Monday, September 19, 2005

Associates should never make the partners wait for them. I'm up at Stanford doing interviews, today and tomorrow. I'm going to dinner with the associates we brought up here, but two of them are taking forever to shower and change out of their suits, so I'm stuck in my room wasting time. There's nothing on television. I hate television. One of the students today told me that he read about a new show premiering tonight on the WB network about a young lawyer who can't get a job at a firm like mine and ends up working for a solo practitioner. I don't know if broadcast television is the right place for a show that sounds so profoundly sad. I also don't know why the student thought that telling me he's reading about television is going to help him get a job. Reading and television are both things I'd rather not hear about him doing. One interest is more than enough. Two is ridiculous. I told him to send me an e-mail telling me whether the show is worth watching. I don't know why. It seemed like the right thing to say. It seemed like it would show him we're interested in the kinds of things he's interested in, and that we'd be the right fit for him, if we choose to offer him a position.

One of the frustrations associates have (and even partners have) is that often times you don't know what impact the work is having, and whether you're really contributing or not. There's no scorecard when it comes to most memos and depositions and motions. Cases are too big to always make a difference with every piece of paper that gets produced. Results are too far off in the distance. Things settle, and maybe we won and maybe we lost, but it's impossible to know whether what you did mattered much at all. That's part of why I like being a hiring partner. I get a scorecard. It's a zero sum game. For everyone who chooses us, we've taken them away from every other firm out there. Those are the wins. And then there are the ones we give offers to who choose to go elsewhere. Those are the losses.

Of course there are always going to be losses that I can't prevent, because students want to work in a practice area someone else is stronger in, or because of location issues, or because they know someone who works somewhere else, or because they just happen to click with their interviewers better at some other firm. But I like to think I have some impact. I like to think that sometimes I can come up with the perfect lie to get someone to choose us. About "client contact" or "mentorship" or "unmatched training opportunities." Things that sound good but mean very little in practice. I'm sure I imagine I make more of a difference than I really do, but that's what makes this job fun. Stealing students away from firms that are probably a better fit for them, by lying to them about what we do.

And then looking them in the eye three years later and denying I ever said anything about an espresso machine in the attorney lounge.

Or day care. I promised someone day care once. I said it was about to be rolled out in the next quarter. They asked. I couldn't very well say we didn't have it. So I said it was coming. Not my fault it's not here yet. I'm not on that committee. Out of my hands. Oh well. Time for dinner.

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?