A ‘Busy Day’ For This Corporate Lawyer Is Utterly Depressing

A ‘Busy Day’ For This Corporate Lawyer Is Utterly Depressing

ERIN FUCHS NOV. 15, 2013, 4:47 PM 2,629 6

We recently ran a depressing anonymous Quora post detailing typical days of a corporate law associate and how utterly pointless that work can seem. At best, on not-busy days, he spends 11.25 hours alone in his office proofreading and marking documents without any human interaction, except for the brief exchanges with workers in the coffee shop, the cafeteria, and document services. At worst, on busy days, the drudgery is never-ending.The anonymous lawyer describes getting into the office at 8:15 a.m. and still being there when the Asia office sent over some documents at 2 a.m. the next day. A powerful partner was copied on the documents, so our lawyer turned the documents around right away which included “such wonderful 2 a.m. tasks as adding brackets to the trailers on signature pages.”

Our associate only went home at 3:45 a.m., knowing clients would start emailing again at 7 a.m.

It’s one thing to stay late at the office if you’re doing edifying, challenging work, and if you can catch your breath for a couple days after a long night, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Our anonymous lawyer doesn’t seem to get any satisfaction out of the work, noting that “it all seems completely pointless.”

Perhaps things would be better for this lawyer if the office were more collegial. After all, a lot of people have work that doesn’t necessarily feed their souls. They can still enjoy the day if they have colleagues they like and feel like they’re needed and appreciated.

But that doesn’t seem to be the case, either. More from our anonymous lawyer:

When you add partners who scream at you (and do indeed throw objects when angry), associates who routinely backstab each other, fixed salaries and bonuses so that there is no link between pay and performance, or pay and value add, and partnership odds of roughly 1 in 25 to 1 in 50 — as well as sometimes weeks on end in which you do not leave the office before midnight — there are just a lot of things not to like about the practice of law.

We interviewed a former lawyer earlier this year who left the practice of law, in part because of the type of nastiness that anonymous lawyer describes. She recalled that once her firm held a “diversity training” that encouraged lawyers to say hello to one another so they’d feel less alienated.

The partners and senior associates didn’t like the idea of saying hi to underlings, though. The entire experience, our source told us, “was just not very humanizing.”

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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