Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ooooh, I Hope My $10K Handbag Doesn't Upset My Co-Workers!

The ABAJournal has a funny sidebar about the law firm summer intern that's a little freaked about whether her Hermes handbag, price tag $10,000 might upset co-workers or impact her career aspirations.  Debra Cassens Weiss reports:

"The intern, who works at a big law firm in Singapore, wrote to the Corporette blog for advice. Corporette suspects the handbag, made by Hermes, goes for around $9,000, while the American Lawyer’s Careerist column says the minimum price tag is $10,000.

'I’ve heard two conflicting opinions,' the intern writes. '(1) You should dress what you would like to be, ie, if you want to be a partner one day, dress as such; and (2) dress appropriate to your level in the firm.'

Corporette worries that the bag will convey the impression that the intern is rich, has rich parents or a rich fianc√©. Some employers will see that as a good sign, since the intern is there for the love of the job and is likely to have connections with wealthy potential clients. Others will 'worry that you’re biding your time—until the trust fund kicks in, until you get pregnant, or, you know, until your sex tape leaks and you get your own reality show,' the blog says. 'You may find you have to work even harder to get the respect that you deserve.'”
On a day when I write about debtors' prison it's nice to have this polar opposite for the purposes of ironic symmetry.

I went into the practice of law to represent people who looked like my parents, and childhood friends. 

I did not go into the law for money, and as it turns out that was both a good thing in terms of not being disappointed and a bad thing because what money I made I managed very poorly.  When I became a lawyer I had no idea that people spent fantastic amounts of money for purses, clothes, shoes, boats, second homes, or any other damn thing that was intended for a purpose far beyond function.  I also did not realize that gigantic law firms exist as marble and crystal shrines to greed, avarice, and injustice built on the backs of municipal debt offerings, bonds, corporate mergers (and all that that implies for real humans), creditors and debtors.  I did not realize that corporations like Massey Energy and interests like the NRA and Chambers of Commerce could buy up the law makers and judges.  But these things do exist, and beyond some of the artistry in these material items, these things are merely material objects having no purpose other than to further the misery of most and the shallow joy of a few.

A purse is not a law career, more importantly it is not a soul.  While Corporette gives career advice I would think the Singapore Summer Intern might benefit from a moment of stopping, breathing, and thinking about her soul.    I know, this young woman is an easy target and it gives me a chance to sound pretty self-righteous--with all my terror about my gross incompetence relating to my financial and tax obligations who the hell am I? 

Just one more idiot trying to find an appropriate place in our material world.


  1. A purse is not a soul....great thought for the day. Thank-you Bad Lawyer.

  2. Fun to read this story! Thanks. But every woman loves beautiful handbags. It's our nature! :)

  3. This is one of the best accounts from the law and comments by bl, along with the personl stuff. Thanks.

  4. If that purse is truly bad, she'll make a bad lawyer someday. She sets goals, obviously. Nothing more appropriate to reach into than a $10,000 bag when you have to pay getting on or off the toll road.

  5. "We live in a material world, and I am a material girl..."

  6. BadOne,
    Sort out style versus materialism what role fashion should play in the workplace, some doesnt it honeyz?