Wednesday, September 05, 2007

 
I just sent an e-mail to the firm's associates regarding the recent removal of the water cooler from the 17th floor. I haven't been a member of the water committee since '96, but since I'm seen as one of the more approachable and reasonable partners here, they asked if I would send the note:

"Recently there has been an outcry regarding the removal of the water cooler from the 17th floor. The firm removed the water cooler because it appeared to be a drain on productivity. Despite rumors to the contrary, this decision was unrelated to the memo sent out during the April heat wave regarding excessive water consumption leading to unnecessary trips to the bathroom, costing the firm approximately 400 potentially billable hours per month. We have been pleased with the response to the Water Memo and want to thank those associates who have taken it to heart and kept their personal hydration to a minimum.

"Instead, the water cooler was removed because of a number of associates who were often seen congregating in the water cooler area, in violation of the October '01 memo regarding associate congregation in the wake of the September 11th attacks. We are still on high alert, and therefore need to ask that associates continue not to congregate in the hallways. In these dangerous times, it is unfortunately a security risk.

"Nevertheless, the management committee has read your e-mail conversations and listened to your personal phone calls, and has been convinced to reconsider. Therefore, effective September 30, it is our intent to restore the water cooler to the 17th floor. In doing so, we hope to end the disturbances and provide our clients with lawyers who can devote 100 percent of their time and effort to the critical issues our clients face.

"We have little control over what you choose to believe about the water cooler, and why we removed it. But continuing to withhold water from the 17th floor would be an unwanted and unfair distraction. These are serious times of war and of conflict -- times that deserve everyone's full attention. Thank you."

Will there be a water cooler on September 30th? Of course not. Will anyone complain? Maybe. Will we care? Not really. It's been our "intent" to give the assistants health care since 1986, but that's not happening either. Short attention spans. Just like with the clients. Write up a memo, people forget about it, and when it doesn't happen, no one bats an eyelash, taps a foot, or even swipes a hand under the stall.

Comments:
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Short attention spans are wonderful things. You can have the same associate research the same exact issue for the same client at least three times a year.
The associate will think you have just forgotten about the last memo or lost it, but in fact it is just busy work to test their research skills - after all the law changes so quickly and without warning. That is the only reason I can think of for the radical changes from memo to memo since all of our associates are all experts in legal research or so their respective resumes claim.
 
While I appreciate that in the US the summer is over and the summer associates are gone. However, I think you would very much enjoy the Australian experience - our universities produce a glut of graduates, far more than firms can find positions for. Consequently you could torture anyone lucky enough to get a summer associateship and at the end the firm is not compelled to give them an offer. Even after the most horrendous work-experience a graduate will still do just about anything to get an offer - even in a public interest position *shudder*.
 
Kind regards
 
Wow. Seven (7) whole posts in the last three (3) months. Did you run out of the funny?
 
I'm sorry, what did you write?
 
I think a beer tap may improve the moral of the entire floor. Who needs water anyway? I know I would get much more done... keep it in mind. Just trying to help.
 
The associates at my firm DEFINITELY drink more booze than they do water.
 
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Can someone join competition and sue you for cruetly? Bet there would be many more grounds that a missing water contraption. This sets me thinking, cookie jars (filled with cookies obv) are now placed only in partner's cabins, while we - the lesser mortals toil without a bite to eat during the tax season. Can we protest, guess not, sluggish partners are better. Do you have a cookie jar. Name withheld as boss also trawls this blog - well he is a new partner, was a buddy until last year.
 
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