Read This or Die Alone: Advice for Young Women

July 2, 2013 · by

I don’t want to alarm you, but this is going to be bad news for some of you—possibly even a lot of you. The last few days have been tough for all of us.  Emotional.  Controversial. Traumatic, even.  News like this comes along once, maybe twice, in a lifetime.  Obviously, I’m referring to the treatise that was released this past weekend in Princeton University’s student newspaper, the Daily Princetonian, in the form of a letter to the editor addressed to “the young women of Princeton.”

The author of this editorial, noted socio-anthropological scholar divorced former housewife and Princeton alum, Susan A. Patton, caused quite a stir when she implored—nay, demanded—that the young women of Princeton “find a husband on campus before you graduate” because “for most of you, the cornerstone of your future and happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry, and you will never again have this concentration of men who are worthy of you.”  She then drove the point home by noting that she recently completed a “horrible” divorce, after 27 years of marriage, to a man whose “academic background was not as luxurious as mine, and that was a source of some stress.”  Indeed.

Susan A. Patton, while I admire your grammar, I have to respectfully disagree with you.  Because you failed to cite one obvious point: Even if a young lady has managed to escape the wilds of New Jersey without nailing down a trip to Zales, she still has one more shot: law school.  Well, let’s be clear—a T14 law school. [Read more]

The Truth Is Out, Ladies: Your Long Hair Is Killing Your Career

July 27, 2012 · by

Women: Pay attention, this is important.  Especially for you old ones (and by “old” I mean over 30 but not yet 40.  Women 40 and over: Can you even read anymore at your age?  I’ll just refer to you as “pre-dead lady husks”).  In a spate of breaking, hard-hitting news, an actual legal newspaper has finally exposed the bitter nugget of truth as to why you women—you “older women” in particular—may be sabotaging your careers.  No it’s not your pursuit of work-life balance, it’s not your historic battle against decades of workplace gender inequity; it’s something far more insidious.  It’s your stupid, long hair. [Read more]

BigLaw Bros: Why Slam Pieces Don’t Want You

March 1, 2011 · by

Bros of BigLaw, I love you, but I’m worried about you.  You’re confused.  You’re angry.  And you should be.  You’ve been told, by each other, that cementing your place as a certified cog in the BigLaw cash wheel would lead to a life slick with sick paychecks, sicker bonuses and a bevy of models and bottles waiting to revel in the sickness with you.

But…it’s not working out so well for most of you so far.  The disposable ladies aren’t lining up on their knees like you thought they might.  One of you even reached out recently to Above the Law to ask—nay demand—some guidance as to how a BigLaw dudebro could cut through all the nonsense and just “find pretty, young, not-too-intelligent slam pieces on the reg.” Elie, bless his heart, advised that all you need to do is to basically target cutters with daddy issues.  Decent advice, especially if you happen to live near your local mental ward—but I think Elie missed the mark.  He neglected to mention the crucial, the obvious, the only way the average BigLaw Bro will ever have a real shot at slamming his way through the prettiest, not-too-intelligent-est “slam pieces” on the market: [Read more]

Translating Your Annual Review: What Partners Really Mean

December 14, 2010 · by

[The excerpt below is part of an article that was written by yours truly and originally published on TechnoLawyer’s BigLaw newsletter on December 13, 2010]

The end of the year is right around the corner, folks. And if you’re an associate working in biglaw, you know what that brings: partner drunkscapades at the firm’s holiday party, reluctant realizations that you’ve spent yet another year trading whatever straggling shards of youth you have left for a bucketful of billable hours, and … year-end associate reviews!

Yes, it’s once again report card time for biglaw associates, that time of year when your supervisors weigh in on your progress —or lack thereof— on the path to partnership. But what do these reviews really mean? What hidden messages lurk within your supervisors’ vague appraisals? Are you on the way up or out?

Below you’ll find translations of five common strains of associate review-speak to help you figure out if you should pat yourself on the back —or watch your back— as this year wraps up.

Start translating over at this post’s original home on TechnoLawyer’s BigLaw newsletter.

The Price of Getting Pretty: Productivity

October 20, 2010 · by

Let’s say you just woke up.  After working at the firm until midnight last night, you’re already underslept and overtired and now you have to haul your ass out of bed and get ready for another day at the firm.  You either:

(A)  Get up; brush your teeth; spend 10-15 minutes prepping your face, hair and bod; get dressed in the dry-clean-only version of the same basic outfit and shoes that you would wear if you were going to the park for a weekend stroll; and leave for work.


(B)  Get up; brush your teeth; spend 45-75 minutes prepping your face, hair and bod; get dressed in the diametrical opposite of the outfit and shoes that you would wear if you were going to the park for a weekend stroll; and leave for work.

In other words, you’re either (A) a man or (B) already screwed before you get out the door.  Because if you have two X chromosomes and work at a law firm, you’re always going to be inherently less productive than your XY counterparts by sheer virtue of the fact that you have to get ready for work every morning.   Even if you couldn’t care less about your appearance.

Unconvinced?  Let’s take a look at how the actual numbers shake out. [Read more]

Does a J.D. Turn You Into a Cougar?

October 15, 2010 · by

If you’re the kind of person who has eyes, you’ve probably noticed that you can’t throw a vial full of Botox down an airshaft lately without hitting a cougar licking her wounds in an alley down below.  Whether it’s the latest crop of is-Ashton-cheating-on-Demi rumors, or this week’s bombshell about Courtney “Cougar Town” Cox’s recent humiliation at the hands of her soon-to-be-ex hubby, Hollywood news has no shortage of commentary about famous cougars. But starlets aren’t the only targets when it comes to cougar conjecture. Even here in Big Law, the hunt for so-called cougars has been steadily on the rise.   [Read more]

Six Rules for Law Firm Dating

October 13, 2010 · by

[The excerpt below is part of an article that was written by yours truly and originally published on TechnoLawyer’s BigLaw newsletter on October 12, 2010]

If you work in a large law firm, you’ve probably felt it lately — that ineffable shiver in the air, that growing sense of anticipation. It’s that time of year again — the first-year associates are arriving. Any minute now, hordes of fresh, hungry first-years will flood the halls of your firm, armed with nothing but hope and a closet full of new dress pants. Some of them will be married or otherwise attached — for now, at least. Most won’t be. And that’s where things get complicated — and interesting!

See, if you’re a single biglaw lawyer, you’re well aware that your options for finding a date, much less a mate, are pretty much limited to people working within a 11-foot radius of your office building. But even if you find yourself face to face with a live target, it’s tough to make a connection. Part of the problem is that for every six minutes of billable time you get under your belt, you lose a proportional percentage of what the kids call “game.” By the time you’re, say, a sixth-year associate, you’ve lost absolutely all ability to flirt. Every last bit. At best, your efforts scream “Avoid Me”; at worst, they scream “Unabomber.” Either way, you need some help. So, if you want to improve your flirting skills, and score a date among the junior ranks at your firm without getting yourself rejected, or worse, in trouble, study these six rules.

Read up on the rules at this post’s original home on TechnoLawyer’s BigLaw newsletter.

Poor You! (Literally.)

September 23, 2010 · by

Picture, if you will, my lawyer friend, Caitlin.  She’s a mid-level finance associate at one of New York’s biggest lawyer factories.  She’s been at the Big Law game long enough to be depressed on the good days and on the hunt for sturdy noose material on the bad days—which is to say most days.  But, as luck would have it, after months of furtive interviews, she finally got an offer a couple of weeks ago to go in house at a media company that most people I know, including me, would kill to work for.  So, when we went out to drinks last week to celebrate, I was expecting her to be ecstatic.  I was expecting her to have quit the firm within five minutes of getting the offer.  What I wasn’t expecting was three hours of listening to her waver, almost to the point of tears, about whether she should take the job.

I kept pressing her—what was it about this job offer that was making her so torn?  The (awesome, non-billable) hours?  The (cooler) people?  The (less mind-numbing) work?  Finally, after four Belvedere-tonics, she leaned across the table and lowered her voice.

“It’s just…I’m just afraid…”  She darted her eyes around and leaned in closer, lowering her eyes.

“I’m just afraid of what it’ll be like to feel…”  she whispered, “…poor.”

The offered salary of the new in-house gig?  $120,000 a year.

And now, a couple of weeks later, I’m still not sure what’s more disturbing: the fact that this friend—a worldly, educated, smart, able person—truly thinks that a single lawyer living in New York City on $120,000 could feel “poor” — or that fact that she’s absolutely right. [Read more]

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