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Former BigLaw Attorney Dishes on Cravath

Bitter Lawyer carries an interview today with Pulitzer Prize finalist Gerald Posner (no relation to the other Posner), an investigative reporter and former associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. He's written books on Nazis and the global heroin trade, but what's most interesting about the interview is what Posner has to say about his life at Cravath. For example, Posner says the firm was a:

Sweat shop with a capital “S.” I billed over 3,300 hours the first year, and I was not the highest biller in the firm. You had no life but the firm. The partners loved their practice, but that’s the only way you can stay at a place like that. Divorce was almost viewed as though an associate had made the decision to stay with the firm rather than have a personal life.

Cravath is also where Posner had his worst experience as a lawyer, where he:

[had] to come back on a redeye flight from LA to NY and go straight to the office and work a second all-nighter on the IBM litigation for Cravath, while fighting a flu bug the whole time. Bummer.

Still, Posner says he didn't expect to leave the law when he left the firm. But during a pro bono lawsuit at Cravath for twin victims of a Nazi concentration camp, Posner became an expert on Josef Mengele. After the suit, Posner approached a publisher with a book proposal and it was accepted. Turns out, Posner enjoyed investigative journalism so much -- the tolerance for reviewing mountains of documents that he built up as a lawyer came in handy -- that he left the law and never went back.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on June 12, 2009 at 03:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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