Friday, April 30, 2004

In preparation for the new summer class arriving in just a few weeks, the HR department has started to "address some concerns" about the firm. The walls on one floor are getting repainted. The center islands where the assistants sit are being "spruced up" with some plants and flowers. We're getting new numbers on the doors. There's a paralegal who was just assigned to make sure all of the books in the library are sequenced correctly on the shelves. We received a memo about office cleanliness, asking us to ensure that "plates of food are not left lying around, and beverage containers are appropriately disposed of." It sounds silly, but there are some real slobs here. One partner in particular is known for his inattention to clutter, and his office looks like a college dorm room. The floor is literally covered with papers, and he's been known to toss his used paper plates and cups under his desk, and just let them fester there until someone cleans it up. It's actually so bad that a recruit this year pointed it out to me --- I asked how his previous interviews had gone, and he mentioned he was in one office that looked like a train wreck. He said it in a joking way, nothing inappropriate, but I did mention it to the guy. He apologized and said he'd work on it, but it hasn't gotten any better. Old dogs can't learn new tricks.

Apparently, this year we're going to introduce a casual Friday policy for the summer (we're usually business casual 5 days a week, but some of our competitors have dropped the pretense of a button down shirt, so we're going to allow polos and, I'm told, even shorts. Although I doubt any summer associates are going to come in wearing shorts. Regular associates, maybe. Most partners probably don't own any shorts, so it's not really an issue). We're also going to do a Monday night happy hour -- usually we do it on Fridays, but we've found that people want to leave for the weekend, and no one shows up. So they figure if we do it on Mondays we'll get a higher turnout. I'm not sure about that, but we'll see. Some of the partners and associates have their own happy hour every night in their offices. It's a lawyer thing to do, I guess. The amount of functioning alcoholism -- not just here, but everywhere -- is really quite astonishing. There are more partners consistently drunk than consistently late, and that's saying a lot. Most disturbing is the pregnant partner who's consistently drunk.

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