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This year, The National Law Journalagain piggybacked on the American Lawyer‘s midlevel satisfaction survey with a questionnaire so random, so fluffy or so soul-piercing that only roughly 300 mid-levels dared to answer every question. Lest you believe that the questionnaire was a joke, here are some leading findings: A third of midlevels favor eliminating the last year of law school, but only 14% would eliminate law firm libraries. Third year of law school is universally called worthless in textual responses, but many praise it as a chance to relax and to lower one’s golf score. Several litigators remark that the library is “a good place to hide.” Carole Bellis is lobbying to have the library at Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich converted into a coffee bar and lounge. Billmore Baggins, a Minneapolis greedy associate, notes, “Books look cool filling a wall.” With apologies to my favorite sources, 44% of those polled agree that Greedy Associates are embarrassing to the profession. Surprisingly, that’s more than the 42% who agree that “[p]art-time policies never work.” Some of these findings merit future columns; I’ve already shared the highlights on desktop decor. The remainder of this column is devoted to the evergreen subject of money. A third of those polled say that the megaraises of 2000 were bad for associates. The other two-thirds were astounded by the question. “Yeah, I hate rolling naked in piles of cash,” wrote one San Francisco associate. Agree or not, most used their raises to indulge in an unprecedented consumer binge. In the words of one associate, “How can it be bad when it feels so good?” The leading purchase for flush associates was “a debt-free existence,” with 25 choosing to pay off loans or other debts. Nine bought cars. Of those who specified, two bought BMWs, one a Mercedes Benz SL320 convertible and one “a Volvo for the Mrs.” An associate at O’Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles, who bought a BMW 3 Series, confesses, “There are so many on the associate level for the parking garage that I often can’t tell which one is mine.” Five polled associates used their raises to buy or upgrade homes, and another five for home improvements. Colleen Helmer, a part-timer at Sidley & Austin who, like many respondents, insists that part-time can work, says that she and her husband, Nick of Piper Marbury Rudnick & Wolfe, used their raises to build a home office. “I guess we are gluttons for punishment,” she says. Four associates bought casual clothes (though one of them works at a firm that won’t let him wear them), and four more bought jewelry: a Rolex, a Tag Heuer, a diamond ring and a Tiffany bracelet, the last bought by William Derasmo of Troutman Sanders in Washington, D.C., for his fianc�. Three splurged for weddings, and one woman’s husband quit his job to stay home with their baby. An associate at Hughes Hubbard & Reed nicely captures the two-mindedness of the BigLaw associate corps. Asked whether the megaraise was good or bad, she writes, “Bad bad bad. Someone tell me what we were making wasn’t enough. Yeah, yeah I know, you could make loads more at a dot-com. Fabulous. Now the rock-solid stability that the dot-com employees enjoy is raised by firm associates.” Asked what she bought with the megaraise, she responds, “Ignore above. I bought a spectacular handbag, three pairs of shoes and a ticket to Europe.” Herewith are my favorite 10 answers to the question, “What was the first thing you bought with your megaraise?” 10. A box of Cuban cigars. 9. A trip to Vegas. 8. Every single piece of clothing I liked in the Banana Republic catalog — always wanted to do that! 7. A subway fare card — the raise does not make that much difference in New York. 6. Nothing — so I can leave my firm sooner. 5 (a). Biotech stocks — it’s the next sure thing; (b) put into a biotech mutual fund and promptly lost half the value. 4. A treadmill. 3. Therapy. 2. Peace of mind. 1. More work than I could chew. Do you know an associate tale that needs telling? Please contact Michael Goldhaber with concerns and trends; anonymity respected. Phone: (212) 313-9110; or e-mail: [email protected].

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