Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I just got back from a meeting concerning whether to begin this year giving the summer associates Blackberries to use while they're at the firm. I strongly believe we should. For starters, I want to hook them before they get comfortable working without one. Second, I want them to get used to being on call no matter where they are. Third, I think we can present it to the summers as a gift, and gain points on campus for it. In fact, I believe that if we were to send them the Blackberries now, in advance of the summer, word would spread at their schools that we were giving away lavish gifts, and 1Ls would remember our name and be more likely to interview with us next year. Clearly, blackberries are extraordinarily useful for associates to have (how else could I get someone to pick up my dry cleaning over the weekend?). But for summers, it's not so simple a decision. We don't give them enough work that they actually need to be in contact with us 24 hours a day. But my argument is that it can't hurt. There is no downside except we lose a few thousand dollars if some summer associates decide not to accept their offers after the summer and keep the Blackberries. But if even one more summer decides to join us, that cost becomes inconsequential. And what's a few hundred dollars on a Blackberry when we're paying them $2400 a week and spending thousands of dollars feeding and entertaining them. Plus, we can raise their billable rates by $10/hour and just amortize the cost of the Blackberries over the course of the summer. Someone available to work on a client's case seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, at the touch of a button is certainly more valuable than someone who's only reachable at the office. It's a cost I'm sure our clients would be more than happy to incur.

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