I’m a Coxswain in a Boatful of Nuds


QI’m a fifth year associate at a large firm and suddenly dealing with the new summer associates. It’s not like prior summers, where I’d mingle, have lunch, show them some insider tricks. This summer I’ve been put in charge of a group of five associates, making sure they are shuttled through all the processes and get a better understanding of why we are “a firm and a family.” Except, for all I can tell, the newbies are complete idiots. Two are classic gunners, asking me questions for which they already know the answer. Or challenging me on answers that, from all I can tell, are simply what they found in the summer associate handbook (the handbook hasn’t been updated for years). Two are pure partiers with more of an eye on the free booze than on solid legal research. The final one is, from all I can tell, a “legacy” hire. He has no smarts, no looks, and no fashion. And no guts, as he constantly looks scared shitless.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind mentoring and did it for the last two summers. But this is more like being a wedding planner than being the go-to guy for the secret inside scoop. Or a coxswain in a boatful of nuds. Now it’s all about “team building” and “engaging the firm community.” Blah. Advice to get out of the boat and have a better summer? I didn’t ask for this gig.


AGet out of the boat? You definitely asked for the gig when you sailed away on the boat five years ago. And it sounds like the plan is unfolding just as the partners laid it out. Get over it and grow up, you’re simply maturing at the firm but obviously not maturing in your mind. Think back to your own salad days in the summer. You were either a gunner, a partier, or what you derisively label a “legacy” hire (I’m assuming you mean the associate is connected in some way to a partner). You grew up, stopped asking innane questions to hear yourself talk, and stopped quaking in your Jeffery-West’s. You’re now a few years away from partnership, and the managing partner or the recruiting committee or someone at the firm thinks you have what it takes to shepherd new hires into the firm and to keep them there. Unless you want them to reconsider, buck up, roll up your sleeves, and jump around on the ropes course or play the amoeba race, or do whatever big firms are doing these days for “team building.” Blah, yeah, but blah is part of the game. Though, seriously, it’s really a “firm and a family?”

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chucka_nc/2608180470/)

Ex-Bitter is a former big firm lawyer who now doles out advice to anyone who asks. Got a question? Email it to advice@bitterlawyer.com. Or read more Advice from an Ex-Bitter.

6 Comments

  1. Ellen

    July 1, 2011 at 7:19 am

    At my FIRM, I am the ONLY one less then 50 years old. The manageing partner always wants to MENTOR me, which often involves makeing me stay late, and him stareing at my breasts, then getting some take out food from a local resturant and eating it in the confrence room.

    I wish alot that I had a REAL mentor not interested in my PRIVATE life.

    But since the market is so stinko, I dare not complain. Fooey on this!

    • Juris Depravis

      July 1, 2011 at 11:42 am

      Next time you stay late, please crack open the O.E.D., Strunk & White’s “Elements of Style” and two more buttons on your blouse.

      • HotLawStudent

        July 2, 2011 at 12:28 am

        What is with the misspelled words? It’s making me crazy. SPELL-CHECK on aisle 3 please.

  2. mean partner

    July 2, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    wait a minute-isn’t Ellen the one who was in dallas doing some due diligence deal and confessed that she had a low cut blouse with–tu-duh–the managing partner looking down her blouse? Ellen, either unbutton some more blouse or button those lips. Given your miserable spelling, obsession with partner lechery, and constant use of the word “fooey, you’re lucky to have any job. I confess tho, it must be because of your looks: you’re too dumb to have any job on the merits.

  3. Quadoz

    July 2, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    He said Coxs! Coxswain…….

  4. Guano Dubango

    July 2, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    I would like to meet Ellen. She sounds like she is misunderstood, and if attractive and young enough, can bear me 3 issue, including a male lion to carry on the Dubango lineage.

    Ellen, are you interested in living in Africa and bearing me issue?

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