Blog Week 80: Highly-paid, but somebody or nobody?

Sunday 3 June 23.52

A few months ago I mentioned someone fleeing the Bush administration to join us. Well it did not happen. Old Timer says they were persuaded/have decided to stay for a bit longer. Lucky them. So the planned big announcement at the upcoming US retreat won't be happening. No political "rockstar" entering the ballroom to wild applause...

I raise that matter again because it links into to Shakespeare's comment about Highly-Paid Nobodies and his recent problems with another party's lawyers. I'll talk more tomorrow.

Tuesday 5 June 00.49

Today has been crazy for all sorts of reasons. But I'll bore you with that some other time. I am too tired to blog but said I would yesterday (or Sunday now). So here goes...

I have never been sure why, but in some peripheral way, Old Timer is kept up-to-date with our potential senior appointments. Perhaps Bill (and the other senior partners) see Old Timer as a sort of consigliere? And I think this term Highly-Paid Somebodies/Nobodies was first used by OT.

OT was talking about the subject with Shakespeare. I was within earshot and, for me, it was a glimpse into another world.

So who are these people? Senior people have joined the firm's different offices over the years from different places: in-house; different branches of government (regulators to diplomats). They have taken different titles like partner, senior counsel, of counsel, consultant.

They are all highly-paid but how do you know if you are "buying" a nobody or somebody? Old Timer's theory is the key difference comes down to raised expectations. What promises did the candidate, or their own highly-paid intermediary, make during the negotiations. If someone arrives as a partner then there are certain billable expectations. But as senior counsel or of counsel (and I admit I often forget the difference) the expectations are different. Whatever they actually do, OT says the difference between a person being labelled a highly-paid somebody or nobody often comes down to those initial expectations.

An illustration is Shakespeare's ongoing challenge with the other side's lawyers in that transaction I mentioned the other week. At a more recent meeting with those other lawyers and their clients, the other firm's partner-type kept making jibes at our guys. It was clear to everyone else present at the meeting he was he part of an unnecessarily large entourage of lawyers from his side. So to prove his "value-added" he made snide comments about our team's work at every opportunity. It gave an already fraught atmosphere an extra edge. Our people did not react. But someday soon things may change.

Wednesday 6 June 00.23

Our lawyers are heading off to the US retreat tomorrow So the office should be quiet(er) for the rest of the week. Hurrah! Too Kool and Mockney do not have high expectations about the success of the final cut of their office video. At least it is unlikely to offend anyone.

Wednesday 6 June 23.54

It was indeed spookily quiet today. Virtually all the lawyers have left for the retreat. Even Shakespeare and his team were able to go (by lucky coincidence something was filed yesterday and the next week should be very quiet).

So we took advantage of the sunny weather and escaped for a terrasse drink early this evening. But not even the sunny weather could keep outside, away from tonight's penultimate episode of the Apprentice. Gripping stuff. No idea who is going to win next week.

Friday 8 June 01.03

The weather has been so humid this evening. I am usually not a fan of our office-conditioning (I am sure it is the culprit for most of the recurring coughs and colds throughout the year), but at least it makes life bearable.

Speaking of which support staff were taken out for lunch today. It was Old Timer's impromptu idea (as Pierre, our office manager, is attending this firm retreat in the US). He said it was a way to show everyone how much the firm appreciates them. A fair number could not make it because of the late notice. But it was pleasant, unexpected gesture. And of course well-timed as nearly all the lawyers are away.


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