Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bitter Lawyer, Not


What’s the best advice you ever received as an associate?

A partner I worked for years ago gave me a private pep talk once. I was just starting my second year and had billed something like 2600 hours my first year. I was feeling overwrought, and it showed. The partner handed me a thick case file and said, “Barry, there are two kinds of people in this world—those who get it done, and those with perfectly reasonable excuses for not getting it done. Which one do you want to be?”

And I ask you, gentle reader (of which I have none): What the ??? Sorry, guess he's just so incredibly intelligent that the "advice" he received was trivially obvious to him. Could someone explain it to *me*, though? Was the advice to slow down and allow himself to have reasonable excuses for billing less than 2600 hours? Or was it to suck it up and keep being the type of person who gets it done, despite being overwrought? Eh? Anyone?

Yeah, OK, yes, I should have continued reading. He speaks very plainly and directly when answering another question a little further down:

Q: What makes an associate a superstar?

A: ...a superstar associate almost never offers a “perfectly reasonable excuse” for declining work. He or she just “gets it done.”

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