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.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

The day before I started my summer job, I remember I posted a set of "expectations" for the summer. Just two and a half weeks from the end of this stuff, I thought I might revisit and see if my expectations were right.

1. I expect to learn just how many shades of blue there are. I don't mean sadness. I mean blue like in dress shirts.

Well, that came true, I guess. Lots of people wear blue. I bought one new blue shirt since writing that, and I wear it a bunch. People wear tan too. And occasionally pink or white. What a dumb expectation. This would have been cooler if I'd been a little more serious with this post. But I'll get there. This has the potential to be a long rant about something, although who knows what at this point.

2. I expect to be able to more fully articulate the differences between Lexis and Westlaw, what one has and the other hasn't...

Well, not really. I liked Lexis better before, and no one gave me a reason to switch. We had training in both, but I haven't done tons and tons and tons of research -- I've certainly done some, but not enough where I needed to make sure I was using whichever one is "better," whatever that means. I learned there's no reason to care about Lexis, Westlaw, and which one to use. I won a contest the Lexis rep e-mailed us about last week though -- and was promised an gift certificate. Got the gift certificate yesterday. It's for $5.00. I mean, that's better than nothing, but it's not really all that much. What can I buy on Amazon for $5? Anyway, I'll keep using Lexis anyway, because I like it better. I don't know why. The earth tones color scheme maybe.

3. I expect to participate in a lot of summer associate events, in fact probably the same number and exactly the same type as my friends at other firms around the city.

Sure. Lots of stuff. We've had some really nice events. With good food, or a nice thing to watch, or a cool place to be. They're all really well-planned, and there's no reason they shouldn't be really fantastic. But after a while -- I don't know, in a way they start to feel the same after a while. In a way, we get too used to going to doing cool things, which is a terrible thing to be complaining about, and I'm not really complaining. But you're sort of still paying attention to what you're saying, since there are lawyers all around... so in a way it feels a little more like still being at work than just being at this fun thing for the sake of the fun thing. Which is unavoidable, and expected, and obviously not horrible by any stretch, but just is part of what it is. But it's been nice to have them. I'm glad I got to see "Wicked." I'm glad I've gotten to do a whole bunch of things I would never have paid for. But I'm also glad I didn't make a decision about which firm to work at based entirely on the list of events, because that would have been sort of silly in retrospect, probably sillier than it would have seemed at the time.

4. I expect to get tired of eating in nice restaurants, since I hear I will end up having a lot of nice lunches.

Definitely. Unfortunately. By now, 10 weeks in, part of me would almost rather eat some $4 falafel than some of the $60 meals I've had. Not that they're bad, but at a point we get too used to them, and in a way they're just not that special. And sometimes it's hard to make conversation with people you don't really know -- the partners and associates are surely mostly nice, but if you don't know each other... and you're not, say, my grandmother, who can talk to anyone at any time about anything and make a new best friend, sometimes it clicks and sometimes it's, well, sort of more like torture to have to sit there. Despite the food. But it's nice to have the chance, and nice to get out of the office and talk to people over a meal instead of over a desk, and nice not to pay for lunch and have people to eat with. So thumbs up, even though I'm probably never going to want to eat in a nice restaurant ever again.

5. I expect to like it. I mean, everyone says it's a lot of fun, I'll get to meet some students from other schools, meet some lawyers, figure out what it is lawyers do, go to some cool events and activities, eat in nice restaurants, see some things besides the inside of a classroom, really what's not to like.

I'm glad I did this for a summer. I've met a bunch of people from other schools, met some lawyers, figured out what lawyers do... all that stuff. But as I write this post, I'm thinking the post I would rather have looked back on is a post I didn't write, not about my expectations for the summer, but about my goals. I'm not exactly sure what my goals would have been -- and maybe that's why there wasn't a post about them. In a way, they would have been sort of like the expectations, but not entirely -- I mean, I expected to go to nice restaurants, but I wouldn't really call that a goal. And the blue shirt thing doesn't make any genuine sense in any context I guess, but at least it was excusable as merely an "expectation."

Maybe I didn't write about my goals for the summer because I didn't really know what they were. But I also don't have a post about my worries for the summer, even though I know I had some. I wasn't worried about the work -- no reflection on me -- I don't think anyone should be worried about the work. I expected they weren't going to give us stuff we couldn't reasonably be capable of doing, and I don't know that I've spoken to anyone who has felt unprepared to do legal research or anything else they've been asked to do. We may not understand the context of the assignments, but I get the strong sense everyone at the firm knows what we can do and they've been doing this long enough that there's really no reason to worry about the work. I was in the fortunate position to not have to move to a new city I was unfamiliar with, where I didn't know anyone, so I wasn't too worried about finding stuff to do outside of work, or living/working in NY, or anything like that. That absolutely would have been a worry if I'd been going anywhere else, and is certainly, all else being equal, a reason why I didn't even really consider it. I've done the job-in-a-new-place-for-a-while before and didn't really feel like doing it again. I was worried I wouldn't get any real writing done this summer, and that was actually a pretty legitimate worry, because I hoped to have done more, on a bunch of different projects, but it's hard when you're in an office all day, and even if not busy 100% of the time, it's still hard to focus. But I can't really blame myself for that, and I've been reasonably prolific on here, and gotten a little bit done elsewhere, so I'm just being hard on myself if I feel too bad about it. I can't make myself do more than I can do. Before the summer, I asked a friend who worked at a firm last summer how many friends he made -- how many people he was still in contact with from his summer class, that were people he'd do stuff with outside of work, that were actual friends more than just co-workers. He said 1 or 2, and that seemed like a reasonable hope. I was probably more concerned than I needed to be about making friends at work -- it's only 13 weeks, I have friends outside of work, etc -- but it's nice to make new friends, to find new people you connect with, to make the work day not so lonely. And that's been much better than I feared it had the potential to be, and certainly a bigger plus than the nice restaurants and free paper clips, no contest. I don't know where this post started out intending to go, but everything that gets this long does so with a mind of its own. It's just another in the "what summer at a firm is like" series, I guess. Am I really writing for anyone except the man inside my head at this point? I mean, no one's reading this far, especially without paragraph breaks. :)