Complaining

Advanced technology designed to thwart aggressive air conditioning.

When we do stories about law school weather problems, they usually involve the facilities being too hot for the students. That’s because air conditioning costs money, and law schools don’t like to spend money on current students.

But once you get out of school and start an office job (or “win the lottery” as people from the class of 2011 call it), the problem isn’t going to be that your office is too hot. The problem is going to be that your office blasts the AC so high that you’ll think you’ve been running around a hedge maze at the Overlook (just click on the link, millennials).

That’s right, for a lot of lawyers, it’s freezing up in here. And since we’re talking about lawyers, you know we’re talking about people who like to bitch….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Is It Too COLD To Work?”

I worked for twenty years at the darkest of the black-box compensation law firms: No one knew what anyone else was being paid, and the firm forbade talking about compensation. Here’s the curious part: We obeyed.

I saw the raised eyebrows of partners considering moving laterally to my firm: “Right — no one talks about compensation. You guys must talk about it all the time, just like we do at my firm. It can’t be a secret.”

Wrong. We really, honest-to-God did not talk about compensation. The subject just didn’t come up.

I’ve heard second-hand that this is true for other black-box firms, too. The managing partner of a different large, black-box comp firm recently told one of my colleagues: “Once you take compensation out of the limelight and forbid people from talking about it, then people stop talking about it. The subject drops off the table.”

That sets the stage: At firms where lawyers are permitted to talk about each other’s compensation, they do. And at firms where lawyers are prohibited from talking about compensation, they don’t.

Riddle me this: In corporate law departments, we are not prohibited from discussing each other’s compensation, but we don’t do it anyway. Why is that?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: Kvetching About Comp”

At big law firms, people gripe. It’s a way of life.

Junior associates gripe about being condemned to do scutwork. Senior associates complain about friends having been screwed out of partnership. Junior partners bellyache about not being invited to participate in client pitches. Senior partners grouse about their peers, who don’t work very hard and aren’t very good lawyers, being paid too much. The law firm’s “owners” — the half-dozen guys who actually run the joint — moan that all those other lawyers should quit their whining and get back to work. And everyone kvetches about opposing counsel, unreasonable clients, and working too many hours.

(You’ll note that nobody b*tches about anything. I offer the preceding paragraph as evidence that we needn’t degrade the level of discourse to express ourselves.)

At corporations, this just doesn’t happen. People occasionally whine, of course — there’s a reason why they call it “work” — but griping is not the order of the day, every day, year in and year out.

Why not?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: The Absence Of Griping”