What I liked about the story was just how insanely true to character the entire personal account is. It was like an actor who never got out of character.
The blog posts and emails paint the picture of a burned-out, highly elitist, highly racist, highly sexist, and highly egotistical hiring partner at a corporate law firm. His only goal in life is to become chairman of his law firm and gain power over others and prestige. In the story, he goes to all ends to do this, not stopping at lying, cheating, insulting, plotting a coup, or punishing others for anything and everything. The character's voice comes out so true in such ridiculous moments that it's a testament to the author's talents as a writer and imagination (I really hope it's all fiction). The story's strong voice continues even to the fake "anonymous" law firm website they set up for the book. I love the attention to detail and follow-through on the story. At certain moments it seems like the author is beating a dead horse, but mostly, it's funny (and disturbing).
In Russian, there is a saying that every joke has a sliver of truth. Therefore, I'm sure that while the story is exaggerated, there must be some semblance of truth in the character portrayed and the vividness of the power struggle. I wonder how much of this is generational. Will the new generation of attorneys (who grew up with social networking, care for world peace, volunteerism, organic food, importance of exercise, life balance, etc.) be different? Will there be a new, more high-tech, forward-thinking, human-friendly model for law firms in the near future? I certainly hope so.
Here are the perils and disturbing things I noted from this book:
- Extreme power hunger
- Extreme power hierarchy (paralegals, summer associates not treated like humans)
- Extreme racism (little room for minorities and fake shows of caring about diversity)
- Extreme wastefulness just for the sake of show (showy lunches and parties for recruiting or executive committee)
- Culture caring only about winning and beating competition
- Lying recruiters
- Zero respect for family
- Zero time for family
- Zero sense of cooperation as a team and no mention of trying to legitimately help clients
- Extreme incentive issues with hourly billing (funny story about billing 2 clients simultaneously for doing work on one client's case while flying on a trip to visit another; another funny story about taking very expensive restroom breaks for clients while doing some "thinking" about their case on the toilet)