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 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