Associates are under a lot of pressure these days. But we applaud those junior lawyers who respond to the current demands with initiative and creativity. We found just such an associate in Toronto.

The man’s problems seem trivial to the outside world. His office is crappy. He needs an upgrade, but not because he wants to feel like he’s some hotshot. He just knows that he has to look like a hotshot in order to generate business. This is how he explains it on a Craigslist post:

I work in a large Bay Street law firm. Many of my partners and clients have extensive collections of original artwork. As a struggling associate with a mortgage, no job security and a wife with a penchant for running into things with our car, I cannot afford to buy original artwork myself, so I appear low-rent to the higher-ups. Given the high standards of my clients and partners, I also cannot go out and buy prints or copies of original art – I will be laughed into the unemployment line.

A lot of associates would have noted the problem and left it at that. Maybe they would have gone home crying to their mothers about life’s unfairness. But not this kid…

Instead of mere bitching, this kid came up with what sounds like an elegant solution to his problem:

I came up with an idea. Similar to cafes and coffehouses, I will put art on the walls of my office each month on consignment. This way I can have interesting and impressive art in my office without paying for it, while giving some space to a local artist. I won’t have quite the same foot traffic that a cafe has, but I figure it is far more likely that the people that do see the art will be interested and be able and willing to buy it. If it sells, you keep 100% of the proceeds. If it does not generate any interest in a month, you take it back. You will deliver the artwork to my office and I will assume no responsibility for any damage to it. I can put the title of the piece and the artist’s name in a little plaque like museums – you can even do a little description if you want. I cannot guarantee that any of the pieces will sell, but I am pretty sure putting them in my office will get some wealthy people to look at them.

Lastly, the art doesn’t have to be the GOAT, but it does have to be good enough that I am willing to have it surrounding me during the 11 to 14 hours I am in my office.

Brilliant. Not only is this a good idea, it has the virtue of being a good idea that doesn’t seem to screw anybody over. The associate gets something for his bare walls, the artist gets people to see a piece that would probably otherwise be gathering dust in a studio.

I especially like how the associate isn’t trying rob the starving artist of any money. Artist gets 100% of any sale, all the associate wants is to look impressive when partners and clients walk past his door. When struggling people come together fairly for their mutual benefit, it makes my (enlarged and inelastic) bleeding heart sing.

And I see no reason why this idea couldn’t catch on. In my old office I had a Peters Projection Map on my wall and a miniature Shea Stadium on my desk. Hardly the kind of ambiance a wanna-be partner would roll with (btw: I’m in the market for a John Maynard Keynes poster). But if I had thought of this, I could have had big boy pictures on my wall.

In any event, this is the kind of creative approach for “faking it until you make it,” that we need more of. Way to think non-traditionally, random Canadian on Craigslist.

WANTED – Art on consignment, in my office [Craigslist]


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