Sunday, April 30, 2006

Monday is apparently supposed to be a "Day Without Immigrants," when immigrants will be boycotting work. Thank goodness the diversity initiatives haven't met with much success. I think we have a French guy in the tax department. I don't know if he counts. No one seems to know much. I passed a guy from the document department in the hall tonight and asked him if he's coming to work tomorrow. He said he only works on the weekends, that he's a part-time employee. That doesn't even make any sense to me. Only working on the weekends? What does he do during the week? Watch television on his couch?

My dad retired a few years ago and he's bored. He plays golf, he and my mother go on vacation all the time, they go out to lunch, they see their friends, they go to museums, they see movies, they read. It all sounds pretty awful to me. All that free time and nothing to do. They take drives into the country, browse antique shops, grow things in the backyard, visit their grandchildren, my dad is teaching himself how to sell stuff on eBay, my mom bought some three-dimensional puzzles that she puts together, I feel really terrible for them, it sounds like a horrible existence. I don't know how people do that. No purpose. No demands on their time. No pressures. It seems miserable.

At the drop of a hat, they change their plans, do whatever they feel like doing that day. That's nauseating. People need routine, they need structure. A schedule of events. To be able to change your plans on the fly means nothing you're doing is very important. To be inflexible is to say "I matter." I'm inflexible. Because the things I do count for something. Mom and Dad don't have that anymore. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I feel bad for them. I told Dad I'd hire him as my assistant, if he wanted to move out here, but he turned me down. I think he was too proud to accept my charity, even though deep down I know he would have wanted it. We could have been a team. He'd type my letters and get my coffee and I'd pay him money and make him feel useful. It would have been a perfect fit. And mom could trail along with my wife and take care of her when she drinks herself into a stupor.

Friday, April 28, 2006

I'm in the office a bit early today, still digging out from a mess on Wednesday. Wednesday was "Administrative Professionals Day," a politically correct and utterly absurd renaming of "Secretaries Day," which itself was a transparently pandering and ridiculously unnecessary "holiday." We used to celebrate Secretaries Day with the childhood birthday tradition -- punching our secretaries in the arm one time for every year they'd been at the firm, plus a bonus punch at the end for "good luck in retaining your job through one more downsizing." Then someone broke an arm and a partner had to do his own typing for six weeks, so we stopped that practice.

Over time, the celebration morphed into a sheet cake in the conference room, and having the janitors clean up the crumbs and throw away the plates instead of making the secretaries do it like we usually do after conference room celebrations. There's no point in bothering the maintenance staff when we have secretaries to clean things up. They're the first line of defense against things like vomiting in the halls. We just grab the sweaters they've got on the backs of their chairs and put them right on top of the vomit to cover it up until the janitors arrive with the wet-dry vacuum.

Ever since the name changed to "Administrative Professionals Day," we've turned the festivities into an Olympics of sorts, to test the administrative skills of the "professionals" we're recognizing. First, all of the partners get in a few minutes early and completely clear off each secretary's desk, making one pile with everything mixed up that used to be organized in some way on top of the desk. The secretaries race when they arrive to see who can restore order fastest. The one who finishes last gets fired. Then after lunch we put them all in the records room and tell them there's a piece of macaroni hidden in one folder, in one filing cabinet, somewhere in the room. And whoever finds it gets $10,000. Then everyone gathers in the lobby to watch them race on closed-circuit television, pulling apart files, tossing papers in the air, clawing at each other -- to see who wins the money.

This year, my secretary won. I pick them well. But the winner, besides receiving $10,000, has to spend all of Thursday cleaning up the records room, as well as dressing the fingernail-scratch wounds of her beaten competitors. So I spent all of yesterday with a temp, and nothing got done, and now I'm cleaning up that mess before my secretary returns this morning, probably with a new piece of jewelry. No will power to save for the future. Impulse purchases. Like socks for her son. What does he need socks for? That's how we could tell the difference between the rich and the poor when I was growing up. The rich had socks. The poor didn't. How can young people make the right class judgments today when everyone's wearing socks no matter what their parents do?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The plagiarism scandals continue. I received two resumes this morning from 1Ls, desperate for jobs, trying to see if there are any last-minute openings in our summer program. Of course there aren't. They clearly mass-mailed these things to hundreds of firms across the country, desperate for any job. Any job that'll pay them $2600/week. We don't want them. We have enough 2Ls. We don't need any 1Ls. Especially not at this point in the process. They must be great catches to not have a job less than a month before school's over.

But that's not the problem. The problem is that these two resumes are virtually identical, except for the name at the top and the schools the two students attend. Clearly plagiarism. Except it's not. Every resume we get is virtually the same as every other one. None of these students do anything. They've all been preparing to be lawyers since they were four years old. The obligatory stint on the debate team in high school. Some writing for the high school newspaper. Membership in a meaningless honor society I've never heard of. Recipient of a scholarship I don't care about. Law Review, or at least a specialty journal. Mock trial. Moot court. A year as a paralegal. Or a summer as a paralegal. Or they wish they could have been a paralegal. No hooks to grab onto. Nothing unique to ask about. Of course, it's because they know that if there's anything unique about their resume, we're going to throw it out. I don't want to see resumes from students who are going to be too busy playing sports, listening to music, following current events, or planning a vacation to put in the hours we need.

The other scandal this morning concerns a memo I received from a third-year associate. I asked him to summarize the recent circuit court rulings on a certain issue, and he handed me a memo I know I've seen before. I called him into my office. After some questioning, he admitted he'd once looked through the database and read a memo someone had written on a similar topic, a few years ago. "But it's been six months since I read the memo," he said.

"If it's been six months since you read the memo," I asked him, "how can you explain that there are forty descriptions of case holdings that are virtually identical to what you wrote in the memo you handed me this morning?"

"I don't know," he said. "I'm shocked and horrified to learn about these similarities. All I can say is that the memo must have really affected me. It was a very moving document. I read it multiple times. I must have internalized the language. Like the facade I put on every day I'm in the office, covering up my true feelings about the kinds of work we do, that memo became part of me, intertwined with my soul, and when I sat down to write, those were the words that poured from my heart."

"Well, that's fine," I said. "My concern isn't for where you got the words in your memo. You're allowed to cut and paste from memos in the database if they're still accurate. That's not a problem at all. I just called you in to make sure you billed the client as if you wrote this all from scratch. There's no reason not to bill the hours even if you found a shortcut."

"Oh," he said. "Is that all? Sure, I billed the client for it."

"Great. Keep up the good work."

Monday, April 24, 2006

Ever since I found out about the Harvard student who was caught flashing his genitals to oncoming traffic, I make it a point to have an associate check The Crimson web page every few days to see if there are any students I need to put on the list of people we'll never hire, a list that includes not only criminals from Harvard but also the hundreds of students every fall who misspell words in their cover letters or resumes. There's no excuse for misspelling words in your cover letter. Two students this fall said they were "eeger" to work at the firm. I have their cover letters posted on the attorney lounge bulletin board, along with revealing photos from the summer associate spa trip, where an enterprising young real estate associate snuck into the changing room with a tiny digital camera and waited until the summer program was over before he sent around the pictures.

In any case, today I added another name to the list after reading about a Harvard sophomore who wrote a novel her freshman year, receiving a substantial six-figure advance and becoming the youngest author signed by Little, Brown in decades. Little, Brown would never pass muster as a law firm name. There's almost not a worse combination of two words. Our names need to evoke power, not weakness. Someone says Little, Brown and I think of what I do in the bathroom. That's not the right image for a respectable organization.

The Crimson discovered that the Harvard sophomore lifted dozens of passages from another novel, and not even very artfully. The examples listed in the article are pretty damning. I've used a tenth as much evidence to get associates fired, or have personal enemies put in prison.

Today she issued a statement saying the copying was "unintentional and unconscious." If she can unconsciously parrot back paragraphs from a book she claims to have read back in high school, then we need to get her working here as soon as possible, have her read the entire collection of ninth circuit opinions, and then lock her in a conference room with the other trained seals and let her start spitting out some briefs. I tried the "unintentional and unconscious" defense when I got assigned a pro bono case defending a guy accused of murdering nine children with a pitchfork. Needless to say, it didn't work. Even Barry Bonds wouldn't buy this explanation, and he claims to have not realized he was taking steroids even as he tripled in size.

I understand that it's in no one's self-interest for this girl to say she was under pressure and made a stupid decision and copied from the other book. She'd lose her advance and any chance at a legitimate writing career, her publisher would be embarrassed and lose book sales, and on the heels of what happened with James Frey, it would be another black mark for the whole industry. So it's in everyone's interest to fudge an apology and move on.

But to me it's just another example of the kind of world we live in, where no one is accountable for his or her actions. Not this girl, not Barry Bonds, not friend-shooter Dick Cheney, and not the summer associates we hire who don't do the kind of work we should be demanding. We're too afraid of the consequences to hold our summer associates accountable. We're afraid that if we don't give someone an offer, he's going to go back to school in the fall and tell everyone we're the firm that doesn't give everyone an offer, and then no one will interview with us and we won't have anyone to replace all the associates who leap from the roof every year.

It's shameful. I'm ashamed of myself for it. Every year, when we have the meeting at the end of the summer to decide which summer associates get offers, and we go through the laughable exercise of running down the list and talking about each of them, as if there's really a chance we're going to reject anyone for anything short of capital murder, I feel sick to my stomach. "Ted's work product was unexceptional, his hair unkempt, and his shirts untucked. The associates he worked with rated him an average of 2 out of 4 on his competence, reliability, and personal hygiene. He will never make partner. Nevertheless, we have no reason not to invite him back to become a full-time associate." The entire meeting is merely a chance to talk trash about all the summers and share whatever gossip we've heard in the halls. To learn who was caught masturbating in his office. It's pathetic. We don't have the guts to demand anything. No, instead we wait until they get here and then we work them until they decide to quit on their own. Part of me thinks maybe that's all they deserve, but sometimes I think that's even too much for them. We pay them a salary while they're here. A good salary. Why? Why when we already know they aren't worth it?

I'm accountable. True, I'm hidden behind a cloak of anonymity on this weblog. And, true, I don't release my tax returns. And, true, I blame all of the legal mistakes I make on the associates below me. But in some respects, I'm sure I'm accountable for something in my life. At least one thing. I can't think of it yet, but I will. The rest of society? Getting away with murder. Or at least with plagiarism. Pathetic. She should be forced to work in public interest. That would serve her right.

Friday, April 21, 2006

A student from one of the schools I mentioned at the end of yesterday's post, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, took the time to send me a delightful e-mail.

"Regarding your post that you won’t look at the resume of a UTK student... that’s okay. I don’t need you to look at my resume. I might be just a UTK student, who’s not good enough for you and your firm, but that didn’t stop the other big national firms from making me job offers. Your loss (assuming I would even want to work for your firm... which I don’t)."

I'm not being sarcastic. It's delightful to know that my colleagues at "other big national firms" are wasting slots on students at schools ranked below number 3 in the U.S. News rankings. If only they start offering jobs to women, minorities, students with outside interests, older students with families, students who balanced law school with jobs and thus didn't have time to be on law review, students who screwed up in one of their classes despite being otherwise well-qualified, and students with glasses, I'll have our target demographic all to myself and be able to turn this firm into the powerhouse I know it should be.

I forgot to rant about this yesterday, but I think it's pretty shameful that U.S. News couldn't make up its mind about what school to rank #8 and had three schools tie for the spot. Just like in the pre-lockout National Hockey League, I hate ties. Make up your mind, U.S. News, even if it's based on nothing. I want a complete rank ordering. No ties. After all, there's no room for ties when we're deciding which associates to give a bonus to at the end of the year. Even if we have to draw names out of a hat, we're putting some people on the right side of the line, and some people on the wrong side. You want your bonus? Don't tie with your colleagues. Do better. By whatever measure we choose to use, even if we don't tell you advance what it is.

One year we decided, on a whim, that anyone who didn't use direct deposit wouldn't get a bonus just because we didn't want to have to print more checks. Why would we make a decision like that? Because we can.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I've received a number of e-mails asking me for my thoughts about the U.S. News law school rankings. I'm sure most of the e-mails are from students at Washington University, which rose five places to number 19.

I don't know what the obsession is. I certainly don't pay very close attention to the year-to-year fluctuations in the rankings, to the two spots that Boston University fell this year, or the five spots Fordham fell to put them below our automatic cutoff. I don't need U.S. News to tell me how to rank law schools. I know which schools are good and which schools aren't because I have to deal with their graduates every year. I don't care what U.S. News thinks -- and I've written about this before -- I know that students at Vanderbilt can't write a compelling legal brief, and students at the University of Georgia have sloppy table manners. I know from experience.

I imagine students give the rankings too much influence when they're choosing a law school. There are really only three categories they need to think about. There are a handful of schools where you can be stupid and still get a job, like Yale and Stanford. There are a dozen or two dozen schools where you'll probably get a job at some big firm somewhere worth working, assuming you get decent grades and don't act like a psychopath during your interviews. And then there are the rest of the law schools, where people go when they don't want to be "real" lawyers but merely want to learn how to help poor people and criminals. Three categories. That's all. The rankings are calibrated way too finely, just to sell magazines. There is no difference, as far as I'm concerned, between the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. In both cases, I won't look at your resume.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I got more e-mail than I expected regarding where to put the sixth easter egg. Some terrific ideas. Here are the ones I've judged to be the ten best. And my judgment, of course, is always right.

NUMBER TEN. "The sixth easter egg should get hidden in an administrative filing cabinet. It would be unlikely that any of the associates would be willing to stoop so low as to actually look in administrative files, if they even know where the administrative files are kept. If they did, and you found out about it, you could criticize them for not doing important lawyerly work and doing administrative tasks instead, for which they cannot bill."

NUMBER NINE. "Why don't you place the last egg up your a**."

NUMBER EIGHT. "Put one on the office kitchen's frying pan, uncooked, with all the ingredients for an omelette next to it. If someone makes you an omelette, you foist their work on an unexpecting non-participator. If someone makes themself an omelet, ask them to come in the next Saturday for some extra work on a particularly meaningless case."

NUMBER SEVEN. "I don’t know what kind of computers you got there, but the older ones get pretty damn hot. Putting an egg in there could add a whole new time dimension to the hunt. Find the egg within 2 hours, or someone’s office is going to smell like those scratch and sniff natural gas stickers they hand out in elementary school."

NUMBER SIX. "Put the last egg in plain view in your office on the highest shelf, after having removed all chairs from your office (except for your office chair, which I doubt anyone would try to stand on). I'm assuming your office has shelves that go to the ceiling. Also place some very fragile, glass items on all shelves."

NUMBER FIVE. "You should 'hide' an egg in plain sight in top of your desk. Then, if an associate 'finds' it, you can fire him for stealing from your desk."

NUMBER FOUR. "You can hide the egg in the HR confidential files, so that the associate that finds the egg can also be fire for going through qualified documents."

NUMBER THREE. "Put the final egg in the freezer. If the egg is not hard boiled (as you mentioned) after a short period of time it will explode and should sound like a pistol firing from short range -- consider it a present to the poor associate who's making coffee, they will just have to clean it -- in turn getting rid of all of the rancid food that's been collecting there."

NUMBER TWO. "Take an important case and put it on the desk of someone you don't like. Fill a (clear) glass of water and put the egg in. If it floats, hardboil it so it'll sink. Cover the glass with a coaster that exactly fits over the glass i.e. there are no extruding parts. Turn the glass upside down with the coaster still covering the opening and place it on top of the case. It'll be a real pain to get the egg out with spilling water on the case. And if water gets spilt on it, it's on the case of someone you don't like."

NUMBER ONE. "Discard the final egg, and after every other egg is found, up the ante on the final egg. Offer money, time off, even PAID time off -- anything to bring people to a quasi-frenzy looking for that 'golden ticket to freedom.' Although it will never be found, it will at least give your associates something to dream about."

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Before I left the office tonight, I set up a bit of an easter egg hunt for tomorrow, and e-mailed my associates to say I'd be rewarding anyone who came into the office on Easter Sunday to participate (as well as billing a minimum of 4 hours to qualify, obviously). I placed six easter eggs, stamped with the firm's logo, in various locations around the office. I had my secretary do the stamping -- I meant to hide a dozen eggs, but she broke six of them while stamping, which I made her pay me for. She said I should have hard-boiled them first, but I don't have time to boil eggs, obviously. I'm sure none of my associates read this, so I don't feel particularly concerned sharing with you where I hid the eggs.

I placed one egg in front of the copy machine paper tray in the copy room on the 19th floor, which means that anyone who tries to use the copier will need to push the paper tray in, and will end up cracking the egg and creating a terrible mess. Hopefully someone I don't like will have to clean that up.

I placed one egg in the basket of "vegan cookies" one of the secretaries bakes every couple of weeks and leaves out for the people at the firm who don't eat normal food.

I placed one egg in an empty cardboard box and covered it with the papers I had an associate place in numbered sequence for me last Thursday. They got out of order when I put them in the box, so the associate will have to work on that again next week.

I placed one egg in the urinal in the mens' bathroom. Any woman who wants to win this thing is going to have to prove it by going in there.

I placed one egg under the towel one of my associates always has on his chair, I suppose to soak up the sweat from his pants. I don't know why he needs a towel on his chair, but I expect this will end the practice. It's a firm-logoed bath towel. We gave them away once. He should find a better use for it.

I haven't yet placed the sixth egg yet. I'm waiting to see who finds the other five, and may wait until Monday to try and give certain people an advantage, so the winner doesn't end up being someone I don't like. I thought I'd let you offer some suggestions via e-mail. I'll post the best.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Someone sent me an e-mail asking what I think about Katie Couric being named the anchor of the CBS Evening News. Apparently I come off to this reader (and perhaps others) as someone who doesn't think women are as competent as men, and given that perceived bias of mine, she wondered what I thought about Couric's appointment.

First, I don't think she's right about my bias. I think the women who work at the firm, for the most part, are just as competent as the men, and in many cases considerably more competent, since in order to get as far as they've gotten, they've had to overcome some amount of gender bias inherent in the system. There are partners here, and I'm not one of them, who do think women are mostly useless. So the women who thrive have to be good, to overcome these attitudes. I fear the reader is confusing my contempt for Anonymous Wife with a more general contempt for women. I can understand the mistake, and I forgive it. This of course excludes women who get pregnant, or the ones who spend all day thinking about the possibility of getting pregnant to such an extent that it distracts them from working, or the ones who merely retain the ability of becoming pregnant, even if they're currently choosing not to exercise that option. Those women are obviously a liability to the firm.

Second, I don't have an opinion about Katie Couric, because the evening news is on television in the middle of the day, and anyone who watches it is probably unemployed. I find it very difficult to have an opinion about someone whose job is to read the news off a teleprompter at 6:30 in the afternoon. I don't care if it's Katie Couric or Brian Williams or Mr. Ed. I think Katie Couric is a perfectly pleasant newsreader. But I think her job is pretty useless. When I was growing up, we watched the evening news. But with cable news networks and the Internet, network news has outlived its usefulness. Just like women who've passed childbearing age.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

We're trying something new at the firm tomorrow, and I'm not looking forward to it. Last year, a bunch of Jewish associates complained because they were stuck in the office late during Passover, and we didn't make enough of an effort as a firm to make sure there was enough flexibility in their work schedules to let them go spend the nights with their families if they wanted to. It's not like we forced them to stay here. But it is true that there were some big conference calls scheduled late in the evening on the first night of the holiday, and a mandatory training seminar on the second night. So perhaps we were not as helpful as we could have been.

So this year we're bending over backwards to accommodate our associates' needs by having a Passover seder at the firm, in one of the conference rooms. We've told the associates they can invite their spouses and kids, and we found a Haggadah that boils the story of Passover down to a 6-8 minute reading before the meal. So we'll go through that, do a quick meal catered in from somewhere appropriately kosher, and have everyone back at his desk in 45 minutes, tops. So everyone who wants to can balance work and the holiday and no one has any cause for complain. We're even extending the invitation to people's parents and in-laws, if they want to invite them, and if they're willing to pay the cost of their food plus a small surcharge for the firm's efforts to organize it all. We're hiring a rabbi -- well, a man dressed as a rabbi, from a casting agency we work with sometimes -- to lead the whole thing, and hopefully it'll go off without a hitch and shut everybody up about our religious insensitivity.

It's a new experiment for the firm, and if it works, we'll do something similar for Easter, maybe hire a Jesus Christ look-a-like to play the title role, and serve a quick ham and some mashed potatoes, and hide some eggs around the office for people's kids to find. One egg inside the copy machine, one buried in the records department somewhere, and one in the toilet, just to see which associate's kid wants to bother fishing it out. I'm curious. It's a test. If your kid puts his hands in the toilet to fish out an Easter egg, you're fired. How about that? I think that's fair. I don't think you deserve to work here if whatever you teach your kids at home makes them okay with putting their hands in the toilet.

Happy Passover.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

A reader just e-mailed me an article from the Harvard Crimson, from about two weeks ago. Anonymous Son is showing me how to make a link to the article. The article is here: "Student Arrested Following Flashing"

The article says that a drunk Harvard Law School student was arrested for flashing his genitals to oncoming traffic, and that he told the police officer he was a Harvard Law student, thinking that would make a difference.

Well of course it's going to make a difference, but he should have waited to use the trump card until he got to court. Police officers don't care who he is, but a judge sure will. We distribute a memo to our new associates every fall explaining how to use the name of the firm to their best advantage. Never with police officers, store clerks, or other quasi-homeless people like that. But with politicians, judges, and professors (i.e., "failed associates"), not to mention anyone who works in development for any cultural center, affinity group, or issue-based organization, they can get whatever they need just by dropping the name of the firm into conversation. Museum curators love us. I can cut the line at the Getty Museum, just because they think I'll convince the firm to donate some money. Partners here never pay their parking tickets, because all the judges want to use us as their landing pads once they retire from the bench and need to build a nest egg for their families. There's a tree in Israel named for every partner at the firm, because we made a brief overture about sponsoring some sort of Yom Kippur Walk. We ended up just sending a platter of food instead. It was cheaper, and still let us list the organization in our recruiting brochure. That's all any of our charitable efforts are for. The recruiting brochure.

And right on the cover next year, I'd like to put a picture of this Harvard kid flashing his genitals. That would make us stand out, for sure. We could do some digital enhancement and make the statement that we're the firm with the biggest genitals in the industry. Real men. (And women. A few women. Sometimes.) Willing to do the work it takes to get you the results you want. Real men, with big genitals we're not afraid to show you.

That probably won't get past the internal review committee.

I hope the Harvard kid ends up in jail. I'm sure the other prisoners will be impressed with his educational background. Sadly, although you'd wish he doesn't sound like partner material, he actually sounds a lot like one of the guys in the Structured Finance group. He shows people his genitals. No one ever reports him. They're afraid. Structured Finance is a popular group. No one wants to be blackballed because they snitch on the guy. Blackballed might be a bad choice of words. Sorry. You know what I mean.

Friday, April 07, 2006

I left work early today to meet Anonymous Wife at our accountant's office so he could do our taxes. We always seem to leave it to the last minute -- my wife never calls up early enough for an appointment, so we end up stuck with something right before they're due. We lucked into this accountant. He's terrific. He narrowly escaped jail time a few years ago, because he was being overly aggressive with some of his tax planning strategies and the IRS went after him. But, fortunately for his clients, he hasn't learned his lesson, and he has continued to push the envelope, saving us tens of thousands of dollars in the process. It's how his business has continued to thrive even among increased competition from the H&R Blocks of the world.

I used to let Anonymous Wife keep track of the checkbook and save receipts and bills throughout the year, but after a few years I realized she had no idea what she was doing, so ever since then I handle most of it and hope she sticks to her agreed-upon budget, but it's all on the joint credit card so I can't really control her. It's more the principle of it than the actual money. We have enough that she can throw it away on pocketbooks, but I just don't like her doing it. She has no self-control. No will power. No moral backbone when it comes to this stuff. I draw the line at lottery tickets. I saw her with a scratch-off lottery ticket and I tore it up, threw it out, and made her donate ten pairs of her pants to charity, just out of spite. She's already won the lottery -- she married *me*. What could the lottery give her that I can't? Besides financial independence, of course. Although I suppose if we ever got divorced the court would give her way too much money.

But she wouldn't get the kids. She's a disaster with them. Even though my work hours are crazy, no sane judge would pick her over me. At least I hope not.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I've got an associate who I've been keeping late in the office too many nights over the past few weeks, working on a deal that's almost finished. As a reward for all the hours he's been putting in, I arranged for him to get to use the firm's Dodgers box last night. When I told him yesterday morning, he was pretty excited, and immediately called up three friends to take the other tickets. And at 4:00, the client called. And there was nothing I could do. I needed the associate in the office late, or the work wasn't going to get done. So he found a fourth friend to take his seat, and he was left to watch the ESPN Gamecast on his laptop in the office while he revised a motion. But not to worry: his turn to get the box should come up again a year from June, and it's more likely than not that this deal will be finished by then.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

It's raining this evening. It never rains. I sent an e-mail to the associates telling them the firm advises them not to go outside in weather like this, and they should instead plan on staying in the office overnight. The last thing we need is someone skidding off the side of the road with client files in his backseat. We can't afford to lose client files. This way, the associates stay in the office, get some extra work done, and we don't have to even worry about documents getting wet. It's a disaster when documents get wet. It's worth it to keep the associates in the office just to keep everything dry.

I went home, of course. I've been here long enough that I know how to deal with the rain in such a way that all of my client materials stay safe. I can't trust the associates to be as responsible. I asked one of the first-years if I could borrow the emergency suit he keeps in the office, to hold over my head as I walked outside from my car to my house, since I don't have an umbrella. He reluctantly agreed. We'll bill the dry cleaning cost back to a client, so it won't really matter.

I'm planning on calling some associates in a few hours, just to check and make sure they're still in the office and haven't risked anything with the weather. It was hard to leave them unsupervised, but I trust they'll make the right decision for their careers. That's the trouble with young associates. You have to watch their every move sometimes. You never know what kind of mischief they'll find. We associate-proofed some of the cabinets in the utility closet (the partners need to swipe their access cards to unlock the latches on the cabinets and open them up) just so they won't be able to steal printer toner for their personal use at home. Before we did this, I suspected a few associates of stealing toner. Use rates haven't changed much, so I might have been mistaken. But it's a risk. Toner is expensive, and I don't want them taking it home with them.

Especially not in the rain. When toner gets wet, it's a complete mess.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

I decided to wake up early this morning and make breakfast for Anonymous Wife, just to surprise her, for no particular reason. It's the kind of thing I used to do before she became stupid. I got the kids out of bed to help. I took them with me to the supermarket to buy some eggs and juice. There was a woman in front of us in line, with a hundred dollars worth of groceries, and her credit card was rejected for insufficient funds. Her eyes started tearing up, and she told the cashier she thought she had enough in her account for food this week for her family, but she must have spent it all on the prescription drugs her husband needs, since he's disabled and can't work. I quietly handed the cashier a hundred-dollar bill from my wallet, and told the woman not to worry about it. On the way home, Anonymous Son noticed a stray dog limping along the side of the road. I stopped the car, picked up the dog, and brought it to an animal hospital. As I was carrying the groceries into the house, my Blackberry buzzed. It was a message from an associate who's supposed to draft a motion by Monday. The message said her grandfather was ill and she needed to go visit him in the hospital, but it meant she was going to be unable to finish the work in time. She asked if it would be okay to take an extra day to finish. I wrote her back immediately and said I would find someone else to take care of the motion, and she should just worry about her grandfather and not give it a second thought. Then I mailed this month's check to the American Red Cross.

April Fools.

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