Stealth Layoffs

One may be surprised to learn that BigLaw associates actually like stealth layoffs–especially if they aren’t laid off–for several reasons, most of wich involve the BigLaw associates over-inflated ego and ability to survive in an alternative universe.  First, stealth layoffs allow those who are laid off to suspend reality and pretend it hasn’t really happened.  I know I was laid off, and the partners know I was laid off, but if I can just keep it a secret I can pretend that I wasn’t laid off and come to work like nothing ever happened.  Sometimes this ploy works so well that a laid off attorney sticks around past the time they’re supposed to go–so long in fact that they end up keeping their job permanently and even making partner.  

 For those that aren’t laid off, stealth layoffs provide the opportunity to expose their soon to be former colleagues and tell the world how much they suck.  The BigLaw associate will tell the world that the laid off associate should have been fired long ago, that they only got a severance out of sympathy and that they don’t understand why the firm had them around so long.  The BigLaw associate will have so much information about the quality of the laidoff associate’s work that people will think they are a partner (which is something else BigLaw associates really like).  The stealth layoff also allows the BigLaw associate to assume that everyone who leaves the firm in the next 6 months to a year was asked to leave–even if they leave to do something that pays more and requires less hours of work.   This helps to inflate the  ego of the BigLaw associate because they convince themselves that everyone left because they couldn’t handle the work or perform at the high level required.  This further convinces the Biglaw associate that they are actually going to make partner and someday be rewarded for their work.  (See supra re: living in an alternative universe. )

And lastly, stealth layoffs give biglaw associates an opportunity to engage in their favorite activity of all time: gossiping and complaining about their jobs, especially on the internet (present company included).   It’s a sick combination of schadenfreude, narcissism and masochism.

Protein Shakes

BigLaw Associates like protein shakes. Why? Because they are quick and easy and we can say, “yeah, I had my protein shake this morning after I hit the gym [read, after I scratched my balls and got to work] and now I’m going to have a power bar” and sound like a sports nut when we aren’t. We like them because it takes about 45 second to make and chug on the way to work. Then when we got home at 2 or 3am and we’ve realized we are out of lean cuisines and Totinos frozen pizza because we haven’t been shopping for at least 3 weeks, we can chug our protein shake we bought in bulk from GNC, Cosco, Sam’s, or online.  Add some milk or water, add a scoop or two of protein powder and voila! Insta-food. It keeps us full enough to forget that we are starving until we pass out from wine and xanax. It’s so time efficient, we don’t even have to chew! and after a few glasses of wine and xanax–we can’t chew! Hallelujah–it’s a match made in Heaven.

They are low in fat, low in carbs, and are pure energy. If we add in redbull, we are a comma-checking, document reviewing machine! You pump iron? We pump paper! And when we’re low on energy, we just pop open a redbull, full throttle, rockstar, old coffee, whatever we can get our hands on and mix it with a protein shake and chug it on down. Hey, the gun show must go on and we can’t stop to “eat.”

Yeah, yeah, the BigLaw firm pays for dinner when you stay that late, but for some reason, none of you monkeys actually think about ordering food while you’re scurrying around until you’re about done and want to go home at 3am. You can either wait 25-45 minutes for dinner to be delivered (you wait so long mainly because the night staff can’t decide if she wants to add cheese sticks or pizza sticks for herself when she’s ordering for you) or get the hell home to watch an episode of your favorite TV show on TiVo, chug a protein shake, and pass out before you have to get up to do it all over again the next morning.

Who knew that a white powder, other than those that are schedule one drugs, could be so valuable?

PWLTCD: Billable Posers

It’s now July,  and with many firms on fiscal calendars that end in October or November, associates are beginning to spend more time looking at their individual financials so they can determine where they fall when bonus checks come around.  So naturally, today, we’d like to talk about Posers. And we don’t mean the kids who shop at Hot Topic and paint their nails black to look tough when they really listen to Hanah Montana and cry to Avril Lavigne’s lyrics. We’re talking about a much worse type of poser: the BigLaw Billable Poser.

You know, the type who cancel lunch plans, don’t have time to stop and chat in the hall ways, gchats with you just to tell you how he/she is too busy to gchat, complain how much they work by sending you an email from their blackberry at 6pm after they’ve left work, boast about how much work they have and how they can’t waste time exercising, eating, sleeping, bathing, socializing, or  having a life because they are just SO DAMN BUSY. but they’re not. They are really just busy trying to think of ways they can show other people that they are busy and thus, a better little monkey than his or her fellow associate.

They are the posers who have time to change their facebook status every 10 minutes to things like: “Poser is hoping to get just a few hours of sleep tonight,” or “is hoping to get just one day off this month,” but then claim they are too busy to chit chat in the hallway with you and your friends. They are the type who close their doors so you think they are intellectually masturbating but they are really mentally vegetating as they shop on ebay.

Depending on how skilled the poser is, you may or may not be convinced. But even if you are convinced, numbers don’t lie, and some BigLaw firms post the revenue each attorney brings in. That, my friend, is the Moment of Truth. It’s like as if you just found out that your macho guy friend writes his feelings down in a diary. It’s like when you found out that the guy you had a crush on doesn’t really play the guitar but carries around a pick in his wallet. It’s like when you found out that the girl you were dating has a fake Italian accent. But none of these scenarios are as bad as the Billable Poser.  Billable Posers take their posing so far that after the Moment of Truth they will switch their busy-ness to unfair non-billable or non-revenue time that only they get asked to do because partners love them so much.   They refuse to admit that they are either (1) the dumbest person on Earth who take 20 hours to do something a secretary could do in 30 minutes, or (2) playing poker all day.  This is why attorneys who still lie about their LSAT score (aside: seriously, who gives a fuck? We all know your daddy wrote a letter and got you into law school) comes in as a close second but cannot surpass the Billable Poser in the line of people that we here at Stuff BigLaw Associates Like want to cut and cut deep and go to jail for. In fact, we’d cut these people again when we got out of jail and go back to jail for it.

Wednesday Advice Column: Workaholic

Dear BigLaw:
I get to work around 8am and stay until 7pm or 8pm even if I have nothing to do. I go to all the firm events, the Fourth of July parties thrown by partners, and do all the non-billable work partners ask of me just to store up goodwill.

Will this face time help me in the long run when I go up for partner? I’d rather be home than at work, though I don’t know what I would do at home since I haven’t had a hobby since grade school, but this has got to pay off right?

-Workaholic
If this is your life, I recommend you seek help.

If this is your life, I recommend you seek help.

Dear Delusion-aholic:

I’m guessing your father isn’t a client or else you wouldn’t be worried about face time, mainly because the partners will make sure you have enough work so there is never a time you are just sitting around. And in the off chance you don’t have work, I’m sure there would be someone to take you out to lunch at Hooters, golf, dinner, a steak house, or anywhere else your little heart desires.

So you have a strike against you: you didn’t get the job because of your daddy (meaning, you probably had excellent grades and work ethic making you one of the few people who actually got to BigLaw on your own and who actually deserve to be in BigLaw–if the world was fair. But it’s not. So boohoo.) So, you slave away on billable and “non-billable” (shudder) work that partners give you so they can save the real billable work for aforementioned daddy’s boy or have free time to take aforementioned daddy’s boy to “lunch” (strip club) while you work on that partner’s 100 page marketing powerpoint for which you will get no credit. There’s no way of telling whether, in a few years of slaving away and putting in so much face time, what you did will make the other partners willing to share a slice of their big fat pie with you or if they will just kick you to the curb hoping that daddy’s boy will be able to bring in some clients through his daddy’s connections. And since you get no credit for the partner’s marketing efforts, potential clients will have no idea who you are. This doesn’t bode well for you on that roller coaster we call the partnership track. In fact, it means: Nope! You’re Still Fungible (and go home for godsakes. get a hobby, get laid, and get a life.)
Need advice? Send your questions to sbiglawal@gmail.com or post them in the comments.

Splash Back

BigLaw Associates like splash-back. Splash-back is a term of art that means when you take a pinch off a loaf so big that the toilet water splashes back up on your ass. In the privacy of your bathroom, it’s disgusting. In the context of a law firm, it’s desirable.

Splash-back in BigLaw means also involves shit, but not in the literal sense. It comes from the wave of over-hiring of junior associates and throwing them into the big toilet bowl of BigLaw. Splash back from throwing so much shit (i.e. junior associates) into the water occurs when you push down work to the little junior doodies and blame them for the shit-water that splashes back up because you delegated tasks you didn’t want to do to incompetent monkeys. These junior associates are fungible, and half of them aren’t going to be there past their second year anyway, so blame away. And you can argue that you were under pressure to give work to these young and eager newbies to keep them happy and make them some how justify their keep.*

So dump due diligence on them, drafting, scrubbing, and proof-reading documents and everything else that make your eyes bleed. Normally, you’d be the proverbial shit brick that hits the water and responsible for the crap water getting all over the deal or case and on everyone’s ass. But not anymore. Have a question about whether you might do a good job on something because it is boring as hell and you fucked it up everytime you had to do it as a junior associate because it made your brain leak out of your ears? Give it to the junior pooh and call it “training” or “mentoring.” Unsure if you should ask the client a possibly stupid question? Give it to the junior turd and call it giving them “client contact”. Afraid to ask the partner a question you know is stupid? Give it to the junior Scheisse and call it being proactive.  If you do it this way, the junior dookies will eagerly let you throw them into the toilet bowl we call practicing law. And then you can blame them for the splash-back.

Heres where your career is...

Here's where your career is...

*Note: You should not feel sorry at all for the junior associate.  During the summer, the junior associates get to enjoy in the fun of creating splash back through summer associates.  When not golfing or enjoying the spa, summer associates are put through the psychological hell of researching every obscure legal dead-end with no answer that the junior associate could avoid for the last 6 months.  This leaves the summer associate psychologically fucked up–they think they’re in because they get taken out so much, but then they can’t find an answer to a “quick” research project which makes them feel like an incompetent loser.  It’s the circle of life.  Or maybe it’s just one of the circles of hell.

Wednesday Advice Column: Dear Biglaw

An oldie but a goodie...

Dear Biglaw:

Today I billed fifteen hours straight and am on track to bill 350 hours this month. I don’t socialize much with other associates and my wife is threatening to leave me, but I want to make partner. I’m currently a second year corporate associate and I normally work weekends for a big partner who is so busy he’s not usually in the office. I speak fluent Spanish because I’m Puerto Rican and I’m hoping this will add to my chances at this firm. Should I stay on track at BigLaw or should I try to slow down and actually talk to other junior associates and try to save my marriage?

-High Biller

Dear High Biller:

Do you also fuck sheep? Thinking just because you bill a bunch of hours for The Man (who doesn’t even find it worthwhile to come in and talk to you in person once in a while), all the while pissing off your colleagues (who may one day be potential clients), and losing your wife (the one person  you have the only chance of having sex with because as a biglaw associate you’re probably ugly, have bad breath, are a dork or a pompous annoying dork) that you might make partner or mean anything other than a numbered billing machine to the firm is about as rational as fucking sheep.  I’m only going to say this once: not billing enough will definitely get you canned, but billing a lot doesn’t always mean you won’t get canned.

Hate to break it to you, spanish isn’t that unique. Being a minority who speaks fluent Spanish really isnt an advantage, especially when there are rich good ol’ boys who speak rudimentary spanish they picked up from their maids that can and will easily replace you.  And the firm won’t have to deal with your pesky Puerto Rican heritage.  Of course, you could shave your head (if your hair is curly and gives you away), stay out of the sun, change the pronunciation of your name and pretend to be said white boy.   Even after all that, the only thing that will make you partner is if you make a lot of money.  And the only way you can make money is not by slaving away for  The Man or fucking sheep (both which are equally dispicable), but by rain making. But being that you probably have pissed off all your colleagues/potential clients  and you were probably that annoying gunner in the front of the class in law school that ppl gchatted about during class everytime you fucking raised your hand, I’m guessing you don’t have enough social skills or friends to go out and get clients.

So, my answer to you is:  Nope! You’re still fungible. (And quit fucking sheep. Ew.)

Blowing Money–An Introduction

Today’s post is one in a series of many about Blowing Money or BM for short.

Blowing money (or BM) is an art form, my dear colleagues. The better you get at it, the more fun it is to blow that large paycheck you got for working 70-80hours a week/ 6-7 days a week. The more you blow, the less bitter you are for the fat flaps that are beginning to appear because you now have no time to exercise and for the fact you have no significant other or your significant other is screwing the mail man because you’re never home. The more you blow, the less people are looking at your fat ass because they are looking at the shiny new things you bought with the money flying out of said fat ass.

Not only is blowing money an art form, it is a stress reliever. Because the more you blow, the less you hate your job. Who said a $40 lobster sushi roll won’t make you feel better? A $75 Ferragamo key chain? You bet!

So, lesson one:

The best way to blow money while at work is to get a dog. You can then also spend endless amounts on Fido’s well-being (READ: on dealing with your guilt about being at work all the time while your dog is at home licking its balls, or, if you are a “responsible dog owner”, licking where its balls used to be).

My dog thinks the one on the right is hot, but hates that hoe in the middle.

My dog thinks the one on the right is hot.

You can keep the AC on full blast to make Fido more comfortable even though he’s a dog and can withstand temperatures higher than humans and certain monkeys. You also open a window so he can stick his head out and smell decomposing crap outside your window. You can also buy him a bed from skymall that has both heat and cold controls.

But what if Fido gets bored? You pay for premium cable so he can watch Animal Planet and AKC dog shows. Then you pay for some sweaty chubby man or manly woman to come pick him up and take him to the doggy day care since you’re at work before they open. You blow $40/day so Fido can sniff other dog’s asses and run around and soak up 20 other dogs’ pee on his paws and fur. He’ll forget that he just spent 10 hours at the doggy day care about three minutes after you pick him up due to his short memory span. Just remember kids, the larger the dog, the more money you can blow.

Even he has time to get his hair done.

Even he has time to get his hair done.

For all you animal cruelty people, you can just suck it. I work in an office slightly larger than my dog’s crate proportionally. Yes, I get to look at the view from my 57th floor window, but only to contemplate how much it will hurt and for how long if I were to jump. Actually, to be more accurate, I more often than not contemplate how much time I will spend in federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison for throwing the stupid asskissing associate on my floor out the window. I say my dog has a better life than me.

Me in my office.  They didn't even leave me any bananas.

My office