Another thing to avoid is being subjected to perverse incentives. You don't want to be in a perverse incentive system that's rewarding you if you behave more and more foolishly, or worse and worse. Perverse incentives are so powerful as controllers of human cognition and human behavior that one should avoid their influence. And one of the things you're going to find in at least a few modern law firms is high billable-hour quotas. I could not have lived under a billable-hour quota of 2400 hours a year. That would have caused too many problems for me. I wouldn't have done it. I don't have a solution for you for the situation some of you will face. You'll have to figure out for yourselves how to handle such significant problems.

Perverse associations are also to be avoided. You particularly want to avoid working directly under somebody you don't admire and don't want to be like. It's dangerous. We're all subject to control to some extent by authority figures, particularly authority figures who are rewarding us. Dealing properly with this danger requires both some talent and will. I coped in my time by identifying people I admired and by maneuvering, mostly without criticizing anybody, so that I was usually working under the right sort of people. A lot of law firms will permit that if you're shrewd enough to work it out with some tact. Generally, your outcome in life will be more satisfactory if you work under people you correctly admire.

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