Law School Discussion

For those of you who are working or have worked in law firms prior to law school


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What things do you feel you've learned? Personally there's a lot I feel I didn't learn but here are 25 things I'm taking away from my law firm experience:

1) Most paralegals/staff people aren't very good. This is probably true of most office workers in general but there's only a relatively small number who are really productive. The ones that are really productive though can make your life much, much easier.

2) Most associates have no idea how to manage people which isn't necessarilly bad as they can learn, but so many don't seem to want to learn.

3) Some attorneys write really, really bad briefs. Before I worked here I thought all attorneys were good/great writers. Having now read tons of briefs it's pretty clear that many are terrible. In some ways this is reassuring since many of these are written by folks from top law schools at big firms. On the other hand though the way many of the bigger briefs at these types of firms are done it makes me think that maybe no matter how good of a writer you are, when it's all put together it will look awful.

4) The Ninth Circuit phone tree is poorly laid out and the people there are only marginally helpful.

5) The people at the Second Circuit are very helpful.

6) Appeals are a lot of fun to work on.

7) Discovery involving massive productions is ridiculously expensive, time consuming and mind numbing.

8) Even at "lifestyle" big firms you still work a ton of hours.

9) Doing 200 or so billable hours a month is not an unreasonable workload. Doing 250-400 billable hours in a month is very hard to sustain and when you're hitting 300-400 you have no life at all. In fact you start to consider things like getting a haircut or doing laundry as the most relaxing things ever.

10) No matter how much time you have before a deadline, briefs always get filed at the last minute.

11) If you're in CA and you need to serve/file something in New York it is possible to send it out same day or close to as it is possible to put someone on a red-eye flight with a box of documents.

12) New York legal copy vendors are terrible in comparison to many in California.

13) Legal secretaries in New York generally are very good in contrast to many on the West coast.

14) Associates burnout really fast. They like the money (who wouldn't?) but when they're in the office at 3 a.m. on Saturday working on interrogatories they seriously start questioning whether it's worth it or not.

15) Just because someone went to a top school doesn't mean they are all that bright. It's intimidating at first always interacting with folks who have these incredible resumes but it becomes clear that you're just as smart as many of them. That being said you do meet people that blow you away with how smart they are and it makes you worry about law school having to compete with these types of people.

16) I never knew what a document management system was before working at a law firm.

17) I've become adept at memorizing client and matter numbers for making copies, filling out disbursements, making long distance calls, blahblahblah.

18) I've learned to like Dr. Pepper and scones because when you're late to meetings all the bagels and other pastries are gone and/or all the Coke is gone.

19) A spy-phone is a must have even though it's painful to see certain names calling you.

20) State courts suck. It's much easier doing things in Federal Court.

21) You eventually learn to enjoy the Blue Book or really hate it.

22) Most attorneys use Blue Books that have been out of date for 5 years or more.

23) Summer associates do absolutely no work at all. It'd be cheaper to just send them checks while they stay at home and you'd probably get more work done.

24) New York firms have much bigger parties involving much more vice than typical CA firms.

25) Always use blue ink for signatures. There's nothing worse than a brief getting dinged because someone signed it in black ink.

Anyone else have things that they've learned?


i learned to check for a wedding ring before making out with someone ::)


I learned to just say no to perverts calling from jail.  Why can't men from the real world proposition me like that?  Hee hee.


I've learned that most attorneys like baseball and that it may be a better idea to feign interest in the sport rather than not giving a *&^% altogether.

I've also learned that if I'm not out of my office by 6, the cleaning lady won't come in and empty my trash bag. shy female dog...


If a client owes you money and says they are coming in, they probably aren't.  So tell your boss to kiss your ass when he asks you to stick around on Friday afternoon while everyone else is leaving.


ok, speaking of which, the copy guy just asked me out for maybe the 14th time. i'm not exaggerating. it might be totally friendly and i know they work on commission and want to buy you lunch and drum up business, but after someone makes up an excuse 14 times in a row, don't you STOP?!?

obviously if you stalk people you won't get their business anyway  >:(


Our copy guy is hot.  I can't go blue collar, though, unless that guy owns his own biz.


When an inventor questions your ability to understand his invention or ridicules your technical skills due to the fact that he's speaking in industry jargon from the 1950s, tell him you went to MIT.


And then tell him his invention sucks.


Our copy guy is hot.  I can't go blue collar, though, unless that guy owns his own biz.

no? i dated a contractor for a little while-- former marine. he was HOT. actually i brought him home and my mom was like, when you're done with him, would you mind if i dated him...

it was kinda cool to go around town and have him point out the places he had built.