Shortly before midnight, I finally finished grading the assignments that the associate editors of the law review turned in last month and decided to walk over to Big Ten Burrito for some late night food.
On my way there I saw a young guy in his early 20s dressed in a suit walking up State Street. He approached me and asked if he could use my cell phone because he had just lost his.
“Sure,” I said, and handed him my phone.
A quick call later, he handed my phone back to me and asked, “so you go to law school here?”
I realized I was wearing that t-shirt again, and nodded, “you go to business school?” I presumed that he just came back from one of those late night corporate presentations that new MBA students have to go if they want a job.
“Nah, I graduated, from undergrad here. I work for [Prestigious Investment Bank, or PIB]. Investment banking.” He replied in rapid succession and didn’t hide his pride, “I just came back to do recruiting.”
A second later he added, “them lawyer fuckers. Always try to screw us over.”
I did not know how to respond. Maybe I should clarify that I am not a lawyer yet?
Before I responded, he added, “them DPW fuckers. You ever heard of DPW? What’s the name, Davis Polk? Ever heard of Davis Polk? They work for us. Them fuckers tried to screw us over.”
I nodded to confirm that I had indeed heard of Davis Polk, but decided not to disclose that I almost became one of “them fuckers” this summer.
“Those fuckers at Davis Polk charge us so much money . . .” he went on about how “their own legal guy” argued with DPW over a bill that DPW handed them not long ago. In all fairness, though, the bill was for less than 100k, not a big amount by either law firm or investment bank standards. But he apparently thought it was outrageous.
When he was about done, he didn’t forget why he was here, “hey if you want a job at [PIB], let me know. We use lawyers.”
“Thanks, but no. I have an offer from a law firm.”
“So which firm is that?”
. . .
“Huh? Never heard of it. I’ve only worked at [PIB] for a year so I don’t know all of the law firms we use. You ever heard of Cravath? They work for us too. Them lawyer fuckers. They all work for us.”
I often wondered how long it takes for i-banks to transform a person from an ordinary student–with whom you can carry on a normal conversation on campus, to an i-banker–someone you’d avoid talking to unless getting paid for it. Now I know the answer.