Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Rapunzelling Your Associates

I had to shake my head at the foolishness I read about in this article. Article

Apparently, some big law firms are so concerned now about the rate at which they are hemorrhaging associates that they are depublicizing information about their associates (e.g. removing their profiles from firm websites) to deter headhunters from poaching them.

I like to refer to this practice as "Rapunzelling."

Like the witch who imprisoned Rapunzel in a high, inaccessible tower, these Big Firms hope to keep their associates locked away from the prying eyes and grasping hands of more appealing suitors.

This strategy is doomed to fail, because, as every savvy associate knows, you can’t toss out a braided golden lock into the legal recruiting market without hitting a dozen hot princes - metaphorically-speaking of course.

So, my advice to those big firm bi . . . er . . . witches is to take a long look in the mirror and admit that, if you want Rapunzel to stick around, you’re going to have to get rid of those big ugly warts.

For starters:

What if you actually made an effort to create a healthy, balanced working environment for your associates so they don't feel the need to run away screaming after a couple of years of indentured servitude?

What if you promoted more than one or two associates to equity partner each year?

What if you made good on your promises to support pro bono projects by including pro bono hours in your minimum billable hours?

What if you allowed associates to leave the office at a reasonable time each day without fear of being perceived as slackers (no 9 pm is not reasonable)?

What if you gave associates their weekends and holidays off without making them feel you are doing them a huge favor that will have to be repaid down the road?

What if you stopped promoting abusive lawyers to partner, since it is primarily their shameful behavior that is responsible for driving out smart, talented associates?

These are just a few suggestions off the top of my head. I'm sure if you started paying attention to what departing associates are saying at their exit interviews, you could come up with your own list.

Love the lawgirl

p.s. I found the article while reading Denise Howell's blog on whether all lawyers should have their own blogs, here:


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