Giving Thanks for Billing on Thanksgiving


I just got back from a meeting regarding a response (due Monday) to a motion for summary judgment in a trade secrets case. Junior partner who was left in charge of dealing with responding to the 865 statements of undisputed material fact (and who had been aggressively insisting since last Monday that it was “under control”) revealed that although he had disputed nearly every one of the statements, he “hadn’t really had time to completely finish” filling in the supporting cites from a record containing hundreds and hundreds of pages.

For the un-anointed, all you really need to understand is that there is a lot of fucking work left to do. Not only is Thanksgiving shot, but so is close to every minute of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, including those traditionally spent sleeping.

Of course I desperately wanted to fire off a searing indictment of this abuse, until it dawned on me: This is precisely why they pay me five times the median household income for single women. So perhaps my mood (and productivity) would be better served by reflecting on why this abuse should be greeted with holiday gratitude:

  • It’s concrete proof I haven’t been laid off
  • Won’t have to pretend I’m working just to save face in front of my law school friends who work at more prestigious Big Firms than mine
  • Perfect opportunity to act out my fantasy of pulling that senior associate of indeterminate relationship status into a make-out session in Docketing
  • Can finally stare for as long as I want at the creepy family photos in the offices of the senior partners I work for
  • The borderline psychotic wife who is convinced I am having an affair with her junior partner husband is (presumably) with him today, which means an all-day reprieve from those unsettling hang-up prank calls
  • Won’t have to take the long route to the bathroom to avoid the secretary that terrifies me
  • It’s a weekday (holiday or no holiday), and I might be able to cut out before 10:00 PM
  • No need to come up with excuses to get that Mormon paralegal who thinks we’re BFFs out of my office
  • Will not be subjected to the open-mouthed ogling usually caused by my office’s placement on the path to the men’s room—none of the male partners will be here
  • The saved calories means slightly less guilt over not having gone to the gym since five weeks before the bar exam
  • Won’t have to deal with the newly minted family holiday tradition of having my Uncle Joe announce derisively “Here comes the bigshot rich lawyer” every time I enter a room

Happy Thanksgiving.

Read more anonymous tales of Associate Abuse. Or consider contributing your own.

12 Comments

  1. Al Dickman

    November 26, 2008 at 4:16 am

    Whether we are employed or not, being able to have a place to share our thoughts as we face an unknown future is something we all should be thankful for, even if we don’t agree on everything, Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  2. Anonymous

    November 26, 2008 at 5:44 am

    Dickman’s off the bandwagon and drinkin’ again

  3. Lena Kindle

    November 26, 2008 at 6:03 am

    Wow…!

    This is too funny and did it ever hit home.

    I have been toiling at my ergo assessed wannabee Herman Miller workstation (think Bartleby the Scrivener) for two long years contemplating not only my existence, but the existence of every human and inhumane creature at my firm who receives a piece of white paper with printed numbers every two weeks.

    Oh how I hate them all.

    I have questioned my decision to become a lawyer

    since the day I showed up for work in my power pumps (which I am still paying off) and every day since. But…this article was an uplifting, heavy sigh of relief.

    There really IS another being out in law land who shares some of my thoughts and sentiments.  It’s not just me. 

    I might be able to even manage a tad of genuine hospitality to my version of Uncle Joe this Tukey Day!

    To all attorneys, great and small,

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. TBone

    November 26, 2008 at 8:02 am

    Great piece.

  5. Dickman fan

    November 26, 2008 at 11:29 am

    you are right on Dickman!

  6. Anonymous

    November 26, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    I just got a call from one of the head partners here asking “what my hours will be like” over the weekend.  One word answer: “mine.”

  7. Chris Mihm

    November 26, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    A client of my old firm decided at 5:00pm on Wednesday before Thanksgiving that they needed a 50-state survey completed by 10:00 Friday morning.  The partner they called, who was actually a good guy, told them they wouldn’t have it by Friday morning but that he would see what he could have them by Sunday morning.  I used the project as a nice way to cut Thanksgiving with in-laws short by one day.

  8. legally blonde

    November 29, 2008 at 7:22 am

    This site makes me thankful for my cool job with the state!  I’m bitter about my paycheck & student loans but at least I don’t have to deal with all this firm BS!  No billing, no partners, no jockeying, no weekends, no busy work.  And, check out this part, I actually get to do what I went to school to do!  Sure, I can’t afford the latest fashions, I pack my lunch, I drive a $500 car, and I sure can’t hit the salon every week, but I do go home happy!

  9. happy lawyer

    December 3, 2008 at 11:13 am

    wow.  the more time i spend on this website, the more thankful i am of my life.  I work for a very small law firm in VA, where my boss closes the firm early every fridays.  I work with others that are happy to be here, and we all agree that family comes first.  Of course, I dont get the prestige and the paycheck equivalent to big city lawyers, and occasionally my parents make clever remarks about how i’ve wasted my ivy league education working for a small firm.  but i still get to enjoy all the finer things in life (yes people at work wonder how i afford my Chanels and Louboutins) because of my hubbie (whose job has nothing to do with the law).  Happy late thanksgiving!

  10. Guano Dubango

    November 25, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    I agree with this Al Dickman.  The name Dickman is a bit odd sounding to me though.  I think many women would love dating such a person if he were truly attentive to them. Like Dickman, I personally am thankful for all the goodness this country has offered me, as well as to all of the pretty women who find me worthy to spend time with and give my devoted attention to.  Although I have not, as yet, found a suitable law spouse, I remain hopeful I will find a law beauty to bring home to my native land to live with me and my Aunt Ooona.

    • Guano Dubango

      November 24, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      This is me 2 years ago? OMG! I am still in search of a law beauty. Women who are interested in the law in the USA are not law beauties as they are in my country.

      I sincerely hope I will find a law beauty to wed, if not bed.

      Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  11. Eurotrash

    November 24, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Serendipity in action. Law, liberty and the pursuit of happiness at work.

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