If you ask a new associate what he or she actually does all day, you will undoubtedly hear a list of convoluted and exaggerated activities (lies) that only pretend to paint the bigger picture. What new lawyers actually do is not all that complicated, and almost any literate jack-ass can be an associate attorney if he has access to a computer and/or a ride to a place that does. Here are five examples of what a new lawyer actually spends time doing everyday.
1Googling Opposing Counsel. As a young lawyer, I always find myself wondering who is this other attorney I am dealing with exactly? (He sounds like a real knob-job on the phone)? How long have they been practicing (hopefully not longer than me)? Where did they go to law school (the shittier the better)? What do they look like (I hope her firm’s website has pictures)? Lawyers like to know everything about opposing counsel before actually meeting them, in order to gauge a level of pre-conceived hatred and/or sexual attraction.
2Cutting and Pasting. Lawyers are essentially pen-pals with other lawyers in a legalized extortion plot (the extortee is the Defendant, who ultimately pays everybody at the extortion-party; including their own lawyer). We write the same letter, or the same Motion, or the same threatening ransom-ish demand hundreds of times. There is no sense in re-inventing the wheel here (or is it re-inventing the penis?), so we simply cut and paste to maximize efficiency/minimize effort.
3Proof-Reading. When you are having to cut and paste the same documents hundreds of times, you are liable to make mistakes; as each document obviously has specific information that is not related to the present action (there is more than one kind of legalized extortion plot, you know). Since typos are inevitable, lawyers spend a great deal of time scouring the document for incorrect information, improper possessives, and wrong pronouns. The trick to avoiding such errors is to make each and every document as detail-free as possible, or run the risk of missing something when you cut/paste it the next time. Proof-reading is of high importance, since EVERY lawyer loves to revel in the typos of others, to assure themselves they are not the only asshat out there cutting and pasting.
4Staring Out the Window. Young lawyers lucky enough to have a window usually spend a great deal of time staring out the window at all the people passing by below, and think to themselves: a) Where is that person going with that smile on their face?; b) Why aren’t they at work?; c) How long does their boss unchain them from their desk for that leisurely smile-break?; d) Is the chain at their desk more comfortable than mine?; e) She looks like she is going to the park for a run, does she even have a job?; and f) or maybe she avoided the mistake of incurring debt only to enter into a dead-end career choice of cutting/pasting/proofreading?
5Calling Clients Back. Lawyers are bombarded with phone calls from clients on a daily basis. A great deal of effort is spent avoiding these calls, since most of the calls are requesting some form of an update on the case. So, before a lawyer can call the client back, they actually need to pull the file and do something (anything) on the file—so they have some sort of update to provide the client. Of course, once the client is updated, the lawyer will wait for the next call back before they do anything further with the file.
Aside from hiding in the bathroom to calm a panic attack, this is pretty much all a young lawyer does. Am I right? Please discuss.
Post image courtesy of Shutterstock.