Often, people go to law school with dreams of working for a big law firm and earning $160,000 per year right out of law school. True, these jobs are available, prestigious and highly competitive. I never had any desire to work at such a firm; the idea just did not suit my vision of what being a lawyer meant. I wanted to fight for those that could not fight for themselves, make an impact on the world in a positive way, and so I chose to work as a deputy public defender. Plus, working at a big law firm was notoriously unsatisfying; none of my friends from law school that went down that path are happy with their jobs.
This narrative apparently has corroboration from a former associate at Skadden. When I was a law student I ran across this former “big law” lawyer, Rick Eid, a self-proclaimed “bitter lawyer” with a blog at www.bitterlawyer.com.
Eid’s background is an associate at a large law firm and his blog recounts everything from his request to go to his best friend’s wedding, here, to his mild post-traumatic stress from working in “big law,” here. His acerbic sense of humor pokes fun at and exposes the culture of use and abuse of associates in big law firms. His observations are reportedly accurate and discouraging to anyone looking forward to a life as an associate in a big law firm after law school. To quote:
If I dig real deep into my jaded psyche, I’m pretty sure the real reason I pony up my daughter’s tuition money to make web videos is more about my BigLaw PTSD than my creative yearning. No joke. Years ago, my therapist told me that my experience as an M&A attorney resulted in a moderate form of post-traumatic stress disorder. That’s why I got anxious every time the phone rang or became filled with unspoken rage when someone told me what to do or when to do it.
Eid has created a number of funny videos on his blog, but the web mini-series that brought him notoriety is “Living the Dream,” a series of shorts that “examine the absurd pressure and anxiety inherent in BigLaw from the perspective of a naïve, well-intentioned, hard-working junior associate named Nick Conley.” Conley is no doubt based on Eid’s own hilarious experiences as an associate at Skadden.