Friday, April 17, 2009

follow up

Thank you (well mostly thank you) for the comments.  Aside from useless personal attacks, I do welcome comments.  I did want to set a couple of things straight.  I do not condone cursing or insulting associates.  I would never treat someone that way.  You've heard from some people who do know me and they can attest that while I may have had some hard bosses, I chose not to model my behavior after them. I believe people work best if they feel that they are appreciated, and like who they are working with, and I try to motivate through positive reinforcement. Always have.  That is my management style.

That said, I am telling you what I see and what I hear from many of my peers.  And that is that many in the more junior classes do complain too much and don't want to work hard, but want to make a lot of money. They dump projects back on the other attorneys because they have some other thing to do (social, etc), and they do not take ownership.  In whatever workplace you work, and more so in the demanding Big Law world, you need to put in the time and make yourself present, to get the job done. Deadlines suddenly appear when you otherwise had plans. It sucks, but it happens.  No one likes it.  But you need to deal with it.

Do I give associates assignments on a Friday night because I want to see them suffer ?  Of course not, and I would try to avoid doing that.  But if a client crisis comes up and the most appropriate person for a particular task is the junior person, am I going to call you?  Yes, I will call you on Friday night, I may email or call you on Saturday too.  And you need to get it done.  I will be doing my part as well.  This is the world in which we work.  If you don't like it, then you can go elsewhere - oh, you say, there's no jobs out there now.  Well that's why you should take the assignment, do a great job, meet the deadline, ask if there's anything else you can do, and keep your head down.  When the market picks up, maybe you can find something more to your liking. But, as I have said before, would you rather work hard or be on the street?  I think most would rather work.  

I'm hoping to start posting about getting ready for the summer in the next upcoming posts.  


Anonymous said...

Working at BigLaw is not for everyone. Having a lot of student debt is not great to live with, and working in BigLaw with its big salaries can be a shortcut to cutting down that debt - if you do it. And it can be done - I have friends who have paid off $100,000+ of law school loans living and working in NYC in less than three years. And now they are free.

BigLaw is not for everyone. It is hard and time consuming. BigLaw associates are not paid to work 80 hours a week - because you often do not. We are paid to essentially be on call. You will break plans. You will work on your days off - not just weekends, but holidays too. You will take your laptop with you if you want to go away for the weekend, and make sure you have an Internet connection. You will do work during your vacations. You will check your BlackBerry a lot.

This is the bargain. If you don't want to hold up your end, then don't do this job.

Hiring Partner said...

I concur with Anonymous. There are plenty of sacrifices, but you can usually get terrific training and as Anonymous points out, pay off your student loans. I know my BigLaw job did enable me to pay off my loans, early in fact. The simple truth is that someone making 160,000 out of school is expected to work, to work hard, to be available, and yes, to change plans and give up free time when needed. There's no way around that. Cients are paying very high hourly rates. They can and should demand attention to their matters. We operate at a high level and if a client needs something first thing Monday am that we just heard about on Friday afternoon, that means work gets done on the weekend. It is just part of BigLaw life.

Anonymous said...

HP, you keep mentioning this terrific training. What, exactly, does doing doc review at BigLaw teach a junior associate that working elsewhere would not?

Anonymous said...

"They dump projects back on the other attorneys because they have some other thing to do (social, etc), and they do not take ownership."

If an associate is actually dropping a project because s/he has a dinner, movie, play or ballgame to go to then that's terrible. I don't know many associates that would disagree with that.

But you appear utterly and absolutely incapable of analyzing the serious problems that your generation has caused to this profession.

Screaming and cursing at associates is just a small part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

I would highly recommend going to the Fed Gov't as an alternative. Many agencies even have a loan forgiveness program where they help you repay the loan.