A Bitter BigLaw Partner’s New Year’s Resolutions


Happy New Year, bitter associates. I hope this missive finds you gainfully employed and wildly optimistic about the coming year. Let’s face it, last year was a miserable year—from a law firm perspective anyway. Not enough clients, deals, billable hours . . . Which means the compensation was awful!

Personally, my bonus was off 24% from last year—and 36% from two years ago. I’m embarrassed to say that I made less (barely) than a million dollars this year. But never again! I have twin seven year olds in private schools, a seven-figure mortgage, and a new summer house in Nantucket. In other words, I can’t afford to make a measly $910,000 a year.

As such, here are my New Year Resolutions:

1. Kiss Clients’ Asses with Renewed Vigor and Zeal

Take them to strip clubs, Yankee games and steak houses as much as humanly possible. If need be, I’ll even call El Tigre and score them some high-priced escorts. Bottom line: I’ll do whatever it takes to convince these cost-conscious pricks to use my overpriced firm.

2. Fire More Lazy, Useless Associates than Necessary

Next year needs to be lean and mean. That means no excess associate fat. So if you’re not a legal genius or a relentless billing-machine, you’re a fucking dead man.

3. Fire as Many Lazy, Useless Partners as Possible

The only thing worse than unproductive associates making $200,000 a year are unproductive 65-year-old partners making 1.75 million a year. To hell with any and all compensation models that reward nonproductive geezers. If you don’t have a fat book of business TODAY, get the hell out. I don’t give a shit that you represented Eastern Airlines in 1976.

4. Cease Donating Money to My Law School

Let’s face it, the only reason you give money to your alma mater is to get great football tickets or have a library named after you. Since law schools don’t have football teams and Columbia’s library already has a namesake, there’s no point.

5. Cut Back the Summer Associate Program by 50 Percent

It’s a buyer’s market for the near future, so what’s the point in spending lots of money to “sell” to law students? It’s like taking a sex addict to Le Cirque for dinner to seduce her into having sex with you. Don’t waste time and money on sure things.  There’s no point in bidding against yourself if you don’t have to—and right now, we don’t have to.

6. Stop Going to Therapy

Being sensitive and self-aware is a detriment in business. All that introspection and self-analysis is hurting my ability to be the cold-hearted, money-making asshole I know, deep down, that I really am.

7. Start Practicing Yoga

Being a money-making asshole creates a lot of anxiety, so I’ll definitely need some sort of stress-relief routine. Plus, there are plenty of hot chicks in tight outfits to stare it.

8. Start Drinking Again

Since I’m probably not going to go to yoga, I’ll need a backup stress-relief routine—one that’s much easier and more enjoyable to execute. I’m not too good with in downward dog, but I’m near flawless with a bottle of Ketel One in my hand.

9. Stop Writing for Bitter Lawyer

First, they don’t pay me a goddamn thing. Second, I get way too much negative feedback from the floundering, clueless associates who actually read the crap this site publishes.

[Post image from Shutterstock]
  • Bitter Overseas

    A bitter rant if I ever heard one. Maybe it’s tough realizing people don’t like you. Have a good 2010, everybody.

  • Guano Dubango

    This partner does not have a lot of respect for women.  I think women are particularly worthy this time of year, when it is cold out.  Once the woman takes off the heavy coat and scarf, you can see the beauty, even at a law firm.  This partner clearly does not respect women like I do.  I think this person needs to learn to do without, the way men do in Ghana when they are accused of infidelity.  Men are taken out of the village, and left to fend for themselves over a weekend in the veldt.  Many will long to return to any woman, even if they look like water buffalo, for they provide support and succor for them.

  • BL1Y

    If your firm is over priced, you’re the problem, and you’re not going to be able to trick clients into staying with you.  The only options are to cut your prices or increase the quality of your services.  Start giving out assignments early enough so that they can be completed during day light hours instead of forcing associates to stay until 4:00am and write memos while in a half-stupor.  Take the time to check in on those under you to make sure they know what they’re doing and are doing it in the best way.  Provide constructive feedback (not just about billable hours) during and after assignments, and take some time out of your day to actually train the people who do all the work at your firm.  In other words: stop whining and act like the god damn manager you’re supposed to be.

  • BL1Y

    Btw, have partners making $900k ever been able to spend enough money that impresses a client’s CEO making $10 million?  Spending money on expensive dinners, hookers, or blow only works when you need to win over a person in a position of power who makes far less money than you (a company that needs a broker to tell clients to buy; an actor who needs a positive review from a critic).  Taking a client out to a Yankees game or a strip club just means forcing the client to spend an awkward night out with an insufferable lawyer who really should be back at the office doing his job.

  • KateLaw

    Seriously… spending an evening with an over-paid attorney who’s trying to schmooze you sounds like the type of misery most people do their very very best to avoid.  Sounds like you need a new resolush, partner.

  • Craig

    Great Rant!  Thanks for the free entertainment asshole

  • Guano Dubango

    I agree with KateLaw.  I would not want to be wined and dined by a drunk partner and taken to a strip club to see women with someone I wanted astute legal advice from.  No, I think if I am to go to a strip club or a Yankee game, I would go with an attractive female I could share the experience with.  Speaking of which, has anyone heard of the Fried Frank woman who is suing for sexual harassment?  What is that all about?

  • Bitter Associate

    I concur.  I definitely want more drinking, firing, money and hookers.

  • Stephen Bloom

    From the parallel universe which I apparently inhabit:
    …clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience…
    (Bonus: this will keep you from ever feeling compelled to write for Bitter Lawyer in the first place)


    Really bitter partner, you’re starting to sound a little jealous of the banksters.  But everyone wants to kill the banksters now.
    I suggest you put a float on the populist wave and sue some investment firms and hedge funds.  You can slum with the contingency fee work for a few months, no?

  • R Smith

    No question that openly and perenially lazy and unproductive associates ought to be let go, along with unproductive wheezing geezers. And I am all for the old saying “If you didn’t come in on Saturday, don’t bother coming in on Sunday.” But firing of what I assume were carefully hired associates ought to be seen as a damn tragedy, not a grim delight as in this post.  Most have wives, kids, mortages, car payments or some combination of those.  Yes, I know they ought to wake up and smell the economy, but your firm led them on to the idea that “we have so much work you’ll never be idle,” and so on.  With the utmost respect, the tone of the post also suggests you are a royal pain as a partner.  Alienating associates needed to cover meetings and hearings and the dedicated ones that do impeccable research. Scaring the staff into interviewing and demoralizing them. Instead of working intently, they’re whispering about what an Ahole you are.  No one will come in to shoot the breeze with you-who wants to risk a mistake by war gaming with you?  You’ll stumble over rocks in plain sight because no one wants to work with you.  And no one will cover for you when you fall.  All your associate work product will reflect the same level of dedication as german tank parts produced by polish captives in WWII.  In fact, I bet you will become the biggest productivity drag at your firm if you don’t ease off.  (If you really have that many idle associates, its a poorly run firm. I’d have a talk with your MP).  The only good part of the post is the news that you’re now decided to inflict a bellicose personality on clients after hours. Oh that’ll impress all those in house lawyers CEO: “Simpson, what firm do we use on the new XYZ case?” GC: “[thinking of you boozing and fondling strippers] “I know just the firm sir.” [not yours].

  • NYfan

    First of all no Kettle One, that is your first mistake.  I personally have been wined and dined by some of the best lawyers in town and had a great time.  My personal lawyer knows how to party, have great party conversations, and then when it’s time for business he is a fox and a tiger besides he keeps me on the strait and narrow.

  • Son of Guano

    A-Wipe, its Ketel, not Kettle (unless you are talking about the shape of your ass—looking like a Kettle.  If you find a lawyer interesting, you are really dull!

  • Son of Guano (The Original)

    Hey Son of Guano, the imitator. Find your own name.

  • Magic Circle Jerk

    I’m glad to see you’re pushing these ideas.  Particularly in regards to the deadweight partners and the summer class. 
    A good way to “mentor” your associates would be to include the cool ones in these drinking and whoring adventures.  Really will build some loyalty!
    One thing though, don’t stop writing for this site. Fuck the haters, your perspective is right on.  This is a motherfucking business, nothing else.

  • BL1Y

    Magic Circle: Based on the poll in the Douchy McDouchenstein v. BL1Y debate, this guy really should stop writing for this site.  80% of the readers favored me over him, and 90% of the readers think I’m f—ing retarded.

  • Guano Dubango

    Sons of Guano, You can both be my sons.  After all, I have gone many years in my US days without using contraception, and no woman has complained.  Moreover, I may also have daughters, as the women I have had relations with have been almost always attractive women.  In my country, if you have relations with an ugly woman, you are more than likely going to have a son, rather than a daughter.

  • Son of Guano (the original)

    Sorry my father, it is I, the 6 foot, party animal- successful son in California.  The pestiferous imitator that used the term “A-wipe”-truly anoyed me.  That is something I would never say, unless it was to BL1Y, and then only if he was trying to hit on Alma on a date with me. He must truly be the son born with hideous features and horrible breath.  I am enjoying the new year and the 70 degree weather, but I am unfortunately at work today. No luck with Alma yet: she seems to have evaporated after someone else made fun of her error with the word “mute.” Good wishes for the new year, and may LF10 return to a more regular writing pattern for the benefit of all of us.

  • BL6Y

    I love it!  Finally a partner willing to say what he thinks, albeit anonymously.  I think you must be a partner at the firm that deigns to employ me.

  • Square brackets

    Loving comment no. 3 – if you really want to cut the dead wood during a recession look to the top. That should be 5/10/20 associate salaries saved for every hanger-on that goes, and means I don’t have to stay late on a Saturday night.

  • Bill

    If this article is new, why are the comments 5 years old? Whoever is running this site ought to get some fresh material, or at least not palm off the articles as new. The commenters on this post are all probably retired from the practice by now. Sheesh!