The money may seem generous, but they earn modest amounts in comparison to some of their lifestyles.
I agree that a firm's treatment of its employees is probably a bigger consideration for those of us looking to be there long-term. I just don't assume that, in organizations as large as the ones we're talking about, the communications of the recruiting department are necessarily indicative of the firm's overall treatment of employees. I'm not saying that, once at a firm (should that ever actually happen), I will accept relatively inconsiderate treatment as a trade-off for prestige.That said, I say "relatively" because I think that it's reasonable to expect a certain level of inconsiderateness (if you want to call it that) from client-service organizations as large as these (law firms or not), where it isn't feasible to remain competitive while still ensuring that all of their workers are kept absolutely happy. So, my concern would be with working at a firm that treats its people noticeably worse than its competitors (and, sure, recent decisions can be indicative, but I don't know that the speed at which someone in the recruiting department answers e-mails is enough for me to make that judgment). To the extent that it's across the board, though... well, both conditions and salaries are market-driven (and we have labor laws to prevent true exploitation).I also say "prestige" because, yeah, I'm willing to sacrifice the best treatment and working conditions for more exciting work down the road (which is seemingly often, but not always, correlated with prestige, etc). I don't think we are contributing to a problem by "accepting" less desirable working conditions, though, when we are fully aware that we are applying to work in organizations that will prioritize profit over employee satisfaction.I don't think that this is false consciousness at all. I'm not saying "I'm going to accept this because, if I want to move up as a lawyer, I must be treated poorly!" I'm saying that I understand why these firms make their business decisions in a certain way, and (would like to) choose to be a part of it regardless. I fully recognize that there are other ways to run a business, and that they can allow incoming lawyers significantly better working conditions. Many people choose to work for those organizations, likely because they also recognize that there are other ways to determine priorities in an organization. That said, large firms provide incentives, in terms of compensation (including at the partner level) and (very much depending on one's goals) experience. The "experience" here is not, as you seem to assume, some generally superior path of advancement in society. The specific interests and goals that led me to law school are such that the trade-off is worth it to me. I'm not arguing that this is the case for every single person who enters these firms (or even for enough people that firms could attract the same quality of workers if everyone were to resist the temptation of $160K and assess where they actually fall on this trade-off). I'm just saying that it isn't necessarily some misguided decision for every person who enters a large firm and doesn't complain about the conditions. (Of course, to the extent that you just don't think that, for example, corporate M&A is a worthwhile life passion... well, that would be a completely different discussion, and one that we probably wouldn't be able to resolve.)*One more caveat before I end this novel: Yes, I realize that I have not actually worked as a junior associate as a large law firm, and that there is a chance that my career interests won't actually outweigh the working conditions once I'm actually going through it. We can only make choices based on the information available to us.
Quote I'd also like to throw in a plug for secondary market firms. Recruiters were much nicer and more prompt at firms that interview, say, 30 people per year for 10 spots, as opposed to mega-sweatshop firms that interview 200 of the best and brightest for 10 spots. I had nothing but good experiences with places in my secondary markets. I actually had several really awful, awkward secondary market interviews and great primary market interviews. I think a lot of it was that as soon as it became clear I wasn't a good ol boy, the interviewers lost interest. Then again, I didn't interview at the mega-sweatshop (skadden et.al.) firms in primary markets either.
I'd also like to throw in a plug for secondary market firms. Recruiters were much nicer and more prompt at firms that interview, say, 30 people per year for 10 spots, as opposed to mega-sweatshop firms that interview 200 of the best and brightest for 10 spots. I had nothing but good experiences with places in my secondary markets.
The absolute kiss of death. You have to go all out with the good ol boy mentality.
But I think that's a lot different from feeling like they owe it to me to explain themselves.
Not surprisingly, many of the most attractive and preppy kids in my class got offers, almost regardless of grades. They outperformed their grades because they fit the BigLaw mold. Because they look sharp, corporate, and clean-cut, they look like someone BigLaw wants on the profile page or chatting with a client. Looks were far, far more important than I think most people give them credit. Sure, a 3.8 might land Wachtell, but for people with median and above median, the difference maker was being a good ol boy.
Quote from: dischord on October 12, 2009, 12:43:29 AMI mean, come on guys, where's everyone's healthy disrespect for authority, right? Although I suppose that the fact that I'm speaking to a bunch of law students who want to go into Biglaw really answers that question for me.Right, I had forgotten about how you were rebelling against that career path. It's not like you have at all considered that there might be some benefit -- even to someone who isn't completely naive -- to putting aside some pride and joining The Institution.
I mean, come on guys, where's everyone's healthy disrespect for authority, right? Although I suppose that the fact that I'm speaking to a bunch of law students who want to go into Biglaw really answers that question for me.