Law Firms

BigLaw associate’s admonition to be available 24/7 with ‘no exceptions, no excuses’ goes viral

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A Paul Hastings associate’s best-practices advice to junior colleagues in an internal presentation wasn’t that far off the mark, legal observers told But its tone was lacking.

Now, that advice on what to expect in BigLaw—encompassed in a slide during the associate’s presentation—has been leaked to social media, reports.

That started “a viral event in which questions about law firm culture, workplace behavior and the importance of tone in professional communications came to the forefront.” published the entire slide. The advice included:

    • “You are ‘online’ 24/7. No exceptions, no excuses.”

    • “PH is an AmLaw20 law firm. You’re in the big leagues, which is a privilege, act like it.”

    • “We are in the business of client service—you are the concierge at the Four Seasons, a waiter at Alinea. The client always comes first and is always right. If a client wants a mountain moved, we move it. No questions. As a junior, your ‘clients’ are the associates and partners on the deal team.”

    • “Timelines/Quality: clients expect everything to be done perfectly and delivered yesterday.”

    • “WFH is a luxury. Don’t take advantage of it. Buy a full home setup (2 monitors, docking station, keyboard/mouse and a working phone) or come into the office. No poor connections. No excuses.”

    • “Take ownership of everything you do. Once you touch a document/work stream, you own every mistake in it—fair or not.”

Paul Hastings told in a statement that the associate prepared the material, “and the views expressed do not reflect the views of the firm or its partners.”

Tom Sharbaugh, a former Morgan, Lewis & Bockius managing partner who’s now a professor of practice at the Pennsylvania State University’s law school, told that he thinks that messaging similar to the associate’s advice may be prevalent at many elite firms.

“I think you’re expected to just be always available, regardless of what they say about work-life balance and wellness and all that stuff,” Sharbaugh said. “At the end of the day, you’re married to the firm.”

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