With the recent premiere of the Bottom Rung, the web series about the underworld of document review, we’re receiving hundreds of letters in the post each day asking one thing: how do I avoid that hell hole? For many of you, it is too late and, while watching the series, you find yourself saying “hey, Ted is looking good these days” or “I could totally date that girl.” For those of you, however, who have not experienced the joy of basement-level law, here are at least thirty-four signs that you’ve got the skills and aptitude to press the down button on the elevator. Oh, and for you lifers or gunners out there, feel free to comment to add the warning signs we’ve surely missed.
1. You were not in the top half of your class. But you applied only to top 10 firms.
2. You really want to be a talent manager.
3. You really want to be a writer.
4. You really want to be a chef.
5. You didn’t really want to be a lawyer but, hell, it looks good on a resume, no?
6. You’ve been fired from a law firm. At least twice.
7. You failed the bar exam in a state where you didn’t even plan to practice.
8. You took more than two years off from being a lawyer.
9. You don’t own a suit.
10. You like to wear bolo ties.
11. You still drink Mountain Dew for breakfast.
12. You just switched to drinking Schlitz for lunch, as a cost-saving measure.
13. You’re dating someone who does document review.
14. You met a cute guy at Starbuck’s who does document review.
15. You frequently use the term “moving up the ladder.”
16. You think borrowing $150,000 in order to garner a $50,000 salary is a solid mathematical equation.
17. You were not a math major in college.
18. You slept with your Con Law professor to pass the class.
19. You frequently change your explanation for why you went to law school.
20. You don’t really know why you went to law school.
21. You constantly talk about your “work product.”
22. You are a regular commenter on Above the Law.
23. You have a friend at Robert Half who says she can “hook you up, anytime.”
24. People mistake you for the janitor at your law school. Or for an admissions counselor.
25. A palm reader told you she sees a future for you working with your fingers.
26. You refuse to spellcheck your resume.
27. You consider yourself a “rising star” on JDUnderground.
28. You list your LSAT score on your resume. After graduating from law school in 2008.
29. Correspondence school still appeals to you.
30. You believe, mistakenly, that you have a photographic memory.
31. You started studying for the bar on July 20th. At TGI Friday’s.
32. You think bar prep courses are for losers.
33. You tell interviewers that you’re looking for a “lifestyle firm.”
34. You graduated from a mid-level law school after borrowing $150,000, managed to pass the bar but found yourself stuck in a precipitously declining legal market where lawyers bid for clients on Shpoonkle, experts believe that anyone should be able to practice law, and LegalZoom is the fastest growing method of delivering legal service in the country. Congratulations, counselor, welcome to your destiny.