Monday, April 05, 2004
An firm-wide e-mail this morning tells me we're celebrating someone's birthday in the conference room this afternoon. I've never heard of her. I don't know if she's an attorney, a recruiter, an assistant, or the woman at the security desk downstairs. I don't know if she's been here a day or a decade. This is one of the troubling things about working at a big firm. You come to work, you interact with your own practice group, your own team, and there are hundreds of people, some of them just down the hall, who you wouldn't recognize in a police lineup. (I'm pondering all the reasons why attorneys might be in a police lineup. Maybe not being recognized by my colleagues is a good thing.) I hadn't ever given this much thought until I was on the phone this past fall with a law student who turned us down for another firm. I asked him why (always a mistake), and he said it was in part because no one seemed to know each other. People would be escorting him to the next interview, and wouldn't know how the office numbers work, or which direction the doors pulled, and he'd get to the next office, and the attorney who brought him would have to introduce herself to the attorney he was meeting with next, because they'd never met. He said one of the attorneys, while walking down the hall, commented on how it would be much more helpful if they'd put numbers on the doors. There are numbers on the doors. They're light and kind of blend into the doorframe. So they're easy to miss. But someone who's been here for five years shouldn't miss them, he thought. I suppose I agree, although it's a pretty silly reason to choose one firm over another because the lawyers who happened to be free at the time he came in for an interview happened not to know each other. But when he told me that, I was kind of glad. I don't want someone working here who's going to base his choice on something like that.