Double Billing: A Young Lawyer’s Tale Of Greed, Sex, Lies, And The Pursuit Of A Swivel Chair

By in Biographies on July 12, 2013

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By turns hilarious and horrifying, Double Billing is a clever and sobering expose of the legal profession. Writing with wit and wisdom, Cameron Stracher describes the grueling rite of passage of an associate at a major New York law firm. As Stracher describes, Harvard Law School may have taught him to think like a lawyer, but it was his experience as an associate that taught him to behave–or misbehave–like one. Double Billing is a biting glimpse into the world of corporate law from the perspective of the low man on the totem pole.

In Double Billing, Cameron Stracher reveals a shocking nonfiction account of the ordeal of a young associate at a major Wall Street law firm. Fresh out of Harvard Law School, Stracher landed a coveted position at a high-powered corporate law firm and thus began his grueling years as an associate, a dreaded rite of passage for every young attorney. Only about five percent survive long enough to achieve the Holy Grail of partnership in the firm.

As the author vividly describes, law school may teach you how to think like a lawyer, but it’s being an associate that teaches you how to behave like one. Or misbehave. Stracher doesn’t mince words about the duplicitous behavior and flagrant practices of many lawyers in his firm, which is one of the premier partnerships in America.

In a stylish and witty manner that has earned him comparison to an early Philip Roth, Stracher does for the legal profession what Michael Lewis’s Liars’ Poker did for the financial industry. The result is a tell-all glimpse into the cutthroat world of corporate law from the perspective of the low man on the totem pole.

In Double Billing, Cameron Stracher reveals a shocking nonfiction account of the ordeal of a young associate at a major Wall Street law firm. Fresh out of Harvard Law School, Stracher landed a coveted position at a high-powered corporate law firm and thus began his grueling years as an associate, a dreaded rite of passage for every young attorney. Only about five percent survive long enough to achieve the Holy Grail of partnership in the firm.

As the author vividly describes, law school may teach you how to think like a lawyer, but it’s being an associate that teaches you how to behave like one. Or misbehave. Stracher doesn’t mince words about the duplicitous behavior and flagrant practices of many lawyers in his firm, which is one of the premier partnerships in America.

In a stylish and witty manner that has earned him comparison to an early Philip Roth, Stracher does for the legal profession what Michael Lewis’s Liars’ Poker did for the financial industry. The result is a tell-all glimpse into the cutthroat world of corporate law from the perspective of the low man on the totem pole.

In Double Billing, author Cameron Stracher puts the legal profession on trial and finds it guilty of waste, fraud, and other offenses. Stracher has based his inside account on three punishing years as a young associate at a New York City law firm, given the fictional name Crowley and Cavanaugh. With everyone facing nearly impossible odds to become partner, there are no lawyers in love at Stracher’s firm–only lawyers at war. The lifeblood at C & C is “the billable hour.” Even a first-year associate costs clients 0 an hour. What’s more, there’s little desire to save money. “The longer C & C fought on behalf of a client, the more C & C was paid,” he soon learns.

There is no literal double billing, but it comes close. Clients sometimes pay twice for virtually the same service–once by the associate and then again by the partners. Every associate’s memo is revised by a partner, for example. Two corporate combatants often pay their respective attorneys outrageous fees to research and argue the same, narrow points of law. The outcome is rarely in doubt.

Stracher’s young lawyers are ambivalent and cynical–there are no illusions in the courtrooms of Generation X. “Today, law students have nothing but doubts: about the nobility of their chosen profession, about their interest in it and about its interest in them,” he writes. Say goodbye to the idealism of John Osborn’s The Paper Chase. So much for the committed bunch in Scott Turow’s One L. Double Billing is a great read if you’re thinking of becoming a lawyer or if you work with lawyers. It will no doubt change the way you think about our system of justice. –Dan Ring

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