Thursday, October 18, 2012

Perspective

Occasionally, I do some pro bono work.  We don't have too many options as corporate lawyers, but take what is available.  I assist refugee asylum seekers with their cases in front of the UN primarily.  While we generally, and I personally, know little to none about the asylum recognition process, most asylum seekers know less, don't speak English, and would definitely be worse off without someone helping them (unless of course you are some weird douchebag and have signed up for a pro bono case and then doing a terrible job for some reason that fucks him/her over...don't do that.  Anyway, during my last meeting with my most recent client, I caught myself saying the following to him, "So, I just want to clarify some details about your testimony: when you talk about how you were kidnapped, wrongfully sentenced to death and then narrowly escaped while they were taking you to be executed...."  And I thought in my head, "holy shit; I never thought I would ever say those words to someone...."  Ain't that the truth.  So next time you bitch about how your life sucks because you were working until 3 a.m. processing some stupid hand markup, or because your client/boss gives you shit...chew on some perspective man, it could be worse. a lot worse.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Phone vs. Email

Yes, today's topic is the epic, unending battle between evil and eviler: picking up the phone versus sending a message into the ether. Whether you use prefer the phone or email (or are better at one or the other) may depend on any number of factors, including (i) whether at any time you carried a beeper and thought it was cool, (ii) you think "that 70s show" refers to M*A*S*H* or (iii) you ever were a banker. So think about what category you are in first, then tell yourself, "shit (wo)man, I should figure out how to expand my toolbox so that instead of just building bridges with steel and mortar, I can build them with rainbows and dreams too..." (or visa versa).  Anywho, this will be more of a bullet-point post, with some basics, and some other tips I find useful. But let me first preface: I myself prefer e-mail.  I *hate* it when people call me, whether it's a client, another lawyer, head hunter, telemarketer, wrong number, a friend, the lottery, whatever; I don't give a flying fuck rat's ass.  When I see my phone go off, I literally sigh with the weight of the world as it would weigh on Jupiter on steroids (think about it), because people don't call you unless they want something...from me. Or, even if they don't want to, they are giving you something that you asked for, which means now it's my turn to do something with that information.  And, even if they aren't doing that, it interrupts me, my train of thought, my crossword puzzle, my daily show session, my nap, and takes up my precious time.  However, the phone is not without it's uses.  Because if you think about it, the phone has two ends -- yes two! -- so if I wanted to, I could be that bastard on the line asking for shit. I guess that is the crux. But anyway on to the list.

  • e-mail leaves a record that survives forever and ever, especially if you are emailing a bank. be careful and don't be stupid when you write something stupid. phone +1.
  • e-mail leaves a record for CYA purposes, so that if you ever need to go back and say to someone who is accusing you of being negligent or stupid, you can say, "hey dipshit, look at this email that I sent you that proves you are full of beans!" email + 1.
  • if you call someone, they tend to call you back, unannounced, unexpected. email + 1.
  • when you negotiate something simple, email allows you lay out, carefully and thoughtfully, your entire argument before the other side has a chance to say a word. i find this very effective on discrete points, short documents like NDAs or side letters or whatever. email + 1.
  • sometimes, picking up the phone is just fucking faster. phone +1.
  • phones allow you (if the other person isn't dodging your calls) to get an immediate response, and if desired, put someone else on the spot, to gauge their reaction. phone +1.
  • you can't be sarcastic in emails without trying really hard. phone + 1.
  • there is some obsessive compulsion among lawyers and other professionals to constantly check email, on their smartphone, or whatever, leaving you connected all the time. this is a negative if you care about life. (tip: you can leave your smartphone at home when you go to work - why the fuck do you need it at work? and you can also make it so that it doesn't buzz or light up when you get emails - it's a type of self-contract that will help you stay true to the self you want to be. a similar thing i do sometimes is mute my desk phone...hehe.) phone + 1.
  • phones have given birth to the 'conference call', which people want to have all the fucking time sometimes for no reason at all except so that they can try and get people to stroke their stupid egos. why don't they have email conference calls? like chat rooms. that would be good because then you can all attend remotely in your underwear and use slang like "LOL" and "STFU" and "WTF" and when the older people ask you what you are saying you can make it a game to come up with appropriate phrases (think "Wow! That's Fantastic!"). email + 1.
  • you can download a super cool customizable ringtone for your phone. phone +1. 
  • you can do ALL sorts of tricky shit with email, like get read receipts, delay delivery, copy and paste, forward, put on a cool signature block, close deals, contact your long-lost Nigerian prince cousin who is going to give you bucket loads of cash; the possibilities are endless.  (tip: have you ever been in the situation where you send a quick email to someone, and that someone tends to like to reply via PHONE and you like me think the sound of other people's voices sound like how green poo probably tastes, one thing I like to do is delay my email send by just a few minutes, send it, and then walk out of my office to the bathroom, gym, lunch, whatever - they may call, and ask you to call them back, and if you don't call them back because you are 'out', they may eventually give up and write you an email response (win!); conversely, you can always return missed calls with email - double win!!) email +1.
  • in email you have to worry about typos, syntax, grammar.... or most people do. phone + 1.
  • emails you can always ignore and come up with some excuse later. it's like time shifting from the future or something like that. phones are harder to ignore, especially if you've got that really cool ringtone on it. email +1.
  • when you are upset, you can bang the phone and not worry about liability that much, but if you punch your computer screen or smash your blackberry on the pavement, you might be out a few hundred bucks. phone +1.
So what's the final tally??

Who cares, actually, you should get off both your phone and email and go outside for once; maybe play some sports. You can always bring your phone/email, just like these guys.






Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Becoming the Indispensable Cog Pt. 1

 Hi, Everybody!



Sorry it has been a while.  I've had some non-work things on my plate, but that wouldn't stop our four-fingered friend here from four-fingering his way through upstairs medical college and into your triple bypass surgery, so should it not stop CML from fingering these fings down.

And, on that note, let me begin today a series of meandering thoughts I have, as extruded through my fings direct to you, about how to become a good, nay, a great corporate monkey lawyer, through the path of least resistance.  I know many of my posts, okay maybe a majority...or let's just say plenty -- plenty of my posts promote the plethora of ways to circumnavigate or rather circumvent being or having to do anything with any of "corporate", "monkey" or "lawyer", except with respect to "monkey" only, if you are figuring out how to make your firm more like a bonobo commune.  But, don't misunderstand me, my point is not to encourage the ingratiation of your monkey cage to you, but to offer some tips on how to turn that cage into your miniature palace for as long as you intend to milk it.  I mean, not to lose sight of the forest from the trees here, but for all the monkeying with the blackberry, ditching work, making yourself look busy, etc., you still have a "job" to do, and if you can appear to do it well - or at least better than most others around you, people will like you, think of you highly and want to keep you around.  This has one large benefit -- leverage -- that manifests in two ways: (1) leverage in the long-term in giving you some job security - I personally mean this in the positive sense, i.e., the apes above you think you are good so see "potential" and want to propel you into their ilk - I don't worry so much about job security in our industry unless you chose a really unleveraged firm - but if you were to worry about that sort of stuff, this is a pro, and (2) leverage in the short-term in terms of people catering to you the type of work you want, honoring your stupid requests and putting up with your daytime disappearing acts.  I'll write more specifically about how I think this can all pan out in a later post, but i think the idea is more or less, to apply yourself.  And what i'm saying is, you don't have to apply yourself to being a super lawyer to be a super lawyer (you could if you wanted to, but i think it's not a very practical skill - lawyering that is), you just need to apply yourself to figuring out ways to make it seem like you are a super lawyer.  If you have decent intelligence and common sense, being a good lawyer is almost as easy as planning a surprise birthday party for your blind dog, and a fuckload easier than planning a wedding, dancing with the stars or being a masterchef.  And you can use your spare time to also apply yourself in other ways - being entrepreneurial, fine-tuning your golf game, figuring out how to shortcut the other aspects of your life. 

Anyway, whether or not this point is clear, it's time to get to today's meandering thought - which I dub the "Dr. Nick" lesson.  The Dr. Nick lesson is simple: if Dr. Nick can do it, so can fucking you. Seriously, the dude went to upstairs medical college and despite any other adversities he may have had, he has been pretty successful - as far as i can tell being one of two premier doctors in the whole town of Springfield - getting there with a bit of ingenuity, hard work at applying himself, common sense and some luck. In his job, lives are at stake, and in our job, nothing is at stake.  So, the next time you are given something that seems impossibly long, stupid, difficult(?), annoying, stinky or offensive, just think, if Dr. Nick can get through it (and scores of other CMLs who have shat in that cage before you) so can you, and you can challenge yourself to figure out a way to do it even faster or better and without even really doing it, and as your reward, your primate bosses will praise you with intimations that you should join their ranks in the future which you can promptly shove back down their intestines with joy and relishing.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer

It's been a while; sorry.  I've been extremely busy not being in the office.  Summer is one of the times when everyone goes on vacation, including your bosses and clients, so even when you're not on vacation, you're on vacation.  Combine that with one of the most dismal years in M&A in recent past, blighted capital markets, Eurozone crises, international turmoil and everyone's attention diverted to the Higgs boson/J. Bieber's new do/release of Batman, and you've not just got summer, you've got a veritable Summer of George!

Anyway, needless to say, I'm not around very much, and when I am, who knows what the fuck I'm doing. Not working. And yet...I always find it hard for me to do everything I want to in a day. May be I'm just too ambitious.  Golf, tennis, free fancy lunch, shopping, movie and happy hour all in the same day? Maybe too much. But what do I know, I'm just a caveman lawyer.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The One Man Show

You can run a one-man show. I know monkeys that prefer to do everything themselves, from setting up dial-ins, turning documents to negotiating and getting paid. The one man show. The one man show trusts no one; he's Mulder in the X-Files, he's gary busey in...gary busey's life. On the one hand, it's awesome for everyone else on the deal team - they don't have to do jack shit, but it's a double-edged penis, because you luck out with little work, but basically gain no penis-ing experience too, if you're into that only of course.  At the heart of this though is just delegation. I've written a lot about this, but it's important. Really important. I know it. Your boss monkeys know it. Tim Ferris knows it. Delegating is more than just about passing shit off, it's about the sinews that tie together the fabric that is a team -- your team. If you read fastco or techcrunch or entrepeneur you'll see a lot of articles geared towards young managers mobilizing their teams, incentivizing employees, building teamwork, efficiency, etc. Delegation is just a vertical embodiment of teamwork, which is an allocation of work. And you can't allocate work effectively if people in your team suck and you can't trust them to do anything. You can run a one man show always and ensure you won't have to redo anything, but then it's like watching the man show with JUST adam corrolla or jimmy kimmel without the other one to balance them out -- it's just too much dude.

So when you think about delegating, think about your team. Who you want on your team, who you want to keep, and who you want to leave. You can just dump people unfortunately but you can always try asking for what you want. You might get it. Once a team member has become scorned by your outrageous delegating though, it will be difficult to get them on board, they will just avoid you like the plague. So what's paramount is retaining good talent. It happens at all levels. Partners actually meet (!), and actually talk about retaining associates (! - no really i overheard it once), and at least in some firms, they actually do things to make sure people stick around - like give them work that they ask for or try not to overload them or respect their holidays shit like that. blew my mind (although really i still know what is at the 'end' of that monkey cage...it's just more monkey cage). But at other levels - you and your juniors, juniors and paralegals, even fucking you and your assistants who are critically important. When you find a one that is good, don't fuck with them; be nice; otherwise who knows they may just up and go and leave you with some brainless Siri wannabe that can't even understand what a "please print this" request means. If you have trouble remembering how to act, just remember that the relevant maxims basically all reiterate that timeless rule about golden showering...or something like that.

 Who do you want on your team?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Big Law: Spring Bonuses 2012

Yes, it's that time of year again.  What the fuck time. What the fuck! Where's my Spring Bonus?? I worked really hard for all of half of last year and all of half of the year before that....ya...been kinda slow.  On the one hand, we have a sense of entitlement to more bananas in order to keep us mentally willing to be chained to our desks.  On the other hand, for the past six months, i've left my blackberry at home on my couch 'charging' about 80% of the time, have somehow gotten so accustomed to not working weekends and nights that i find myself quite offended and guffawed when asked to do so, and i *think* i have a tan. my net bananas each month is still more than some people with actual jobs make gross in a year, so i'm not complaining. unless fucking s&c or some other shop fucking pays bonuses and we don't.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Don't you hate it when...

you are leaving work at some point between 6pm and 8pm (which is COMPLETELY ACCEPTABLE AND NORMAL), and you run into some douchebag in the elevator or elevator lobby. Running into douchebags or doing anything with douchebags is not fun i guess, except i guess if using the douchebag for its intended purpose if you are of the female variety and practicing good hygiene...(?)....uh, ya, so anyway, y'all know what i'm talking about.

Here's the scene: you are amped to get out - maybe not as early as possible, but early enough so that your hourly banana rate is higher than the douching banker with gonorrhea next door, and then you run into a colleague while waiting for the elevator, or in the elevator when you get in/on your way down.

<Now, when I leave, if the weather is nice, and because i'm a dude, i usually don't really look like i'm leaving (read all the other posts i have about playing hooky) - just a shirt on with wallet and keys stuffed in my pocket.  BUT, when it's really cold outside or if i have shit to carry, if i'm not playing one of my tricks (usually reserved for "early" departures), i'll probably be wearing a coat or have some sort of bag.>

So let's say me is you, and you are leaving like me, and it'll be apparent you are leaving. Then, you run into a colleague of the gunner or just-plain-green variety (hereinafter, "Fartbucket"), and you exchange looks and simple 'hello's'.

<As another aside, i don't get why there is any social pressure to make small talk with people in your office in the first place, especially people you don't really know (if a big office) or just people you don't care to associate with (if a small office). A lawyer's unnervingly insatiable need to hear his own voice?  I don't make small talk with random people from other offices i run into the lift even if i've seen them before - i could if they look interesting, i won't if they don't. maybe it's cuz i look interesting...and maybe i look interesting because i always go to work in a monkey mask and linsanity t-shirt. Whatever.>

So anyway, Fartbucket, obviously noticing the coincidence of time and your attire, coughs up something like, "oh, so are you going out for dinner?" (implying that you are not done with work, but just going out to eat, with the assumption that you'll be back later.) A. Why the fuck, Fartbucket, do you care where i'm going?  B. If it looks like i'm going home, then i'm probably fucking going home, retard.

<So at this point, my responses usually fork depending on the identity and variety of Fartbucket, and the particular nature of what is said to me. If it was a green-type, and I like him/her, I'll try to train them to think as a real monkey should think -- kind of like housetraining you puppy, it's cagetraining your monkey; i'll tell him "Fuck no, I'm going home, and so should you. Get your work done sooner numbnuts and you can too."  if they had asked rather something more straightforward (but with an incredulous overtone) like, "are you going home?!?" i would just reply just as incredulously, "yes...!?!?!?" etc.  Now, when i run into the gunner types - never liked them much - i sometimes just pretend i didn't hear them, fiddle with my blackberry or if i don't have a blackberry, just hold up my hand to my ear like i it's a phone and start talking - works every time. i don't really care what they think, but i am slightly afraid they are going to tattle to big boss next time someone tries to staff them on something and they realize they've taken on 17 too many deals because they are gunning and doing a terrible job at their job to boot, and try to irk shit onto the dude they spite because he seemed to be leaving "early" that one day. once i ran into someone who was, sadly, both a gunner AND green, and who was in the same obviously-leaving attire i was in, and, without prompting, awkwardly said as if to no one really (although it was just us in the elevator), "oh i'm just going to dinner...." i almost snapped, "i don't give a fuck" but instead went with, "oh, that's too bad, i'm going home." - i could see the look on Fartbucket's face, i couldn't tell if it was the look of remorse after telling a lie for no purpose or the look you had on your face when you saw the dude with the mustache on his head. By contrast, i once ran into a partner when i was leaving at like 5:45 once, who was carrying shopping bags and like three suits he just bought. We were both leaving, and all he did was smile guiltfully and we parted ways - like a true monkey pro>

Anyway, the point of this rambling is, if not apparent already, several fold:

1. most importantly: don't be afraid of leaving work at a "normal time". If you are done with work, or even if you're not and want to work from home, then fucking GO. Face time is a worse idea than crystal pepsi or letting your dog guard your sausage stash. Let your work product and billables speak for themselves, no one is going to staff you based on what time someone saw you leave to do whatever.

2. notwithstanding the foregoing, the only time you MAY want to ready yourself with a canned excuse is if you happen to be in the elevator, with a partner who is responsible for staffing you, and who is looking to staff someone like you, and then asks you about your time.

3. cagetraining your monkey brethren who deserve it

4. all others sound like fartbuckets, hence the Fartbucket. have you ever heard the sound of a fart resonating in a bucket collapsed on your head? can't imagine it would be pleasant right? fucking Fartbuckets.




Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mr. Smith & Goldman Sachs

You may have heard about the op-ed by the now ex-Goldman banker in the times.  If you haven't, have a read, it will give you an idea of the type of yahoo's you will end up servicing in the future.  And, you can just think, if they treat their clients like this, imagine how they treat their service monkeys.... Right.  But then again, we all pretty much knew what Mr. Smith is saying before he said it, didn't we.

Instead of worrying about the money you are they will make, get a dog and live happy.

Update: LL (the professor, not the cool J) responds to Mr. Smith. For those that don't have the patience to read news, basically he's saying, "No shit, Sherlock. Culture changed at every big bank when (a) they stopped being a partnership (think: corporate veil, or what the partners probably thought: corporate bulletproof vest) and (b) financial regulation and subsequent attempted financial regulation went the way of TSCA and self-pump basketball shoes (you know, when i was a kid, women always referred to their heels as 'pumps' - i never quite got that, i always imagined that their heels also had those cool little pump buttons somewhere and they'd pump 'em so they could jump higher in their heels...).  Anyway, his solution: turn 'em back into a partnership and of course, effective law.  Again, we all pretty much knew that too, I think.  I say, while we're at it (or rather, while Obama's at it), let's bring back the pump!




Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pro Bono Work

is a GREAT way to boost your billables.  Ok, don't get me wrong, I am all for helping a few souls in need, including my own, but as an additional bonus, the firm doesn't charge your clients for your time, so you don't need to worry about overbilling or being reprimanded for padding your time...not that iPad my time.... But, anyway, if you are concerned about your staffer or partners reviewing your time and thinking, "hey, this dufus isn't billing 7 hours a day; in fact, it looks like he spends most of his time 'sick', 'organizing desk papers' or 'blawging'...'wtf is 'blawging''" -- as i do occasionally, then this is a great way to present to your up-and-ups that you do in fact wear the semblance of a diligent worker bee slave, which of course you do. So, next time you overlook that call to help taxicab drivers stick it to the "man" or to assist the ACLU help minorities stick it to the "man", because you inappropriately think you are in fact, the "man", think twice, about saving your soul, and also saving you from more deal work.

In all seriousness, though, think about doing something more worthwhile...even if you are a CML writing a brief for the first time for some refugee who has no idea you are helping them and equally no idea that you also have no idea how to write a brief (thank god), they are probably better off than writing the brief themselves.  If your firm doesn't count pro bono hours towards a stupid bonus target, you should fuck their skull with a fork until they realize the fallacy of their thinking.  They probably all secretly think pro bono is when they write off time for clients.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Negotiation Tactics 101

Negotiation is one of the fun parts of my job. It ranks right there above beating brickbreaker for the 5 bajillionth time while I take a massive dump and a few notches below seeing the clock tick past 4:30 and think, "finally, i can make my escape". what do i like about it? i think it's the competitive spirit it breeds, the winning and losing -- as long as i win. whether you are a cap mkts monkey, an M&A monkey, an aged and withered monkey, a young spring chicken monkey or just a chimpanzee in a zoo who nabbed some poor schmuck's ipad, you'll probably have some opportunities to negotiate here and there, and even if not, you can always practice with your family, boss, credit card company, whatever. so no matter what the occasion may call for...as applicable...here are some helpful things i do to help me make sure that the other side has shit their pants after I'm finished with them:
  • be prepared (think: market surveys, precedents, understanding basic concepts, reasoning for the points you want and don't want, thinking of circumstances that will favor your position etc.)
  • have specific goals that you must meet
  • make arguments based on logic and reason, not just for the sake of the position
  • craft your arguments as addressing the underlying "issues" rather than just restating your position (i.e., import why getting "x" will make both you and them happier, better, cooler)
  • be prepared with alternatives you would be ready to accept and make them look foolish
  • be prepared with hypotheticals that are realistic...or at least plausible, to back up your position
  • use the "off-market" bomb appropriately
  • remember your negotiating leverage and wield appropriately
  • remember your client's goals
  • try not to be glib, condescending or patronizing, but the exact opposite
  • if you ever reach an impasse or start talking in circles, just stick a pin in it (e.g., say, "we'll take it back to our client" or "we'll think about that", while thinking, "fuck you dick-licker, we're not going to take that comment because you are obviously missing chromosomes")
  • if you ever get caught without a good response, also stick a pin in it
  • remember: on commercial points, you should have a general idea based on your commercial leverage and position as to where the negotiation will end up - your goal here is to get to a little better than that point in an efficient amount of time (your clients will be happy you are not wasting their time) and to try and make the other side look stupid; on legal points, no one will care and everyone will probably be yawning most of the time, so try and be efficient by using the points above
i would note that these tactics are good for discussions mostly with lawyers or other professionals, dealing with business negotiations is a completely different ball game. i find that like 900% of the time, pure business clients express a general disdain for lawyers, demean and belittle their role, while completely misunderstanding their own positions and how they need to get to those positions. there's a reason people don't do hundred or even ten million dollar deals on term sheets and handshakes. someone is gonna get fucked. anyway, cunt-licking clients will be the titular topic for another post to come...i digress.

In terms of negotiations that corporate monkey lawyers will likely be a part of, for the curious ones, they can take many forms. It's not all fancy shmancy like you'd see in the movie, "the negotiator", or some show like "the good wife". Some might just be over the phone between you and some other unlucky douchebag. Some just might a ping-pong of drafts back and forth. If you are ever lucky enough to have a cross-border deal with lots of...ahem...let's say "exotic" jurisdictions, your negotiation could remind you of "lost in translation", an S&M show terribly gone wrong, or just make you think....

what the moustache

Anyway, so here is how i would be describe negotiations a CML may encounter in my best 9th grade "show-not-tell" language (I got straight B+'s in English by the way):

  • some can be short, some can be tedious, like pinching a painful loaf that turns out to be just a pellet
  • protracted negotiations where the lawyers nitpick at every little, well, nit, are typically terrible, like picking the ticks off a monkey's back with your dickhole; who cares?! 
  • sometimes people take the think-of-hypotehtical approach to the extreme...theoreticals plausibilities make-up-wordiness.  It can be ludicrous and turns into just a cock show to flex your mental muscles against each other, and of course, all because this job is so inane we have nothing better to do; it's like the perfect storm of boredom, stress and dissatisfaction have brewed us into fortune telling gypsies predicting every fucking stupid circumstance that could happen but which no one will ever care about later.
  • can't really say that much, a lot of times i'll be taking blog notes in the meeting if i'm not talking
  • you can spot the good lawyers and good lawyering: it's like a twisted alchemy, turning shit into gold, and then cramming it down the other monkey's throat
  • a lot of it is also about being on the sidelines: watching the principals fight and talk about 'interesting' commercial points (everything becomes interesting at some point in your simian lifespan), and then they sick their dogs on each other, their tick-picking, shit-eating monkey-dogs to twirl it out. I have seen principals texting each other under the table taking bets as to which dog would win. wow.
  • linsane in the membrane

Monday, February 13, 2012

More to Law

The other day I happened to google, "ideal jobs for ex-lawyers", and this was the first hit. Looks like it's a London-based site - and looks just like a collection of news bytes highlighting people that have escaped their monkey cage. Whether it's for actual ideas, killing time or just longingly star-gazing into the "what if" window, it sure beats dealing with the fetid fecal matter I've been facing in recent days. And, you'd be fucking surprised at the number of websites there are devoted to disgruntled lawyers who have gone on to do amazing and not so amazing but nonetheless exciting things. Next google: "how to become a marine biologist."

Friday, February 3, 2012

Are you smarter than Siri?

Apparently, one of my junior monkeys is not. I think he is retarded. Not like Jimmy retarded in that he's just crippled with a funny lisp, or even Timmy retarded in that he's just plain hilarious, but like "I'd-rather-have-an-actual-monkey-to-work-with" retarded.

So for anyone who has devoutly followed all of my musings on this blog, you may note that i have previously advocated the use of various nefarious tactics to escape work and about how to not be so focused on being perfect. Well, yes, one sure way to get people to back off of you is to do a shitty job. If you are really shitty all the way around though, not a great thing. So like the legendary sex panther, for 75-80% of the time, aim to be devastatingly amazing, 100% of the time.  In other words, on average, you'll want to do a decent enough job so that more people than not think you are the bee's knees, or at least ankles, or just toes if you're aiming just barely enough to not get fired, which is probably good enough (and if you get all people to like you outside of your work, then your even better off, because really, who wants to say bad things about their chums).  And if there are people you don't like working with, you can game it towards them - that works the best. But don't be fucking stupid about it. If you are in a small department, or if staffing is lean, and let's say you are a junior and end up staffed on 2 or 3 deals that are 80% of your workload all with the same senior, you can't do a shit job all the time with that dude, even if you can't stand him.

So with all that in mind, let's analyze more deeply. Not all lacklusters are made the same.  You've got:

  • the "i'm too fucking lazy to do this shit" lackluster;
  • the "i'm so fucking crushed right now i can't tell if that's my dick or a turd i didn't finish pinching off" lackluster;
  • the "i'm so smart your comments don't even make sense" lackluster; and, of course, 
  • the "i'm just a dumbass that doesn't get it" lackluster. 
Now, of those  four types, which one do you think is the one you do NOT want to be? Right, the one where you get your senior thinking that it would rather have Siri working for him than you. My preference is to be in category 3, or 2 if you can justify it. 1 is kind of like 3, but doesn't build your rep as much. So how do you go about distinguishing these types?

I mean the typical workflow for a CML will be something like this:

  • senior determines what items need to be done
  • senior delegates items to junior
  • junior prepares drafts/acts on items, sends to senior for review on comment
  • senior responds 
So for 1, what happens is, the senior will in his comments point out a bunch of things - x, y, z - but it will be apparent that the junior knew what he was doing, but he just didn't take the time to do everything to completion. e.g., let's say you need to add a type of provision, say anti-dilution provisions to the terms of some preferred stock, but instead of going through and doing everything, you just put in brackets [insert anti-dilution terms] or something like that. Or, instead of customizing inane things like party names or looking up jurisdictions, you just bracket everything. You know what to do, but you just didn't bother doing it. Fine, as a senior, i can live with that, and i'd shy away from the same dude because he's lazy, but wouldn't say he's incapable or dumb.

For 2, you just have (whether justifiable or not) a lot of deals and/or billables going, and just turn in something and say - "this is far as i got - really gotta work on something else," or something to that effect. Fine, understand, i'll bite the bullet. Can't make any real conclusions unless I find out he was faking, but if he was and I don't find out, or only find out wayyy later, mad props yo!!

For 3, I like this because it makes the senior feel like you were actually thinking and maybe even impress them and maybe even show them the mental bird sort of. Basically, after the senior comes to you and says "why didn't you do x, y, z blah blah, you stupid twit", you have a response ready that shows you thought about x, y and z, and made a conscious decision not do to that or to do something alternatively because of some other concern that is important or that you think is important. shows initiative, thoughtfulness, and most of all, that you're more instrumental than the fine instrument known as Siri. The real upshot to all of this, notwithstanding all my other posts about half-assing shit, is that if you prove yourself enough to people that matter, you'll probably get enough responsibility early on enough to let you dictate your own schedule and only then be at the behest of clients rather than seniors (which can be a pain as well, that's for another discussion), and it never ends of course which is why at some point you need to just fuck off but, that's for yet another discussion. Of course, if your a smart guy or gal, and there are several of you out there i know, i don't think it will really be that difficult to do a decent job on most tasks anyway, which is why it should be pretty easy to fall into cat 1 or 3. 

For 4, if the junior responds to the senior's comments by just saying, "ok" or "will do" or nothing at all, generally fine - par for the course. But if the comments indicate that the draft was really shit, that the junior didn't put any thought into it, wasn't getting the whole point of things, didn't ask any questions, and, to boot, doesn't even follow instructions/comments properly, seriously, what the flagofuck. That's when i start to think, how does this dude even tie his shoelaces in the morning without poking out his eye. 

Anyway, so the take-away i think from all this is two fold: (1) for junior monkeys, get an iphone 4S and test yourself to make sure you are at least fucking smarter than Siri - you don't need to do literally do a great job every time, a mediocre job can cut it as long as it shows that you could have done a great job (and i personally prefer the mix of some bang-up jobs, and a few lacklusters, and we can talk about the benefits of bangups later), and (2) for senior monkeys, find yourself a good junior and ask for him over and over. 



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Double Dip Recession

while the flannemouthed porcine bankers sweat and etiolate in their own feces-laden pig pens, it's party time for the service monkeys! that's u! sit back, relax, nutate in pleasant content at the numinous phenomenon that is the double dip recession. i.e., throw ur shit around like you're a crazy nasty ass honey badger and you just don't give a shit. fuck yea! if you're not sure what that means, read these and these, or fuck that and just stay in bed eating doritos all day.

for those of you that don't know what a double dip recession is because you already don't give a shit, here's the way I would explain it to, um, Peter Griffin:

a banker's perspective:

a CML perspective:


so, for those of you experiencing the slump, be thankful you have some job security. and go buy some doritos.




Thursday, January 19, 2012

What do M&A lawyers do?

So here's a short post in my series of 'what it's like to be a cml' - for those non-lawyers thnking about it and want to know what actually some do day-to-day. this is focusd on schmucks stuck doing "M&A" work.

unlike cap mkts, M&A is a lot less formulaic timewise, but sthere's still a pretty standard sequence of events that occur - something like this:

  • negotiate a term sheet: high-level discussions between principals and seniors, some minor drafting. probably the most actual value add (yes, believe it or not) that a monkey can give is here - advice in structuring a deal and what's "market"
  • due diligence: think - rubbing sandpaper with your eyes (if you are the buyer's counsel)
  • drafting deal documents: think - rubbing sandpaper with your brain, if you are not high enough on the corporate monkey ladder or you are but have only shitty low rungs on that ladder supporting you
  • negotiating deal documents: like watching two used car salesman peddle golden-covered shit to each other - mr. bullshit and dr. i'm full of shit bullshit the bullshitters. could be the most fun you have in a conference room, unless you the one you are trying to bullshit is a belligerent retard.
  • signing: like pricing, but it could last a week, or it could be as anticlimactic as pasou'llsing out at happy hour, which you could be at while it signs
  • closing: who cares you signed already
as i mentioned, depending on where you are on the cml ladder, you'll end up spending most of your time i think as follows:
  • junior: as any junior, whatever the fuck everyone else tells you. it sucks. at best, you'll have 'command' over due diligence, and will be responsible for...preparing first drafts, being on call, doing research, and doing all the shit work, making copies for the other people on your team, bringing packets to meetings, turning changes, etc.
  • senior: bossing around the junior, in a, uh, fun and meaningful way. you actually need to understand the diligence, finalizing drafts, negotiating docs, usually the term sheets, answering clients' frantic and stupid questions.
  • partner: taking vacations and looking pretty? no fucking clue.
that's about it. as far as corporate lawyers go, m&a is probably on the more 'interesting' side, because of what you get to do after you are no longer a junior person, but like any job, it'll always just be, sticking pineapples into your anus.





Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tis the Season (Playing Hooky VII)

to be sick.

old man winter is upon us, and it's getting fucking cold. and you know what that means: get your flu vaccination, vitamin C, echinacea, drink lots of water, and do NOT get sick. and then, pretend to be sick and stay at home. remember that scene from ferris bueller's day off? or that scene from horrible bosses? something like that. i feel like my whole life as a corporate monkey lawyer is trying to emulate ferris bueller. he gets away with it AND gets the girl. shaa-BANG.

OK, anyway, short of building your own elaborate sick voice soundboard and/or sticking a pen down your throat and yakking all over someone, which you could do, here are some other ways to give credence to your uh....hol-ill-day.

i guess in general when you want to play hooky, there's a general risk/reward table you need to consider - the risk that you'll be caught and the ensuing 'punishment' (you can only cry wolf so many times before people start to call bullshit, but if you just don't show up and tell no one, it's not like you were lying to anyone, and if you have no work then this is probably the way to go), and the reward that you get (e.g. people trying not to bother you if you are sick, your 'right' to just ignore your phone, etc.).

with that in mind, if you want to call in sick, there are two ways to do it: leave in the middle of the day after appearing at work sick, or, just not showing up and calling in sick. the first is tougher because you have to credibly look sick, at least to someone, but then you've got a solid alibi rather than a questionable one. the second is obviously easier, but not necessarily simpler, because you still may need to have a 'sick' voice if called for some reason (and maybe that's a good idea), and it's always a nice idea to go back to work with a touch of whatever you used to have to make your 24-hour bug more believable. not all sicknesses are equal either. usually when you say 'sick' you think of the cold or flu, which is more likely during the cold season. but if you've used that or need something more short term (a morning/afternoon or just a day), sometimes a stomach bug works better - something funny you ate the night before or the day after. you don't need evidence for this which is even better, but something you can't use too often or conspicuously. most people don't like to go blabbing about their explosive diarrhea. i'd suggest calling it 'gastroenteritis' which is what the docs call it or just 'stomach problems'. usually people won't want to ask about it either, but unless you have a full blown stomach flu, lasts only a little while.

but if we are going to go with a cold/flu, physically, how can you look sickly? well, if you are a lawyer, you probably already look like a donkey has kicked the shit out of your face a few times. on top of that though, consider ice cubes on your nose, will redden it up and get you stuffy. rub your eyes excessively or with soapy water to get them red. turn of your lights and hold your head to get a nice sensitivity to light and noise theme going. practice your blank stare. wear a lot of clothes, even if the heater is on or it's not cold - like a sweater and gloves in the office. suck on a lozenge constantly (so you don't have to fake a phlegmy cough which is tough). act grubby and irascible, like your a little angry elf that gets made fun of too much. get 'caught' with your face planted on your keyboard. use pepper to fake sneezes. remember, you are an adult, people should give you the benefit of the doubt, so you don't need to overplay this, just a little so people are like 'oh shit (s)he is really sick, let's cut him a break', so that you can get 27 holes in without being bothered.

also, consider scheduling a doctor's appointment with your secretary, you can always pick up some more allergy medicine or something, and telling her to tell the other people you work with you are not feeling well. you know, out of courtesy. we aren't animals here.



this could be you


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Nap Time

nothing beats a good siesta compadre.  I just took one and even had a kick ass dream about flying and kicking the shit out of people that deserved it.  Some days i get to work and am just dead and need to recharge.  Don't fight it, just give in to the nap, man. Eat a nice heavy lunch, let the food colma set in, get your pillow / blanket, turn off the lights, close your door, tell your secretary to tell others you are busy and craaaash. I keep an eye mask in my desk to block out the light, and turn on some nice lulling music on pandora or youtube or my iphone - 20-30 minutes is good for me usually. feel free to use ur huggie. (not the diaper, the blanket with sleeves u twat).

And, if you have an office mate, you could always go look for an empty office (even better - no one would ever go there looking for you or anyone else, except for other wannabe nappers), or get out of the office - your car, nearby park bench or, if you live close enough, just go home. Sometimes i've gone home after lunch and just stayed home cuz i ended up doing everything from home! I mean why not. That's how dad did it. That's how I do it. And it's worked out pretty good so far.

it's a scientific fact that napping increases your productivity, efficiency, success, happiness, and overall testicular vigor. studies show it increases awesomeness by a factor of 50. wikipedia decrees it. there are whole offices and companies that base their culture around napping. there are races of people that are genetically programmed to nap...i think they are called europeans. and species of animals that spend more time napping than playing video games - seriously! and if ur curious about how it works with the ladies? well, 60% of the time, it works, 100% of the time. hell ya.