Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I was forwarded an e-mail that one of our upcoming summer associates sent to a young associate she's been corresponding with: "Will the firm ask to see my grades from this fall?" She thinks she did particularly poorly and is worried we're going to see the grades, decide she isn't the student we thought she was, and rescind the offer.

The good news for her is that, no, we don't usually ask to see 2L grades. It's too late for us to do anything about them anyway. If we were to rescind someone's offer, the impact on campus would be disastrous. We'd be "the firm that rescinds offers" and no one would choose us. (Almost as bad as "the firm with no box seats at Dodger Stadium.") We know that. We accept it. We also know that students stop trying once they have their offers, and there's nothing our clients like better than a set of expensive lawyers who can do good work when they feel like it really counts, but when they think it doesn't matter, they do crappy work instead.

The bad news for her is that everyone will know she sent that e-mail. Every year, students fail to realize that the lawyers they meet during the process are not their friends. And even if an associate has the best of intentions, there are times, alone in your office, when the craving for some sort of connection, with anyone, is strong enough that it doesn't seem like a bad idea to forward to a couple of colleagues down the hall that e-mail the summer associate sent you, just to share a laugh. And once you send it to a couple of people, they send it to a few more, and eventually it's all over the firm.

So everyone knows about the e-mail where you asked whether romantic relationships ever develop between summer associates and regular lawyers at the firm. And we're waiting for you.

Poor lady. Of course, one should always ask questions like that verbally and to someone that isn't like to remember your name. And never, ever send an e-mail with information you don't want shared...sharing is just too much fun!

Great post. Isn't backstabbing a wonderful thing?
Al's bread and butter: summer associates. Can't wait for June.
Duh. Of course you don't rescind the offer. You just make her scrub the toilets in the summer.
great post...you're getting back into your groove..
Are the post-clerkship people who weren't summers at your firm as clueless?

I can totally see them being such- smart people usually lack any sort of people skills.
Even if you don't rescind her summer offer, will it damage her chances of getting a full-time offer for after graduation?

Either way, she's an idiot for sending that email. Send it to somebody at another office! (Or submit it anonymously as a blog comment... which is where i summise you dug up this admittedly amusing post) You should ding her after this summer, because even if she can turn it on when required, it's clear she has no discretion or sense of strategy. And that's something that's NOT good for clients.
Awesome. Best post in months. Especially the ending, "and we're waiting for you." Nice. Very Aaron Sorkin, a la West Wing.
6:04, you're being a little harsh, no?
AL got it right. It's not as though she sent it to the hiring partner himself. She sent it to a 1st or 2nd year associate, someone she thought (albeit mistakenly) that she befriended during the recruiting process. She thought she was being discreet. Don't worry -- give her a few weeks/months to learn about office politics and gossip. After she gets burned by betrayal a couple more times, she'll adjust her behavior.
I agree with everyone... great post! My last final is tomorrow. Good to know my offer wont get rescinded if I fuck it up.
I agree with 6.04pm.(My,I hate addressing commenters by the times their entries were posted!) It just demonstrates the total lack of discretion or even basic common sense. She might as well call up the Hiring Partner, AL that is, and ask him directly.

Politicking 101, Never ever have anything down in writing. No paper trail. Co-workers are co-workers. They ain't friends, my dear. Seriously do you need to go to law school to learn this?

And 6.08pm, I like the "we're waiting for you" part too. Very clever.

By the way, AL, give us some gossips about office romance?
6:54 AM--
What you miss is that this summer assoc. assumed there was a confidence where there was none. That doesn't make the lawyer she talked to a gossip. He or she is just passing on valuable information about a candidate for eventual employment.
Oh the humanity, 8:46...those women are really out to get you. God forbid they should have a brain and some ambition.
luke, it's orally, not verbally.
what's wrong with verbal?
this, from merriam-webster:
"3 : spoken rather than written (a verbal contract)"
oral is always better than verbal. but remember, im a sensitive guy. Dont use your teeth.
Bleach your teeth and sharpen your talons.
Go to
The associate is a 2-faced suckup. This information is not very important- the firm doesn’t even seek this info out, or plan to act on it even now, so the only effect is to dirty her up before she even gets there. Quite a reward for volunteering the truth, something others aren’t even forced to do. Lucky she didn't mention she once cheated on her college boyfriend.

If I were a partner and associates passed on emails from others to screw them, yes, I suppose if the information in the email were important enough I’d act on it. But I’d automatically raise a red flag next to the associate’s name. No one likes a tattle-tale.
At my old firm a 5-year associate left to take a new job; the senior partner took it personally for some reason because they had worked together closely (though why not make him a partner if he’s that valuable?). He wanted the IT guy to get all his emails and the associate forgot to delete several of them. Most of them did discuss firm business and money, not in a detailed way but obviously it served as fodder to piss the partner off. The IT guy deleted one that was purely a personal comment that would have enraged him– the partner’s beach house had been in a big storm and the roads were washed out, and the associate was telling a friend “I hope the asshole’s house got washed away.” The IT guy didn't want to push that button. Too funny.

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