Richard Borzouye is an Incompetent Lawyer
Megan McArdle Supports Debtor's Prisons

Life in a Small Law Firm

Ken at Popehat has some excellent thoughts on starting a small law firm. His best tip is one missed by employers and employees: You really need to like each other. In a down economy, most law grads will take any job. If you hate your boss, you will hate life. Couch surf or sleep in mom's basement or something until you find the right gig.

My first boss (during law school) was a classic passive-aggressive. She'd give me an assignment, telling me, "Just get me a draft as quickly as possible. I'm worried about content rather than style. We can edit later." I'd send her a draft. Then she'd bitch about typos. "But I thought you wanted it immediately..." She'd give me detailed e-mail instructions. When she didn't like the product, I'd offer to show her the e-mail where she specifically asked me for something. "I don't need to see the e-mail. I know what I asked for." Thankfully this was a law clerk gig, so I quit.

If you wouldn't hang out with your future boss outside of work, don't take the job. Because in a small shop, you are de facto hanging out with each other. You will spend more time with your boss than with your spouse, girlfriend, or mistress. 

I recently heard a buddying law walk out of a bar examination room say, "Phew! Glad that's over. Now I can get back to life." I had to laugh, because bar prep shouldn't take more than 6-8 hours a day. Unless you're working 10 hours a day, you aren't even a real lawyer, and my rich (and future rich lawyer) friends put in 12-hour days.

You're going to be in each other's offices going over materials, dropping by to check on issues, and exchanging ideas. You simply cannot hide out when you're in a small office, so if you're inclination is to avoid the person you're going to work for: Thank the person for his or her time, and keep looking around.

Indeed, some people have asked whether my blog hurts employment. My answer is, yes, of course it does - and that's a good thing. If you won't like my blog, you won't like me. While there is much truth on this site, there is also much hyperbole, trolling, and rabble rousing. If you can't see that I'm usually only somewhat serious (and often not serious at all), then you're such a humorless fuck that spending several hours together would be awful.