And yet another reason NOT to become a lawyer…

So… here’s a horror story related by a Manhattan lawyer-turned-writer:

Before I became an attorney I worked as a paralegal at a New York
City (VERY white shoe) law firm. It was the go-go 90s. Associate
salaries were going up by astronomical sums every year, everybody was
working around the clock. As a paralegal I kept a clean change of
cloths, shampoo, toothpaste and a toothbrush, a blanket and a pillow
in my file cabinet…just in case. I used those items regularly.
Other people did exactly the same thing.

I worked with a tenth year associate (she made partner by year 11) who
worked on my matters and also was running a huge litigation. She
lived in New Jersey and had over an hour commute. She would generally
make it in the office by 8am and leave by 9 or 10pm. Everyday. She
was married and had two small children. She was a nice woman, but
horribly pulled in 17 directions.

Apparently (and I obtained most of this information from her
secretary) she was in the office (as usual) checking her bank balances
and noticed that $100,000 was missing from her joint investment
account. She called her husband to find out if he knew anything about
it. Her husband, a junior partner at a small firm in NJ, took her
call. He knew what had happened. (the following is a reconstructed
conversation based on hearsay and conjecture):

Wife: Husband, are you aware that there is $100,000 missing from our
joint bank account.

Husband: Yes, I took it out.

Wife: Why did you take the money out? You should have asked me before
you did that. What did you use it for?

Husband: I didn’t ask you because I knew your wouldn’t approve.
Besides, I bought a condo with it.

Wife: Why did you buy a condo? Where is it? I don’t understand.

Husband: Wife, I left you more than a month ago. I’ve moved in to an
apartment with my secretary. I was wondering how long it would take
you to notice.

Apparently he had always been a light sleeper so when she came home
late she slept in the spare bedroom and had sort of just moved in to
it for that past four months. In the meantime he was around on
weekends when she was home (working from home) so she saw him. It
never occurred to her that he had left. They had been together since
law school.


Sometimes, I wonder what it is exactly that I’m getting myself into.

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1 Comment

  1. This is a BAD story. Very bad. Especially for law school couples.


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