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null

WFH is not a vacation!!!!!
Just emailed a junior associate to call me whenever she could so we could discuss something. It’s been 2 hours. Radio silence. I’m not going to be chasing her (...)

likefunny
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I understand where you are coming from, but just because you’ve made the boundary choice to be available “24/7” for partners doesn’t mean he/she has the same boundary choice for an associate, even a senior associate, partner, etc. I say this because I have experienced the SAME thing, and I have to remind myself that people don’t make the same priorities and choices, and you also don’t know what going on in their personal life. I also can’t say my own choice to be available for partners 24/7 was a healthy one, but that’s just me. 🤷🏻

likesmart

Chill dude, we’re experiencing a 100 year event that no one in our lifetime has seen. Expectations and life have changed dramatically in the last month. I’m currently running a deal now and it’s on a fast timeline. Corralling the juniors and mids assisting has been like herding cats but I get it. People’s schedules have been upended, they have kids, they have elderly family they’re worried about or looking after. People are stressed out, our already fragile mental health as lawyers has been strained further, and we’ve been locked in our homes for weeks. It’s not the end of the world, it’s billable work. Right now family and life is more important and seriously, 2 hours? Not 6, 12, of 24. 2. It’s clear you’re a little stressed too by what I’d imagine is an atypical overreaction so imagine her stress too. Relax and have a glass of wine. We’re all in this together, let’s cut each other some slack in this brutal as it is industry and be a little kinder.

likesmart
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I hope I never have to work for someone like OP.

likesmartfunny

OP figured it out in one of the threads. We’re not all naturally born as talented managers.

Cooler heads prevailed.

likesmart

I read call “whenever she can” to mean not an immediate concern, so 2 hours is more than reasonable. If you needed to speak to this person within a certain timeframe, then you need to communicate that.

likesmarthelpful

Two hours is long, but remember that even during work in the office people go to the gym, out to eat, etc. I agree that WFH is not a vacation, but it also isn’t 24/7 availability.

Is this a recurring issue you’ve had with her?

likesmart

2 hours? Maybe she has a deadline for another project and is just locked in? If every email I got needed a response within 2 hours I'd never have a moment to actually think.

like

Not everyone is like a well trained dog that comes immediately when it is called. Some people may actually value themselves and respond when they are available. Maybe she needed a nap? Who the heck are you to judge? Lawyers rarely work 9-5 and it could be more like 9-9 so if she needed a midday break so be it. Did anyone die in those 2 hours you waited because of this? Nope? Then consider yourself blessed because thousands of people are being exposed WORLDWIDE to a virus that IS killing many so while you are worried about a response thank your lucky stars she didn’t call you back and tell you that she just found out a loved one was diagnosed. HAVE COMPASSION AND SOME PATIENCE DURING THIS CRISIS!!!!!!!! Wtf is wrong with people????

likefunny

Is it possible she could be on another call? Since we use our cell phones now there’s no way to tell that someone might be on a call (previously you could see on Skype)

likehelpfulfunny

“Call me whenever you can” has no urgency
Try: (1) urgent: call when available (2) please call me when u get a second this morning

likesmart

Also noteworthy - you’re just an associate. Sorry, but get off your high horse. It’s possible she/he just doesn’t care what you think. I probably wouldn’t.

likefunny

Not the case.

Is this particularly (and obviously) urgent? Are you confident she’s not being emailed by people “more important” than you in the meantime? Two hours really isn’t that long unless, you’re just sitting at your computer with nothing else going on.

likesmarthelpful

“I am free and can absorb work” doesn’t necessarily mean “I have literally nothing to do and am sitting here watching TV waiting for you to give me something.” Maybe she was on a work phone call, maybe she was wrapping up another assignment, maybe she just got a small assignment from a partner. Maybe she actually did not have anything to do decided it was better for her to get groceries in the middle of the day and bill more later. Maybe she already billed 240 hours this month and was giving herself a mental break. Just because someone is beneath you in the hierarchy doesn’t mean you own them. She’s an adult—apparently a pretty successful one. How about giving her the benefit of the doubt?

like

I would give her the benefit of the doubt. But I think it’s consistent with that to call her when you’re not feeling angry and explain that, when you don’t hear back from her in the middle of the afternoon, one reaction you/partners might have is to think she’s maybe not working. Propose to her that she set out of office replies when she is going to be busy with not-work for hours at a time, and/or to send a quick response saying “I’m on calls on another matter but will get back to you tonight/tm morning.” Sometimes younger associates just need to be taught how to manage expectations.

like

WFH also is not work all day and night, either.

like

She’s a 1st year. No children and it’s the middle of the afternoon.

What boggles my mind is that she asked for work. And this is an exceptional situation (i.e. we REALLY need to keep billing to justify our job).

One thing I’ve learned is that people lower down the chain are the ones who should be sending reminders to the mid-levels, seniors and partners and not the other way around. Am I being unreasonable?

I might have a conversation with her, just need to cool off a little. Partners message me 24/7 and I’m always available.

likefunny

I think you are being unreasonable. In the end you’re pinning blame and responsibility on someone who most likely has no idea what true law firm life and attorney life is like.

As a senior or a boss or a manager you in the end have the utmost responsibility. This old school regime of dictatorship-like workplace environment needs to stop. It’s not productive. It’s not helpful. And no one benefits but the higher ups.

There’s a reason why more progressive companies and firms do better than the traditional law firms. There’s a reason why we have this stigma of being a terrible experience for young attorneys.

I can’t express this enough. I love litigation but constantly my partners and senior associates make it so hard for me to keep enjoying this work.

Now more than ever, we as a firm as a community of attorneys need to support and uplift those below us who are the future generations of this field.

like

I will also add. I’m a veteran and if one of my own fucked up. It was my fuck up too. It seems like the opposite is true in the legal profession. Leaders unwilling to look in the mirror and say yeah that’s on me too. Instead of pushing the blame down the ladder. Idk how that changes but it’s been really jarring to witness.

like

Maybe I am missing something (have not read thread), but is the “fuck up” in this case the associate being out of pocket?

Update: 3:30 hours after my email she came back online and apologized for not responding earlier. All is well.

likesmart

MP and others are spot on - we don’t know what others are dealing with and this new (hopefully temporary) reality is forcing lots of changes and adjustments. If something is a BFD then say it clearly. If they don’t respond to their email, call politely. The practice of law sucks, don’t make it worse.

Case in point last Friday one of my clients - 400+ employees had a problem with their PPP loan. The partner (who is constantly complaining that he needs work) in my office most on top of the matter wasn’t responding to emails for this very much urgent issue. So I called him. He said he was taking the day off - which he didn’t communicate to the rest of us (out of office email etc) and we were not pleased. But he understood the urgency and took care of the matter immediately.

He could have done a better job communicating his availability but also partners have a responsibility to be more available to keep firms going. We own the thing.

It's frustrating, and it's easy to assume she's not working. But you also don't know for sure. She could be crashing on a deadline for another attorney, on a call, or practicing some low distraction techniques like muting alerts and messages.

I suggest you set something more definitive up, such as an appointment.

Keep in mind, you asked her to call WHEN SHE COULD, which may not have conveyed the same urgency you had in mind, or met your need to respond to your deadline.

Good luck. It's a difficult adjustment for industries that follow more traditional work in offices.

like

So OP. Have you repented?

like

I've been on both ends of this. But I have to say that partners usually NEVER concede that they could be overreacting so kudos to OP here.

helpfullikesmart

Op not a partner

like

If I need to bill 8 hours a day at home with a toddler crawling all over me, I’ll do it, but I’ll be working super strange hours. Happy my firm understands that so far. Certainly not imposing non-deadline deadlines on my junior associates.

like

I work everyday from 9 to 12, and 2 to 430, and then 830 to whenever I get enough billable hours done for the day. My wife who is also an attorney works in the intervals. When we're not working, we're individually watching our toddlers so the other can work. Being upset about a 2 hour delay is a joke.

like

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