小北的不老歌

Monthly Archive: June 2007

Updates

It’s been a slow week at work, but for some reason I still feel exhausted. When I don’t have any assignments I work on my law review assignments, and when even those dried up, I blog.

My book notice proposal has been accepted by the law review so it looks like I will be able to have another publication. My note is finally published, after almost a year since the time I first started writing. The hardcopies, all 30 of them, arrived at my apartment yesterday. Anna did not show any interest in reading them–not even interested in drawing her little fishies on them–and there were still 25 left after I took out 5 to mail to my parents and professors. What to do with the remaining 25 is going to be a challenge.

The firm is giving out passes to the Estee Lauder Company Store, which is supposedly an exclusive, members-only shop that gives large discounts to all lines of EL products. This will make Ping very happy. I also got a Brooks Brothers discount card through the firm, and will be sure to use it very often in the coming months.

The Firm (II)

Full time associates seem perpetually busy. Compared to their hours, mine are probably laughable. The shortest day I’ve worked so far was today, for which I will probably log only 2 billable hours, with the rest being unbillables. The longest so far was last Wednesday, for which I recorded 13 hours, 11 of which were billables.

By now I’ve worked on a number of different assignments, and still can’t figure out whether I like litigation or corporate more. The assignments are generally fine, if not overwhelmingly interesting. Clients are mostly household name big companies, and deals regularly appear on the front page of Wall Street Journal. For litigation work I’ve been assigned to do substantive legal research, which I like, because I get to use my prior training and can do things at my own pace. But I don’t know whether what I did will make any difference in the end — I’d like to think that my work will be of some use, even just a little, to the law suit, but other people have been telling me that it really doesn’t matter what I do. For corporate work I’ve been staffed on several deals, all of which seem to require a lot of attention to detail, organizational skills, proficiency with the search/replace function of Word, and not much legal training. And all of which need to be done quickly, if not right now. But as I drafted the documents I knew they would be reviewed, signed, and filed by clients, and become indispensable to the deal. So there is this self-congratulatory sense of accomplishment at the end of the day even th0ugh the role I get to play is minimal.

Compared to my internship last summer, during which I was able to interact with and learn from the judge on a daily basis, draft opinions that would become law of the state and cited a dozen times, and slip in a funny footnote or two, this summer’s internship seems to be quite different. But in all honesty, as far as law firm internships are concerned, I am happy with what I am seeing and doing — and what I am getting paid.

Work…

I wished I had the time to blog, even for a little bit. I had to work past mid-night on Wednesday (and no, I did not volunteer for it), and close to mid-night on Thursday. Ping needs to be at work at 7 a.m. every day so she leaves before I wake up and goes to bed before I come home.

I finally got to do some long-dreaded due diligence work, and it did not suck nearly as badly as I thought, as least compared to studying for jurisdiction and choice of law. Closings are certainly very intense, but don’t seem to require any substantive legal training to do at all. Work assignment from the litigation side is generally more interesting and involves real legal research skills (to the extent that a 2L has them), but I was told that it may just be a ploy to attract future document reviewers.

I will comment on the summer experience once I am done with the 11-week stint. But for now, I need to figure out a way to spend more time at home that coincides with the time that Ping is also at home.

Also an update on clerkship applications. Yes, I will be applying, and yes, I know I have a pretty slim chance of actually getting one, given my credentials (as compared to the Yale and Harvard grads) and my status as a noncitizen and a nonnative speaker. But I figured I had nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

Allentown, Pennsylvania

Ping’s flight into New York was supposed to arrive Friday evening. A few minutes past the scheduled departure time, I got a call from her and found out that she was still at the Chicago airport. Her flight was cancelled at the last minute, along with hundreds of other flights into New York, due to severe weather and a computer glitch. After frantic phone calls, they were rebooked to another flight eight hours later, with the destination being White Plains instead of LaGuardia. Good, I thought, at least she didn’t have to spend the night at the airport.

Later into the night, Ping called me again, this time from Allentown, Pennsylvania. Apparently the weather was so bad that the plane could not make it to the destination and had to land about 100 miles outside of New York. Their check-in luggage nowhere to be found, they were running out of milk, diapers, and had no change of clothes. I hopped into a taxi and rushed to Newark airport to rent a car, only to find out that there were hundreds of stranded passengers already waiting in line for rental cars. After standing in line at the Avis counter for half an hour, they ran out of cars. Another hour of waiting at the Hertz counter later, I jumped into one of the last cars left, and drove to Pennsylvania.

I arrived in Allentown, Pennsylvania shortly after 2 a.m. Allentown is probably one of those places that I would never have visited had it not been for extraordinary circumstances. There seemed to be very little to see or do. But the next morning I realized that this is where Lehigh University is located (a school that I’d always known but didn’t know it was so close to the PA-NJ border), and Anna seemed quite fascinated by the big white SUV that I rented, so it was not a wasted trip after all.

Two days later, I am still exhausted from the lack of sleep, and their baggage seems to have been lost somewhere between Chicago, New York, White Plains, and Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Watch out what you ask for

As the saying goes, be careful with what you ask for, because you might just get it.

I was a little uncomfortable on Friday and Monday because I had nothing to do. No assignments. So I wished I had a few things to work on instead of gazing out of the window or chatting with my officemate. This morning, all of a sudden three different assignments fell into my lap. And I stayed in the office until 7 p.m. for the first time, brought work home, and worked from home until midnight.

And I mentioned helicopter ride in yesterday’s post. Today I got a phone call from an associate inviting me to go on a helicopter ride this week. Of course, I jumped at the offer.

Now, what else should I wish for?

About the Lunches

As the check for today’s lunch arrived, I took a peek at it and was surprised to find out that we averaged more than $100 per person. To be fair, we ordered a lot: appetizers, salads, side dishes, drinks, and huge steaks, at an upscale steakhouse that’s supposedly on the top ten list in the country. After I left the restaurant, however, I am having second thoughts about these lunches. Everyone seemed to be so much into these fine meals that I cannot hope, nor willing, to pay for on my own. But are these really necessary? I didn’t even finish half of my $42 steak, and I didn’t want to be the only person on the table who ordered “just” a $10 soup — a soup so large and so thick that it could be dinner all by itself.

The Firm certainly has its reasons for being extravagant. It wants to recruit people, and this is one way to get people to join the firm and stick around for a few years. And it’s paying for these lunches and it can do whatever it wants with its money. But then I wonder what this says about the summer associates who seem to be infatuated with these lunches. I simply cannot think of a good, practical reason for wanting to eat at these expensive places. I’d much rather save up a few of these lunches and go buy a ticket for a helicopter ride around Manhattan (for the more selfish me), or donate it to some charity (for the less selfish me). But then I may just be stupid.

It was rumored that there’s this summer associate down the hall who has not gone to any of these lunches at all. At first I thought he was just one of those antisocial weirdos. Now I think he may be onto something.

Well… my real complaint is, these heavy lunches are giving me heartburn. I’ll probably have to order just a salad next time to balance my diet a bit.

Weekend

The weekend was rather uneventful. I could not get myself to sit down to write the book review, but managed to sit in front of the laptop for hours at a time playing–I am ashamed to admit–a 7-year-old computer game called Red Alert, and watching TV shows, which, I am also ashamed to admit, included quite a few episodes of Desperate Housewives. Finally I got motivated enough to pack up my photo gear and headed out to the city, but soon realized that it was about to rain, so I headed back to my apartment, read a few pages of Fairbank’s book on China, and fell asleep at 6 o’clock in the afternoon.

The Firm

I actually don’t remember much from my orientation, so there is little to write about, and I try not to blog about work anyway. I generally liked the people I met, although it seemed to me that almost half of the class of 120+ summer associates came from YHSC, and fulltime associates all seemed very busy. I still haven’t received my first assignment yet, so I spent the hours on grading LR writing competition (the more I grade the more I wonder how the heck did my crappy writing get me on the LR), chatting with my officemate (who will be leaving the firm next week to work at an i-bank, leaving the office to myself), and gazing out of my window overlooking the Hudson River (or is it East River) and Governor’s Island (If I press my face hard enough against the window I can almost see the Statute of Liberty).

Lunch breaks seem to be 2-3 hours on average, and typically involve limo rides to and from the restaurants and $60 per person meals. Combined with the Tiffany’s sterling silver keychain, free flowing Starbucks coffee and a river-view office soon all to myself, it almost seems too good to be true.