A Junior Associate is Like a Pencil: The Best Quotes from the 2016 Law Survey

by Kristina Rudic | June 27, 2016

  • My Vault

Last week, we published our ranking of the Top 100 law firms and new profiles for those firms, including feedback from some of the 18,000 law firm associates who participated in our survey.  We select quotes that are representative of the associates’ feedback and the scores they have given their firm to give law students and lateral candidates an understanding of what it’s really like to work at each firm. But we have a few favorite quotes that didn’t quite make the cut, for various reasons, that we’ll share with you now:

Uppers (best things about the firm)

“The fact that they gave me a job.”

Downers (worst things about the firm)

“The wine selection”

“It's like pulling teeth to even get post-its I like (‘yellow or nothing!’).”

Hiring Process

“We hire anyone who is competent.”

Interview Questions

“Are you competent?”

Satisfaction

“I feel like a rating of 10 should be reserved for a job where I'm sitting around collecting millions of dollars in royalty checks for an awesome book I wrote, so 8 is pretty damn good.  If [my firm] wants that 10, they know what to do.”

“I recently commented to a friend that ‘I love my job.’  Immediately afterwards I was a bit surprised at my own comment, but upon reflection I realized that I said it because it is true.  My husband chimed in to confirm that, as far as he can tell, it is true.  And my friend replied that I am the only happy lawyer she knows.”

Firm Culture

“The firm's culture is friendly and kind.  If the firm's culture were an NBA writer, it would be Zach Lowe.  Excellent at what he does, but cheerful at the same time.”

Associate/Partner Relations

“Partners date associates”

“About a third of the partners in my group are great: treating associates with respect, caring about mentoring, being helpful about my career.  The rest of the partners are basically The Island of Misfit Toys: they have some flaw that kept them from succeeding at a more prestigious firm, and now I have to deal with those flaws every day.”

“Direct partner quote: ‘A junior associate is like a pencil; you use it until you break it, and then you get another one.’”   

Hours

“Why would I say that I'm ‘satisfied’ by the number of hours I work?  Is this some kind of trick?”

“Show me an attorney who's happy with the number of hours he works and I'll show you an unsuccessful attorney.”

Compensation

“I get paid.”

Work Assignments

“Substantive work assignments are good.  -2 points for not getting any work for the strip club client.”

“I was confused when I was asked to lead a two zillion dollar merger, because I had only been on the job for 4 hours, and I didn't know very much about Dutch law (the client was in Holland) and couldn't speak any Dutch. When I expressed my concerns, I was immediately provided with a Dutch translator who happened to be popular recording artist, Bono. Bono and I flew to Norway, and after 40 days and 40 nights we got the deal signed. The firm decided to bring in Bono full time, and I now have the pleasure to work with him and his recording abilities on an around the clock basis.”

“I'm pigeon-holed because I'm good.  Why give the guy the work he wants, when he's so good at the work he's bored with?”

Training & Mentoring

“My formal partner mentor has provided zero guidance. Our longest conversation was at the urinal.”

Diversity Efforts

“Seems diverse.  I'm not a racist or sexist so I don't really pay attention to this kind of stuff.”

Fun Facts

"We are a Frankenstein law firm - stitched together from the remaining pieces of dead law firms."

Tags: Law | Law Firms | Rankings | Responses | Survey

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