Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I haven't been able to post for the past two weeks because I was brutally attacked by one of my associates and am only now regaining the use of my hands. The details of the attack are too graphic to share, but it should suffice to say that I will no longer be keeping in my office any of the crystal trinkets my clients have given me over the years in recognition of the firm's service. I have also installed protective covers on the unused electrical outlets in the room, and my secretary will be doing all of my stapling for the foreseeable future. Obviously the perpetrators have been dealt with appropriately. While it would have caused irreparable harm to the firm and our clients to terminate the employment of all of my attackers at once, we have put together a plan to transition their outstanding assignments to others at the firm as well as new recruits over the next eighteen months, and by April of 2008, the firm will be purged of everyone who had a hand in this nonsense. I look forward to that day.

It has been rewarding to receive good wishes from many of my clients during this time of shock followed by recovery. I have been unable to eat much of the fruit and baked goods that have been sent my way, but I have donated the extras to a variety of third-tier law schools. Even though their students cannot get jobs, at least they can enjoy some Harry & David pears and apples. I especially appreciated the gingerbread cookies that a group of unnamed associates at the firm sent me. Although they had all been mangled much like I was -- arms torn off, eyes gouged out, holes in the centers of their chests -- I choose to believe it was a consequence of the shipping process and not a deliberate attempt on the part of the associates to poke fun at my predicament.

None of my clients have suffered due to my incapacitation, nor has the firm's hiring season. Tech support was able to retrofit my computer system with a device that allowed me to input commands by blowing through a straw, and to interview candidates via teleconference. I am proud to say we will have the strongest class in years, although due to the limitations of the conferencing system I expect the summer associates will be on average less attractive than we as a firm aspire to have, as well as more diverse. I have assured the leadership team that I will overcompensate next year on those two dimensions. In addition, since I have been unable to travel between the office and home, I have been able to bill an additional hour per day over these past two weeks, and this has allowed us to provide health care to one lucky member of the support staff. She is thrilled, despite her pre-existing illness.

Two weeks without the ability to control my bowels have given me time to reflect on my life, and the kind of person I've become. On many levels, I'm ashamed. I didn't take this job hoping to lose my soul. I didn't take this job in the hope that I could lose touch with what really matters in life and become a petty, intolerant, and downright unpleasant middle-aged man. I didn't take this job looking for a way to ruin every other aspect of my life and be left with a comfortable salary and nice things but little fulfillment. I didn't take this job because I was looking for something to distract me so I wouldn't be forced to think about the kind of person I wanted to be and the kind of good I could do in this world. I didn't take this job so I could spend a hundred hours a week in an office, hurting more than I'm helping. No, I took this job because it was here, and it was easy to say yes.

It's in that spirit that I realize what I need to do to help the firm stay competitive in this tough market. I need to make it easier for our candidates to say yes. I need to allow them to accept their offers via e-mail, text message, and AOL Instant Messenger. In fact, I need to go a step further than that. For every candidate we offer a position, I hope, within my lifetime, to be able to offer a system where they receive an electronic device with one button at the center, and that by pushing that button, any time of day, we will be alerted that they accept our offer to join the firm and we can immediately go to their homes and remove all evidence that there is anything else in their lives besides us. This is my goal, and I think we can reach it. I think the technology is close. I hope to see it come to fruition.

To those who brutally attacked me: I harbor no grudge. I understand you were driven to it by the oppressiveness of the corporate law environment. The fact that you were able to rise above the soul-crushing nature of the work and take real action -- that you were able to summon the desire to take matters into your own hands and do something about the way I was treating you -- means that as a firm we simply have not done enough to beat those feelings out of you. It's a lesson that we have to heed. We must work harder to kill your spirits. We must work harder to get rid of that beacon of light at the end of the tunnel that tells you things could be better, if only you maimed your direct superior. We must extinguish your flame, or this could happen again. And next time it might happen to someone less strong than I am, less resolute. It could turn someone against this firm and places like it, and we can't have that. It is critical we end your hope, before it is too late.

To those who stood by me in my time of need: I thank you, and I hope it didn't interfere with your work, because you will be held accountable for the hours missed, even if they were spent at the 72-hour vigil held outside my hospital room, praying I would come out alive. I heard those prayers, and I answered them. Because it is the partners who have the power to answer prayers, and only the partners who have that power.

Full mobility should return to me by the end of the week. In the meantime, I should get back to work. Posts will resume on a regular schedule.

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