I’m Hugh Honey and this is my partner, Vic Vinegar. We’re partners in real estate and we’re partners in life.
- Dennis Reynolds, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
I will consider myself a great success if I never work directly for a law firm. I didn’t go to law school with dreams of litigating in front of the Supreme Court or making partner at White & Case. I went to law school to learn a skill set. To study bankruptcy, corporate tax, contracts and secured transactions; use that knowledge to get in with the finance crowd and ultimately either go in-house somewhere or transition over to the business side altogether. I didn’t get into this racket to save the world or to become a Master of the Universe. I just want to crack open a beer, sit back, and live off the proverbial interest.
Sure I go on the occasional interview, but the firm needs to come to campus, I'm not going out of my way, and I try half-heartedly at best. Watching my fellow 2Ls stress over interviews, I can’t help but laugh. The entire process is Kabuki Theater. The students show up in their costumes—pinstripe two-button navy suit with a checkered tie is evidently the standard at my school—ready to perform for whatever big law firm happens to be on campus that day. They do the dance, answering questions about why they’ve dreamt of working at firm ______ since they were old enough to walk while justifying their less than perfect GPA. They dazzle the interviewer with tales of how they juggle 15 credit hours while participating in moot court, writing for the Sons of Korhal Military Law Journal, and being active in the Gay Hispanic Federalists Law Club… only to find out later that the entire performance was meaningless because a partner’s nephew was already promised the job.
I’m not worried about OCI because I have a fallback plan: my brother is a successful solo and I can work with him if I don’t find a job of my own; also, I was recently hired by a real estate broker who specializes in short sales. I’m betting on the fact that negotiating with bankers, dealing with clients—who range from the sincere and desperate to the bent and fraudulent—and crunching numbers are more marketable skill sets for an aspiring deal lawyer than shepardizing and fetching coffee. Except that I’ve been at this for over a month and have yet to reach the negotiating stage with any of the banks.
Here’s a typical day at my office (and yes, contrary to popular belief, with a little creative scheduling, it's possible to be a law student and a productive member of society at the same time):
9:00am – Enter office. Bullshit with the secretaries. Check email. Browse MMAWeekly.com.
9:45am – Call bank.
10:25am – After 40 minutes on hold and several games of Chess Titans, I finally get to talk to a human being - a banker, close enough.
“Hello, my name is Shadow Hand. I’m calling on behalf of the selling agent. I was wondering if you had a chance to review the files I sent over.
Loss Mitigation Specialist: “We are in the process of reviewing them, but we need more recent financial documents from the borrower.”
“I sent those files to you a month ago and you’re still going through the review process?”
“Yes, because we need updated docs.”
“When I sent them to you they were updated.”
“Yes, and now we need his most recent docs.”
What I said: “I will get those to you as soon as I can.”
What I wanted to say: “Kindly blow it out your ass.”
11:00am – Email client asking for updated docs.
11:25am – Remember that client never checks email. Leave voicemail asking for updated docs.
12:30pm – Client calls.
Client: “So what’s the status on my short sale?”
“There is no status yet. The bank is still reviewing your file to decide if they will approve the short sale or not. They want your most recent financial documents.”
“Didn’t I already send those to you?”
“Yes, for August, but they want your September files.”
“Alright, I’ll get them to you next week.”
“Can you get them to me sooner?”
12:35pm – Browse Google News. Check Twitter.
1:00pm – Call from another client asking why process is taking so long.
“It’s taking a long time because you have two mortgages on your house. The second bank won’t approve the short sale until it receives a formal confirmation and offer from the first bank.” … “Because the first bank is being lazy.” … “Because they have no incentive to expedite the short sale process.” … “Because the middle manager I’ve been talking to doesn’t care if the buyer walks.” … “Because he isn’t paid enough to care.” … “No, there’s nothing I can do to make them hurry up.” … “No, you can’t sue them for being slow.”
2:30pm – Decide that talking to any more bankers today will drive me to murder. Go to gym instead.
You have to start somewhere. One of these days I’m sure I’ll reach the negotiation stage and that’s when the fun really begins.
Results are pending.