The Weekly Grind 4

January 30, 2015

Oh no! I moved firm by mistake! and other errors speedily rectified


Dear Nathan,
I was tempted by another firm (more money, better offices, smiley partner, etc.) and resigned to take their job offer. Trouble is, I now know that I made a big mistake and should be staying put. Long term prospects are better here and I’ve since heard one or two ugly rumours about the firm that made me an offer. Advice?

While my first instinct was to throw my head back and crow gleefully at the idea of your rapaciousness being rewarded rather in the way UKIP’s transport spokesman might be rewarded by being strapped to the front of a burning train zipping past the ‘BRIDGE OUT’ sign as it hurtled towards the Grand Canyon, I decided against this course of action for two good reasons. First, I did not want my assistant to get a good view of my new neck tattoo in case the little arsehole nips down the local parlour to upstage me ahead of the E1 Agony Uncles Black Pepper and Chilli Margarita Ironic Karaoke Adventure in aid of Crisis at Shoreditch House next Friday night. Second, I note that you haven’t yet joined this cash-rich, lush-officed tempter yet. I must admit they sound kind of cultish. After all, if you’re billing 2,400 hours a year and still smiling, either someone has banged a sh*tload of m-cat into the Kool Aid in the breakout area, or you are the kind of sad masochist who has nothing else in his life except working like a Bangladeshi seamstress. I’m intrigued as to the ugly rumours about the other firm. Tweet me some specifics and I can comment further, but it may be worth considering who supplied you with them. If it’s that cherubic second year trainee who was out of his face at the last Xmas party and offered to attach his electro-stim kit to your scrotal sac, you may want to discount the info. My experience suggests that most law firms are rather like shiny rocks under which squirm all kinds of dark and wet agents of corruption, in which case you’re probably right, better the worm-roaches you know.

Dear Nathan,
My partner, who has been on a course of some description, insisted that we all make ‘New Year Resolutions’ relating to work. (‘I resolve to increase my billable hours by 10%’, etc.) How can we put her off this nonsense and let us get on with some honest, uninterrupted lawyering?

Well bless my beard! You, dear fellow, have earned yourself a frosty can of Bear Semen in the Pony next time I see you staggering down Curtain Road after an evening on the tiles with the luscious yet mysteriously unavailable ladies of the Associate Pay Forum. As it happens, I know the partner of whom you speak, and let me tell you, her last New Year’s Resolution burned out at around 4am on January 3rd when I relented to her incessant demands for “more” and ran through the shortlist she had spent three hours assembling on Tinder while demolishing a box of Chardonnay and a small mountain of finest Mexican. The only condition of me sending you the NSFW pic of her and the female firefighter with the red strap-on is that it is for her (and your) eyes only. Trust me, she’ll drop the NYR crap in a heartbeat and your next appraisal will be golden. But if you think of using the pic for more nefarious purposes, think again. Not only will I have your balls in a bowl of Froot Loops, but you will be doing the legal world a great disservice. She is a cracking lawyer, doubtless crushed under the pressure of the patriarchal fee-based bullying that passes for management in so many firms these days, whipped into a snappy “SluShun” by the hollow-headed experts at the Cranberry School of Management, or wherever she spent that weekend. She doesn’t deserve to have her pecadilloes smeared over your grubby Tumblr page. But now that I think of it, it is about time I Donkey Punched her again.

Dear Nathan,
I work for a smallish regional firm that has recently called in ‘brand consultants’ to change our name and logo. I have no influence in the process, but have heard that the shortlisted names are pretty appalling. How can I convince my partners that they’d be better staying with a conservative option, rather than (sorry) going all Shoreditch?

Now this kind of thing really grinds my gears. Brand consultants, my friend, are no more the same than lawyers are the same, and the partners at your firm will bear as much resemblance to the partners in the kind of firm which can afford proper brand consultants as a chip of ice in the salted caramel frozen daiquiri currently calling to me from my desk does to Halley’s Comet. Rebranding a law firm is an artform, requiring deep understanding of the delicate and subtle web of inter-relationships between partners, practices and clients, and expressing it rather as a master patissier might a spun-sugar simulacrum of the glass pyramid atop the Louvre. The best brand consultants I know would come up with an identity for your ramshackle little B&B for lawyers which would blow your dick off, not fart out some hackneyed epithet like a clod of icing on the fetid wedding cake of a Fenland brother-sister combo. Doubtless the talent-free middle-brow austerity-victims your partners felt were all they could afford have hot-footed it fresh from their last project marketing a stationary caravan park on a flood plain at the base of a landscape feature constructed from disposable nappies, all they could get after being made redundant from the local council’s graphics department. Their attempt to give the firm a “modern” feel by rebranding it as ‘Qock’ or ‘Junt’ will be as witless as an evening with John Bishop, although not as ball-achingly tiresome (nothing is). Sadly, unless you are a partner your attempts to convince them of the folly of their ways – especially if the senior partner is slipping one of the marketing mums his main vein – will be entirely fruitless. If you are a partner, however, veto the fuck out of the lousy thing and invest a bit of dosh in a proper rebrand.

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