Becky Turtle
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
I think I'm abandoning this thing. A lot has happened since I last wrote. Someone in my office was giving me shit about this blog, and I decided to stop writing it. It was like another straw on the camel's back in an already strange department. For a while there the office politics got really ugly. I was thinking about taking an offer from a different firm and then a medium-term project opened up overseas so I'm actually camped out in a London apartment and have been flying back and forth for the past couple of weeks between offices. I should be fully moved in in London for a stint that will last maybe two years. That's one of the best things about working for a really big firm -- you can get the hell out of dodge for a while and have a complete change of scene, change of co-workers, change of partners, change of clients, and you haven't actually quit or been fired. And if you want to come back you can. I don't know if I'll want to go back. So far the folks in the London office are pretty cool.

Thursday, May 27, 2004
So for a couple of days there I was getting little post-it notes left in my desk or in the middle of a stack of papers, one even on the door to my office, that said "BeckyTurtle, I know your secret" or "BeckyTurtle, you look cute today," or "BeckyTurtle, I know what you're thinking."

They used the name "BeckyTurtle" not my real name. Which means only one thing.

Anyway the notes have stopped but I am not sure who it was, or who else knows, or who else might have seen the notes, or what is going on.

If you're the person who was leaving the notes, please email me. I want to talk to you.
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Things are getting pretty weird here. I am not sure what I should say about it.

I get the feeling someone has been reading this, is about all I should say. Maybe I take it down.

Work is in a funny stressful phase where we all have to pretend not to be stressed because the summer associates are here and we need to let them think the whole profession is fun and games.

One of the summer associates paid for his first two years of tuition at a top 10 law school through online gambling. He makes a ton of money betting on these offshore casino sites, like on the WNBA and ice hockey and things. Not baseball or football though. He's either going to be a lawyer or do this professionally. Interesting.
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
When I first started at the firm, I'd been here maybe six or seven months and I got sent to do a closing for a small business that I didn't know anything about. The seller was a tennis buddy of one of the partners here -- actually, the guy who keeled over at my desk a couple of weeks ago. He's doing much better, and has even come in a couple of times, escorted by his worried wife. He's not working though -- it was just to visit, and to divvy up a bunch of work. Anyway. It was his wife's tennis buddy, and it was just a little sale, and the deal was pretty easy and so the partner's approach was pretty laid back, and on the morning of the closing he got called into a crisis with the financing of this very very very big supermarket deal he was on. So he kind of ran into my office and handed me a redwell and told me to show up at a firm I'd never heard of for a 2:30 closing.

Of course I panicked because I didn't know what I was doing. I ended up calling a fifth-year associate about four times during the closing itself, because the buyers counsel kept asking me questions I didn't know the answer to. I would excuse myself as professionally as I could, walk out into the hall, and call him on the cell, trying really hard to remember exactly what I needed to ask. It was very embarrassing. Everyone knew I was an inexperienced idiot, but I was trying so hard not to let anyone know that I hadn't done this before. I mean, looking back on it it's pretty embarrassing. There really wasn't much for me to do at all. But the partner's file was a mess, and there were a couple of documents he didn't have, and of course I had no common sense or experience or judgment so I would panic every time the buyer's counsel asked for something that wasn't clearly labeled with the exact words he would ask for it in. (Like, he asked for the "noncompete" and I didn't feel completely confident that the "Agreement of Nonsolicitation and Noncompetition" was the right one.)

The seller got sort of stressed out because of how serious and nervous I was. Buyer's counsel was pretty nice, though -- an experienced lawyer from a small firm. I should have loosened up and joked around with him, but I didn't know if that would be really bad to do. Anyway, he sort of calmed the seller down whenever I would leave the room. And the Buyer himself was so excited to do the deal. He brought shiny silver dollars for everyone in the room -- Seller, Bank, Bank's counsel, his attorney, and me. That was pretty cool.

I've lost count of how many closings I've been to since then, but that one was so fresh and terrifying, and I was so relieved when it was over, and the silver dollar made it all feel like a big deal, that it will always seem important. Even though it was just a rinkydink little franchise.
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
Hmmmm. I'm not really sure what to do about this. I was playing around with this site counter thing and you can tell what websites people were looking at you from. One person found me by looking at Google and searching "pale flabby belly" which doesn't really sound like me, although I'm not as tan as I'd like to be right now. But you try working inside as much as I do and looking better, and then we'll talk. Anyway, I discovered a guy who has linked to my site, which is nice, but he's also linked to my boss's site, which I've been reading on the sly with much amusement. Which means it's not going to be long before someone, like my boss, figures out that I'm here blogging too.

Which I don't know if he can say anything about it, since he's doing it too. And I know some of the skeletons in his closet, let's just leave it at that, so if I had to I guess I could offer up some threats of my own. But still it makes me nervous.
Attention summer associates:

If you don't know how to dress, you should really ask someone who does before you show up at your summer job. And it shouldn't be your mom, because she doesn't know.

Or you should go work in Boston or DC, where it seems like you can get away with, well, looking a lot less put together. It doesn't fly here, that's for sure.
Monday, May 17, 2004
Here's another test post. I was surfing around some law blogs and found one called Memory's Outbox and noticed that he said you can let people leave comments so I looked and lo and behold I found a button that seems to do so. I don't know if it will work or not but it's worth a try.

Now I know there are people reading what I write you can actually talk back if you want. Be nice though, or I'm not going to tell you anything interesting. Maybe it's not that interesting even now. I don't care, I'm telling this stuff because it's just about all I've got to tell, these days.
There's this great rumor at the firm that I am proud to have helped start, a couple of years ago, with one of the associates (now a partner) in Tax. (Isn't it wierd how tax folks, who should be the geekiest ones, turn out to be really fun? IP lawyers too -- way cooler than you'd initially think. It's the ERISA and the environmental lawyers who are a lot less interesting. And health care people seem more uptight than the rest. I don't know if it's universally true but its definitely true here, and a couple of my law school classmates confirm it at their firms.) Anyway, back to the rumor. There's a legend of "the blackball" that I started at a summer associates cocktail party two or three summers ago, that's kind of taken on a life of its own. I don't remember how it originated, but I ended up telling one of the summers that they didn't have to worry about getting the blackball and over the course of the next week three of them separately came to me and asked me about the blackball, and one came to my buddy in Tax and asked him, and we got a gleam in our eyes over lunch one day and the whole thing sprouted. I embellished the story over time so now this is our story:

After your first year, every year you're at the firm you get one "blackball point" per year. So second years have one point, third years have two points, etc. Partners, any partner, get 10 points, and that's a blackball. We tell the summers (or occasionally a real wanker of a lateral, I can think of one who actually believes in the blackball system) that in any year you have the choice of using your blackball points on anyone who is being considered for a job here, or who is having an annual review done. Since all of that takes place around August or September, we can use blackball points on summer associates or regular associates. We tell the summers, as if to comfort them, that it's rare that people waste their blackball points on a summer, because it's better to save up another year and hit them harder after they start as an associate, when you've got an extra blackball point to count in the vote. Plus, we tell them, it's hard, though not impossible, to annoy anyone in a summer that much more than some of the annoying folks who are here all the time. The partners might get more than 10 points with seniority, but all partners definitely get 10 points, and (we're fuzzy about this part) we think, but can't confirm, that 10 is definitely enough to get rid of someone. So if three fourth-years have it in for you, well, you'd better hope there's not anyone else willing to cast a blackball vote. Enough people are in on the blackball thing that it's got reasonable credibility among some of the first and second year associates, plus the lateral that a bunch of us don't like. And of course if someone asks about it and gets an "I don't know what you're talking about" response they think it just means they've been blackballed or they're being fed a line.

These little games get us through some of the really late nights. If you're not working at a big firm you probably think this is wacko, but trust me. It makes the time pass, and it's innocent fun.

Thursday, May 13, 2004
Okay, now that I know people are reading this with my handy new site counter I guess I should tell you what my deal is: I am a sixth year corporate lawyer somewhere in California. I am thirty three years old, single, no kids (yet. Maybe ever, although my mom is badgering me). There's a guy in the firm I sometimes fool around with but it's not like a steady thing, especially since he's married. Which is usually just fine with me -- I get the fun part without having to deal with his dry cleaning and all that crap. I used to be a runner but not so much these days. I like my job okay but sometimes it gets to me. This blog is where I vent. My name is not really Becky. From now on I won't use anyone's real names or even real initials on this blog because I don't want to be found out. I might go back and change people's names just in case. Please don't try to figure out who I am or where I work.

There's a partner in my firm who has a blog, and nobody but me knows its him. He does NOT know that I have a blog, and I am not going to link to him in case he figures it out. Not that he could do anything, I mean, it seems like we would cancel each other out, right? But it just sounds like a controversy I do not want in my career just now. I'm doing pretty good, and I haven't gotten any signals that partnership is a long shot for me and I don't want to screw that up. Mostly I don't think people here even know what blogs are. I didn't until a couple of months ago. They're pretty cool and now I check up on a handful a couple of times a week or so. It's kind of addictive. So is writing in it, although sometimes things get too crazy here and I sort of forget about it or just want to stare out the window instead of writing. I'm on the city side of the building not the ocean side but it's still a pretty nice view.

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