Friday, December 17, 2004

I've been sensing some anxiety from associates over the year-end bonuses. We haven't announced yet. Whenever associates ask me about it, what I like to do is tell them I think they're going to find out later that day. It freaks them out. It's fun to watch. Look, every year we match our peer firms. We shouldn't, but we do. There shouldn't be any suspense. We're going to match. They know we're going to match. But still, they worry. They hover around the partners when they see us talking in the hall, wondering if we're discussing the bonuses. We're not. We're talking about the inappropriate outfit the paralegal is wearing, or the rumor about the associate who got genital warts from the proofreader at the copy center. I've consistently argued that we should announce that we're giving $5.00 less than our peers. Nothing substantial, but to put everyone on edge, a little bit, and motivate them to do better next year. "They didn't match," people would say. "It must mean we're not working hard enough." And then they would stay in the office just a little bit later, or do just one more profit-generating Lexis search. We'd light a fire under them. It's amazing what $5.00 will do. We switched from store-brand cookies in the attorney lounge to real Oreos and we got e-mails praising the decision. Costs perhaps two dollars more per day. The profit on four photocopies. I'm willing to have my secretary make four extra photocopies to charge to clients every day if it means people will thank me for upgrading to brand-name cookies. It's a sacrifice I'm happy to make.

Dear AL,

Please make an announcement regarding our bonuses as soon as possible. I'm trying to decide between a 500K and 600K condominium, and the bonus will really help me make that decision. Not that I can't afford the 600K condo, but with the matching bonus I'll be able to afford more coke to blow on my old Ikea table that I keep around to keep me humble.

Ah, it's nice to get paid an assload of money for work a monkey could do. Put these documents in chronological order? For 125K plus 30K bonus, I'll do you as well.

First Year
First year:

You are fired.
First year, that's why law school costs $150K. Efficient markets, right?
I found out yesterday from the senior partner that in spite of the fact the firm was more profitable than ever before this year, there will be no Christmas bonuses. I put my resignation in today. It's a free country. Why work for a jerk?
To anyone with "real" knowledge:

At big firms, how much is the bonus on average? Is it based on number of hours billed?
I think that it's fairly absurd that anyone WOULD get pissed off about getting five dollars less than associates in other firms. You can attach as many undertones to it as you like, but in the end, you're earning a bonus of $29,995 instead of $30,000. BFD. An associate who would get bent out of shape over something like that needs to remove his head from the partner's ass, step back, and look at the big picture. It's five dollars, and the only thing obscuring your view of that fact is the sizable ass in front of you.
P.S. Great blog!
7:55 - I'm sorry, but you can't fire me. My uncle is the hiring partner. Now, please, go get my coffee.

AL - I think that $29,995 is just fine, considering the screw job that other firms gave their associates this year. Go look at's NY website and look at how Skadden and Dewey are lagging. Oh, and Jones Day & Armpit's partners apparently hate all of their associates.

Anyhow, $5 isn't that big of a deal to me, because I am not a homeless alcoholic in desperate need of rotgut.

As for the message that shorting associates five bucks sends...sure, it's a big "screw you" to the associates. But that's okay, for three reasons:

1) Partners worked hard to manipulate the system so that they could reach their station in life, and the manipulative should be rewarded;

2) One day, lord willing, I too will become a partner; and

3) I am so utterly overqualified that any firm would kill to have me; consequently, the Firm will be happy to pay me under the table as long as I keep my mouth shut.

- First Year.
New solo blog: Not as entertaining as AL, but perhaps we can get a discussion of some real issues.
anonymous solo -
glad to hear that you didn't disappear. wondered what happened to your old blog, which was great.
I love the blog AL and I have a question. Would you hire a law student who went to a low tier 1 school, but ranked within the top 10% and transferred to a top 14 school for L2? By the way, as long as you are on the outside looking in, you'll never be trapped inside.
No, no one will hire you. You can't even spell "2L" correctly.

But hey, at least you can say you go to Georgetown. Probably the night program, though.
4:11: thanks. I am glad to be back.
By the way, for those of us who are real lawyers (no offense AL), I think it would be interesting to follow AL's lead in matters other than mistreatment of young associates and applicants. There is so much more to write about. Backstabbing between associate, backstabbing between partner, clients from hell, judges from hell, opponents from hell, bunnies from hell (oh wait, that was Matt Groening's idea)...Would anyone like to give this idea a whirl?
Top 14 law school? Just say you transferred to Georgetown.
Top 14... HAHA, this guy's awesome. Utterly lacking in common sense, but wildly entertaining.
I always work harder for real Oreos. Name brand cookies can do just about anything. I know that I always stiff someone when I get crappy cookies.


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