PWLTCD: The 1L Partner

It’s Thursday and you know what that means kids: It’s another installation of PWLTCD (People We’d Like to Cut Deep, so deep we’d go to jail for it).

We all remember being bright eyed and bushy tailed when we started our first year of law school. Little did we know, we were walking into hell where belittling, random questioning in front of peers, socratic method that began to resemble guantanamo bay interrogations (without the nudity–at least not in class), and that one asshole professor that we remember above the others.

This asshole professor is the one who would ask obscure questions or ask you to recall the names of cases or collateral issues that had no impact on the holding. When you were unable to do so, the professor would somehow make you feel like the dumbest person on earth even though you know that he’s an asshole and that is the game he likes to play. This is the asshole professor who is amazed that you don’t know what 3Ls and practicing attorneys don’t even know. He is the one who expects everyone else to be a scholar like he is in his field (but not as great of a scholar, because there is no one that walks among man that is greater than he). In fact, he also expects you to know general principles in all areas of law. He is the patent professor that asks you about international contract principles. He is the tax professor that asks you about the FCPA. He is the corporate attorney who quizzes you on civil procedure. He is the asshole that would expect you to memorize everything in Barbri’s “long outline” and not just the crap on the lecture handouts (which is all you need for minimum competence).

You thought that once you finished your 1L year, got your offer after your 2L summer at Generic BigLaw Firm, and finally graduated your 3L year and was on your way, again bright eyed and bushy tailed if not a little more cynical, to the hallowed halls of BigLaw. In BigLaw, it’s about practicing law and not about frivolous academic inquiries. It’s about winning the case or getting the deal done, not about reciting treatises ad naseum. It’s about researching precedent on Westlaw or Lexis (this time without all the cool prizes), not quizzing yourself on how many cases you can remember. There are no more pop quizzes, no more socratic method…or so you thought.

Enter the “1L” partner.

He is the asshole professor you dreaded your 1L year, but a little less scholarly since he is on the practicing side of law and not the academia side.

He likes to use case names from the 1700s in England and acronyms that you, as a junior associate, would not know even if you took a class on it. He explains to you that you are missing the analysis and proceeds to recite to you what you just said to him, though quite a bit more condescendingly, and unnecessarily so. He often exclaims “really? you don’t know that? wow!” regarding something where, when you repeat the story to your friends, they all don’t know about it either.

He forgets that your job is to draft research memos, interrogatories, due diligence memos, resolutions, officer’s certificates, and look at liability clauses in data rooms. He is amazed that you don’t remember the exact facts of Hadley v. Baxendale off the top of your head. He is shocked that, as an M&A junior attorney, you aren’t familiar with all the calculations of leverage ratio. He is surprised that as a real estate attorney, you don’t know what tranches are. He is just speechless that you don’t know how to calculate EBITDA (except to exclaim how speechless he is that you don’t know that). He is utterly besides himself that you don’t know the latest SEC rulings when you are a toxic tort litigator.

He is…

the “1L” partner and the person that we here at Stuff BigLaw Associates Like would like to cut and cut deep and go to jail for.

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5 Responses

  1. This is a good one. I know exactly what you are talking about. Normally they are either the super young partners who think they are brilliant or the old farts who think everyone else is a dumbass newbie (kind of like red foreman on the 70s show)

  2. I like red from that 70’s show. I strive to be like him, you dumbasses!

  3. Those fucking partners are normally found at second tier mid-sized firms and they pull that shit so they can make themselves feel better. Wouldn’t’ you? I would. (If I were a loser asshole)

  4. How are you not going to be an asshole to the squirming little associates?? Is oh so fun.

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