Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Three panelists commit suicide during “Balancing Work and Life at a Big Firm” careers forum

OCS was left with some explaining to do after three panelists at a careers forum on balancing work and life at a large firm committed suicide during the presentation. It started like any other OCS event, with eight people in the audience and a panel full of indistinguishable lawyers wearing dark suits. An OCS staffer began the panel by asking each attorney to describe a typical week. The first attorney, a partner at Skadden, described how he spends “pretty much all day and night at the office. In fact, my wife just told me she’s leaving me to go find someone who actually cares about having a family life. She said my life is empty and meaningless, and, frankly, I agree.

To the shock of the six students still remaining in the audience, he then pulled a rope from his pocket, tied it to a light fixture, made a noose, and hanged himself. The OCS staffer then asked the same question to the second panelist, a partner at Wachtell. “I look at all four of you in the audience,” he said, referencing the four students still in the audience, “and see such young, smiling faces. I remember when I was young. Now I’m old, and have nothing to live for because I’ve wasted my life making rich people richer and buying expensive things from Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn that don’t really make me happy.” He then dunked his head in the water pitcher on the table and didn’t come up. He turned blue and drowned.

The OCS staffer then asked the third panelist, a partner at Cravath, for her thoughts. “Well, being the only woman on the panel, I have a unique take on the issue. I left work to have a child. I returned three days later from my maternity leave an discovered that many of my colleagues had raced ahead in the drive toward partnership. I immediately gave my child up for adoption, because I knew that’s what I had to do. My husband hated the decision when I told him about it later that day, but the child had already been signed away. ‘A contract is a contract,’ I told him, even as he sobbed for an entire week. I’m a horrible person.” She then stabbed herself with the plastic knife she’d been using to butter her bagel, and, to the horror of the two students remaining in the audience, bled to death.

The final panelist was a partner at Davis Polk. “I’m perfectly happy with my life,” he said. “I guess these other lawyers just don’t have what he takes.” On his way out of the room, he stole the wallets from the pockets of each of the dead attorneys, and kicked the OCS staffer in the shin.