I’m visiting a friend who’s a first-year associate for a large law firm in New York. It is 10pm on Thursday night. We’re sitting on her couch while she’s doing doc review. Only five hours ago, the plan was to do something fun unless “something goes terribly wrong”. Most of the time you say that, nothing happens. Not if you’re a first year associate, however. Something went terribly wrong, and a 3,000-document review with a next day deadline appears. So now my friend is mechanically clicking through pages and pages of documents.
This is not particular to her law firm. A lot of the people who went to law school with my sister (who is also working in New York) are in the same position, giving up vacations, canceling fun plans, and reviewing documents. Their message to you is: being a lawyer is as bad as they tell you. No big law firm is different, even though some of them will tell you that. You will review documents. And then you will review some more documents. After that, there may be some doc review. Then you’ll be exhausted and it’ll be time for some non-doc review work.
I’m glad I’m an economist.