Monday, July 18, 2005

We have a policy here discouraging dating between lawyers at the firm. It's hard enough to work with these people and still act civil; imagine what happens after a nasty breakup. What we require is that if two people find themselves heading down that slippery slope toward a relationship, that they come tell a partner and keep us in the loop so we can act appropriately. That is, so we can keep them apart in work situations and try our best to sabotage any budding romance that might be developing.

There's little that's more distracting to the rest of the firm than two people making eyes at each other during an important meeting. Plus, people in relationships tend to want to leave the office, and that certainly doesn't serve the goals of the firm very well. You let these things get too out of control and next thing you know they need two weeks off for a honeymoon. And then someone gets pregnant and it's all over.

So to avoid heading down that slippery slope, we demand to be kept in the loop. A third-year associate stopped into my office early this morning to tell me that he's been seeing a first year for a little over a month now and thought he would let me know. I shared with him her recent work evaluations and told him he might want to be wary. She's not partner material. (Neither is he, but he doesn't know that yet.) Also, she was dating another associate earlier in the year, so I warned him about that. And a quick investigation informed me she's spending a bit too much of her paycheck on shoes and purses. She may be after him for his money. I planted that thought in his head just in case. He seemed less enamored when he left the office than when he came in, which, of course, is exactly the point.

We won't let them go down the road to career suicide without a fight.

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