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Some of the stories lack drama; most of the jokes fall flat. More importantly, perhaps, it's hard to know what to take away from a memoir -- a detailed work, presumably nonfiction -- when its characters and events are "composites" of the author's real-life memories. Still, there's enough here to amuse a reader or enrage corporate clients.
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Stracher is best on billing practices: As Stracher tells it, law firms charge their clients for late-night takeout deliveries to the office, for the hours spent in cross-country travel, even for thinking in the shower. The entire story can be summed up as: his chair broke and he had to put in a request with the office manager, which was last on her list because he was a lowly associate and not a partner, and eventually, right before he quit, he got his chair.
This plot line about sums up the excitement contained in the book as a whole. If you are an attorney who has worked at a large firm before, or probably any sized civil firm, you will be able to relate to many parts of this book. The book is definitely an easy and fast read. I wonder, though, if some of the legal mumbo jumbo may be confusing or frustrating to non-attorneys. The way that Stracher tries to describe legal issues was pretty annoying to me, full of dramatic language and unnecessary capitalization. I recommend this for people who are in law school or thinking about going to law school because in my opinion it gives a realistic portrayal of being a junior associate at a big law firm.
The problem is that those big law firms are boring and stuffy, so the book is a little bit like that, too. Still, I think many people go into good law schools and a lot of debt with a lot of ambition and high hopes, only to find out that they must sell their souls to large law firms to be able to pay for their education, and this is not the kind of work or the kind of environment they had in mind when they signed up for the gig in the first place.
In my opinion this book seems to accurately depict large, big-city law firm life. To that I can only say "blah" -- to the idea and to the book! Rating: I give this book two and a half stars -- I didn't really like it but some people might and it's not absolutely horrible.
Read: March — April, Sep 09, Oliver Bateman rated it liked it. A systematic description of large firm practice that is neither as savage nor as funny as it could have been. The story is told in clear, heavily workshopped prose and can be read in about three hours. It's not resonant or memorable, but I doubt that there is anything Stracher could have done to make it so. His attempts to dramatize the material fall flat, but there are some genuinely hilarious moments. Mar 28, Craig rated it it was ok Shelves: read-fiction. The overly whiney story of a BigLaw associate.
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While I think it does a decent job of capturing the frustration and travails of a first year BigLaw associate People should know what they're getting into when they go down that road, and as such, get what they deserve. Apr 22, D.
Somewhat interesting, but it loses focus. Also, I work in a big Manhattan lawfirm, and granted that it's a decade later, but my firm is nothing like his was. Oct 10, Sandra rated it really liked it. An excellent book to read for understanding how our legal and business systems work. This account, without undue self-criticism or judgment of others, tells how the author came to the big firm and how he left. It focuses on life in this lofty realm and the kind of a personality that flourishes in the kind of dysfunctional "family" that exists there. Stracher gets kudos for clear explanations on legal procedures with enough humor to keep the reader interested, and for interspersing his legal exis An excellent book to read for understanding how our legal and business systems work.
Stracher gets kudos for clear explanations on legal procedures with enough humor to keep the reader interested, and for interspersing his legal existence with personal reflections and anecdotes. Like the runner he is, he has a good sense of pacing. Mar 21, Liz rated it liked it.
What is it like to be a young lawyer in a huge New York law firm? A hadn't wondered and now I'm a bit appalled. The memoir was engaging and lively, in spite of what might be a dull topic. I'm glad my career choice never took me here - perhaps that's a good purpose for memoirs. Feb 04, Erik Lee rated it really liked it.
Like the cover of this volume, the content itself can be seen as "trying too hard. And therein lies the problem.
This book reads too much like an over-workshopped, MFA project that have out-of-place post-modern sentences and "hey-I-have-an-MFA" vocabulary. The pseudo-memoir is a fun read--it paces a lot like its "predecessor" in that Like the cover of this volume, the content itself can be seen as "trying too hard. The pseudo-memoir is a fun read--it paces a lot like its "predecessor" in that the story is about a contemplative attorney strapped between his ideology and the material attraction offered by top firms.
It's a good window into what life outside HLS looks like, but given all the unnecessary MFA jargon, I am hesitant to give it a full 5 star rating. Sure, One L has been outdated and some have claimed it to be no longer an accurate portrayal at HLS, but I consider it better written and is worth a visit if not to read it as a "timeless classic. Jun 07, Jennifer rated it liked it Shelves: memoir-autobiography. Stracher's book is one answer to that question. Like most young associates, he spends a lot of time on grunt work, putting together paperwork and finding case law for attorneys who seem to be more adept at billing hours than so If you read One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School or The Paper Chase , you might well wonder what happens when a law student graduates, passes the bar, and takes a job?
Like most young associates, he spends a lot of time on grunt work, putting together paperwork and finding case law for attorneys who seem to be more adept at billing hours than solving problems. The major conflicts are not in a courtroom he never sees one , but inter- and intra- personal. Stracher has a comfortable voice and I enjoyed a peek inside a Wall Street firm.
Oct 01, Carl rated it liked it Shelves: afg-deployment , law. But if you are already an attorney what good is this book?
Perhaps its a good reiteration of the reasons you never "chose" to work for a big firm. Maybe it is a good way to judge your Jones Day friends? However, at the end of the day we all know working for a top 20 firm is a grind. We know in-house is cush. We know that litigators think corporate attorneys are afraid of court and socially awkward -or- corporat Executive Summary: A quick read that will make you think twice about the BIGLAW route.
We know that litigators think corporate attorneys are afraid of court and socially awkward -or- corporate lawyers know that trial attorneys are cocky assholes without much brains but a hell of a speaking voice. Nothing in here is a revelation. A lot of angst from an over-paid junior associate in under pages. For attorneys, just to laugh at people making mutliple times what we are, yes. A year-old New Jersey native who graduates in May, Bruck has heard from lawyer friends about hour weeks poring over mind-numbing depositions.
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Young associates at many firms rarely see the inside of a courtroom and get little feedback on their performance. On top of that is the crushing pressure to make partner -- a status awarded to a small percentage of associates after years of toil that can mean stratospheric incomes but also a lifetime of weekends and evenings in the office. So last year Bruck and about 25 other Stanford students founded Building a Better Legal Profession, which is aimed at forcing law firms to change the way they hire and promote young lawyers. This year, the group spawned chapters at Yale and Harvard law schools as well as a Facebook following of more than 1, students around the country.
Some law firms are building in more flexibility for young parents.
Others tout programs pairing associates with mentors to help new hires.