How to greet a client, the Paul Hastings way.
A Paul Hastings senior associate has told junior lawyers in the firm that they should be available at all hours, move mountains for clients, and act like a concierge at the Four Seasons in a draconian manifesto. The firm has distanced itself from the "views expressed".
The list, which has been doing the rounds online, came from a presentation by a Paul Hastings senior associate in the US to junior associates. Stopping short of telling junior associates to bow and crawl on all fours whenever a client enters the room, the instructions take a strict tone under a heading of "Non-negotiable expectations".
While some of the advice may reflect the reality of working at a US firm for megabucks, many of the points would likely cause even the keenest, forelock-tugging junior to have a mild panic attack; such as the order to be "online 24/7, no exceptions, no excuses." And never being able to say "I don't know" to a question. Here is the scary list in full:
1) PH is an AmLaw 20 law firm. You're in the big leagues, which is a privilege, act like it.
2) 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.
3) You are "online" 24/7. No exceptions, no excuses.
4) Timelines/Quality: clients expect everything to be done perfectly and delivered yesterday.
5) Someone is paying $850+ for one hour of your time. Think about that in everything you do. All communication and work product needs to be prompt, professional and polished.
6) Take ownership of everything you do. Once you touch a document/work stream, you own every mistake in it - fair or not.
7) 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. See #3 and #5.
8) No questions until you've tried to figure something out for yourself (Google unfamiliar concepts, search the DMS, read statutes, read the instructions, etc). Still can't figure out the answer? Talk to your classmates.
9) "I don't know" is never an acceptable answer. See #6 and #8.
10) This is YOUR career. Embrace that reality and always put your best foot forward. If not, for the Firm or your deal team, for yourself. At the end of the day, it's your reputation that will carry you - whether that's here or in-house or elsewhere. Make it count.
Point 2 defines internal "clients" as including "associates and partners on the deal team"; hinting that the author would expect the same attentive treatment from any juniors attending the talk, should they be lucky enough to work together.
Some of the stern points may have shocked fresh-faced juniors, although the suggestion that working from home is a "luxury", should not have come as a surprise, given that the firm has given a big hint against remote working, in the past.
Paul Hastings distanced itself from the document; a spokeswoman for the firm told RollOnFriday: “The material was prepared by an associate and the views expressed do not reflect the views of the firm or its partners.”
This is the slide as presented to nervous juniors, although it could be improved with a final bullet point warning associates to never (bold/underlined for emphasis) produce a PowerPoint doc with the firm's initials, which ends up going viral:
Some of the largest City firms are struggling to get the work/life balance right - last year Slaughter and May sought to address concerns by setting out a code.