The ABA Journal, taking a break from promoting worthless social media hacks, has brought us a message from Big Law Associates. It reads more like a list of demands from a hostage taker without hostages:
One of their big complaints is compensation, the American Lawyer reports. Twenty-seven percent of associates surveyed said their benefits had been reduced in 2010, and the associates rated their overall compensation and benefits an average of 3.78 on a five-point scale, the lowest rating in recent years.
No, I don't have any tissues, but I will let these BigLaw office dwellers who have never brought in a single client, in on a little news: compensation for most lawyers has been reduced in 2010. In fact, your BigLaw colleagues who were laid off so you could have a job, have seen their compensation reduced 100%.
Many associates complained they were being paid below-market rates. One asked for restoration of the firm’s 401(k) match, and another wanted to "bring back fun perks from before the recession.
"Below market rates." What market? This market? This is a market where clients want real legal services, not hours and hours of meaningless research. There is not so much of a market for law firms who handle every case with 5 lawyers billing hourly.
Associates also expressed dissatisfaction with staff layoffs that are forcing them to take on paralegal work.
Oh gee. Typing, stuffing an envelope here and there, answering a call. What to do? What to do?
Heavy workloads were also a factor; almost 45 percent said that if they leave their law firms, it will be for better work-life balance.
And there's the phrase that's injected in every discussion of the practice of law these days - "Work-life balance."
I have a suggestion for these unhappy associates who can't figure out how to convince their bosses to let them hang out at Starbucks, cut out at 3 on Fridays, and take a few weeks off to wander around Asia - start your own practice - then you can't complain about how much your firm thinks you are worth, or the extra work you have to do as a result of the fact that you still have a job. I know, you don't know how to practice law, but that really doesn't matter anymore - get a Facebook and twitter account, start a blog and link yourself to death and the clients will flow.
The article refers to these associates as "cranky." I think that's offensive to all the cranky babies in the world.
I'm off to work. This long Labor Day Weekend, I'll concentrate on "life balance."
Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.