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Question of the Week

Are Partners Banned From ‘Fraternizing’ With Associates at Your Firm?

Posted Feb 11, 2009 12:23 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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We were intrigued to see that an article in the Washingtonian about a business boom for Washington, D.C., divorce lawyers notes that many area law firms are prohibiting partners from socializing with associates. The fear is that they'll end up in hotel rooms together—where they won't necessarily be reviewing documents or discussing trial strategy.

"The problem has become ... detrimental to law-firm morale," the article says. "But lawyers agree that the rule is universally ignored."

What's more, the Washingtonian claims, the culture of the nation's capital is "uniquely suited to bitter breakups," because those in legal and legislative jobs put in long workdays "often in close quarters with attractive colleagues."

That got us wondering: Has your law firm, or any other that you know of, drafted express rules against partner-associate fraternization to prevent late-night attorney assignations? If so, how are these rules enforced?

Answer in the comments below. Bonus points if you can provide a legal definition of "fraternization."

Read last week's answers to this question: Given the chance, what would you ask Justice Scalia?

Our favorite answer:

Excerpted from AC's answer: "I would ask Justice Scalia how he puts up with all the garbage thrown at him by the media, law school professors, and the like.

Anyone who ever critically reads his opinions, or his other works (e.g., his books) sees that this man is an amazing writer, is incredibly intelligent, has a good sense of humor, and holds true American ideals as being nearly of religious importance.

In other words, anyone who could look past a position he doesn’t agree with would see not only a patriot, but a man with true moral clarity (whose position will not change based solely upon popular thinking at the time).

Law and justice are truths, not political tools. Unfortunately, many writers on this site don’t seem to agree..."

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