that?s respectable. To be clear, outside Wachtell you?d be hard press to find a respectable firm in NY. In any event, I?m sure this guy doesn?t exist, or at least Andy Kravitz clearly is not his name. This blog, from what I gather, is the latest installment in a long line of d-bagging rubbish that includes such notable nonsense as that piece of shit written by the HLS guy who was pretending to be a greedy, malicious hiring partner.

  49. +2 votes + -
    Anonymous PE guy Said:

    Just so you know, some of the PE kings who started Blackstone and Carlyle have law degrees.

  50. -2 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Firstly, I?d like to say I?m a lawyer and what is written is completely true. All lawyers are just bankers who couldn?t do the math. All I wanted to do was be a banker but my Ivy League pedigree wasn?t enough because I just couldn?t learn how to answer those extremely difficult quantitative interview questions. For example, an interviewer asked me once what 12?17 was, despite my Princeton education, I was stumped. Its so funny because every person I met at Harvard Law school wanted to be a banker. Shit, if the profs gave out one math test there we would have all been fucked. Although I?ve come to the realization that I?m a total loser that works as much or more and makes less than bankers, at least I?ll possibly be able to work alongside them some day. Hell, I actually might get the chance to take shit from them too, they?d treat me as if I was analyst. It all starts with a dream?.

  51. -3 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    you dip. can we say white trash pretending to be cream of the crop?

  52. 0 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Holla back office!

  53. +2 votes + -
    M&A Lawyer Said:

    Weird concept of ”securitization” this is: Its just like that time we securitized $3000 of your debt to pay off all that cash you owed to Anthony for adderall. You issued us bonds and paid us a coupon rate based on your rating, Andy.??? Actually, this is not a securitization but a change of the kind of debt and debtholders for Andy. Securitization would be if Anthony issues bonds to a third party backed by the claims against Andy (the assets in ABS). But of course, I see that smart bankers take advantage of stupidity in order to close a deal in order to get high bonuses

  54. -3 votes + -
    Algernon Said:

    Um, excuse me. It?s ”Sullivan & Cromwell,” not ”Sullivan Cromwell.” Please.

  55. -3 votes + -
    Anon Said:

    I?m new here. can anyone tell me anything about this whokebe guy?

  56. -5 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    you wouldn?t have written this if you weren?t threatened by Andy?s job in some way. What?s the matter did you get drinks with Andy and one of his attorney friends and didn?t like the way you were treated? Who didn?t show you the proper respect? The whole piece reeks of unhappiness and self loathing.

  57. -3 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Flawless story? coming from a law student happy in his field.

  58. -1 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    George Roberts has a JD

  59. -1 votes + -
    FINRVH Said:

    Yea, Im going to have to agree that a first year, or any year for that matter, at SC makes more then some IB clown. And it?s also more prestigious dumbass.

  60. +3 votes + -
    JD/MBA Said:

    Lawyers don?t understand time value of money, and bankers don?t understand probability weighting. I?ll guarantee you that the median/mean pay for a lawyer is higher than the same for a banker, in NY or elsewhere. A lawyer has much more job security, and while comp is somewhat socialistic, it is constantly high and predictable. You are comparing lawyer salaries to banker salaries in the best years of the banking industry. The ”moat” into lawyer is just much deeper and wider, and you have a monopoly on the legal space, unlike in banking where clients can simply not hire an advisor, no business goes without counsel in an important transaction or litigation.

  61. +1 votes + -
    close friend of 2JD & 3 CFA Said:

    One thing is true.. Lawyers are pathetic.. when comparing their lives to those of IBankers..

  62. +1 votes + -
    Banker-with-a-LL.B. Said:

    Lawyers are whores.. Bankers are escorts.. they are same-same but different.

  63. +1 votes + -
    blynn Said:

    Admittedly, this article was hilarious. Coming from a law student, yes. But one question. What, exactly, did the tombstone say? Did it read ”R.I.P. Banking Bubble?” or ”Dearly Departed I-Banker Jobs?” Just curious. Oh, and when you?re done weeping over the blank pages that used to be your assets, pass it on to a bankruptcy attorney. We?ve gotya covered.

  64. +1 votes + -
    Harvard Law Said:

    Risk aversion, bitches. Bulge that bracket?

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