Re: Guest Post:
  • He is a train wreck
  • 1

    Typing that name into Wikipedia is a fun trip down memory lane. It's not nice to blame people for their parent's mistakes, but still.


    Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 9:37 AM
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    That title is formatted funny.


    Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 9:39 AM
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    2: Are you saying Heebie is sloppy and doesn't review her work?


    Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 9:44 AM
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  • Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 9:55 AM
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    I think I've mentioned before how my mom married into the Laxalts in her youth (before her second marriage to an engineer, which produced me). Nevada politics are weird. A handful of families carved out their fiefdoms in the fifties and sixties, when nobody was living there yet, and have managed to keep a pretty secure lock on things.


    Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 10:10 AM
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    I don't know anything about that firm but yes, that criticism sounds awfully brutal. If it's accurate, I can't imagine things being allowed to reach that point in a non-dysfunctional firm. But I don't know why the linked piece describes his promotion to counsel as "risible"--it's not partner, but it's also not being shown the door (or being kept as an associate past your sell-by date). Sounds to me like either his personal connections trumped his performance, or maybe a couple partners who hated him wrote terrible reviews while his supporters just dropped the ball? The former seems far more likely but the latter is by no means unheard of.


    Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 10:20 AM
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    Firm cultures vary a lot, but that's just a weirdly aggressive assessment. I would somewhat expect it to expose the reviewer (or reviewers? I can't tell) to criticism for being unprofessional and actually undermine the intended effect.


    Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 10:26 AM
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    If you have one partner who wants to keep this guy for connections and another partner who is expected to justify billing the guy's hours, I could see a few episodes of not taking a hint leading to this.


    Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 10:31 AM
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    Yeah, the only semi-positive thing in the review is that he has the "business development skill set", which I figure is code for relatives.


    Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 10:37 AM
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    Wow, the Dunning-Kruger effect is on full display here.


    Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 10:48 AM
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    He's former military: he's used to absurdly inflated evaluations.


    Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 11:07 AM
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    Laxalt is described as being "anxious to have his review. Given the negative reviews and lack of positive reviews, this realization was not well received...."

    Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 11:38 AM
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    I agree with 7. The most likely read to me is that there were a group of partners (mostly litigators on totally nonpolitical cases) really thought the guy was a horrible person, and were in a fight for whatever reason with a more politically-connected group of partners who wanted him kept around for his connections, and were so hyperbolic as a way of gaining leverage over the politically-connected folk. More directed at the other partners than the employee.

    I've practiced a little in Nevada. It's a deeply weird state judicially, with really a lot of fairly obvious corruption and connection-based results. Doesnt mean there aren't good lawyers there or that most cases aren't decided on the merits, but still. Interestingly, there's a very good firm there with a Laxalt as the name partner, but it wasn't this firm.


    Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 11:54 AM
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    I guess my point in 13 is made better and more succinctly in 8.


    Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 11:57 AM
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    7/13: what am I missing? The review didn't seem aggressively negative to me at all. It's a compilation of a lot of negative comments received from people who worked with him, along with a description of what looks to have been an attempt to have a very polite, if frank, conversation about those negative comments and what constructive actions he could take to potentially improve.


    Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 11:58 AM
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    and were so hyperbolic

    Right, though perhaps not so much hyperbolic as unconventionally bald-faced. Like "we cannot possibly mince words here even the tiniest bit because we need to be able to point at this later."


    Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 11:58 AM
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    "You would be lucky to get this guy to work for you."

    15: "Train wreck" doesn't strike you as unusual?


    Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:02 PM
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    I can't imagine things being allowed to reach that point in a non-dysfunctional firm

    He didn't practice there that long. In my experience it's nearly impossible for an associate to get fired from a firm within 2 years. And most don't even get "fired" after that long--they start getting reviews like this ( or maybe not quite this bad) and they realize they have no future at the firm and they start to look for other jobs.


    Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:02 PM
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    Anyhow, my only real advice is that if you have a case in Nevada, you better hire good local counsel.


    Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:04 PM
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    17.2: Happens all the time on Sodor.


    Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:05 PM
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    17: I would hope that wasn't coming as a surprise in the review, for sure, but if that message had been communicated to him already, presumably from someone who had grown completely fed up with trying to work with this guy, then including the phrase in the review doesn't stoke me as being out of place, no.


    Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:05 PM
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    18 -- the reviews seemed way way over the top bad even by "bad review" standards. Or at least for anything in writing.


    Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:07 PM
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    Anyhow, my only real advice is that if you have a case in Nevada, you better hire Tom Hagen. Now there's a guy who knows how to get things done.


    Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:14 PM
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    Shit. They really don't seem off to me. Now I'm worried that I may be too harsh when I review people. (My secretary was really taken aback by my negative comments in her review last year. I didn't say "train wreck" but I didn't mince words.)


    Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:16 PM
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    "Excepting Hitler, her filing is the worst thing to happen to the human race since 1933."


    Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:17 PM
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    "She threw away many perfectly good peaches just because the cans were bulging."


    Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:20 PM
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    15: "Train wreck" doesn't strike you as unusual?

    Urple's probably had reviews that mention he ate food dropped in the koi pond or something so "train wreck" doesn't even raise an eyebrow.


    Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:20 PM
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    Shit. They really don't seem off to me. Now I'm worried that I may be too harsh when I review people. (My secretary was really taken aback by my negative comments in her review last year. I didn't say "train wreck" but I didn't mince words.)

    Were you trying desperately to get her fired?


    Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:23 PM
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    24: "My secretary"

    Do you time travel to the 50s for work?


    Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:24 PM
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    Not really. Although that's how she perceived it.


    Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:24 PM
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    30 to 28. To 31, I don't make up the job titles.


    Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:26 PM
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    I wouldn't say "horrible" (which this review says twice) or "train wreck" in a written associate evaluation under any circumstances; probably not "sloppy" or "babysit." I would probably not say those things even orally, especially not to a committee. It makes the thing feel like a hatchet job -- which, as 8 and 17 have suggested, may have been the intent.

    If I had to give a written evaluation recommending termination of an associate whose work I might privately describe as "horrible" I'd give specific examples of problems and I'd stick strictly to a more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger tone.

    On rereading it, it does seem possible that the bullet points are collections of things that were said orally to the author of the notes, which could explain some of it.


    Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:28 PM
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    That's actually funny because I kept referring to her as my "assistant" for the longest time, because the word secretary felt dated, but I eventually stopped because no one knew who I was talking about.

    Luckily that was my old job and at my current job they are called "aa" (plural "aas"?) or asministrarifebassistabts.


    Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:29 PM
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    Sorry, s/b "8 and 13." Sloppy of me.


    Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:30 PM
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    33 to29.


    Posted by: Uriel | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:30 PM
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    Most law firm lawyers still "have" secretaries. My firm is a little unusual in that we're small enough and the tech is now good enough so that we don't make too big a deal of getting specific work done by "your" secretary.


    Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:30 PM
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    Damn phone. 35 was me b


    Posted by: urple. | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:30 PM
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    35:
    The balance-beam of Fate is bent


    Posted by: opinionated stern war-god | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:33 PM
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    32.3 was my assumption. Those are also just notes for the evaluators. They are not shared with the person being reviewed. The summary at the end describes their conversation with him, and they probably said the reviews were generally negative, but didn't tell him they said "train wreck ".


    Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:34 PM
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    13 seems right to me. I wrote an evaluation like that once. The target was an incompetent associate who was also a relative of the managing partner. Four senior lawyers who had to deal with her all agreed in advance to write very similar evaluations, to reduce the risk of reprisals against us. She wasn't fired, but lost most of a bonus and was taken out of the fast track to partnership.


    Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 12:35 PM
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    Also maybe interestingly, the firm he was at is not really a traditional "Nevada" firm, it's one of the major Arizona law firms. Maybe they have a NV-based gaming practice where it seemed like he'd be useful, a lot of that work is unsurprisingly super political.


    Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:00 PM
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    Also he was apparently a Navy JAG for years before he got those terrible associate reviews, which make the reviews seem like a pretty hardcore slam on JAGs (don't have any experience working with serving JAGs and very little with former ones, so I don't have a stereotype). He wasn't a new lawyer.


    Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:09 PM
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    don't have any experience working with serving JAGs and very little with former ones, so I don't have a stereotype

    Not Tom Cruise and Demi Moore?


    Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:13 PM
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    Urple, you'd better be sure that you have your passwords and everything carefully protected. I'm basically a secretary ("Executive Assistant" or even "Director of Operations" when I'm fancy), and the only thing preventing me from diverting all of my boss's liquid assets and running off to Uruguay is my innate sense of decency. It's not smart to piss off your secretary.


    Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:14 PM
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    Maybe it's smart not to sign 44.


    Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:15 PM
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    Fortunately for Urple his primary asset is 5 year old perishable foodstuffs, too disgusting for Uraguayans.


    Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:18 PM
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    Speaking of "Fancy," I just recently learned that wasn't a Gwen Stephani song. People should really try to have more different voices.


    Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:20 PM
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    People should really try to have more different voices.

    Like this?


    Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:29 PM
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    Point taken. Everybody go ahead and sound like Gwen Stefani, plus learn to spell better.


    Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:31 PM
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    What do people's administrative assistants generally do for them? All the new-faculty-advice things kept saying to delegate as much as possible to administrative assistants but I really don't think I do anything that could be efficiently delegated.

    On the other hand the administrative people whose job is specifically to help with filing grant applications have been great up until one of them completely failed to submit a required component of my last grant application which led to it being rejected without even being reviewed.


    Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:34 PM
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    The committee feedback document in 10 presents a somewhat more complex picture. There's some long text with many very bad details from one person, who is also the person who rated him "poor" or "below expectations" on the four domains the committee looked at. The other committee members mostly gave feedback that was more middling in assessment, and always much shorter, sometimes saying "I haven't really worked with him", but also giving qualified praise for business development. This possibly paints a picture of the person who worked the most frequently with him (his direct supervisor, I think) putting in the worst evaluation, but the fact remains that a majority gave him "exceeds expectations" or "meets expectations" in all four areas.

    There are some signs of the most negative reviewer being at least slightly unfair: for "client relationships and service and business development", he started out "As a new associate, your clients are your partners", which is sort of changing the subject. So I'd guess what kept him around was in fact his business development ability.


    Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:35 PM
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    That's the kind of thing you should mention on a performance evaluation.


    Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:36 PM
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    52 to 50.last.


    Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:36 PM
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    50: I don't have one, but on the occasions when I have had a talented intern who could be trusted to schedule for me, it was an amazing relief. I cannot believe how much work it is to schedule things.


    Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:39 PM
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    for "client relationships and service and business development", he started out "As a new associate, your clients are your partners", which is sort of changing the subject.

    I don't really know of any way a new associate could do business development outside of having a father who was a senator.


    Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:40 PM
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    I guess I'd have to have a much busier meeting schedule to understand that. If a student wants to meet I just say "how about 11 AM tomorrow?" or "I have a spare half-hour now" or whatever and they say "sure" or suggest something else. If I had to ask them to contact the assistant, and also to provide the assistant a list of all the acceptable times, and then check some list the assistant prepares to see what my meetings are, it seems like it would just make the whole thing a lot more time-consuming and complicated.


    Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:43 PM
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    56 to 54.


    Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:43 PM
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    Dude a secretary would probably be life-changing for you for travel arrangements alone. Though having said that I still book almost all of my (nearly nonexistent these days) work travel myself. But a hypothetical secretary who is great a making travel and scheduling arrangements for you could be amazing, leaving you time to finally get to work on the death ray I've been asking for for years.


    Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:47 PM
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    I don't see that. I still have to decide which invitations to accept and reply to the people who invited me. And it only takes about two minutes to book a flight, compared to maybe thirty seconds to write an email to an assistant asking her to book the flight and explaining the days and times and destination and whatnot. Plus, if I book it myself I can make sure I get a decent seat.


    Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:51 PM
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    If only I could delegate teaching.


    Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:52 PM
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    A good secretary (don't know if this is the kind of thing that's available to you, even at Fancypants University, it's not for most non-partner lawyers) can do things like get all the invitations, present them to you, ask them where they fit into your schedule, respond on your behalf to the people doing the invitation, book travel, book a hotel at a nice place, make sure there's a car waiting for you, set up dinners with 3 people you'd like to have dinner with, etc. etc. etc.


    Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:54 PM
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    A good secretary (don't know if this is the kind of thing that's available to you, even at Fancypants University, it's not for most non-partner lawyers) can do things like get all the invitations, present them to you, ask them where they fit into your schedule, respond on your behalf to the people doing the invitation, book travel, book a hotel at a nice place, make sure there's a car waiting for you, set up dinners with 3 people you'd like to have dinner with, etc. etc. etc.


    Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:54 PM
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    Google Calendar is your friend for scheduling. My intern can see everything I'm doing and I can block out time if I don't want her to schedule things then.

    When I was traveling a lot (3-4 trips a month) this spring, it would have been wonderful to have an assistant. The sheer stupid logistics of making all the arrangements, and dealing with the billing paperwork, are insane. Never mind when you are traveling with a colleague and have to get their birthdate, exact name, etc. to book a flight.

    Do you not have your travel billed to various grants/contracts? Don't you have a bunch of recordkeeping associated with that? Everything I spend has to be associated with SOME funding source.


    Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:55 PM
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    Oh, and yes of course, Witt's totally right, the billing. Also, don't you have a lot of paperwork that comes with grants and that sort of thing?


    Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:57 PM
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    But I don't want that kind of thing. First, people who invite me are going to think I'm an asshole if they get a response from an assistant instead of me. Second, I don't want to have dinner set up in advance, I want to be free to decide to go to dinner with whoever I'm talking to or to just grab a sandwich and retreat to my hotel room to write blog comments or whatever. Third, I don't trust someone else to book the flights I would want to take at the right time without spending more time discussing it than it would take me to do it myself.


    Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:58 PM
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    63.3 was my first thought. Booking is the easy part.


    Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 1:58 PM
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    Yeah, billing is the only thing an assistant currently does for me.


    Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 2:00 PM
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    50, 56: yeah, day-to-day scheduling only works if you're full-on committed to having the admin know everything about your schedule, which means using some sort of shared-calendar system, which is only worth the effort if you're heavily booked. (My school had some sort of godawful Oracle Calendar setup, which some tiny fraction of the main office staff used.)

    I've had our admin:
    a) book my travel (rarely!)
    b) turn an poorly-sorted pile of travel receipts into a reimbursement
    c) handle travel, parking, etc. queries from a visitor
    d) book rooms, coffee, etc., for a meeting
    e) print exams and stuff for a large class
    f) serve as a human-mailroom for things I need dropped off or picked up.


    Posted by: Scomber mix | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 2:02 PM
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    In other words, a drug mule.


    Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 2:04 PM
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    65: You mean you don't respond to invitations by saying "have your people get in touch with my people"?


    Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 2:08 PM
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    If you give your AA control of your calendar they can schedule meetings and send invites that look like they come from you.


    Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 2:11 PM
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    68: Yeah, there's a whole bunch of visitor-handling and seminar-room-booking and coffee-and-cookie-wrangling stuff that the assistants do, but I don't think of that as something I delegate as much as our whole group does.


    Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 2:11 PM
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    I have all the same concerns as essear when it comes to the dept secretary. It seems like so much work to convey to them the particulars of how I want a one-off task done.


    Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 2:12 PM
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    AAs are great for people (like the CEO where I work) who make several business trips a month, need lots of materials prepared specific to different trips, are always having to schedule time with other extremely busy people, etc.

    I don't really know of any way a new associate could do business development outside of having a father who was a senator.

    Yeah, but for that to work, you still have to put in the hours.


    Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 2:12 PM
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    I'll have my assistant fax you details of how nepotism works.


    Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 2:13 PM
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    I don't think I have ever had a "car waiting for me" in my entire career. Nor "set up dinners with three people". "nice hotel" is pushing it except when the conference is actually in the nice hotel, in which case I resent it, because that was my nice grant money. But, seriously, while I like to book my own flights, I'd would be very happy for the admin to take my flight and hotel information and figure out what part of the public-transit system will actually get me there.


    Posted by: Scomber mix | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 2:14 PM
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    76: Yeah, it's usually public transit for me, and the occasional rental car to get to labs in annoying places. The only place I've had a car waiting is when visiting the Per/imet/er Inst/itute since they're about a two hour drive from the nearest significant airport and they have at least one full-time limo driver working for them.


    Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 2:18 PM
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    ||

    I know I complain a lot about lawyers, but today I want to hug one. Public interest lawyers are just the best combination of ferocious tenacity and golden hearts EVER.

    (It's August, so that means I'm fighting the everlasting fight against school districts refusing to enroll students. I feel as though this will NEVER stop happening.)

    ||>


    Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 2:20 PM
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    They keep trying to see exactly how many drivers they have, but whenever they get the position of one, the driver changes speed.


    Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 2:22 PM
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    I'm apparently going to have a car waiting when I show up at O'Hare in a few weeks. This may be a good sign for my desirability to the organization.


    Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 2:23 PM
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    Depending on the time of day and which direction you're going from O'Hare, that car could be significantly slower than public transit.


    Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 2:25 PM
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    Um... north, I think.


    Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 2:26 PM
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    "City of Destiny"?


    Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 2:29 PM
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    Interestingly, there's a very good firm there with a Laxalt as the name partner

    Ah, that would be my alternate-history dad; a cousin of Adam's, more or less. He died of ALS a few years ago and it was very sad, although one of those cases where he lasted much, much longer than the original prognosis and got a chance to publish some book of poetry and so on. I only met him once or twice and it was weird, but it's oddly comforting to find that his fame has reached the ears of Halford.


    Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 2:36 PM
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    84 -- never met him or worked with him, but I have worked with good lawyers at that firm who said great things about him. Really liked by his colleagues as a good guy and very good lawyer.


    Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 2:39 PM
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    Have fun, Ned. Rush hours aren't usually too bad from O'Hare to suburbs, although that's not true for every direction. There's also been a change in the direction of rush hour traffic for some suburbs with folks commuting out of the city in the morning and returning in the evening.

    83: Funny, I always think of that one as a west rather than a north suburb. Maybe it doesn't seem sufficiently affluent. Transit at rush hour to the suburbs can be pretty awful, too.


    Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 3:11 PM
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    75% of what I have my assistant do is just print things for me. It's much easier to to forward an email saying "can you please print this for me?" than to have to print everything myself. Also, a good assistant can do things like proofreading and whatnot.


    Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 3:15 PM
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    If 87 is true, then your printing set-up is unnecessarily cumbersome.


    Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 3:33 PM
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    Emails with multiple attachments, that need to be put in a sensible order perhaps with an index and tabs, not uncommon & need someone to do it carefully. Also downloading cases cited in briefs, maintaining online databases of docs, etc.


    Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 3:38 PM
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    Our former secretary could not have been trusted with something like 89, and I haven't met the new one, so.


    Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 3:43 PM
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    90 -- It probably depends on how many of "us" are in "our." In my legal career, my secretary has had 2 lawyers a bit more than half the time, and 3 the rest. If the secretary can't do something basic, there are 50 potential applicants for the job who can.


    Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 4:20 PM
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    We share 4 attys & 1 paralegal per secty, but also have 1-2 floaters per floor, word processors and night sectys. Seems generally okay as sectys typically up front when they need help, attys and paras generally self reliant for many tasks. Breaks down with some older attys wedded to astonishingly inefficient ways of doing things.


    Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 4:40 PM
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    We have a steno pool. They're both quite old, so it is possible they do know actual shorthand, but I've never asked. They serve about a hundred lawyers between them, but almost no one asks them to do anything.

    (Actually, my eight-lawyer section has two admins, which is awesome. The senior admin primarily serves my boss only. But the junior one is brilliant and should be doing something more exciting than cite-checking and making me labelled folders of documents and tabbed binders. But she does that very well.)


    Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 4:51 PM
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    I'm getting a fair amount of pressure at my new job to have an administrative assistant do a bunch of stuff for me -- including scheduling and travel, purchasing books, etc. -- and I just can't imagine saying yes. Like essear, I don't want someone else mucking up my schedule, I know when and how I want to travel, and I'm perfectly capable of buying my own books. It's all a bit weird, as I can't understand what's motivating the people who are pressuring me.


    Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 7:22 PM
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    VW, in your nw job there might be a lot of demand for, like, documents to be produced with your name on them, that you are not actually expected to write, am I right about that?


    Posted by: cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 7:38 PM
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    They're testing compliance and obedience to see whether they need to deploy a pod of if you're already sufficiently broken in.

    "We Are! ..."


    Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 7:40 PM
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    95: I'm not sure what you mean. But if I'm reading you correctly, then no, I don't think so.


    Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 7:49 PM
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    the sec'y represents a claim on future resources. if.the demand evaporates the resources will go to another dept. you gotta keep them working else the demand is perceived to go away


    Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 7:50 PM
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    The one time I let an administrative assistant buy me a plane ticket recently I lost almost 10K elite qualifying miles as a result. (She booked the flight I asked for but through a different airline.) Never again!


    Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 7:51 PM
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    I had an interview where it would have probably been better if I'd been able to schedule the flight myself. There were multiple airport options on each side, making things pretty complicated, and the one phone call where I got to put in preferences wasn't enough to really cover all the possibilities. The flight ended up being more or less fine, but I did turn down the original flight plan offered me because it was just too difficult to deal with.

    I really should sign up for more than one airline's miles plan. I don't fly enough to qualify for some paltry reward more than every five years or so, so it doesn't always make sense to use one airline when others sometimes come up as cheaper.


    Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 9:19 PM
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    I was an "executive assistant" for several years, and now I have a secretary (shared with several other lawyers). To be really good at it, you have to know a shocking amount about the person you're working for--so they're comfortable having you schedule things for them, book flights, etc. Legal secretaries are much less intrusive than regular secretaries. I have mine format documents for me and stuff like that. I would feel really strange asking someone to learn my flight-seating preferences.


    Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 11:24 PM
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    101.last: But then there are people like Smearcase, whose flight-seating preferences are known far and wide.

    (This comment brought to you by The Thorn Show, featuring some congestion-related something that's keeping me from filling my lungs all the way too much of the time and a toddler who woke me two hours ago. Argh!)


    Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-22-14 11:48 PM
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    Our admins mostly arrange travel and do whatever mundane tasks other people don't have time for. (I recently had one make four copies of a binder containing documents I had assembled, and had another one order sandwiches for a meeting I was organizing.) None of the stuff they do would be that big a deal for me to do myself, but it's nice to have someone else handle some of the duller and more annoying tasks.

    On travel specifically, we have a process where you submit a form to get approval for travel in which you indicate which flight you want to take and where you want to stay and (assuming management gives approval) an admin handles the actual booking. It's not that big a deal, but again it's one less thing for me to worry about.


    Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-23-14 1:18 AM
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    And now I present the Smearcase show, because indigestion. I really cannot sleep when my stomach is bugging me. It is a drag.


    Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 08-23-14 1:32 AM
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    And I'm teo! Welcome to the show!


    Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-23-14 1:34 AM
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    Oh wow you're up. Did you also have the costolette di maiale alla modenese? I made it myself so I can't complain.


    Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 08-23-14 1:46 AM
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    Indigestion humblebrag!


    Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 08-23-14 1:49 AM
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    106: No, I just live west of everyone else in the world (more or less) and tend to stay up late.


    Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-23-14 1:53 AM
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    And for dinner I had a pepperoni pizza at Airport Pizza in Nome. Then I got on a plane.


    Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-23-14 1:55 AM
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    Not a whole pizza, mind you. I split it with some other people.


    Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-23-14 1:55 AM
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    It would be ok if you had had a whole pizza.


    Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 08-23-14 2:04 AM
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    Sorry.


    Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-23-14 2:06 AM
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    Here comes the morning clean up crew. God, there is pizza everywhere.


    Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-23-14 5:27 AM
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    Our admin (shared among a seven person unit) does a lot of formatting to meet accessibility requirements and a lot of scheduling. She is also good at getting us the best office supplies. (This is actually a thing- I work at the state, and we don't just order whatever we want, we have to get them from some central storehouse.)

    She also gives fashion advice, and will take you shopping to Macy's over lunch if you have a special event coming up. She seems really good at getting people to branch out style-wise but not pushing them over any comfort lines. She'd be a fantastic personal shopper.


    Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-23-14 5:39 AM
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    I can't understand what's motivating the people who are pressuring me

    Class solidarity?


    Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-23-14 7:38 AM
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    78: Witt, one of my cow-orkers is married to a public interest lawyer in your city who fights school districts on behalf of students needing accommodations. Let me know if you ever want to be introduced (or you may already know each other).


    Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 08-23-14 11:27 AM
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    78: Witt, one of my cow-orkers is married to a public interest lawyer in your city who fights school districts on behalf of students needing accommodations. Let me know if you ever want to be introduced (or you may already know each other).


    Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 08-23-14 11:27 AM
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