Wednesday, August 11, 2004

I think I made an associate cancel his vacation today. He's scheduled to go away next week, to Bermuda. He asked me today if I think we'll need him on a case we're working on. I told him I'd never ask an associate to cancel a vacation, but I think it's a decision he has to make for himself. I could have said something else. I could have said "Absolutely not. Go and have fun." But instead I said what I said, in a tone of voice that made it pretty obvious what I wanted him to do. I'm a bastard sometimes. But they force us to be this way. They look at us like we're superhuman. They let us rule their lives. So what else can we do but try and be benevolent dictators. Or sometimes not so benevolent. The client will at least pay for the cancelled plane tickets.

Why couldn't you just answer his question?

"Yes, it would be better if you were here," or

"No, this particular case does not require . . . [or] "We have workflows to cover vacations and emergencies for all but critical situations - it is fine for you to take you vacation."
He's not making this up. Happened to me when I was an associate. Except my plan was to travel to Delaware.


Again, for the 1, 2 and 3L's, let me be clear: NEVER ASK IF YOU CAN OFFER HELP BEFORE YOUR VACATION.

And, in case I wasn't clear, let me remind all associates: NEVER ASK IF YOU CAN OFFER HELP BEFORE YOUR VACATION.

Any questions?
You did him a favor, Bermuda is boring. All that pink shit, beer with no bubbles, and everybody wears shorts. Their biggest claim to fame is some dumb little frog. Vegas, now there is a real vacation.
Happened to me, as well. The non-answer (to the very stupid question--can I go on vacation, please?) is a test--do you have the guts to go, despite partner's apparent disapproval. I went. I had great time. Six months after my vacation, the rest of the partnership voted the a-hole out. I'm still here and he is not. Bahahahahah...
I agree with 4:08 completely!!

Why bother asking? You won't get "credit" for pretending you are willing to drop your vacation if you really aren't willing. Moreover, there are too many bitter superiors out there who would themselves prefer to be going to Bermuda, and the next best thing is to rain on your parade.

I went on my last vacation (preplanned for 6 months) even though--thanks to an unexpected deadline extension--we were in the middle of writing a summary judgment opposition. My approach was to do absolutely everything I could do to help before I left, and then I was like "good luck with that! I'll check my email next week to see if you need anything."

Protect your time and your vacation. If you offer to work more or work harder, the answer is always going to be "yes"....
I have some questions:

-What do you think of associates or parters who leave your firm to go to smaller operations?
-What do you think about associates you come from wealthy families, so as a first year they already have a house, a rolex, and a new 5-series BMW? Besides not make a show of their situations, or even disclosing their means to anyone, should these individuals actively hide their means, i.e., avoid questions about homeownership, wear a Seiko, buy a Corolla to take to work?
A Rolex? That's a symbol of what you consider wealthy? I take it you're not wealthy.
I hope the client also pays for any other expenses that were incurred. Also, the Associate should get to schedule a new vacation for right after the case is over. Since it will probably be short notice, reservations and such may cost more. The client should also incurr that cost. What a bunch of crap. I'd be on the beach thinking "Ha. I could give a shit about that case."

Don't get me wrong. This is not an attack on you...just my view.
You wrote: "A Rolex? That's a symbol of what you consider wealthy? I take it you're not wealthy."

The post to which you are citing stated: "What do you think about associates you come from wealthy families, so as a first year they already have a house, a rolex, and a new 5-series BMW?"

I don't see how the previous post you cited states that a rolex, on its own, is a symbol of wealth. Get back to studying civil procedure at your second tier law school or performing your discovery requests for an insurance defense firm. And yes, a first year associate whose parents have the means to purchase their child an $800,000 house in LA (not just the down payment), a $50,000 car, and a $15,000 watch (not that all Rolex's cost that much), is considered to have come from a wealthy family to most people, even in LA.
How dare you rationalize your behavior by saying that we force you to act this way?!??! Associates do no such thing! From day one we are warned that Partners run the show and when they say jump, we say how high. It is a culture that we are unknowingly drawn into and then trapped, by the "outrageous" summer programs you talk about. Years ago the law firm became nothing more than a fraternity of money-hungry, insecure assholes who take the position that "if I had to deal with it, so should they". What fucking bullshit. You probably ruined that kid's entire year (since I'm guessing you overwork him (as most firms do) and that he probably hasn't taken another vacation). Plus, you have further worsened his opinion of his job, which, for the record, is that it sucks. Believe me, we all think that. We know that by joining a firm we've sold our souls to the devil, but now you are willingly taking on the role of the devil. Is that the kind of person you want to be??? The only measure of a man, in the end, is how he treats others. Where do you suppose you fall on the scale? On behalf of that poor associate who would never tell you so to your face, no matter how much he thinks it, FUCK YOU!
I am an associate, and I never leave for vacation or anywhere else for that matter until I have satisfied myself that the clients for which I share responsibility are being properly represented in my absence. Why? Not because I feel sorry for the partners (although sometimes I do, they are people too you know), but because that's my obligation to the client. Why do so many associates seem to think they don't have any professional responsibilities? I don't blame you, Anonymous Partner, if you were an asshole, I'll bet it was because Anonymous Associate tried to make himself better about leaving you in the lurch by forcing you to tell him/her it was okay. Unless he's only been there for two months, he should be able to figure out for himself whether his continued presence is important to the success of the project.

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