Monday, February 28, 2005

I spent the day at an offsite seminar. I hate these, but I have to go every once in a while for continuing legal education credit. I brought an associate with me to do the menial work like park my car, take notes, and carry around my briefcase. At one point, I asked someone where the bathroom was and she got all snippy. How was I supposed to know she didn't work there? This wasn't so confusing before there were women lawyers. It used to be that you knew the women were there to be asked the questions. Now, and especially with casual dress codes, you can't tell the difference between lawyers and staff, or, beyond the office, between regular people and the help. The lunch they served at the seminar was terrible, so I sent the associate to get me something better. He didn't get back in time for the next session and so I ended up having to take notes myself for twenty minutes. I'll get him back for it next performance review. Meanwhile, there was traffic on the way back to the office, and now I'm stuck here doing work I should have been doing all day except they think these seminars are actually useful. Guess what? They're not. I don't care about new developments in the law. Let the associates learn about new developments, I'll stick to the law I know about and have worked with for the past decade. If my colleagues and I weren't good enough lawyers, we wouldn't be in the positions we're in. We don't need to go to seminars. It's not what our clients are paying for.

I have a temp secretary this week. My secretary is on vacation. She's visiting her in-laws in Colorado. What a waste. She's going to Colorado and not even going skiing. I never skiied until I started working at the firm. It felt like the right thing to do. Temp secretaries are terrible. I came back to the office after the seminar and she left me a pile of papers on my chair but I had to sort through it all myself and now I'm doing all of the work she should have been doing all day. I left her a note telling her to print out all of my e-mails that have attachments, and she printed out the e-mails but didn't print the attachments. I'm commandeering one of my associates' secretaries tomorrow and giving him the temp. But first I'm going to make the temp test out every highlighter in the supply closet to see which ones are out of ink. Last time I asked for a highlighter it was out of ink. It's amazing to me that we have so much money and can't afford highlighters with ink. It's like the time we ran out of stationery on my floor and I had to get them to send me some from downstairs. How can this happen? We're a world-class law firm. We should have enough stationery on every floor.

One of last year's summer associates who's coming back in the fall sent me an e-mail wanting to switch practice groups. We haven't done anything relevant as far as assigning offices, and one more or one less in any group doesn't matter much since we don't know exactly how much turnover we'll have before the fall, but it's the principle of this that bothers me. It's too late. You took your offer, you're stuck. You can't just change your mind and expect us to accommodate your every whim. It sets a bad precedent, and makes it seem like you have some control of the situation. We were nice enough to let you rank your choices to begin with, but we're not going to lay down and play dead here. I don't care if someone's "interests have changed since the fall." Effective lawyers make up their minds and stick with it. You have to commit to a position. You can't be wishy-washy. There's no room for that here. So we're making him stick with the original choice. I don't want other people finding out we let him switch and then calling us up and asking us the same thing. We can't make everybody happy. Sometimes there are lines in the sand. Like the time a summer asked to start a week late because he had an exam. I argued for three hours that we should say no, but because it was a summer, we couldn't. But why should we let people put their personal issues before the firm's needs. If you make commitments, you need to follow through.

Anonymous Wife came back last week. She missed the house. Anonymous Son missed the house. The house missed them. We're pretending I'm going to work less. It's going well so far.

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