Associate who still can’t afford their own legal advice takes measures to avoid freeloading

Ryan is an associate for major law firm who has been hopelessly clawing his way up the ranks for the last four years using chewed-down nubs where fingernails used to be.

Despite being an associate, his meagre salary (a victim of his poor negotiation skills each June) still would not cover the cost of his own advice… if he ever needed it.

In his most recent bout of anxiety, Ryan reports that he was shaken awake at 3am last Thursday to the realisation that he also needed to stop freeloading off his education. When asked what was driving this newfound need, he simply shared that he would be ‘mortified if anyone else found out he was using his acquired knowledge off the clock to resolve personal issues’.

When probed further with which personal issues he was getting an edge on, he replied, “I have spent years studying certain laws, legal processes, and paperwork – I could prepare my own advice if I wanted to and avoid common pitfalls that a client would fall into, but it just wouldn’t be right. Who would even profit? I did the math, and it just doesn’t add up!”

Ryan handed over a few pieces of crumpled paper that he’d stashed in his pocket, mumbling an apology for the penmanship. This reporter notes that it could be mistaken for a three-year old’s handwriting, who seemed to use a jackhammer as a writing surface.

What was written on that ‘memorandum’ remained a mystery until this reporter handed it to resident handwriting expert, Joanna, who works as a pharmacist and is adept at deciphering the illegible scrawlings of GPs everywhere. An extract of Ryan’s words has been reproduced below:


List of ways to stop being a law-bludger and impress my dad

  • heavy post work drinking sessions with other lawyers in low tax brackets
  • request and use firm-issued desk baton to inflict a low-to-mid level concussion after emailing the finalised advice (make firm wide protocol?)
  • keeping useful knowledge documents out of sight
  • avoid eye contact with other lawyers after-hours?
  • talk to therapist about this list
  • go into mind palace or dissociate every time a partner gives advice to protect the client’s privacy and value for dollar
  • whisper learned secrets into coffee cups (the office wishing wells) before disposing into the bin
  • take anti-anxiety meds?
  • take up side hustle, get rich, be able to afford own advice

This reporter notes that after Ryan ‘donated’ this memo, he grabbed this reporter into an uncomfortably warm and slightly sweaty embrace over the café table, while whisper-screaming that “[he] needs to get back to the office before anyone notices… who knows how many billable minutes [he’s] just wasted talking about lists when [he] could be constructing advice [he’s] never going to be expensive enough to read – even for proofing.”

Somehow that’s still a junior lawyer’s role.

Thank you to The Legal Forecast for sharing its Denuto’s Vibe column with QLS Proctor readers. Enjoy! Author: Annabelle Lee (pseudonym) | Editor: Dana Heriot

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