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Cato Renasci
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This is actually probably based on the way some of the "white shoe" Philadelphia law firms functioned before World War II. When I was a junior lawyer in New York, a then Simpson Thacher partner, Rick Dicke, recounted that after having graduated as a scholarship student from both Princeton and Penn law school just before the war, he was hired at a major Philadelphia firm. Money was never discussed. He said he was a farm boy from Montana, and he assumed that was how things were done. After several months, he had received no pay. Being married and in somewhat straightened circumstances, he made an appointment with his mentor. The meeting went more or less like this, as he told it: RD: Is there something wrong with my work? Partner: Oh, no Rick. We're all very pleased with your work, and you get on with everyone - clients, partners, and the staff. Why were you concerned? RD: Well, I've been here almost six months, and I've yet to be paid anything. As you know, I'm not independently wealthy... Parter: (interrupting) Rick, the partners understand. The decision not to ask you to pay us anything during your first two years was unanimous.... You do realize that all of the other associates pay the firm during their first years. He then recounted that he found through a classmate that Simpson Thacher & Bartlett might have an opening, wrote to them, interviewed, and went to work in New York within a fortnight. I don't know when that changed, but I suspect it was after WWII.