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New Grads Bound For Biglaw: Do You Know What You’re Getting Into?

Richard B. Cohen abovethelaw.com

You worked damn hard in law school. And what did you get for it? Well, likely a debt that you have to work off for God knows how many years. You suffered boorish instructors and perhaps more boorish classmates, and the scrambling to move up the grade ladder, hoping for that brass ring.

Well, you passed the fraternity hazing that is law school, and now you likely just spent two days of your life, and untold hundreds of dollars or more, taking an exam which, if you are lucky and are allowed to pass, will permit you to enter the hallowed trade guild that is the bar.

Law school is the gatekeeper that assures a constant flow of raw material to Biglaw — it brands and clones you to fit right in. No coincidence that law school (1) is so expensive and lasts three long years, and (2) doesn’t teach you how to be a lawyer. That way Biglaw can keep you chained to your desk — you get the big bucks which you need to pay off your law school loans, and you get to hear — often — that you are not a real lawyer — yet. It’s a nice little arrangement.

Assuming that you are, God willing, allowed into the Brotherhood — now what? Do you know what you bargained for?

(And Biglaw still is, for the most part, a Brotherhood. I previously mentioned a 2016 study by Major, Lindsey & Africa, which found that women law partners average about 69% of the compensation of male partners.)


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