Double Billing: A Young Lawyer's Tale of Greed, Sex, Lies, and the Pursuit of a Swivel Chair

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Overview

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...

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Double Billing: A Young Lawyer's Tale of Greed, Sex, Lies, and the Pursuit of a Swivel Chair

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
"If you prefer your lawyering without criminally short skirts and workdays that culminate in impromptu bathroom-stall dance numbers, try this scathingly funny and grim portrait of the legal profession. . . . Double Billing should be required reading for the aspiring rich and shameless."
Aric Press
"DOUBLE BILLING may do for associates what Scott Turow's ONE L did for elite law schools. Surely it will become necessary reading for law students and young lawyers entering that world. But it's also a warning shot - a memo to managing partners and hiring committees" You're consuming your young at a fearful pace and a hideous cost. The book is something else too. It's a good read."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688172220
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/28/1999
  • Series: Harper Perennial
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Cameron Stracher is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He is the author of a novel, The Laws of Return, and the recipient of a 1998 fiction fellowsip from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He lives in New York City with his family.
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Read an Excerpt

I Fought the Law

September.

I wake to the alarm clock's pummeling. Stumbling from bed, my eyelids glued like old wallpaper, I slap haphazardly at the snooze button. It eludes my hand like a skittering insect. Finally, in desperation, I knock the clock from the nightstand, silencing its warbling on the cold, rock-hard floor. What time is it? Time to rise; time to shine.

In the bathroom, while I wait for the hot water, I examine my face in the mirror. The lines around my lips have deepened. My hair has thinned and even grayed. I am twenty-six years old, practically ancient. What I know could fill a book; what I don't would fill the world.

Soon, steam fogs the glass. The pipes clank. I shower, shampoo, and shave. Dab myself with lotions, ointments, and creams. Wrap myself in towels and tissues. Shielded from the elements, I pad back to the bedroom to dress.

Everything smells of fresh paint and soap: the apartment, my clothes, this job. I am not unexcited. Nervous, perhaps, and a bit apprehensive. I've never held a full-time job before. I've been a waiter, pizza deliverer, disc jockey, to name a few, but none of these professions seemed substantial, real. I was biding time until life arrived.

I walk to the kitchenette in my underwear and white shirt. The shirt is starched so stiffly it hangs in panels from my shoulders. I had to bend the cuffs to button them. I pour another cup of coffee, careful to hold it far from my chest. My nerves thrum like piano wire.

It feels like the first day of school. The same churning in the stomach. The same unfamiliar routine. New clothes, new books, new friends. A bus stop to routeout. I will be beaten by a bully, ignored by the teacher, and abandoned in the back of study hall.

I fold my shirt into my pants. Loop my belt through the loops. Mash my feet into my black wingtips. Tie and untie and retie my tie. At nine o'clock I race around the small apartment shutting off appliances: coffeemaker, air conditioner, television, iron. I switch off the lights, grab the unread newspaper, and skip out the door.

The Law crooks one finger and beckons.

I graduated Harvard Law School at the beginning of a decade of diminished expectations. The stock market had crashed, staggered, and recovered, but the economy was still in free fall. "Downsizing," the media had dubbed it. College students were rushing to law school in desperate numbers. The recently unemployed, the bored, the fearful were joining them. Academics warned of a "brain drain." Politicians feared a "litigation explosion." Lawyers worried about the competition.

Despite the souring economy, my classmates had all found jobs: clerkships with federal judges, prosecutors in district attorneys' offices, legal counsel to public interest organizations. The vast majority, however, were heading into private practice, the bulk of them to big firms in New York City.

In the last decades there has been a spectacular increase in the number of lawyers. There are now nearly one million in the United States, about the same as the federal prison population. Although more lawyers work as solo practitioners, the number in group practices has grown steadily since World War II, while the ranks of solo practitioners have shrunk. The growth among large firms, those with more than fifty lawyers, has been dramatic: the percentage of lawyers in such firms doubled during the 1980s. The increase at t e arge firms has come primarily from an increase in the ranks of recent law school graduates-law firm "associates."

This growth has been the result of many factors, some well documented, others speculative. The United States has gone from being a country that produces goods to a country that produces services. Law, a service industry, has been part of that transformation. As government regulations increased during the 1970s, liability for injuries to workers and consumers expanded, and as corporations bought, sold, and reorganized themselves with stunning alacrity, the demand for lawyers multiplied. More lawyers also created a need for more lawyers. As my criminal-law professor once joked: a lawyer comes to a small town to set up a practice. He spends his days twiddling his thumbs, doing the odd real estate closing or uncontested divorce. He lives a lazy, low-budget life. One day, another lawyer moves to town. Suddenly, they both have more work than they can handle.

Most of the largest firms in the world (and large law firms are a distinctly American phenomenon) have their biggest offices in New York City. Firms with more than two hundred lawyers spread over multiple floors in a single building are not uncommon. Add to this the number of secretaries, paralegals, librarians, word-processing staff, messengers, and other support staff, and these firms resemble small campuses connected by elevators.

At Harvard very few law students begin their first year intending to work for one of the large firms. Most of my classmates professed interest in signing up with employers like the ACLU or the Center for Constitutional Rights-liberal organizations that defend a woman's right to choose, equal access to political representation, free speech. But by their second year, when interviewers from the biggest...

Double Billing. Copyright © by Cameron Stracher. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2014

    Silver Bullet

    *grins drunkenly and rolls over to where he i on top and starts thrusting his di.ck instantly becoming hard*

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2014

    Rarity

    Drugs you to make u ho<_>rny) lets DO this! (Th<_>rusts)

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  • Posted June 25, 2012

    Clever, funny and enjoyable

    This book is funny and clever. Stracher's narration is whimsical and likeable as he explores the inner-workings of the big firm, where money and power are idealized by many of his colleagues. The quirks and oddities of his colleagues and of the firm are brought to light. Stracher also touches on the darker side of civil litigation as well as the greed and lies which he encounters in the firm. Overall this personal narrative is a pleasure to read. Stracher explains legal terms to readers and his writing is clear and effective, as well as mildly sarcastic. If you're looking for a fun, clever nonfiction read, this could be it.

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