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Ring, ring, that familiar bell. Do not ask for whom the headhunters toll; just answer the phone. Martindale-Hubbell has been updated, and they have your name, class, and telephone number. Once upon a time you were coveted, wined and dined at this season’s fashionable restaurant. Now you’ve been forgotten. The headhunters promise a return to the blissful days of yesteryear, and all it requires is one foot up on the block, one toe in the water, and a clean copy of your resume.

Listen. Associates are like cheese: They’re best consumed between 18 months and four years. You want to stick around until you stink like Morbier? This whole big-firm thing was a feeble excuse to begin with, a way to keep your options open until your dream job arrived. From your Park Avenue perch you thought it would be easier to get another job if you started at a big firm. It promised security against the vagaries of the legal market and, maybe, some real-world experience. At least that’s what everyone assured you. Next thing you knew, you were locked in a keyless conference room on the thirty-sixth floor of a midtown skyscraper. At least that’s what you told your friends. They wanted to know what happened to your battle to keep Iceland green and Greenland on ice, or vice versa. One hundred thousand dollars a year. You had a lot of debts.

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