I survived corporate fin-ants. It seems I even did an okay job, as evidenced by the fact that I wasn’t immediately called into the assigning partner’s office for an “editing discussion” as soon as I turned it in. I have also been given a litigation project- sort of. The group for whom I am doing the litigation project? Corporate fin-ants. Someone up there is laughing.

Summer associates at law firms get their own offices, (and their own secretaries- I could write a novella about how weird it is to have a secretary, or have someone say to me “ask your secretary to do that”) with a window and everything. From my office I can even see the shiny bean. And I believe I’ve already mentioned the embarassment of riches in office supplies. It’s pretty cool. But I hadn’t counted on it being so damn lonely. Last year, when I was working in public interest, all the interns worked in what we came to affectionately call the “intern corral”- a hallway about three feet wide lined on both sides with computers. There were 8 of us working in a space smaller than my current desk. It was near-constant hillarity in there, and I made good friends with all the other interns (except for the evangelical vegan), and we’d go out drinking after work, and go to music festivals….Sigh.

When you have your own office, and when that office is a 5 minute walk from the next-closest summer associate office, and when one of the other summer associates looks like Winnie Cooper (EXACTLY LIKE HER) and wears a ring set with a diamond the size of a gobstopper (well, okay, that’s not really part of the problem but I thought you should know about it because she looks EXACTLY LIKE WINNIE COOPER AND IT’S KIND OF FREAKING ME OUT) it’s hard to get to know people, or to have any human contact. You spend a lot of time quietly reading and quietly drafting memos and quietly going insane.

It gets better as you get more experienced, I think. Partners, for example, go to a lot of meetings, talk to clients on the phone, and get vacation days. Who knows- maybe this is part of the reason young lawyers are drawn to corporate practice, because transactional lawyers seem to spend most of their day on the phone, when they aren’t reading urinal contracts. But for young litigation associates, a lot of the work seems to be wading through mountains of paper, reading case law, and writing, preparing for trials that will probably never happen because when the parties realize how insanely expensive high-stakes corporate litigation is their incentive to settle may increase dramatically. So maybe it would get better if I stuck with corporate law for a decade, but for now? For now I would kill to have a day back in the intern corral.

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