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An estimated 4-minute read

Deal or no deal?

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I’m writing this in a hurry, so apologies in advance if its a bit abrupt. You see, I’m working on a “deal”.

For the (mercifully) uninitiated, a “deal” is a mythical creature with no readily identifiable form or substance. It ebbs and flows- it can lie on the backburner for years enjoying its benign existence and suddenly morph into your worst nightmare. The only thing that is constant about is a deal is the people involved- lawyers, accountants and the odd unculled banker.


For those of you who have been wondering how things work at Colby, Hewitt and Richards LLP, this is an attempt to present the rational and unemotional junior lawyer’s perspective.


The firm (like all soul-sucking institutions) is built upon the following hierarchy of power.

In descending order of importance-

1. Partners

Names: William Colby, Chris Hewitt, Jack Richards.
Personality type: Alpha male.

Description: The pit bosses. The rainmakers. The breadwinners.
Call them what you want, they are the ones bringing in the moolah. They also take home most of it. They make sure everyone knows exactly who the boss is and their Bentleys are kept shiny. They solve ego clashes within the partnership by arranging their names alphabetically  on the front door. They have the luxury of coming in late and going home early.


2. Senior Associates 
Names: Katherine Moody, Johannes Sutcliffe, Charles Ramsay, Joy Rogers and Matthew Thomson.

Personality type: Connector.

Description: The rock. The thinker. The ox.

They work the hardest and bill the most. Their job is to make sure each associate pulls their weight and team members don’t rip each others’ throats out. With work, mortgage payments, wives and PTA meetings, Senior Associates seldom realise that youth has passed them by and that the Pet Shop Boys are no longer in vogue.  This usually results in them grossly overestimating their capacity for alcohol and being carried home on a regular basis. At least this way, once in a while they get to see what their kids look like. The upshot is that most Senior Associates hang somewhere between merely disliking their jobs and committing suicide. Fortunately, the hope of colossal riches at the end of the partnership rainbow helps keep them going through their second and third nervous breakdowns.


3. Associates 
Names: David Doyle, Jane Jameson, James Doherty, Alex Gerhard,  Rebecca Knightley, Kirsten Adams, Yusuf Siddiqui, Robert Dylan, Eric van Kook, Nandii Reywal.

Personality type: Maverick

Description: The rebel. The follower. The life of the office party.

When he qualifies, the sole aim of the amicable, content associate is to somehow be done with work around approximately 5.29 p.m. on a daily basis. Deals that kick off at 5.30 p.m. are therefore abhorred by the associate at a deeper, philosophical level. Over time, he discovers that deals develop the annoying habit of being spread across six time-zones, which leave his body clock bewildered. Living in a time warp slowly destroys his love-life too- most women find it hard to compete for a man’s attention with a relentlessly beeping Blackberry. The associate realises it is a bit trying having to constantly pretend to know what’s going on, lest he be mistaken for the lowly trainee (discussed below). Billable hours then rear their ugly heads and the associate works diligently to achieve and exceed these targets for the right to brag about his (skimpy) bonus. At about this time, the great divide occurs and one of two things happens. Either:
1) he starts blogging about his job, is found out and fired. In time, the rebel goes on to win a Pulitzer for this literary masterpiece; or
2) his spirit breaks and he accepts his miserable fate.  The conformist goes through the motions and compensates for not having a life by drinking large quantities of alcohol with his immediate superiors. Before long, he becomes the Senior Associate’s drinking buddy and after-party drop home (see above), thereby earning his confidence. In due time, he is promoted to the next level of wretchedness.


4. Trainees

Names: Can’t be bothered. They’re probably not going to be around tomorrow anyway. 
Personality type: Used car salesman.

Description: Overpaid. Underworked. Minion.

Trainees live the good life. A random sample of their work would include, without fail, the intellectually challenging tasks of proofreading documents, carrying heavy boxes, circulating checklists, collecting signed documents and sending couriers. As these bottom-feeders are not expected to know a thing, the secret to being a successful trainee is threefold (in order of importance):
1) resisting the urge to make one of the Partners his/her BFF after a few drinks;
2) mastering the art of looking incredibly busy and bustling around the office, doing absolutely nothing of consequence; and
3) convincing one and all of his/her undying love for work.

When qualification time comes around, such talent is duly recognized and the best are rewarded with jobs at Colby, Hewitt and Richards LLP, replacing the rebellious bloggers. The rest are send packing with recommendations for jobs as baggage handlers at Heathrow.


(11:53 p.m.: Desk phone rings- “Charles Ramsay” flashes on screen. He is not too happy with the drafting of Clause 6.3(a) of the document. I change the word “notice” to “notification” and email it to him again. I then proceed to stare out of my window. This is going to be a long night.)


*************End of post************** 





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