[00:00:00] Today's presentation is about conformity which is this particular presentation is something that has not always been I would say the most popular presentation is fixed. That I've done. Cause I think a lot of people object to different portions of it. Let me just fix this real quickly here because the idea of conformity is not something that's very popular these days to a lot of people, but I did want to talk about it and this is the nice thing is a short presentation.
And then after I'm done, I'll take as many questions as people have. I've noticed we've had a lot of people on these calls that have been that are currently summer associates are and have questions about that. So you're welcome to ask questions about that or pretty much anything. After the presentation.
So one of the things to understand is that the legal profession does require quite a bit of conformity and it requires it really from, the time you're in law school, even before that, to some extent to when you get out. And and so in order to really do well in the legal profession, it's important that you [00:01:00] really understand how to conform and and really if you want to work in a large law firm, which for some reason, a lot of people on these calls seem to want to then you really need to understand.
Th the ability to conform conformity by the way is important and a lot of perspectives it's important. If you work in companies as an attorney, or if you work in companies doing various things and and so it's, if there really is a cycle to conformity and something that tends to happen is very early on, people go to law school and a lot of people will drop out because they realize they can't conform.
Other people will stay in law school and graduate and then realized that there's no way they're going to work in a law firm or work in even work as a lawyer because they can conform. And so they have all these kinds of preconceived ideas about what's important in terms of. Yeah, not there their lives and what you know, and how they can fit in.
And and so for many people understanding the importance of conformity is probably among the most important aspects and learning how to [00:02:00] conform in a way that really matches what you want to be. I just, one second.
People doing work outside my office, but so the big thing about conformity that I, a couple of things that I wanted to talk about you know at the beginning is when I was growing up, there was a a guy on my street that he had a large family of probably six kids.
And and they lived in a fairly small house and the kids could never really uh, afford clothes. And so my I remember my mom went out and would buy them the kids clothes for boy Scouts and things because the father wasn't making enough money and the father was a plumber, but in Detroit at the time there was a union.
And so if you wanted to make a lot of money, you had to work. And you had to work for the union. And if you didn't work for the union there were certain jobs and so forth that you couldn't most jobs that paid a lot of money that you couldn't do, but he didn't really want to be part of the union because for whatever reason, he didn't believe in that, or he didn't feel like he got along with the people in the union.
And so he did all these work or kind of independently, and he made [00:03:00] didn't make a lot of money and and that hurt his career. And and then I knew that, and the funny thing is then when I grew up. I went to high school and and I didn't go to the same high school those kids did, but I my best friend's girlfriend was a her dad was a plumber and he was a union plumber and Andy and they lived very well.
And and had a lot of money and checks, you almost went to the Olympics as a gymnast and the family could afford to take her all over the country and stuff, doing that. So the point is that conforming and different organizations communal lot. And and if you don't know how to conform with people there's certainly other jobs you can do, or you could work on your own so forth.
But if you do want to work in a law firm, you need to understand how to conform and how to get along with the groups of people inside of those law firms. And it's really, honestly, one of my opinion, one of the most important aspects of being an attorney and for me personally it's something that I wasn't comfortable with in a lot of respects certainly was used to playing the game.
But if there were a lot of [00:04:00] things that I didn't like about it. When you're an attorney in a large law firm, most attorneys that are attorneys and large law firms, and with some exceptions have been conforming since they were young children. And and they see rewards in being in conforming.
They know that if they conform there's money, there's some know status and they can live a somewhat predictable life. And so they go to school and they play by the rules and and they try to move into the better your best schools and and so forth in order to succeed. And the people that stay attorneys in large law firms are good at that.
And as time goes by they become are more political and they learn how to conform and do what's expected of them. And and then take risks that are calculated. But that match the needs wherever they're trying to work. And and frankly, some people are very comforted by conformity and and do well by it.
And and they will do whatever they can to play by the rules. And if you do that you're much more likely to be successful in a large law firm. And if you don't have the ability to conform you're going to have a much more difficult time. [00:05:00] The staying at an attorney in a large law firm. It's just how it works.
The attorneys that can't conform will always welcome fail and it's just and it's not that they're failing. It's just that the organization match what they should be doing. And then what, they're, what they're capable of doing. And it's sad from my standpoint, because many fraternities that would otherwise succeed because of their ways of thinking about the world that their upbringing or their family and how they were socialized and so forth.
Aren't able to conform and, you may think about, how you've been socialized and how, groups helped you conform w when you were, when you're, you've been growing up and so forth, I there's I noticed that. You know that my my the mother of my children or ex-wife will constantly is taking our kids.
And since the time they were little too, all sorts of birthday parties and networking them and showing them how to get along with other kids and activities. And and and that's something that I didn't, wasn't exposed to as much growing up. So that's ability to be, socialized at a very young age repeatedly, several times a week, can make a big difference and it can help you learn how to [00:06:00] conform with groups.
And then also when you go to school how seriously you take that and so forth can make a big difference. And I noticed and I've noticed this early on really from the time elementary school that Even very young, first, second grade that the kids that didn't do the best were always the ones that didn't conform it, play by the rules.
They may have acted out in class and refuse us. It's still they may have made jokes and and go forth. And those kids were quickly like put in special classes, one case, a guy or two people that were sent away to schools like for troubled kids and and really, it was just, poor behavior, a class in school.
And a lot of these kids never finished high school. I know one that went to prison actually a couple of now that I'm thinking about it for several years and when they got older because they weren't conforming, they were getting sick and I don't know why, but We're in a good form in there.
I think they, we're getting bad feedback and a lot of them to escape that the negative feelings started having issues with drugs and that sort of thing. So if you're not conforming and even when you're young, I'm sure you've [00:07:00] seen that. The kids that weren't conforming in your schools growing up, that that, that had led to bad things led to poor academic performance social problems and drug other things most those kids don't go to college.
Some of them do go to college and then they dropped out many go to college and, barely squeak by, but The idea is that if you're not conforming and doing what other people tell you in getting along then schools institutions we'll will push you out.
Yeah. That's kinda how it works. lot of people that are very famous trendsetters and so forth and social media and everything are people that may not have conformed. And and that's okay that you can still do incredibly well in your life and have great careers if you're not a conformance, but in terms of working in a large law firm, unfortunately that's really really what you need to be in order to conform, I've seen.
Partners in major law firms that didn't conform and bad things happened to them usually even very successful partners, they may have conformed originally and then not and and then had problems. And then it's just crazy. I know partners that were, named partners that, [00:08:00] major us law firms in our just running solo practices and stuff.
So th that, that, that aren't doing well. So that conforming is important. And and it's really something that you just need to think about in the long run and law firms will tolerate just like companies. And the people that work, there are a certain amount of non-conformity if you're producing at a very high level, but if you're not And the final thing that I'll just con notice as, different people stop conforming at different times.
So I told you the example of some partners that, stop conforming and that partner stopping conforming would be things like, someone that's been nerdy I've suddenly starts, making all that money. And then and then they they become they start doing things that are stupid having fun and just making very bad decisions and getting in trouble.
I was reading about the former CEO of Google the other day in a very interesting article. I think it was in vanity fair and talking about how he came womanizer and all these different things which he's entitled to, to to the behavior that people expect out of.
CEOs of most giant company. So that's someone that was, very nerdy and [00:09:00] then became a non-conformist and and it happens to people and and people many people go to great colleges. I saw that when I was in college, I saw. Got there and then suddenly couldn't conform and start acting out with drugs and bad behavior or just not even drugs and bad behavior, just giving up and and stop conforming to do what was expected.
Many times people go to good colleges and so forth, or even go to college to begin with because of pressure from their parents, or they go to law school because pressure from their parents. And the only way to rebel against that pressure and be your own person is not to do well sometimes.
So that's something to think about. And and the thing is when you many people on this call may be in large law firms and considering not conforming many people may be. In small law firms and considering nonconforming and these decisions that you make can have disaster of consequences.
I was in when I was in when I was younger, obviously I went to a private middle school and in a very kind of old money town. And and I gone there. I was, I had gone to [00:10:00] a regular school in seventh grade and that school I in eighth grade. And and I wasn't necessarily fitting in with, the kids there because I wasn't part of country clubs.
And and I was living with a single mother and just other things, and this is a long time ago and that wasn't his normal at least in this town. And and so my way of getting attention and being happy was to stop conforming and making fun of the teachers and all that sort of thing.
And that of course caught me in a lot of trouble. It got me back grades. It caught me eventually kicked out. And and so that sort of behavior is an example of non-conformance people do it at different times. And if you're not conforming that can have again, disastrous consequences, even in the business that I met if you write about and say certain things that are considered non-conformist then people will write negative articles about you and so forth because you're supposed to, basically conform and that's important for attorneys.
It's just how this profession is. And it's not anything that you can necessarily prevent and avoid. There are certainly some firms where there are [00:11:00] non-conformist and and I'll talk about that product a little bit, but it's very difficult to find.
And I work with partners All the time and they decide things like they want to leave the practice, the law, they want to spend time with their children. They want to travel. They may want to do something else at and then come back and and and law firms if you're just not playing the game and being part of their group for the long-term, then they're just state typically do not want to have they're done with you.
That's the end of the story. Because you haven't conformed. I It's very difficult to get hired by law firms. Now when the economy is very good and sometimes, if there's a dearth of corporate attorneys and law firms may not hire them, but her mate, different types of people, but for the most part if you're not conforming that's a problem and, attorneys aren't partners will quit the law firms are into travel or do something else.
They may be viewed as not conformist and that's can hurt and and then they're not. And and then, so if you don't really, aren't able to show your performance conforming these things, then most [00:12:00] large law firms won't have an interest in you.
And it's, there's a lot of reasons for that. I think the and it's not just that about conformity. It's also about the idea of, your level of commitment and the fact that they can choose people that are committed versus you. But law firms are essentially brokers for legal services.
And so they have to bring in the best law firms have to bring in people that have the best characteristics and are most likely to do the best work and and conform and so forth. And it's just how the business model works. Yeah. It's not the fault of law firms. It doesn't make them bad places. But they're basically the importance of them as the way they do human resources and so forth is huge.
And conformity is expected really of everyone inside of large law firms and they to expect it pretty much out of their entire staff. And it's really because people are paying a lot of money for the work that's being done and and they want to be able to control the quality of a check extent they can.
And and they need a whole system and organism to work in a certain way. And [00:13:00] it's almost like a sports team. A sports team, there's certain rules that the goalie has to follow in soccer. They have to stand behind the net and they, they can only use our hands and certain boundaries of the field and so forth.
There are certain rules that. Forwards and midfielders following. So there's this, th and law firms expect the people on their team to follow certain rules to conform because that's how their team works. That's something to think about. And, the system just doesn't work.
And the system only works because the group kind of works as a group together and does things the way it should. And the way that the based on the rules that have been set up, that doesn't mean the rules are obvious, right. But let's lock terms expect you to do that.
And so a big question, I think I, when I talked to attorneys, I talked to them all day, every day, and I have been for, decades is the big thing that kind of occurs to me is. You know that, you need to ask yourself if you're better off being part of a group or you're better off doing something else.
And and taking care of yourself and her [00:14:00] others, and then yourself and the progress in some other way. And that is really a very complex decision. When I was practicing law with large law firms and I bring my experience into this because I think that the thought processes that I went through at the time are relevant to you as well, because you may be going through a similar thought processes at some point.
But I started doing asphalt work in Detroit when I was younger. And instead of, doing things like working in advertising agencies for. What is an intern and stuff. And and and and it was very difficult trying to set my own just like it's difficult when people try to do their own practice and so forth.
And but I knew that when I did, after I persevered for several years doing it I knew that I could always support myself doing this work now as you get older, I think it would be much harder probably to support yourself doing an asphalt work, unless you've built a team of people.
But I did see that I can do the work without having bosses and other people telling them what to do. And I liked the feeling of reminding myself and my [00:15:00] own drive to be successful. And and I liked the feeling that I was, I could be driven by myself. And and I didn't need other people's approval to do things.
To do the kind of work I could get up and do the kind of work I wanted. And if I didn't want to work for somebody I didn't have to, and I could also control, the amount of money I made. And and these are all the kinds of decisions that I think that it's important for attorneys to go through when you're thinking about, what you want to do, because if you're unhappy with a large law firm, it may not just be the hours.
It may be the the fact that you have to work with all these people and you're accountable to all of them and you want to be less, less accountable. There's, there could be all sorts of reasons. When I entered the legal field, I quickly realized. When you're working with a large group of others, you really need to get very, to be very careful to get approval and even if you impressed others, sometimes impressing them is not the right thing.
I saw many people asked to leave different firms. I saw partners leave firms for not having enough business and being accused of things that you know, like space or [00:16:00] sex stuff, or I don't know, but I saw one become loose, lose a big client, B pushed down to a non-equity partner.
I saw associates not get work for a very long periods of time or if at all, and have to leave because of upsetting like one partner, for example. And excuse me, I saw a lot of stuff like that. At and many people I saw just state, at some point they were delegates the system and they just say, this is ridiculous.
And they ended up leaving and so I actually realized when I was in this kind of system that it I had two decisions. I could either not conformed and played this game, or I could try something completely on my own. And and I had all these memories because when I was younger, I instinctively started my own business and started doing this asphalt work.
And and that gave me a lot of self-confidence and and and doing that type of work. And and I realized that I had enough confidence to do things on my own. I just, I knew it. And I knew that I was probably better off the line of my spirit and my own drive that [00:17:00] than others that protect me and advance me and show me the ropes and so forth.
I just didn't feel like I could really rely on people as much as I needed to, to, and and I realized that didn't work. I could always change venues and go and house in, in another environment. But for me it just it didn't add up. And for most attorneys that shit out up, I'm saying I'm actually about a very small minority of people that it doesn't add up for it because I hadn't really, I had a different kind of set of motivations and so you have to conform in most law firms.
So you have to attorneys that are in different firms often, when I see them they, I can tell the kind of firm they're with are often the exact firm. I would just, even if I don't know who they are, when I see them on public planes and things, and just how they're behaving and stuff.
It's not that I'm some sort of gift. It's just a, that you realize after a long period of time that different people have different persons, similar personalities and different firms. And so there it's about conformity and there's even the way they talk. There's the way they enunciate things.
[00:18:00] It's very funny actually, to some extent, but and the attorneys become very similar and it's about conformity. When I was in law school, I remember back then, I don't know if it was a good market or bad market, but. Okay. Almost everyone was able to get a job in a law firm, whether it was a large firm or small firm.
And and there was an attorney in my class that had gone to art school before becoming an attorney. And he, he dressed differently. He he just looked like a, like an artist and he had long hair and stuff and and he really wanted to work in a law firm, but for a lot of firms just, were turned off because he didn't look and act and you look like, it just looked the part and, so there's, it's not I certainly know plenty of people that are different in some respect and look different and act different that are working at major law firms.
I'm not saying that this is the way it is completely today, but it is to some extent. You have to look the part and you have to. You have to act apart and and to work in certain law firms. Now, certain law firms, other law firms are completely require different forms of conformity and some [00:19:00] law firms it may be much different.
Then this example, but at the same time every, for every group has certain expectations about the way people should behave there. And I was talking to an attorney not too long ago, and she had been in a a small firm of I dunno, maybe 10 or 12 attorneys.
And there was one attorney in the firm that absolutely refuse to work on. I dunno, Saturdays and Sundays, he said, this is my time with my kids, blah, blah, blah. And he was a good attorney and he even had business, but at the same time they couldn't rely on him. It was litigation firm for trials and other things where even if he had his own trials, he couldn't perform because you didn't work those days.
And the firm actually was just like, we can't have you here. And that was so many examples and not performing or conforming, but it's stuff like that all the time. And so I think almost all law firms have certain rules about conforming, if you want to work with them.
And know, the thing to think about is, people like, that are in the public light, whether it's like [00:20:00] Richard Branson or Donald Trump or things like that those kinds of people can never work in a law firm because they're just, and these are. Public figures but they certainly wouldn't last there or be happy, so there's nothing wrong with not wanting to work in a law firm.
And because if you work in a law firm, you can't necessarily say what you want to say. You can be attacked for your opinions. You can be attacked for not towing the party line in terms of whatever the politics are, whether it's ultra conservative or moderate or liberal or cultural liberal, just you can be have problems for not putting in the right amount of FaceTime for not doing hours for not begging for work.
I've seen firms where they attorneys are expected to beg for work. That's just the the what's expected I've talked to attorneys that work in places like LA or San Francisco, where a lot of assignments come out of maybe New York and and in basically.
The assignments are distributed at a certain time of day. So it could be like, 8:00 AM in New York or 5:00 AM in west coast. And [00:21:00] if you're not in front of your computer at the time they're assigned, you won't get work. And then you, it's just, there's all sorts of games like that, but that's part of the conformance and and what firms expect.
So you just have to understand the rules of what's required to conform where you're at and. Lots of very well-known lawyers who never practice law like Barack Obama or Clinton got to a stage in a life where they would have had the opportunity to work in firms and and they decided against it.
Barack Obama was a summer associated with sibling Austin, but he didn't end up doing that. And bill Clinton went to be a law professor rhino pay. You have to understand what's important to you in terms of your career and and you can't succeed. If you're. And it just have to be able to conform it just because you can't conform, doesn't make you a bad person.
It's not that there's anything wrong with you. It's just that you maybe need to be in another profession or are more self-aware of yourself in terms of what, what is important to you and what you would be good at. And I've spent my entire career working with just liars and and I convinced, [00:22:00] that it's just a very conformance profession.
I don't know each law firm has its own. Beast, but it's not just about acting like everyone else, I mean that the level of conformity is about things like the time you put in to show that you're working hard. There's lots of attorneys that, get up at three 30 or four in the morning and start sending an email.
So everyone sees they're working with me and four in the morning, and it's just a, the thing that people will pick up phones and talk to each other. At that time, it's absolutely bonkers, but that's just the way it is. And at certain firms there's other kinds of conformity just or the work, you have to do.
In school you can't, I remember when I was in college, there were all sorts of interesting classes. I would've liked to have taken maybe physics and like a higher level type physics classes and very, more advanced economics classes, linear algebra, and some of the things, but I certainly didn't take them because I didn't want to mess with my grade point average.
So that's unfortunately means. Conforming and you have to learn that early on. And I probably would have taken those classes if I thought I would do well on them, [00:23:00] but it wasn't my strength. And but I would have liked to have taken them probably to me, much smarter. Liars have the need to impress others first senior liars and clients and judges, if you're a litigator.
So that's part of conforming. You can't go into court and be rude to a judge and expect to have a, a good career. You can't go into court and you can't be rude to senior attorneys and expect to have a good career. People will crush you. Just if you don't get along with them judges will crush you.
People in your firm will crush you. Even your peers will crush you if they're jealousy or they want to look better to other people. I've known so many attorneys that have actually quit the practice of law even as partners, because they just don't like the pressure of conforming and trying to get along with others and playing by all these rules and.
I'm really not judging any of this. And I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with it. And as I told you earlier, this is just how firms work, and this is the kind of how they must behave and act in order to provide a good level of service large clients want. And and other professions of [00:24:00] course require a lot of conformity too.
Doctors, accountants people working for companies, people in the military and all sorts of other professions. I certainly. In terms of being a doctor. I don't, you're expecting many times to work these, three days on where you're working 72 hours straight and I'm sometimes longer.
I that level of conformity it's not something that I would be interested in. And but it's required. And that has purpose, I'm assuming because it provides cheap labor to hospitals to make them more profitable. It also makes people prevent them from making mistakes, allows them to become doctors probably much faster with all that time from they might otherwise, I don't know, but it's just, if it's a purpose and then it's how the profession is developed.
And and so if you want to be an attorney in a large law firm, you just need to decide if you're ready to conform and and in, in, in our particular company there's BCG and there's other companies here it's we're not completely structured in a way that w from a management standpoint that really takes advantage of a lot of the opportunities in the market.
People aren't necessarily [00:25:00] micromanage and the reviews aren't as consistent, so forth as they should be. And people are often given a high level of autonomy and allowed to operate independently. And it's not necessarily the most profitable way to run a company, but in a personal service business like this, it can work.
And and the best people without the systems in place typically are ones that are self-motivated and can operate with a lot of, without a lot of rules. And the people that are, that do the best under our particular system typically don't operate a lot of rules with the.
Performance closely. And those kind of people have left when that happened. That's just the culture of this place, but it doesn't mean that everyone is like that. And and in, when law firms have rules the more rules law firms put in place, the more people will typically leave.
And and they'll just replace them with people that are interested in doing that. And and the big thing I think is that there's a preference really for. Younger attorneys a lot of times. And and the reason for that is because at the associate level is because of the [00:26:00] fact that younger attorneys are more likely to have to be enthusiastic about the girls.
And then when they get older, they many times they don't want the rules to get more senior and they start rebelling against the system that can be suffocating and and older attorneys with business want the rules because they want many times the law firm to make sure the work's being done.
Law firms are just very dynamic organizations and you need to understand. Do you know whether or not this whole idea of conformity is something that works for you and it may work for you and it may not. And the words of conforming can be awesome. I the first time I joined was like out of law school was Quinn Emanuel, and that was a firm at the time.
That was just crazy. It was like the only firm in the country where there is not dress code, people still wear sandals. And there were all sorts of unusual the people there that you wouldn't find in large law firms with different personalities and ways of acting and dressed and stuff.
And that that, that form of conformity was not there, but at the same time, there was conformity in terms of the quality of [00:27:00] work and the expectations for hours and and bringing up Amy. Amen. There's so there's still conformity everywhere you go. It's not you can't really escape it.
And then as law firms grow and get bigger, there's always more and more conformity because they have to provide a consistent standard of work and stuff to larger clients. But I would say that, if you don't find the idea of conformity, you find it very suffocating.
You find like you can't deal with it. You have a couple of options. One is to embrace it and try the best you can to get along and get your best. And if there's problems or, things about you that you can fix that would make you conform more than do it. But honestly I don't, I never think it's a good idea to try to be someone.
And because it just doesn't lead anywhere. Good. If you're trying to, it's just years ago, Michael Jordan was a professional basketball player and had all these skills and decided he was going to become a professional baseball player. And that's just not what he was.
He wasn't. He wasn't that. And and that didn't go well. And [00:28:00] anytime you try to work in an, a, in a field or or something that, that just doesn't fit naturally, you shouldn't be doing it. I Some people are born to be writers and people are born to be actors and actresses.
Other people are born to be accountants and doctors and different things. And those things come naturally to them. And for some reason they get off path and do something else. Now that's not necessarily being an attorney, that's gonna make that happen to you, but it could be a lot of things.
It could be going to a large law firm as opposed to a smaller law firm or working with people that aren't like you versus people that you're more likely to be with, it's I see people all the time that are very uncomfortable in different organizations. Sometimes they're uncomfortable.
They're there. I knew one law firm where you know, and it was a pretty big law firm in Los Angeles where one of the people in charge of hiring said, we're typically just, we only pretty much hire, nerdy, Jewish guys like us. And I was like, okay, I didn't know what to say.
And then, and because, how would you feel if you were part of that organization, you didn't [00:29:00] fit into that. I'm not seeing any, by any stretch of imagination, that's user racist or anything. Cause that's not the point is that people, some organizations, you're going to be comfortable in others, you won't, I've known other law firms where, you know the people are just, unbelievably uptight they're the kind of people that, I dunno, we'll have these, 15 minute rituals before they go to bed with their toothbrush and their pajamas.
I I don't know, I'm just giving you an example, but if there's just different personalities and different types of firms sometimes if you join the wrong firm you may feel a very uncomfortable because of your because of your even just because of your geography. I've known people that went to work and it, small firms in the south and just felt like they never fit in because they were from other cities.
And and, I've known people that were gay and felt very left out and in firms and very uncomfortable and unable to get work. And and even being from different ethnic groups can make things difficult for you. And sometimes it just depends.
There's different firms where where the conformity is. Is along all sorts of [00:30:00] lines and most law firms fundamentally. And most people try to be good. I remember I was talking to a very well-known attorney litigator, and and he said to me that, he became really good litigator and became very good at what he did when he realized that that the way things worked is judges were actually always trying to be fair.
Like they wanted to be fair. And and that's they wanted to do what was fair. Now, listen to say, every judge is like that, but he said that most of them want to be fair. And most law firms are. We want to be fair and they want to do what they believe is the right thing. And so they're not necessarily trying to be evil and stuff when they have come up with these rules are trying to do what they think works or what's always worked.
And but you have to decide the type of conformity you want to expose yourself with whether or not it's a law firm and what type of organization that's going to pay. And it's important. I If you're able to conform then you can do well, if it's not something that's natural to you, then you may not.
And and it's just a. I see far too many people also leave law firms because they just have these kinds of [00:31:00] negative ideas about what they are. And they buy into the psychology that other people have where they believe that the large law firm is going to take over their personality or they need to get in house as quickly as possible.
And they form all these conclusions about law firms before they even get there. And and then when they work there, they bring in these preconceptions and so forth. And the people that do well are the ones that are able to think about the positives of what they're doing and buy into it and really do well.
So I would, urge you to. Think about how you conform why you may be not interested in conforming why conforming works for you. And and before you leave a law firm and before you really it doesn't work for you really asking yourself if that's that is it because of your inability to conform and sometimes hate to keep talking so much about this?
Because I do want to take questions, but at the same time, the big thing with conformity I think is either, is the problem you in, is there something to do with [00:32:00] you in the background? That's making conformity difficult, other aspects of yourself that you need to look at and get help with. And and so many times going into a very rigid atmosphere can give you.
And understanding of yourself because, there's certain people that can go into any atmosphere really in any type of environment do well. And if you're not, what are the solutions to conforming? I think some of those solutions to conforming are really to get out of your shell and not to isolate yourself so much.
So at firms, you should try to talk to as many people as possible and go to groups and and really understand different people I think and that can help you because then people will share insight information with you about what they're looking for. And you'll get things you always need to have a good amount of your time getting to know other people at work.
You also need to get to know other people in other firms. And so this whole idea of networking is very important. And then to some extent, you're conforming this gonna even improve even more when you when you address any kind of psychological or social issues that, that may have I'm [00:33:00] doing the past and I don't know what those are, but everyone has things in their closet that are creating problems with them.
A lot of times I've noticed the most successful attorneys have had, major failures either as, young adults or when they were children or or they had something to prove to someone. And so that can make a big difference for you as well. If you address the reasons behind your, in your lack of interest in conforming and why you're rebalancing, are you rebelling against being controlled by others?
Do you have problems with authority, do you do you have anger towards a parent? Do you have anger towards a farmer authority figure? And so all those things are things you can question. And and I bring all this up just because. I want you to succeed and I want everyone that follows the things that I teach to succeed.
And I think that I Allison's of people that, succeed based on a lot of the advice and provide, it's not on my advice when some of it I'm getting from other places and stuff. Of course, cause I read a lot, but you need to really delve into understanding the type of person you are.
I was talking to I went to a family reunion recently [00:34:00] and I have a cousin that's a very successful doctor. And she grew up in in single parent household and her father died when she was young and a helicopter crash. And that did very well and got scholarships to go to, private schools and and then, to go to Johns Hopkins and I don't know.
Great medical school. I don't know. I believe medical school at Cornell or something. I don't remember, but and And anyway, but she, she said she read one book, one time, something about the power of being an introvert. And that really touched her and made her a much more successful person because she realized that, being an introvert and like in study and everything was was a good thing for her.
And so I think also, and then it's made her much more secure in the type of person she is, and then understanding the aspects where she may not want to go out and socialize and suffer normal for her type of person. Sometimes just reading one thing like that can really make a big difference in your life.
And. Yeah, and I recommend that everyone do what you can to expose yourself to things that could help you in a law firm and to really get [00:35:00] by a final thing is I certainly don't offer it used to, but if you can get career coaches and people that will talk to you about your issues and things that are coming up, that can make a difference.
I know people that don't necessarily interview very well that would be better served by many times by getting interview coaching, which is something that we offer and have for all of our candidates. A lot of them turn it down but getting insights into the way, the reasons you're the way you are.
And that could be professional coaches. It could be that know what they're doing. It could be therapist, it could be all sorts of people and. And I would, whatever you do, I would encourage you to do what you can to expose yourself to all this stuff and help you become know hopefully a much better person to inform.
So I'm going to take a quick break. I hope everybody will. The ton of call you'll ask any questions that you have. I'm definitely excited to answer them answering questions on these weekly meetings is probably the most exciting time of my weight week. Cause I love hearing what people are thinking and [00:36:00] there's old people on this call and young people usually.
Whatever the questions you have, I will answer them. And then I will be back and just like two minutes, I'm just going to grab some more coffee.
Okay, so let's get started with questions. This is great. It looks like we have quite a few questions today. So let me just stop the share here and I'm going to pull up just to a blank word document. So we can look at some of these and and then we'll get started. That's interesting. Have a whiteboard,
this question I am going to start here. This is interesting because there's some good question. Okay. The answer is it says reconfirming no. What is the best way for females to conform? Is it appropriate once hired to ask someone basically how to conform and then what's the best way to demonstrate you're going to conform other than youth.
Okay. That's a great question. So let me just say at the outset that that I've seen. Several examples of women have issues having issues. Let me just to the size of this [00:37:00] with conforming versus women that have had that, that have not had issues with for me. And and I get the sense that you know, and I'm not a woman obviously, but but for women, many times that they do feel a lot of pressure to in a profession that they may feel is male dominated.
I don't know how much of that is true anymore to some extent, I know that I think there's actually more women that go to law school than men. But at the same time, how do you, what's the best way for females to conform? The first thing is I think. Just understanding the rules.
And so every firm has different rules and most of them are not necessarily based on being macho and all that sort of thing and male life they're based on hard work the the ability to bring in business the ability to socialize with people and so forth and just, understanding that the rules of most law firms are the same for regardless of whatever sex you are.
And so I don't think that that, compared to the way it may have been in the past, I don't think that that there's a lot of, so [00:38:00] discrimination against women is there probably was in the past, but I do believe that one of the best ways to conform is probably to understand the the the important.
The rule is of whatever law firm you're in you don't necessarily need to ask how to conform. I think that you need to watch what people around you that are successful are doing, and then you need to just adopt adopt that and really set that as the bar of what you want to achieve.
And then and then, the best way to demonstrate, you're willing to get farmers to do what's asked of you and so forth. So I if you're a female and our all male from, it's I really believe that you're evaluated on so many different aspects and in a law firm you're evaluated socially.
It's like social. Intellectual judgment and all these different things since I can't really give you any specific insights into the best way to conform that way. I think. I think that everyone most law firms are, they're in the business of making money.
So they [00:39:00] want to have different methods for they want to make sure that people follow the rules that they make the firm the most money. And so that, that's how I would, think about it as a general rule. I think that one of the things that I noticed I've noticed that a lot of times is an important aspect is, drawing attention to differences and so forth.
Anytime someone draws attention to the factor or tries to get separate different treatment based on the fact that their sex or their their quality of their law school or their anything that you you know, or whatever. Or the quality of from that worked in the past that the tendency is to to not react well to that for most organizations.
So I recommend that you do what you can to to not put yourself in a position where you know, where your where your value you're being, you're evaluating yourself. You're bringing it to, your Attention your differences.
You can't say I expect special treatment because, I went to a special law school. I went, I expect special treatment because [00:40:00] of this or that. You have to actually work along the rules that a doctor law firm should evaluate people, which are, I think it was like hours quality of work allegiances, meaning the people that you're close with business all that stuff.
And so keeping that as the forefront of what you are being evaluated on, I think is the most important thing. You want to think think do not think
and special for the following reasons. Odd reasons.
So that's really the best way to think about it. In terms of that I would think those things, so I think hours call it work, allegiances business people in my corner most times to be a partner get an advancement high in a law firm, you need to have sponsors.
And so you need to get people in your corner. You need to do the best work you can you know, to, all these things, but, saying. I should be a certain type of person. I should be treated a certain way because of, things that people hate for like family social class [00:41:00] works work where I worked for or where I went to law school.
Just I, and I'm not even going to get into the other stuff you're talking about. Cause I don't want to get I don't want to go there, but these are the things you need to think. And so if you think along those terms then then you're going to do much better and the long ramp and long run and just concentrating on that.
Because if you do these things well then none of this stuff matters and the problem is too many people, especially young attorneys all these questions I get every week. I'm at a fall 10 law school fall 10 from, or, I'm in a top 14 law school and all that stuff was good.
But when it comes down to it, these are the things that law firms care about. They care about these things and and also people like me potential commitment and, all that sort of stuff. These are the things they care about. They don't necessarily care about that.
Logical performance that doesn't benefit the law firm four minutes what else there is, or those sorts of things. So just think about all that stuff and try not to paint yourself into the wrong corner. [00:42:00] People that think that do not think things end up getting into a lot of trouble compared to those differently
Next question is, I'm not sure where this is coming from, but can you be a patent attorney without a science degree? So I'm not sure of the exact qualifications for being a patent attorney, but yes, you can you can often be uh, you can petition the patent bar many times and do it with you can, for different math.
I've stopped sometimes. I do believe there's I believe I'm not sure. The other thing is that you can also be a penetrating without a science degree. If you you can go to, you can go to school and go back to school and and take courses at a community college that to qualify, to take the exam.
So I'm not sure exactly what those classes are and what they are, but I've seen people do that in the past. Yes.
I don't know what this one is. There's an article called that I would recommend reading by Harris Barnes article
from titles, mean the fat out
and this time BCG. And and so the, [00:43:00] in terms of how to answer your question in terms of a law firm there are all sorts of different levels. There's typically you have when you, before you passed the bar, They're admitted to the bar, you're generally call the law clerk. And then after passing the bar exam you're called a you'd be called the junior associate or just an associate, and then you have mid-level associates partners and and also council level attorneys.
So each of those people have a different kind of responsibilities and in terms of different law firms, some law firms do it differently than a lot of them will have staff attorneys that a staff attorney means that you're not strapped to become a partner if you do well. You're on a different hour requirements.
A lot of them will. Contract attorneys that may be and and that sort of thing. So that should hopefully that answer your question, but I would review the article called what law firm titles mean. That could be okay. Let's see here. This question is I'm a first year litigator who absolutely loved working from home.
I [00:44:00] am able to work long hours and still have been in there with my significant other every night. My firm is bringing us back in the office timber and I feel entirely trapped. Not because I have zero desire to come into the office and sit in uncomfortable clothing all day, but because I need to move, I've written out the pandemic and a massive two bedroom apartment that absolutely. Lower costs living city. I now have to give all that up and go pay a thousand dollars more for a decent of the comparable one bedroom apartment.
And even the 30 minute commute to my office, the cities are of course, different jurisdictions. So I can't even contemplate being a junior lateral fullest another year. It doesn't help the case. He took so much of my time right now is out of another office. So I'll be moving and going to the office to just sit on zoom I'm up.
So they just brought me someone to talk me off the ledge. Okay. Yeah, this is perfectly the idea of having to work remotely is is a big thing. And and you're not the first person to bring up this issue in these calls. What I would say is that But you should really be [00:45:00] careful about putting your needs before the needs of your employer.
I think that if the law firm watching the office those are reasons for that. They they typically want people in the office because they feel there's more comradery. They feel that our work's done, they feel that there's more better exchange of information and kind of energy that comes up with that and more, and certainly I understand wanting to be home and having dinner with a student another overnight, that makes perfect sense to me.
And I, I don't uncomfortable clothing, everything you're saying is exactly Perfectly feel the same way. I understand exactly what you're talking about, but at the same time this is just, what the law firm requires. And frankly, I think if you do go back to the office you're you're doing what I do a lot of times with work and things is you're thinking more in terms of comfort rather than you're putting your comfort first, which I like, I'm like that.
I have these, my house bean bags and I love comfort and I don't like commuting. And so I understand everything that you're saying. So it's not by any stretch of the imagination a bad thing, but if you [00:46:00] do want, I would say, especially, this is what careers can be. There's no way you shouldn't be getting a face-to-face interaction with a walkway in affirm, because frankly you're thinking right now, like an employee.
Yeah, probably I would say what does it take to be an attorney
can be a good attorney. I would say that probably, 30%, 30%, 20 to 30% is work quality.
Maybe actually, yeah, 20, 30%, 30% amount is
30 to 40%
and the remaining.
Which there be 50 to 70%,
70%, 30 to 50%, 30 to 50%.
So that means and social means in-person relationships. In-person learning relationships, learning packs, Alliance
Availability, all that sort of. If you're in the office, you have the opportunity to get all that stuff. And if you're not, you [00:47:00] won't and and people will say things to you in person that they would never say to you on zoom or on the call and the phone or via email they'll and that's where the real learning comes and you learn all sorts of things when you're in person versus not.
My recommendation to you is to actually be excited about going back into the office if your priority is comfort, then then there's nothing wrong with that. But there's jobs where you have a lot of where you can actually make comfort a priority, which are things like, being a professor.
I mean that, that where you can have more time to think and. Time at home or working for the government and so forth. Those are different professions, but at the same time, I do think you need to be in the office. And even though you're going to be in zoom, you're still going to be around other attorneys.
You're going to watch the mannerisms and can pick up a lot. And it's important and I hate to say it but it should something for you to think about. So that was a great question and I appreciate it. Okay. Let's see. Another question. And any additional questions you guys have is helpful for everyone on the call.
So I think a lot of people have the same questions. The one you just asked, by the [00:48:00] way, it was something that I'm sure a lot of people have. So that was helpful to be able to answer that have done a lot for my match. The summer associates asked me to click tasks. I have no experience with it. This meant working with the partner who was giving me instructions, what to do the work I completed had mistakes in them, but these errors, not my fault because they were due to me, never have a word document for whoever is it true that partnership in reviewing the work that I produced as a summer associate.
Okay. So when you're a summer associate I think there's an article on law crossing called a guide to being a summer associate. It's a long article. That'd be great, but if you can, that would be helpful, but that time not crossing. But one of the things I would tell you in terms of.
Being a summer associate is that they, I've had similar experiences when I was a summer associate. I was, would walk into someone's office and they would say something like just, it's corporate stuff, like review this prospectus and, and tell me what the, the some code is and I'd be like, what the hell is this guy talking about? And I would sit there afraid to ask questions. So my biggest piece of advice, if you're a summer associate and trying to figure this stuff [00:49:00] out and not getting advice from partners is to track down is first of all you're expected to push and and figure out answers on your own to the extent you can.
There's one guy that worked for me a long time ago, and this is, it's probably 20 years ago and it was when I was. Starting this company, law crossing, and w one of the assignments I gave him was come up with something called the top 100 reasons to use. And he came back and he said, I can only think of 10 and he'd written 10 down.
I'm like, this is crazy. Come up with, I need a hundred. And so he sat there all day going like this. And by the end of the day, he only had I don't know, 30 or 40 or something. And and I went through this exercise with him for a week. And he actually at the time was applying to law schools and having me write recommendations and everything.
And I wrote him actually excellent recommendations. And he got into all the law schools. He wanted to. But he couldn't do this. He wasn't smart enough to really study because all you would need to do is say, okay, what are the benefits of using an online job board? What are the benefits of doing things this way versus that way?
And he couldn't do that. So because he couldn't do [00:50:00] that, I knew, he didn't push hard enough and he wasn't aggressive enough and finding answers. I was like, how could someone like that possibly ever be an attorney for me, or, for someone, for anyone, because if they're not willing to look for answers, then then that's a problem.
So part of the job of being a summer associate is it's almost like looking at really difficult math problems. For some reason when I was in college, I placed in the advanced calculus, which was ludicrous. Because it was Saying like the textbook was like the stick and the, for advanced calculus, as opposed to the textbook for, medium calculus and then regular calculus was like this thick.
And and I think they just expected that it didn't have to go and do a lot of explanation cause the people that were doing this for somehow gifted or something, I don't know. But I would literally sit in the library or not the library, but in the basement of the dorms and these little study cubicles and sit there trying to understand some of these questions and problems for, five or six hours at a time.
And then eventually my mind would have to [00:51:00] wrap itself around it and I could, but wow. That's not normal. That is at that was very difficult for me and cause I, not gifted and by any stretch of imagination and math. Okay. So it's like that with a lot of the assignments you get you need to sit down and you need to concentrate and put all of your effort into to, to doing whatever you can to understand these assignments.
And but the big, best way to do it to shortcut it is to do who research, about what the topic is. But the biggest way is ask a senior associates. Senior associates or, or mid-level associates, or even junior associates, who've been through this before. And they've done it before.
And and they're not gonna want many times to spend a lot of time explaining this stuff to you, but but if you can track them down and make friends with them, then they will tell you how to do it. You have to remember that you shouldn't. And this is just very common for attorneys. They put themselves in this of young attorneys in the situation where they need to protect their ego, be in control.
[00:52:00] And and you don't need to you don't need a protect your ego. You need to, the solution to getting over this is to give up control and and ask others and, say you don't understand now partners are going to lose. Frustrate are going to get frustrated with you if they think that if you're bothering them because their time is very valuable.
You don't want to if it looks like you haven't thought about this in depth, or if your mind's not clear enough, then then it could be a bad idea sometimes asking them. Now, if it's a small firm and you have no choice and you need to, but before you do that, you need to go through and do everything you possibly can.
Like I'm telling you when I spent, five or six hours trying to understand a single frickin math problem you need to do the same thing with the, these problems. W the issues that you're coming up with in your search trying to do these assignments, because the biggest mistake you can make is to go into a partner and give them the wrong answer because you haven't done enough research and found obvious things.
The mistake is to come in and give this long answer that takes into account. It has 20 different [00:53:00] ideas in it. And the information is not synthesized and to think through it and make sure you're coming up with the right thing, just a good law school exam will basically, hit give the answer very directly.
And it's the same thing here. You have to make sure you understand what's important versus. Important. So that's kinda how I would do things. I also, just as a general rule, like everything you do needs to be very carefully approved in large law firms because the, they you can see here that, this is lighting up with different suggestions and so just that sort of thing.
So you always want to use proofing programs and things because if you don't produce work, if you produce work that has a lot of typos and other errors in it, then the firm and the people in it will assume that your your thought processes are also having hairs in them as well.
This is an interesting question. I liked this one. Anybody has any additional questions? I'm happy to answer that as well. Almost out of questions. Okay. How do you know if moving to a non law firm is going to help or hurt in a legal [00:54:00] career? The big thing about you, you don't know there's a couple there and there's I would spend a lot of time reading various articles and so forth that I've written because that's a question that I typically.
We'll answer in those articles, but the big thing is in terms of the best way to basically tell if a law firm is going to help or hurt your legal career is to to always ask yourself what you want. So if what you want is to to make it's just, it depends on the, all the facts that you have, the money you want to make long-term opportunities, opportunity practice area, long opportunities to partner, easy to make partner, not or not.
Your practice area, all those sorts of things. So this is a very, what you're asking is a very thoughtful question. There's tons of articles about this on BCG and different law firms have different things. But the biggest thing that I would map is there's one article on BCG called that I wrote called find your tribe or something.
[00:55:00] And I really recommend reading that article. And the reason I liked that article for you is because I think that the most important thing, to be a law firm to help your career is to be with the people that are most likely to help you with the most. I can tell you, I'll tell you one kind of funny story Not too long ago.
I was in a business two different business networking groups. I was in one or joining two different business networking groups. One was a bunch of basically, people with fairly small, not small, not very large businesses that were trying to scale them up.
And the other was people with huge businesses that had started big businesses and sold them. And when I say huge, I don't mean huge, but 50 million, a hundred million dollar, $200 million companies with stuff. And so one was when was that? And and I. I gave a presentation, a short one to someone in a small one for smaller businesses.
And and when I gave the presentation, I talked about how some things, [00:56:00] like I told you earlier, like I don't have a, I didn't have a COO chief operating officer. I was making a lot of bad decisions and I was basically being very vulnerable. And and and this, I was new to the groups.
They knew nothing about the size of the company that I ran, which is this is maybe 150 person company. It's not a small company. And and, but they just assumed that I was like this kind of guy that, was basically working on my own based on the way I presented my problem.
And after the meeting, the the person that was charged that I had a call with her not too long after that. And she said you're just not a good fit for this group. Your business is way too small. I'm going to recommend you talk to someone else. And I thought that was very strange because I there were people that were like, literally maybe owning like a couple of Franchises and not auto franchise, but auto repair places and stuff.
And and I would teach this and I was like, all right, whatever you say, man. And and so then she referred me to someone else and I talked to this person and the guy couldn't believe it. He was like, what the hell like, [00:57:00] I'm I work with people that are just trying to start companies. I don't know why she would have possibly refer them to you, but she actually kicked me out of her group because she thought based on what I said, that I wasn't a good fit.
And then a couple of weeks later, I