Blog Week 81: An undetected seismic shift.

Sunday 10 June 23.54

Quiet weekend. Nothing special. Sort of like the weather.

Most of our lawyers and my boss, Pierre, are back from the US retreat tomorrow. Am curious to know what happened.

Monday 11 June 23.17

Speaking to my boss it turns out our office video was not a success.

The main reason was it was overshadowed by London's hilarious effort.

That started with three of the more senior London partners, all in their late fifties, heading into the building's revolving door and, after spinning around like superman, emerging transformed into gangsta rappers (with baseball caps (back-to-front of course), shades, gold chains etc). The rest of the video then had them as a gang roaming the office "hood", causing mayhem and asking the staff dumb questions and then ending with a rap. The whole thing looked like a cross between Ali G and the Beastie Boys (the video was posted on our intranet this afternoon).

Apparently the various other offices had amusing videos (but not so much as to be worthy of an intranet posting). The Brussels office has a reputation for being quite a relaxed place and so there was a small expectation that we would do something quirky. But by contrast our video was so dull it was embarrassing. Some people started talking through our video. It all finished to muted, minor applause.

Too Kool was upset about it. Understandable given the funny first cut she and Mockney put together. She had a bit too much to drink at that evening's party and was going to say something to Hairy. Luckily one of the associates persuaded her not to. You would have thought she would keep quiet after her recent comments to the journalist.

Tuesday 12 June 23.09

Pierre has invited Old Timer and I for a lunch on Thursday. Not sure what it is about.

Wednesday 13 June 23.37

Well the BBC Apprentice is over for another series. Good ending I thought. There have been some real characters this year.

Still not sure what to make about tomorrow's lunch. At least the food will be good (I know because I have booked the restaurant).

Thursday 14 June 23.37

Turns out the retreat was not just about socialising, partying, and sports. There was a whole other agenda which only become clear at lunch.

The partners had meetings about the firm and how it is developing. You know how nearly every law firm partnership talks about how collegial it is? (Just as in nearly every merger the owners always talk about synergies.)

This merger has resulted in a lot of papering over the cracks. But a big issue has come to the fore. The white elephant sitting in the corner has stood up and roared (if that is what they do?). How collegial is the firm prepared to be? Just how strong does the profits-per-partner drive have to be?

The issue was raised in a very direct way at the retreat. It has not been answered as yet.

But in the meantime all the offices are going to have to starting cost-cutting. This is real cost-cutting, not the don't-replace-the-flowers-at-reception type. Office life is going to get more interesting.


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