3Ls Looking for Articling Positions Part 2
(Normally I reply to comments within the comments section, but this one became so long that it deserved a separate post.)
Thanks Lawgurl (nice blog, BTW) and all the others who have shared their insight! I agree: to a certain it is due to programing and cognitive dissonance. My main concern is for the students who say "just for a few years and then I get out." They want to pay off their debt and have the street-cred from working at a big firm, but they have dreams of changing the world for the better. (Incidentally, I was at a cocktail party and I mentioned to a Partner that I was interested in positive social change and she dryly shot back at me, "we don't do that here.")
My concern is that, gradually, the firm culture takes over and the students never realize their dreams. Patrick J. Schiltz wrote a letter to law students chalk full of sound advice (I've added the bold):
After you start practicing law, nothing is likely to influence you more than "the culture or house norms of the agency, department, or firm" in which you work.This situation, we are told, leads to stress, alcohol and divorce. And, in my view, it starts even before law school begins.
No one will tell you, as one lawyer told another in a Charles Addams cartoon, "I admire your honesty and integrity, Wilson, but I have no room for them in my firm." Instead, the culture will pressure you in more subtle ways to replace your values with the system's.
Here is an example of what I mean: During your first month working at the big firm, some senior partner will invite you and the other new associates to a barbeque at his home. This "barbeque" will bear absolutely no relationship to what your father used to do on a Weber grill in your driveway. You will drive up to the senior partner's home in your rusted Escort and park at the end of a long line of Mercedeses and BMWs and sports utility vehicles. ... You and the other lawyers will talk about golf. Or about tennis. After a couple hours, you will walk out the front door, slightly tipsy from the free liquor, and say to yourself, "This is the life."
In this and a thousand other ways, you will absorb big firm culture --a culture of long hours of toil inside the office and short hours of conspicuous consumption outside the office.