The Laid Off Diary: Dear Diary…this sucks.

Let’s Do Lunch
June 9, 2009, 12:08 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Dear Diary:

Never has this phrase actually meant something more than it does now. Sure, we went to lunch with partners but we were already shackled to The Firm that they didn’t really care to get to know us (especially with the high turnover rate and I can only imagine that no one goes to lunch to get to know the associates in light of the layoff monsoon that keeps coming in waves), couldn’t really tell us apart, and because lawyers are socially awkward in general (we might have developed some coping mechanisms such as one-liners to feign interest, or a fall back topic or fall back comments to fill in the awkward silence or to help us overcome our shyness or our general lack of being able to relate to other human beings). But now that I’m networking with business people, they love lunch. They love talking about themselves and sometimes are also genuinely interested in other people too (unlike partners who are really just interested in themselves and money, which actually isn’t that much compared to their business counterparts).

But not only do business people love lunch, they love to talk. They love to have conversations and talk about ideas and projects and deals (only insofar as deals encompass the ideas that came to fruition) and most of them seem very irresistibly interested and excited about what they do. Perhaps it’s only because I’m talking to CEOs or managing directors and not little peons, which is why the majority of people I have lunch with really seem to enjoy what they like. But the saddest thing as a law student that I heard when I was a summer associate was asking a partner why they specialized in what they did and the most common answer was that they fell into it and 30 years later, they are still doing it.

At associate development lunches at the firm, we were told to find a niche practice which most of the time resulted from happening upon an assignment that required us to do about 30 hours of mind numbing research on a boring or obscure part of the law and then being the “go to” person every time that issue came up. We were actually encouraged to seek out mind-numbing work and “fall” into that niche practice instead of CHOOSING a practice area or niche that made us tick.

Not very encouraging.

Shouldn’t we first find out what makes us tick and then seek out a position or build one around what we are interested in? Are lawyers that afraid to go after what they want that they are willing to hang their hat on any random ass nail they happen to find sticking out of a wall and 30 years later, still hang on that same damn rusty nail?

I realize that lawyers have been categorized as “risk adverse” but this is just plain fear.

–Hammering in my own nail instead of trying to stumble upon an empty one


1 Comment so far
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Care to explicate why/how you are having lunch with CEOs and MDs?

Comment by Nasrin

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