Wednesday, March 14, 2007

There's a blood drive going on in the lobby of our building today. One of my colleagues e-mailed the firm offering to buy dinner for whoever gives the most blood. Predictably, it's started a string of e-mails among the associates (I'm only getting a chance to read them because I make it a habit of tapping into some of my associates' e-mails to keep up-to-date on firm gossip and stop complaints before they escalate into rebellions) about how they already give enough blood to the firm, and they shouldn't be asked to give any more. They overestimate themselves. In most cases, we're just squeezing blood from a stone. They hardly produce any work worth noting. In any case, I expect my colleague's offer will lead to a decrease in the amount of blood donated, not an increase. He's not someone I would want to have dinner with, and I expect most of the associates feel the same way. Except, of course, the ones in his department, looking for his approval and willing to do anything to get it. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the two suck-ups who work directly under him end up donating more blood than they should and wind up in the hospital. If I was in need of blood, I wouldn't want a lawyer's blood. Probably woefully low on white blood cells from lack of sleep, and loaded down with cholesterol and other unhealthiness. Plus the cancer-causing chemicals in the printer room, and the asbestos still in the walls of all associate offices. We did some asbestos remediation work in the partner suites, but decided to skip the associate offices and the secretary cubicles. It's not worth it. They're hardly here for long enough to make it count anyway. A few years of exposure, no big deal. But partners are here forever, so it made sense. Same reason we don't give the associates chairs. They're only passing through. They can stand.

One of my associates told me today that he's heading to Africa to work with a business development organization over there. Law firm life got to be too much for him. I told him he'll be back. Life here may be bad but at least there's air conditioning and electricity. And despite the limited amount of time he gets to sleep in his bed, at least it's comfortable. Down blanket, 350-thread-count sheets, feather pillows. Too bad he has no one to share it with.

A summer associate e-mailed to ask if she can have a weekend in July off so she can attend a wedding. Good form for e-mailing months in advance. Of course I told her she can't. They won't be working weekends normally, but I'll schedule something special just for her that weekend. Can't let them get too comfortable. If they start being able to keep outside plans now, it'll just be that much harder once they're working here full time. Let them figure out the hard way that they need to do it the way smart associates do. Don't tell anyone you're leaving, take your BlackBerry, and no one will notice or care. It's astonishing how long it takes most of these people to figure it out. We demand they're always here, but no one's taking attendance. Get the work done, respond to e-mails and voice mails, and it doesn't really matter. Sure, I'll hold it against you if I see you sneaking out early, but out of sight, out of mind. Not only won't I notice if you're not here, I also won't think of you when I'm giving out work. It's a win-win situation. Also, you can falsify your billing records so you don't get caught. Again, it takes these people forever to figure these things out. This doesn't have to be so hard.

How about... whoever donates the most blood gets 50 lottery tickets. Or would that end up bleeding desperate gambling addicts even more dry?
I have to say that this is one of the more depressing entries from you I've read so far. Interesting, though.
Summer Associates are worthless - let her go to the wedding. Then you can guilt her on Monday by telling her that she missed a deadline and watch her spazz out. Sounds like fun to me.
I want to join your law firm. I promise to always be out of the office; I will work diligently to meet your moral standards.
Wonderful effort!

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