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June 05, 2019 The Modern Law Library

A curmudgeon’s tips for making it in BigLaw

By Ashley Alfirevic

For new law graduates and associates going into the world of BigLaw, the stakes have never been higher—and neither have the expectations.

As an attorney with Jones Day for more than 20 years, Mark Herrmann is willing to tell you everything you wish that stoic senior lawyer would say. His book—The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law, Second Edition—explains how to succeed with a little bit of snark and a whole lot of laughs.

In this episode of the Modern Law Library, ABA Publishing’s Ashley Alfirevic speaks to Herrmann about what they didn’t tell you in law school, how to work with your assistant, and what’s changed in this new edition.

A lot of incoming associates get advice about writing detailed briefs and dressing for success. But the curmudgeon doesn’t give a hoot about any of it. He speaks the honest truth about what partners really want to see from your writing, your depositions and your performance at the firm. And he recognizes that sometimes partners could use instructions on how to do their jobs, too. The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law breaks down the intimidating world of BigLaw with humor, heart and hard knocks.


Podcast listeners can look for the second edition on the ABA web store.

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In This Podcast:

Ashley Alfirevic
Mark Herrmann is the deputy general counsel of Aon PLC and author of The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law, Second Edition. Herrmann practiced at the relatively small firm Steinhart & Falconer in San Francisco from 1984 to 1989, when he moved to Cleveland and joined the international law firm Jones Day, where he was a partner when he wrote the original edition of this book. Herrmann’s other books include Drug and Device Product Liability Litigation Strategy (Oxford Univ. Press 2d rev. ed. 2018) (with co-authors), Inside Straight: Advice About Lawyering, In-House And Out, That Only The Internet Could Provide (ABA 2012), and Statewide Coordinated Proceedings: State Court Analogues to the Federal MDL Process (Thomson-West 2d rev. ed. 2004) (with co-authors).