Negotiating Associate Life in the AmLaw 100: Writing Writing Writing
O.K. So you're not really going to ever be a trial lawyer unless you leave that job like you said you would after paying off your student loans. Don't be seduced by the $$$ if you want to keep that promise. Keep your fingers off the year-end bonus and drive the Toyota for a while longer. Even though your friends are beginning to drive Porsches.
While you're paying off the student loans by working 60-70 hours a week, you're unlikely to be doing anything they do on Boston Legal -- like appear in Court or even "first chair" a deposition for a couple of years.
What you're going to be doing is writing, mostly. Thinking creatively. Brainstorming. Strategizing. Researching.
If that's not a lot of fun, take the first train out of AmLaw One Hundred Station to save yourself years of semi-smoldering unhappiness.
That's the 20-20 hindsight at any rate.
So here's what you'll need for your first and second years -- some more really good writing advice, which I stumbled over today while procrastinating that post about negotiating the purchase of the flat screen TV and last night's mid-life (who do you know who's lived to 110?) crisis at the Twisted Sister concert on the Sunset Strip.
There's other good stuff on the Language in Common site, like the "Dear Bosses" memo from creative that I've posted before. Although its the bosses, not the first year associates, who should read this, you might work up the courage to say a few of these things in a nice way to make the management/labor thing more tolerable until you become management and learn it's just a shift from one set of irritations to another. And harder, really, being management, than being labor.
But I know you won't believe that for another twenty years, when I'll be scooting around town on my Segway, waving happily to all the other boomers in retirement.
But seriously. I pretty happily practiced law for 25 years and even miss it from time to time. Especially the winning part. I'm into collaboration now. But I'll never regret the losing cases and motions because it wouldn't have been much fun winning unless my chances had been less than even, now, would it?
But please. Enjoy the winter holidays. And have a GREAT 2008!