Archive for the 'Firm Life' Category

And From the files of “You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me…”

Monday, October 13th, 2008

In other law firm news, Paul found a current press release from a local law firm (with offices in Wisconsin and Minnesota), that reads as follows.  No, I’m not making it up:

Wessles & Pautsch, P.C. Proudly Changes Name to Wessels Sherman Bailey Joerg Liszka Laverty Risch P.C.!

All I can think is ‘poor, poor, miserable receptionist…’

It appears from their website that they’ll be going by ‘Wessels Sherman’ for short, but still, man.  That’s a toungue twister even up here in Wisconsin where we’re used to pronouncing funny names.


Monday, October 13th, 2008

OK, so among the changes I mentioned below is that now I work for a large law firm.

I had thought that I’d already been working at a large firm for the past four years.  (A firm with about 140 attorneys is among the top five or six largest law firms in a town like good old Milwaukee).

But the firm I work for now (although I’m based mostly our of the tiny Milwaukee satellite office), is huge.

Over 660 attorneys nationwide huge, and a member of “Am Law 100” (I’m not even sure what that really is).  Also, according to a new report (that I read about on the firm’s Intranet) it is now  the 98th highest grossing law firm in the world. 

Some of their marketing materials I read also boasted that they are “among the country’s 70 largest firms.”  I thought that was pretty funny. Most people don’t go around bragging about being one of the top 70th of anything….

But anyway, it’s new and interesting to be exposed to a company of this size.

I get intra-firm e-mails all day from all around the country.  And they’re from my co-workers, but they might as well be from strangers, almost.  Of course the people I work most closely with are ‘real’ people, and very nice.

But I’m still getting used to the phrase “time-zone appropriate food will served,” which keeps popping up in the description of the lunch that can be expected for various firm-wide teleconferences and satellite video meetings.

I traveled to and from the Chicago office today, and my exploration of mega-firm continues.  My route from the Chicago train station to the Chicago office can be described as walk to the Sears Tower, turn left, walk six blocks.  Pretty simple.

Maybe in a couple of years, I’ll have at least have met 5% of my coworkers… 

Spinach Adventure

Monday, September 18th, 2006
bagged spinach

bagged spinach,
originally uploaded by jeffturner.

I attended a firm recruiting lunch today. The three female diners at the lunch were a bright Summer Associate candidate from Beijing (who attended University in Hangzhou), another attorney, and myself.

The other attorney ordered a “honey pecan salad,” and we were all surprised, when the salad arrived, to see that it contained spinach leaves (!), among other things.

I thought that the media has been doing its best to scare us all off of spinach for a while. And the caution seems especially justified given that the recent spinach-linked e. coli outbreak claimed a life last week in Manitowac, Wisconsin, just an hour north of here.

I can’t believe the restaurant served spinach!

The attorney bravely ate around the threatening leaves.

I suggested to her that if she takes ill, she may be able to make a worker’s compensation claim.

The Schmooz is On

Thursday, September 7th, 2006

It’s that time of year again.

It’s high “On Campus Interviewing”, a.k.a. OCI, season at law schools across the country.¬†

And things are going well for Paul, so far, in this, his second go at it.  So far this week, he has been invited to, and attended, get-to-know-you events at two large law firms in town.  Today he will attend the first of six interviews scheduled to date Рmostly with good firms with which we would the thrilled for him to have an employment opportunity.   

The goal to justify all of the madness is that coveted of all law student assignments Рa 2007 summer associate position with a law firm for which one might not mind working after graduation. 

So good luck, Paul! 

We’ll find out in a few weeks/months how it all¬†shakes out!

Friday Misery Has Company

Friday, August 25th, 2006

 I realized, as I was pulling into the parking structure at work this morning, that I had an unusually bad work attitude going on.

Maybe because it’s Friday.

Maybe because this has been one of those weeks in which each day, I have faced a couple of major deadlines, with unexpected emergencies arising in the midst to contribute to my sense of feeling frazzled about getting everything done on time. 

Maybe it’s because every night this week, I have taken home files that I really should have stayed up to work on, after Emma went to sleep.  But every night this week, I felt too tired to do that.

Maybe it’s because we are understaffed.  My boss will actually be making contacts with some prospective new hires today.  

Whatever the reason, by the time I had parked and made it to the elevator bank, I was deep in internal dialogue about this working life being the journey and not the destination.  I was reminding myself that, good health and luck, willing, I will someday be able to retire and take more time to do things on Mondays through Fridays other than follow this same routine.

Don‚Äôt get me wrong.¬† I know that I am very fortunate. ¬†For the kind of work I do, I really don‚Äôt think I could possibly find a better place, or atmosphere, in which¬†to do it. ¬†And there aren’t a lot of people who can say that.¬† But sometimes, thoughts of an existence beyond an office-centric one intrude, and this morning was one of those times.

It was then, at the elevator, that I encountered a co-worker.

“Hi.  How are you doing today?” he asked, as I was mid-internal-‘journey not destination’ sentence.

“Okay,” I said, perhaps not too convincingly.  “How about you?”

“Alright,” he said.  I noticed that he sounded as if he was straining as much to sound sincere as I was.

“Facing another busy one,” I said, clutching the file of documents I was carrying.

After a few more seconds had passed, and once the elevator was moving up, he volunteered that “The sad thing is that I’ve already billed two and a half hours today.  I’ve been working from home.”

Whoa.  I went into a brief discussion/justification along the lines of my mornings being filled with getting my daughter and myself up, ready, and to daycare, but that two and a half hours from home was indeed impressive.

He countered that he hadn’t meant to brag or compare, and that he was only seeking commiseration for the feeling that he has “no life.”

(This is not, by the way, the standard stuff of law firm partner elevator chit chat.) 

A few more seconds passed.  Just before the elevator door opened, we exchanged a sympathetic partial smile puncuated by work-week weary Friday eyes.  

“I commiserate.”  I said.

Just as I reached my desk, the phone rang.  It was my hard working, stiff-upper-lip husband, who called to say, very uncharacteristically, that he wished we didn’t have to work all the time.  He expounded upon how nice it would be if we could just all sit around more often and then take Emma for walks during the day.  

We briefly reassured one another with visions of a future retirement before returning, respectively, to our busy days. 

Big Partner is Watching

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

So I’m driving in to work the other morning, and a package delivery truck pulls away from the curb and right into my path. I had to brake rather abruptly, and felt a flash of irritation. But it’s the kind of thing I would have forgotten about, except that. . .

. . . after arriving at work a few minutes later, a couple of other co-workers got onto the elevator at the same time I did. One of them, a shareholder who is generally known to work for a certain delivery truck client, was balancing multiple cases and files. The other person in the elevator asked him the obvious question:

“Keeping busy?”

At this, the partner rolled his eyes and said, “If I see one more [insert name of company] truck, I’m going to throw up.”

“One of those just cut me off on my way in today!” I said.

“I know,” he responded. “License 1246. I’m going to go call the company about that as soon as I get to my desk.”

(Me): “Oh. You saw that?!”

“Yes (sigh). My work for them has many facets.”

And with that, he exited the elevator, presumably to go report the bad manners of the truck driver who pulled in front of me.

Oh, YEAH, bad driver !

(karma hurts.)

Rox is Porn

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

BlockedOriginally uploaded by Koog Family.

I know it’s a no no. But I needed a break at work yesterday and tried to visit my blog. I have done the same thing at other times in the past with no incident.

Bust as of yesterday, to my surprise,, and, in fact, the whole family, is “Pornography.”

I wonder if this is a result, somehow, of the infamous genital-oriented episode (and related publicity) from Season One.

In any event, I will be visiting rox blogs from the confines of my workplce no more.

Hats off to the IT department for this rather ingenious and subtle way of boosting productivity.

Happy Birthday, Mr. B!

Friday, June 30th, 2006

You may have seen the novelty mug/t-shirt epithet, “Old lawyers never die, they just lose their appeal.”

To be more accurate, the saying should read, “For some d#%$ reason, old lawyers never retire!”

I don’t expect to be one of them – I have lots of traveling and other things to do in retirement -¬†but there is a large and sizable segment of the elderly (mostly male) attorney population – in my office and in many others – who officially retire from the firm, but who never really, well, . . . leave.¬†¬†¬†

Oh sure, they get in a lot more vacation time than they used to.¬† Sometimes they’ll be away for weeks or months at a time.¬†

But larger firms have a quaint custom of keeping an office around for these elder statesmen.¬† The oldest of the old are relegated to desks distributed throughout a common work room.¬† (One retired fellow with a sense of humor, whom I met for the first time after a year and a half at the firm, informed me that his desk was in this room, which he dubbed ‘the elephants’ graveyard’).¬† They may even continue to do some client work (although I hear this is closely reviewed by more active practitioners before it goes out).¬†

At my firm, one gentleman in particular embodies this fine tradition.  He comes in most every day (at least during the morning), and walks slowly around in his suit, going from office to office to chat with his buddies.    


My Office
by Koog Family.

He has impeccable manners. 

Everyone is fond of him, and you see a smile of both bemusement and protection on people’s faces when his name comes up.¬† He was a powerhouse lawyer in his day, establishing much of the current client base of the firm.¬†¬†

This is the only firm at which he’s ever worked.¬† He joined in 1952, fresh out of law school.¬† He became a partner in 1959.¬†

Those were the days (which lasted into the mid- to late-70s, as best I can tell) during which secretaries did not refer to Attorneys by their first names.  And so he is still known as Mr. [his last name] and also, because everyone knows everyone so well by now, just as Mr. B. 

He so resembles the gentlemen in the cartoon on my office wall that when I first hung it up, I hoped that he’d never see it.¬†

I’m not at all concerned that he’ll ever read this blog.¬† I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t know what a blog is.

But he turned 80 yesterday.¬† And the firm provided him a cake and a little party in a conference room.¬† I heard his secretary (whom he hired on here in 1968) ask him if he’d like to¬†take some cake home for Mrs. B.

I already told him in person, but it certainly bears repeating – not only for him, but also for all the others like him out there:

Happy Birthday, Mr. B!  

Public Speaking Maniac

Thursday, June 8th, 2006

I gave a two-hour presentation this morning, again, on the topic of HIPAA Health¬†Privacy Law.¬†¬†This was my¬†6th rendition of this topic,¬†the¬†5th time at this location, and the 7th¬†time¬†doing any public speaking at all since March of ’05.¬†

Dang if I’m not starting to get good at it.

Next time I¬†present¬†will be¬†for a program at the State Bar in late summer.¬† Then I think I’m¬†up on HIPAA again in November and December.¬†¬†

I’ll be on fire by then.¬† The poor suckers in the audience will never even see the¬†geeky¬†Internal Revenue Code¬†jokes coming.¬†¬†¬†¬†

My Law Firm . . .

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006

. . . is not quite like this one, but all law firms have enough in common with it that the many pages of this link are making for satsifying repeat reading for me these days.  It reads like The Onion drafted it up: