Bad Summer Associate
June 27, 2003 12:14 PM   Subscribe

How Not To Be A Summer Law Clerk, Or: the guy who sent the incredibly stupid and self-incriminating e-mail to all the associates in his firm. (I find this especially amusing since I am writing this from the law firm where I am a summer clerk. Now I'll probably get busted too!)
posted by adrober (19 comments total)
from what i've seen, his email was accurate. not to eat sour grapes, but guys like this make those of us who chose not to chase the $200K starting salary after law school look like the impoversihed idealists we are. of course, the way the market is going these days, he may live the high life for a year or two and then get unceremoniously laid off...better enjoy those long lunches while ya can, sport.
posted by serafinapekkala at 12:34 PM on June 27, 2003

serafinapekkala, I suppose not everybody is into the money at the expense of their personal morals. I take it you aren't. I've thought of quitting engineering (though I love it) to go to law school. I'd be one of the underpaid idealists, not so much to stick it to the man, but to keep the man from sticking it to us so much. The more I follow it the more depressed I get over the state of copyright and patents and such.

I actually have several patents, they're doing unique things with circuits though, not about reducing the number of clicks it takes to part a customer from his money.
posted by substrate at 12:48 PM on June 27, 2003

Heh--I've temped at law firms to do the summer clerk gruntwork when the latters' fingers became overexerted from occasional lifting. But not at their payscale. Usually the cans of pop are free in the breakroom pop machines, though.
posted by y2karl at 1:01 PM on June 27, 2003

Substrate: so let me get this straight... you've turned your back on a lucrative career to follow more ethereal pursuit, the lowly underappreciated path of engineer? I can almost hear the violins. Try coming out of school with a philosophy degree, then we'll talk.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:08 PM on June 27, 2003

ohhhh substrate, think twice before you go for that JD! :-) someone with an EE background and a JD is one of the most employable folks around lately, but you will have no life, nooooooo life. er, what i was going to say is, email me, and i can give you a pep talk as i have other prelaw MeFites. :)
posted by serafinapekkala at 1:11 PM on June 27, 2003

Let this be a lesson to everyone: Learn how to use your damn mail client before you send self-incriminating e-mail.
posted by SweetJesus at 1:13 PM on June 27, 2003

Try coming out of school with a philosophy degree... What did you think, leotrotsky, you were going to get recruited by a big, white shoe philosophy firm?
posted by Faze at 1:27 PM on June 27, 2003

What did you think, leotrotsky, you were going to get recruited by a big, white shoe philosophy firm?

I need a big white cloth to mop up the cola I just snorked on my keyboard. ROFL!
posted by Oriole Adams at 1:34 PM on June 27, 2003

I'm beginning work at a large law firm this fall, and believe me, this guy's attitude was more than likely already apparent to his supervising lawyers. Yes, summer clerking is a cushy job, and yes, clerks are showered with tons of lavish attention, but don't let that fool you. The lawyers know who is putting in a few extra hours after that big dinner to make sure a brief gets done early.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:38 PM on June 27, 2003

Interesting this. I don't know if times have changed or what, but I worked as a legal assistant at a big Wall St. firm in 1989 when I was thinking about going to law school. While I recall that the "summers" did get wined and dined a fair amount, they still worked the same horrendous hours and days that the 1st and 2d year associates did.
posted by psmealey at 1:49 PM on June 27, 2003

Are these shoes really white? What is white? Get back to me at the end of the summer.
posted by yerfatma at 1:50 PM on June 27, 2003

Kind of stupid, but not really even that incriminating. As the article states:
...a message that was probably news to no one who’s familiar with the drill
Everyone knows the Summer Clerk job is type of bribe and joke, with all the big firms competing for the same few candidates they consider the most "desirable" because of their first-year grades. Sure, you're not supposed to talk about it. You're supposed to play into the BS about working hard. Anyone who thinks when they get an offer their life will be all about coke and strippers like it was during Summer is really misinformed.
posted by sixdifferentways at 1:57 PM on June 27, 2003

Lawyers do coke? Sign me up!
posted by DenOfSizer at 2:27 PM on June 27, 2003

While I recall that the "summers" did get wined and dined a fair amount, they still worked the same horrendous hours and days that the 1st and 2d year associates did.

I'd hope that in these days, with a bad economy and all, summer associates would actually have to put forth some effort this summer. It's not like the late 90's where as long as you had a pulse you got an offer after being a summer associate.
posted by gyc at 2:48 PM on June 27, 2003

"Self incriminating"?

He had to write an apology. Oh my god.

I thought it was going to be something like "Yeah, maybe we can sell of the rest of that Heroin this weekend too. btw, did you get rid of the body?"
posted by delmoi at 4:55 PM on June 27, 2003

This happens every year. There will always be "that guy" who screws up, "that guy" who famously hits on the partner's wife or gets arrested at the baseball game or gropes someone on the dancefloor or freaks out at the charity auction or publicly accuses the firm of rampant cokeheadery. Partially it's because people with great social skills tend to make wiser choices than attending law school, but it's also because we (i.e., the snarky, narcissistic, self-loathing metropolitan associate class) expect to see "that guy" at some point over the summer and eagerly await his return. If this kid hadn't fucked up, we'd be talking about someone else.

There's no upside for this kid. Door Number One, he doesn't get his offer and he has to re-interview as the most infamous 3L interviewee since Tucker Max. Door Number Two, he still has to be a lawyer at Skadden. Hope he has a scholarship to Harvard, or he's going to have to spend a long, long time living this down and buying his way out of indentured servitude.
posted by subgenius at 7:52 PM on June 27, 2003

My summer clerking has involved a decent amount of work, a lot of internet surfing, and a LOT of forced socializing/networking. Luckily, I'm the apathetic rebellious one in the bunch so I don't take myself too seriously. Law school was never a natural fit, and I garnered this top-firm summer job in LA not by my laurels (which are lackluster) but by my piano playing. I was playing for my parents in a hotel in Atlanta and met one of the top litigators in the US, whose wife requested the theme from "Somewhere In Time" and who then promptly tipped me $20. Before I knew it I was "networking" and this Highly Respected Litigator gave me his card and said: "If you're ever looking for a summer job, give me a call!"
So here I am. I was a Creative Writing/English major in college so I've definitely seen both sides of the coin. My verdict: penniless idealism trumps soulless capitalism any day.
posted by adrober at 12:38 AM on June 28, 2003

Destroy all lawyers.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:10 AM on June 28, 2003

Hold on, do not destroy these, these or these lawyers. We need the good ones.
posted by homunculus at 10:44 AM on June 28, 2003

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