Thursday, June 19, 2008

Brain Surgery? Rocket Science? I think not....

So today I'm in my "marketing committee" meeting. Rumor has it when "big firm" starts appointing you to committees, it's a good sign and you go. Besides someone in marketing has kick-butt taste in menus, and we get great free lunches. Lawyers are the cheapest ass bitches you will ever know and will do anything - anything for a free lunch. SO an hour with a bunch of folks I kind of like for chicken Caesar salad and all the diet cokes I can drink? count me IN.

Our monthly task: come up with a "checklist" for "responsible partners" who have farmed work for a client out to another practice group to help them improve the client relationship. HUH? Follow me now - it's not that hard:
Pretend you are a lawyer. OH COME ON it's not that bad. No no, you don't have to stick your head in your butt or chase an ambulance. You just have to pretend you are smart. I pretend every day. I am an expert pretender.

Now, you practice - let's say - "litigation" meaning, "Some bastard didn't pay me and I want to sue him." So you meet CEO from Company Toymaker and you help them sue some bastard. Then CEO of company toymaker says, "Hey I think we want to run this ad and maybe there are some issues with claims we're making - do you do marketing advertising law??" And you say, "No I don't, but my buddy Sam does...let me introduce you."

NOW you are the "responsible partner" getting paid to do.....nothing. Because your client - Toymaker - is working with another partner in your firm. And you get a piece of that pie. Even if you do nothing. Sweet.

Except you should keep tabs on Advertising Lawyer. Right?

But gee no one at Law Firm knows how to do that - keep tabs on lawyers from other groups. Enter marketing committee. Let's draft guidelines.

ARE YOU FRICKIN' KIDDING ME? It's called "communication" boys. O. M. G. I do this every day. I "cross market" with people all over the firm. Some people want daily updates. Some want to be copied on every email to the client. Some say, "Just tell me when it's over." ALL I DO IS ASK when the matter starts. Du-h.

And As my head was about to explode so I left the meeting early, after scarfing down my share of awesome chicken Caesar salad, I turned to the two FEMALE partners who were also escaping early, and said, "Was that just the biggest f'ing waste of an hour ever? Or am I naive? Is that, like, client management 101????" And they rolled their eyes and said, "Yeah, can we just talk maybe about the new dumb stationary marketing revised and leave the rest alone?"

And as I walked back to my office I realized something. The head-exploding lawyers? WOMEN. The people who stayed behind to discuss this conundrum? MEN.

They really do NOT know how to communicate. Whether Husbands. Ex's. Sons. Or Lawyers. They. Just. can't. Sigh.....


suz said...

Oh my gosh. I feel like a lawyer now too. Really does look pretty self explanatory. Men. they make everything difficult sometimes. :)
Hope the salad was good.

Kellan said...

No. They. Do. Not!! Men lawyers are the worst - tee hee! No - they are!

Thanks for coming by today - so nice to see you! Thanks for your support - I appreciate it. Hope to see you soon - Kellan

LaskiGal said...

This is the reason we only go with female lawyers . . . really. You know what they say about the superior sex?

JO said...

Seriously - I couldn't stop laughing! This will now officially rank up there with the meeting that I had to set up back in 1997 - between my Vice President of Construction at Hines Interests and the three Vice Presidents on point with General Motors for the rebuild of the Renaissance Center in Detroit (all men of course!)

The GM guys requested the meeting -which they thought would take "about an hour to an hour and a half" - would need food (yeah - if you feed them, they will come), would require around 9 attendees, and needed to be set up ASAP. The topic of the meeting? "How to reduce the number of meetings - as there are far too many".

Sometimes reality is way funnier than any comedian could come up with.

myra@wemakethree said...

i call it the death of common sense. it's so hard to find - especially in men. in fact, nearly extinct.

Brock said...

Jo - I just might be able to top that:

My friend George ended up at a meeting to try and figure out why morale at his company was low... the meeting was held at 5:30 on a Friday.

joe said...

Being in the advertising business, I can relate 100% to tremendous waste of time these types of meetings take up...and you don't feel any better afterwards. As for the male bashing.....I have to say not all of us are that bad, but a good number of them fit the bill

JO said...

Brock - Perhaps our Next Door Girl, you and I should get together when I head her way - we could have a heck of a time over drinks sharing "stupid corporate stories". I LOVE IT - 530 on a Friday - let's have a meeting about why morale is low - I think I will have to share that with a former SVP of HR at a major health insurer - that was her mindset several years ago - until JO got ahold of her and helped her mind her P's and Q's in these matters! (I told her she needed to call ahead before she took her team of 4 vice presidents and her little self on a trip to a field office - she had no comprehension that if ALL of the leadership of HR showed up at a site - the folks would hit panic mode thinking they were goners - when the reality was "she just wanted to see what was going on in the trenches".)

Yea Brock and TGND - I gotta million of 'em!

Carol P. said...

My worst examples included the weekly "Take these fun courses from HR!" memo. Signing up for the course "Don't Work for a Jerk" required manager approval.

Town hall meetings where HR described the way to get a raise was to leave and come back and "Everybody knows it." Managers were pissed.

Another one where we were assured that everything we sent as questions was anonymous because "I strip the names off before I send them on! Are you questioning my integrity?" Yo, we're computer weenies, we know what security is, what anonymity is, and that ain't it.

Of course, I've been in meetings where chairs have been thrown, people have stormed out (including a classic meeting that I was running where after someone stormed out, the person sitting right across from him -- an eeyore type who thought that changing how we spelled a not-yet-implemented command would add 2-3 weeks to his estimates -- looked up and asked, "Who was that?" We just moved on...

And my personal favorite meeting, arguing over 6 stupid lousy bytes. I'm mediating because frankly, the elk are rutting, the alpha males are maling, and all I want to do is get this stupid group to decide whether these stupid 6 bytes are in a record or not so that I can ship my project which has a thousand dependencies and is third on everyone's priority list.

Did I mention that this meeting was composed entirely of people in S's group, on S's product? One of the few contentious meetings that S and I were both in. S is leading one faction, and someone else is leading the other, arguing standards and disk space and memory utilization and throughput and trying to out-jargon each other as I'm inwardly laughing at all the elk-rutting going on. I'm in full on, "What I hear you're saying is...." mode and "The stated requirements, validated and approved for this project are..", trying to bring about a decision, any decision because frankly, I don't care.

And then I look down and see that S and I are wearing the same sweatshirt (going to the Sharks game after work). Errrrrrooopps. I decide to take it off, lest I appear to be too biased. Because I don't care one iota about whether we use 12 bytes or 18 bytes for this field, I just want these idjits to make a choice and move on. And here I am, the only woman in the room, taking off a sweatshirt. Conversation quiets. Yes, there was a T-shirt underneath. No, nothing showed.

So many software people are six-year-oldish developmentally, and there ain't enough women around, that's what I say....

Nice to know that lawyers are the same way. "The more things change" and all that....

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

One of my best friends is a (female) lawyer.... she's a partner with a firm here in Atlanta.... and I hear this same stuff from her all the time.

It's really amazing that men 'run the world', considering we're the superior sex.

I am SOOOOO glad I fled Corporate America when I did. Phew.

Veronica said...

I've been in the legal field for about 20 years now. I just started a new job with a small firm. In my office it's just the receptionist and I as the only support staff. This is her first legal job and it is extremely frustrating to her.

I have been explaining to her that lawyers LOVE to hear themselves talk, that's why they became lawyers. The one female attorney in the office has agreed with every piece of advise/knowledge that I have given to the receptionist.

At one time I worked for a guy (managing parter at a big downtown firm) who had meetings to discuss having meetings. It was very frustrating because being his paralegal, I had to be at ALL of the meetings. The worst was when he would call me in his office for a "meeting" at 4:30 and all I was there for was to watch him talk on the phone and organize his desk.