Job Tips: The Procrastinating Partner

  • Law

Not all of us perceive time in the same way. This is especially true when it comes to deadlines. This can  be a problem when trying to get a group of people to complete a task. Take for example, Judy–a sixth-year associate working on whatever she is assigned by the partner, Mr. Spacely. Last week, Mr. Spacely asked her to draft an opposition for his review that is due this Friday. Wanting to ensure that there were no delays on her part, Judy finished up the draft and sent it to Mr. Spacely last Friday afternoon giving him an entire week’s cushion to revise it. This morning, Judy and Mr. Spacely’s legal assistant Rosie sent them a reminder that, as is tradition, the firm will close the office by 2 pm on Friday to give the staff a head start on the holiday weekend. Judy knows from experience that there is 0% chance they are going to file the opposition tomorrow. That means Friday will likely be a last minute scramble when Mr. Spacely finally looks at the draft and decides he wants Judy to spend hours looking for that one case that he can’t quite remember the name or jurisdiction of, but which is exactly on point. What advice do you have for Judy in this situation? Is there really anything she can do to alleviate the unnecessary stress caused by Mr. Spacely? How have you dealt with partners that sit on letters, reports, briefing, etc. for weeks at a time and then yell about how everyone always waits until the last minute? 

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Anonymous
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Anonymous
April 13, 2022 4:36 pm

Judy should quit and hang her shingle out. She clearly has a good ethic and is more than competent to solo. She should also steal Rosie to open the firm with. I did this very thing 13 years ago. Never regretted it yet.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
April 13, 2022 4:43 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

But what if Judy does primarily insurance defense work and all clients were adjusters who are buddies with Mr. Spacely. How is she supposed to make that work?

Anonymous
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Anonymous
April 13, 2022 5:06 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Judy, who has been blowing Mr. Spacely, should bat her eyes and say "I sure hope the senior Partner doesn't find out you've been glazing my donut." Then she should tell him she needs a raise and that it would help if he would make all revisions. Judy should then wait two weeks and file a harassment claim against everyone in the law firm.

#Just Saying
Guest
#Just Saying
April 13, 2022 5:50 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

WOW! @10:06 Man, brother, you took that to a whole new level. Good for you, sir!

Anonymous
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Anonymous
April 13, 2022 8:47 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

10:06
not clever. Maybe it was funny in the 9th grade.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
April 13, 2022 11:36 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Where's George when you need him?

Anonymous
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Anonymous
April 13, 2022 11:52 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

1:47: actually it was social commentary on the absurdity of some (not all) sexual harassment claims. Not sure why you thought it was an attempt at humor.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
April 14, 2022 2:05 am
Reply to  Anonymous

4:52 wow if your 10:06 comment was an insightful musing about the absurdity of some (not all) sexual harassment claims, that certainly was not apparent. Nor does it fit the scenario that was posed. It's just nonsensical.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
April 13, 2022 5:25 pm

What I do is I email, call, knock on the partner's door, etc. every single day between when I send it until it's on file. This shit happens to me on every fucking case and it's infuriating.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
April 13, 2022 5:35 pm

Judy is totally right and should be incensed by it, because Spacely obviously has nothing else going on. He is spending hours on the golf course or ducking out early. He should put off the calls he has with clients and preparation on other matters in order to facilitate what is clearly the most important case in the firm.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
April 13, 2022 5:42 pm

I give the partner an artificial deadline of when it has to be filed, that way I get the revisions before they are due and I don't have to do everything at the last minute.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
April 13, 2022 6:45 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

@10:42am -for the few years I worked at a firm before going out on my own, I did the same thing. Deadline was April 13th, I listed the deadline as April 10th. Magically near the end of the day April 10th I'd get the revisions. Pricks. I try not to act like that partner to my associate – though, sadly, it has happened a few times.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
April 13, 2022 7:25 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

When I was with Biglaw, I used to put this wording in the email: "Here is the DRAFT of XX Motion you requested. Its due on XX Date and I know we don't miss deadlines here, if I don't see any revisions by noon on XX date, I will assume that you don't have any and file it as is." Never bit me in the butt.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
April 13, 2022 5:55 pm

Judy should invent a time machine and revisit her decision to go to law school. There are no good options here and Spacely is definitely going to ruin her weekend because this career is a miserable hellscape.

Also, f*** that partner who used to redline my briefs and would try to change the wording that was IN QUOTES. Moron.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
April 13, 2022 6:00 pm

On a serious note, we occasionally get really crazy comments on this blog. Yesterday there was one that was right-wing conspiracy word salad. Reading about the Brooklyn subway shooter, it appears that he too would go online and post crazy rants about politics, the war in Ukraine, and the general state of the world. I generally try to limit my interactions with those kinds of people, but at what point do you call the cops and report them? Should we as attorneys report clients who make these generalized threats with no specific target?

Anonymous
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Anonymous
April 13, 2022 6:04 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

>Should we as attorneys report clients who make these generalized threats with no specific target?

This was an MPRE question and the answer is no, you can't report based on client communication of a generalized threat. I believe you "may" if it's serious/specific, but even then it's permissive, not required. (But consult a knowledgeable lawyer, i.e., not me, before proceeding)

Anonymous
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Anonymous
April 13, 2022 8:31 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

1:01 is exactly the point. No one sane posts something like that. No doubt there are people who know 1:01 (whether they know that person to be 1:01 or not, they know them) and no doubt 1:01 posts insane ramblings and paranoid delusions online under their non-anonymous accounts. So when do we start reporting people? clients? other attorneys? OBC won't give us advisory opinions anymore. Where do we go when we think the insanity is getting out of control?

Anonymous
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Anonymous
April 13, 2022 10:15 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Freedom is dangerous, 11:00 is exactly what is wrong with the world. Right wing conspiracy theories generally turn out to be true, but yeah get ur vaccines and your soy.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
April 13, 2022 11:38 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Freedom is dangerous? Yikes

Anonymous
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Anonymous
April 14, 2022 12:30 am
Reply to  Anonymous

Actual thought police. Great idea. What could go wrong? Only a utopia where nothing bad happens, amiright?

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
April 14, 2022 2:13 am
Reply to  Anonymous

3:15 "Right wing conspiracy theories generally turn out to be true"? If you believe that, then I have a pizza parlor with a basement child trafficking operation to sell you.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
April 14, 2022 5:41 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

There is no thought police. Nobody is being arrested for their thoughts. It's other private individuals rejecting your thoughts as nonsense.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
April 13, 2022 6:08 pm

I have cursed Spacely, only to become Spacely.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
April 13, 2022 7:04 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

An arrogant prick who likely doesn't know he is an arrogant prick? Sounds about right.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
April 13, 2022 6:14 pm

Judy has no choice except to become a partner and do the same thing to her associates.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
April 13, 2022 6:46 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

And that is what we refer to as the circle of life, my friend.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
April 13, 2022 7:22 pm

After 6 years Judy should have known this would happen. Only way to make a partner dance to your rhythm is to lead. Sounds like after 6 years Judy has only learned how to follow.