THE STANKOWSKI REPORT #5: "Brief Due Tomorrow"
by Stan Stankowski
So you get to the law firm and things are pretty much how they have been for your entire, albeit brief, legal career. Essentially, with a few minor exceptions, you go and talk to a lawyer, he gives you some issue or another, and you do some research and write a memo on it. Or, things switch up and get a little more exciting and someone gives you an issue and tells you to write a brief. In some sense this is comfortable. After all, you know what you are doing at this point. You have been cranking out soulless, boring documents for years. But at some point, you realize that as neat as it seemed for about one week during your summer job, writing legal briefs sucks.
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Which brings us back to the law firm. Here you are, finally a lawyer. However, the work hasn't changed. In fact it has gotten much worse. Billable hours are bad, but they are positively suffocating when you have two issues and two briefs you are trying to write. Do you know how hard it is to spend ten hours a day doing that? Nevertheless, here you are again. Ain't nuthin changed but my limp.
And then one day, that all changes. I am not sure where it happened but all of a sudden, you are doing different shit. You are on conference calls, writing letters, filing things, going through discovery responses, shooting off emails and drafting settlement agreements. Sounds dramatic, doesn't it? And in a way it is. Who decided this? Why didn't they tell you? Was there a meeting where they sat around and said "Ole Stan, he seems alright, let's switch up his workload."
It is a little bit of fun actually. So you jump into it with a passion. Briefs and research be damned, you are past that stage. Your new hell is document review, but hey, there isn't that much of it and at least you aren't writing memos or briefs. You are elated. In your happiness, you give the bum on the street a dollar. You pet your dog.
But there is something nagging. You are not quite sure what it is, but it comes to you often, generally at four in the morning when those three whiskies you slammed down at 11:30 so you should sleep start to wear off. It is always there and it lets you know it constantly. However, in all of the craziness of your new job duties, you can't really devote the time to figure it out. So you push it away from your conscious mind, positive that if you can just stay busy enough, you won't have to worry about it.
And then one day your Blackberry beeps. You look down to see what it is ... you gasp. Junior Partner's Bitchy Old Secretary looks at you disapprovingly and starts whispering about how the new boy is definitely smoking "marijuana cigarettes." You want to throw the "Werther's Originals" she keeps at her desk at her but the world is getting blurry. You pass out. When you come to you look at the Blackberry screen. Surely, surely God would not let this happen to you. With renewed confidence you look up. You pry the fingers from your eyes... And there it is...a friendly glowing message from hell that you were positive you would never see again ....
"Brief due tomorrow."
About the Author: Stan Stankowski is the pseudonym of a first-year associate working in a litigation firm somewhere in the South. For more details, read his introductory post, as well as Evan Schaeffer's introduction. The collected Stankowski Reports are here.