Partners in big law firms

November 29th, 2006

Shark yawning… and no offense intended to legendary utility watchdog attorney Meyer Shark!Â

Recently there was an article about the few women making partner in big firms and today there’s one in the NYT about how few African Americans make partner. You’ve got to read way down to see that it’s different in smaller firms, but it really sticks in my craw, and as you faithful readers well know, a LOT sticks in my craw until I tap it in here for safekeeping!

So here’s the Times article:

Lawyers Debate Why Blacks Lag at Major FirmsÂ

And here’s my rant on that:

The studyâ??s (and the NYTâ??s storyâ??s) assumption that making partner in a big firm is desirable, or a measure of success should be questioned. As a commentor above noticed, maybe it just means that blacks and women realize there is more to life than shouldering that yoke and working 100+ hours a week to bill their quota (and be paid what percentage of the revenue they bring in??), that they didnâ??t go into law to be a â??four cornersâ? attorney (move the file around the desk each day and bill accordingly), and maybe they see quickly that itâ??s a pretty awful life and wisely get out. Now granted, Iâ??ve not experienced big firm practice, but there are few in my law school class who love their jobs, and Iâ??ll gladly share loudly with the world that I LOVE MY WORK! Compare this study with studies of job/life satisfaction of minions at large firms, with success in using their acquired position of privilege to make this world a better place (not just a more profitable place for corporate clients). As a sole practitioner, I have the luxury of writing this comment surrounded by Exhibits in the Excelsior Mesaba coal gasification power plant docket, preparing for a filing due today, sucking down a second cup of coffee as I work in my bunny slippers with one of my dogs under my desk. I couldnâ??t imagine a better life (well, a warmer place would be nice) and I cannot imagine a hell worse than a big firm. Seems to me the assumption that big firm practice is where itâ??s at is against evidence!

Time for more coffee! Krie, move please!

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