With this in mind I have always been a live for right now kinda guy, the future will take care of itself. It has always kept me in decent enough spirits...but I suppose at some point you need to plan. Last month I made a change for the future at the detriment of now.
Any of you who follow me know it took quite a while to find a job. An alum of my school gave me a chance in mid June to work for his firm. It was a no-fault insurance litigation firm. For those who aren't lawyers, or those lawyers who are fortunate enough to have never been exposed to it...this is the lowest of the low...completely mindless, completely form driven, completely useless mass "litigation". I did not learn a thing and hated the work (though loved the people).
In late July a firm I had interned for in 2008 and interviewed with twice in the 10 months prior called to offer me a job. They are a small corporate securities firm. Corporate securities is one of the two things I wish to practice (the other is intellectual property).
Now, I had worked for them already so I knew their deal. I knew it wasn't an ideal situation. I knew they pay absolutely nothing. I knew they had horribly long hours. I knew for these reasons they have really high turnover, which they don't seem to mind for some reason. I knew all this. What I didn't know was that these would be the easy parts.
I like the work. I'm constantly writing (more accurately, re-writing) SEC filings (think all the letters you heard in law school S-1, 20F, 8-k, 6-k), M & A agreements, stock purchase agreements, employment agreements, board resolutions, etc. This is the stuff I wanted to do. I like transaction work. So, I am learning and the hours do fly by for the most part.
My gripe, and the unknown part of the firm, was my senior partner. There are two partners, Junior and Senior. Senior is the 80 year old who knows all the clients. Junior is the guy who works 80 hours a week actually getting stuff done. Senior is quite literally the worlds biggest asshole. Junior is a nice guy, though defeated.
All the associate live on edge because of Senior. He is that boss that tells you everything you've done wrong and never, ever tells you that you did something right. He nit pics, he insults, he's mean, he yells, he's condescending.
Here is a list of quotes that have showed up on the associates paperwork in just the last 10 days (only two of which on mine!):
- "shows 0 thought and 0 effort"
- "You can't be serious"
- "This is wrong, for a change" (sarcasm)
- "A lawyer wouldn't do this"
- "This was early, I'm not used to that"
- "How could you possible have gotten this wrong?"
He is the worlds worst micro-manager. Junior has been practicing for 30 years, but Senior still has final say and edits on all work that goes out. When he calls, Junior runs. He makes us rewrite all of our work seven or eight times, often "correcting" things he told us to do. I used to think this was just a way to bilk the clients out of billables...now I know he's just insane.
Here is a short and incomplete list of some of the things he has had his secretary get a hold of the associates so that he could tell us:
- Don't use paper clips, we use staples
- When stapling, make sure the staple is at a 45 degree angle in the corner
- Don't put papers down in front of him at his desk, hand them to him
- When handing him papers, make sure the text faces him and not towards you
- When manually putting track changes on paperwork for him, use red ink, not black
These were the only things said during the phone calls.
Beyond his asshollery, we fear for our jobs. He has a track record of firing people simply because he doesn't like them. The female associates have it worse. He is clearly sexist. We all tip-toe around thinking one mistake will be our last. And with a man who has 2,334 stupid, inane rules...mistakes are likely every day.
So, I'm stuck. I have a job that pays nothing (though the same as the last job), works me 60 hours a week, and has a man who I genuinely wish harm to running things....but it practices what I want to practice and could conceivably lead to a better job at a good mid sized firm with a good salary.
Almost every single day is miserable (Senior is in the office only 3 days a week, though calls from home when he isn't) but I'm determined to muscle through. Within a month I'm going to start applying to firms again. I have to get out of here as soon as possible...but I can't just leave. I have to have somewhere good to go. That is the point. I'm sacrificing now, for the future....something I've never done before. It had better work out...and being a lawyer had better be awesome.