Surveyed midlevel associates discuss snacks, decor, boring work and burnout

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Midlevel associates waxed philosophical, critiqued office food and decor, and discussed burnout in verbatim comments collected in an American Lawyer survey.

“Life’s a garden, dig it,” wrote a third-year associate in New York.

“The pandemic sucks, and there is no meaning to time anymore,” wrote a more pessimistic fourth-year associate in Washington, D.C. “Constantly working, without really thinking that my work has any meaning, is not helpful either. But the pay is very nice.”

The American Lawyer published associates’ comments here, here and here.

Several associates called for better coffee and snacks, more snacks and more money. One complained that the office space is “dated and not very modern,” while another said the decor was “far too modern and boring for my tastes. Let’s liven up the color scheme a little bit!”

Others discussed the drudgery of boring work.

“Ensure that associates get the kind of work they enjoy,” said a third-year associate in Los Angeles. Said a fifth-year associate in Chicago, “It seems to me that those who tend to leave [the firm] are the ones who end up on terrible cases or servicing partners with boring work.”

Burnout and work-life balance were common themes.

“Burnout is experienced very quickly when associates are expected to be on-call 24/7, 365 days a year,” said one third-year associate in New York.

“There needs to be more of a work-life balance, so that people have time to balance work stress with hobbies, family, travel, etc.,” said a third-year associate in Los Angeles.

A fifth-year associate in Chicago said burnout is ingrained in the system.

“Management rewards those who make the most money for the owners of the firm by working the longest hours (and who thereby accumulate the most stress and neglect their mental health, relationships, physical health, etc.),” the associate said. “On balance, the system rewards flirtation with burnout and the accompanying depression and anxiety.”

See also: “These law firms ranked highest for midlevel associate satisfaction; transparency ratings increase”

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