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. -5 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

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

  2. -1 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    Holla back office!

  3. +3 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

  4. -2 votes + -
    Algernon Said:

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

  5. -3 votes + -
    Anon Said:

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

  6. -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.

  7. -3 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

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

  8. +1 votes + -
    Anonymous Said:

    George Roberts has a JD

  9. +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.

  10. +5 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.

  11. +1 votes + -
    close friend of 2JD & 3 CFA Said:

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

  12. +2 votes + -
    Banker-with-a-LL.B. Said:

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

  13. +9 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.

  14. +7 votes + -
    Harvard Law Said:

    Risk aversion, bitches. Bulge that bracket?

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