Associate Advice, Biglaw, Partner Issues, pls hndle thx

Pls Hndle Thx: It’s A Partner’s Life

Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to advice@abovethelaw.com.

Dear Above the Law,

I’d like your insight on a recurring event at my firm. It seems that several partners love to hit the “reply all” button in response to mass emails.

Here’s an example:

Email: Is anyone familiar with an attorney named John Doe? If so, can you contact me?

Partner Response (to entire firm):  “Yes, I’ve worked with Doe on several occasions on substantial, important matters.”

Is it a requirement that partners send such emails to prove that they are relevant?

— Reply One

Dear Reply One,

Unimaginative associates daydream about becoming partner one day because they think it’s all ski chalets, steak dinners and upscale hookers. To be sure, it is all these great things, but the downsides to being a partner far outweigh any of the perks….

You see, when you are knighted partner, you sign a document in blood (hereinafter “Partnership Agreement”) that commits you to spending the remaining years of your now-shorter life imprisoned in your office. Here are the terms of your 30-year sentence:

For 30 years, you will look at documents, circle typos, jump on conference calls and make inane conversation with clients about the construction on their driveways.

You will be forced to deal with a revolving door of nitwit first-years who are not worth the attachments they print out. They will inadvertently taunt you with their lithe bodies and full heads of hair. You will pay them $6,000 every two weeks for this.

As a reward for your constant fear of getting sued for malpractice,  you will split the firm’s profits 768 ways. Each year you will look on with increasing bitterness as the firm anoints new partners and your slice of the pie grows ever smaller.

Since you’ll never be home, your wife will fill the void by buying expensive clothes and having an affair with her personal trainer, Cory. Your ungrateful, talentless children will cheat on their AP exams and get sent home from camp for getting caught engaging in sexual acts behind the infirmary. They will be a constant source of pain and disappointment to you.

Your only joys in life will be buying Montblanc pens, joining John Allan’s (or another one of those absolutely ludicrous haircut-and-shaving clubs), dining at Roy’s, and sending reply-all emails that imply that you do all of the foregoing… and know attorney John Doe.

So let the partners have their damn reply-all emails. It’s the only thing they’ve got left.

Your friend,
Marin

This is traditionally the point in Pls Hndle Thx when Elie jumps in to respond to my advice. But he’s on vacation today. Here’s what I’m pretty sure he’d say:

There comes a time in every man’s life where he has to make a decision whether he’s going to go through life as a *real* man or as somebody else’s bitch.

Because when partners send their chest-thumping reply-all emails, they’re announcing their domination to the firm and asking the associates whether any of them is man enough to accept the challenge. They figure that no one has the balls to call them out on their self-indulgence because they hired everyone in the firm, so they know they’re dealing with a of bunch of sackless plebes. So you could just play it safe and say nothing. But where do you draw the line? When some other dude starts banging your wife? When bullies throw your kid in a locker?

Before you fall down the slippery slope of emasculation, this reply-all email is your chance to save and separate yourself from the pack of walking legal pads you work with. Stand up for yourself and for the lesser men in your firm and send a reply-all email back to the partner telling him that if he’s gonna chest thump, he’s gonna do it in somebody else’s inbox, not yours. Once he puts his colossal ego aside, he’ll probably respect you for your gall and welcome you to Fight Club. And even if he doesn’t and you go down in flames, at the end of the day, being a man is more important than being an associate.

Get up you son of a bitch cause Mickey loves ya,
— Mickey

Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to advice@abovethelaw.com.

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