Latest podcast also talks about ranking the best law schools the worst way possible.
Joe Patrice is an Editor at Above the Law. For over a decade, he practiced as a...
Kathryn Rubino is a member of the editorial staff at Above the Law. She has a degree...
With March upon us, we created our our bracket-based challenge to rerank the top law schools based on… nothing. If the law schools don’t want to provide data to ranking services, we’ll show them what that looks like. It’s pretty bad. Speaking of bad, a litigant got a bit of a lecture from a federal judge who cautioned for more civility in filings and let’s just say he did not get it. Finally, we return to the hybrid work model with a study in contrasts. One firm announces that it’s going to close up the office for the month of August while another puts bonuses in jeopardy if an associate prefers to work in the office on different days. One of these firms will have a happier roster before this is all said and done.
Joe Patrice: Hello, welcome —
Kathryn Rubino: Hello.
Joe Patrice: To another —
Kathryn Rubino: You’ve really thought you were going to get me that time. I appreciate that you’re still in the game; losing, but in it.
Joe Patrice: That’s fair. I’m Joe Patrice. This is Thinking Like A Lawyer. Kathryn Rubino is also here.
Kathryn Rubino: Also, from Thinking Like A Lawyer and Above the Law.
Joe Patrice: Above the Law, yeah. This is our weekly roundup of some of the big stories of the week that was here at Above the Law. And then, yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, that is what we do, but before we do that, we like to catch up with one another, see how the week’s gone in a little segment we call —
Joe Patrice: What do we call it?
Kathryn Rubino: Small Talk.
Joe Patrice: Small talk? Okay. I’m not familiar.
Kathryn Rubino: I think you are.
Joe Patrice: Oh, there it is. There’s the small talk fanfare.
Kathryn Rubino: You really enjoy that, don’t you?
Joe Patrice: I do.
Kathryn Rubino: You know, we all have to steal whatever joy we can from this life that just tries to grind us down.
Joe Patrice: If you stopped interrupting me at the beginning of the show, maybe I would —
Kathryn Rubino: Is that like a deal you want to work out?
Joe Patrice: Maybe I would stop that — yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: See, but I’d have to act first and I’m not sure I trust you, not to (00:01:23).
Joe Patrice: Whoa! Whoa!
Kathryn Rubino: Am I wrong? Am I wrong? Dear listeners, do you think I’m wrong? I don’t think you do.
Joe Patrice: I will delete the trumpet fanfare. If I could get, I’m just saying.
Kathryn Rubino: I don’t know.
Joe Patrice: You can test it out next time.
Kathryn Rubino: It’s a lot of trust. I don’t know if I’ve built up that much trust in you.
Joe Patrice: Wow!
Kathryn Rubino: So, how was your weekend, Joe?
Joe Patrice: Weekend, I don’t really know about. Last week, I was at Legalweek as —
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah.
Joe Patrice: — you know, the ALM’s annual, what used to be called LegalTech New York and it’s not called Legalweek despite the fact that it’s still just LegalTech New York. But, you know, branding is fun, and it’s the annual get-together in New York to talk about all manner of legal technology stuff although mostly e-discovery.
Kathryn Rubino: So, what’s kind of the flavor of Legalweek? You’ve kind of talked in the past that different tech conferences of which I now know entirely too much have slightly different focuses. So, what’s the Legalweek’s variety?
Joe Patrice: I mean it used to be derisively called the E-Discovery Week. It’s still largely is, though there are some different –
Kathryn Rubino: Why derisively? It seems as someone who did e-discovery work that it is a tremendously large portion of —
Joe Patrice: Yeah, yeah. Derisively for the same reasons that — yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: What is that supposed to mean?
Joe Patrice: No, I mean it’s a portion of the job but it is also like it’s — it is just a portion. It is not something that really should sustain an entire conference theoretically. It is a critical part of the legal workflow, but not all of it, and certainly not a part of the workflow outside of litigation. And so, yeah, it got kind of a knock because it was the same thing over and over. It also has, let’s be honest, become a mature part of the legal-tech landscape.
Kathryn Rubino: Sure.
Joe Patrice: At which point does it really need to show anymore? I don’t know. That said, that’s not really a fair knock on it to the extent that e-discovery, as one person put it, the guts of e-discovery can still be used for other things. You can take the way in which it operates and with some work, apply that to other use cases and so it’s still valuable. That said, its focus is largely what big New York firms want, largely litigation-based. The keynote was LeVar Burton this year.
Kathryn Rubino: Oh, fun.
Joe Patrice: It was fun.
Kathryn Rubino: Maturity.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, very captivating. He explained — storytelling generally was the theme of what he talked about, but what was kind of captivating is how even though this is somebody who’s not in the legal-tech space, he managed to kind of bring it back around talking about how it is, about telling a story.
Kathryn Rubino: That is what excellent speakers do.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, well, that’s the thing. Like a lot of times when you bring in somebody to speak from outside of the field, they talk about their thing and leave it up to you to figure out how it connects, but he had a plan for how it’s connected.
Kathryn Rubino: That’s fun.
Joe Patrice: So, that was very interesting. What else? Yeah, I saw lots of products mostly e-discovery probably, but some contract analytics stuff, some very exciting stuff out of Lexis. I saw some cool things about — I saw a really cool tool called LiquidText. It was a good show.
Kathryn Rubino: That’s good, but before we end this segment, I do have a very important question for you, Joe.
Joe Patrice: Oh, yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah. Ready?
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: How is your Bracket doing?
Joe Patrice: Oh, yeah, terribly. Yeah, I did not have any of the final four as you might imagine.
Kathryn Rubino: I would be shocked if anyone had this final four.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. Although that said, in the Bracket competition amongst my friends, there is someone who had Miami winnings. So they have at least one.
Kathryn Rubino: They’re living the dream.
Joe Patrice: They have at least one still in.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, I mean I imagine, you know, Miami Natives and/or Alum are doing okay. Same with, you know, UConn, San Diego or FAU folks, but outside of people who have personal connections to those schools, it’s not looking great.
Joe Patrice: FAU is the one I whiffed on the most I feel because I just –
Kathryn Rubino: Well, they are nine seed.
Joe Patrice: They are.
Kathryn Rubino: That’s not surprising.
Joe Patrice: Well, that’s the problem. I didn’t probe much about that team other than seeing them as a nine. Had I done so and learned that they’d only lost three games all year, I might have said, “Huh, this looks like a five or –”
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, they didn’t play very many people either.
Joe Patrice: This looks like a five or six seed that has been woefully miss-seeded.
Kathryn Rubino: But I mean even if — they should have, perhaps you’re right, been a five or six seed that was miss-seeded, you still don’t necessarily expect them in the final four?
Joe Patrice: No, but I would have believed in them getting a lot further and have them in a place where they could be. I just was like, “I don’t know anything about it. Looks like a nine don’t”, yeah, that was my mistake.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, it’s weird, like this is I think the year that I have watched the least amount of college basketball in, I don’t know, a solid decade, two decades, something like that, and it’s wild because it is obviously the most exciting year. But, you know, what’s kind of fun about March Madness is that you can pick it up at the tournament level and still get a great deal of enjoyment from the whole thing.
Joe Patrice: Sure. And this one, the men’s tournament has been chaos. The women’s tournament is just sitting around waiting for South Carolina to win, but the men’s tournament has been great.
Kathryn Rubino: The men’s tournament has been utterly wild, and I mean in other years when you’ve had like a Cinderella, a five seed make it to the final four, it’s a big deal, and you know it is like the George Mason year or whatever, but this having four fairly low — I mean four is the highest seed out of any of them, I believe, is just —
Joe Patrice: Highest or lowest? How do you do that?
Kathryn Rubino: That’s the highest.
Joe Patrice: Well, but it’s the lowest number, like, I don’t know what it is.
Kathryn Rubino: But it’s still high, like you don’t call the one seed the low seed.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. I guess that’s right.
Kathryn Rubino: I can give you a definitive ruling on this. Are you ready?
Joe Patrice: Okay.
Kathryn Rubino: Do you watch on Food Network?
Joe Patrice: Oh, okay.
Kathryn Rubino: Tournament of Champions. No, but it’s a Guy Fieri show. There’s a wild card element to it though where sometimes he spins a wheel and either the higher seed or the lower seed gets to do a thing and the higher seed is the one seed. The lower seed is the eighth in those instances.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: I’m just saying, according to Guy Fieri, it’s pretty clear.
Joe Patrice: I mean, that’s how I would think of it but then when you start saying the numbers and then I go, “Well, wait”, now I guess one is a lower number like should I be calling that technically the lower? But no, I think —
Kathryn Rubino: No. It’s definitely the higher seed.
Joe Patrice: Colloquially it’s correct.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, I mean, listen, the point of language is communication. People ceased to understand you by calling the one seed the low seed. You have missed the boat.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, but I mean, hey, this could be part of one of those like attorney’s general situations where everybody says it differently, but it’s technically —
Kathryn Rubino: Okay. But attorney’s general sounds so cool though. Every time I have to write the attorney’s general said, blah, blah, blah, it makes me in my heart happy.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, fair enough. Or Order Two Whoppers Junior.
Kathryn Rubino: The Whoppers Junior.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, okay.
Kathryn Rubino: I think we’re done. I think we’re done here.
Joe Patrice: Fair.
Kathryn Rubino: But oddly, not done talking about seeding.
Joe Patrice: Oh, interesting. So we’re going to talk about Bracket still now that we’re done with this. Yes. With that said, we have an annual Bracket competition here at Above the Law, where we choose —
Kathryn Rubino: Coincides with March Madness. We are getting on the bandwagon like every other website out there.
Joe Patrice: Newsjacking.
Kathryn Rubino: Yay!
Joe Patrice: Yeah. So we come up with some ridiculous question every year and ask people to vote on it.
Kathryn Rubino: Before this year, I tell you my favorite was the best true-crime documentary.
Joe Patrice: Oh, that’s — okay.
Kathryn Rubino: That one was a lot of fun to put together. And as a result I’m on a lot of distribution lists for true crime podcasts and —
— all sort of random stuff that so kind of makes me chuckle.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, this started years and years ago actually I believe with Ellie’s competition to become the editor here with one about best fictional lawyer, and we’ve continued this trend, and this year we decided to make a statement about the way in which the U.S. News is being dropped by a lot of the elite schools. They are saying that they are no longer going to give U.S. News their data.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, I think it’s over 40 law schools?
Joe Patrice: At this point, yeah, but it started with Yale saying they didn’t like U.S. News’ methodology, so therefore, they won’t give them any data.
Kathryn Rubino: Take their ball and go home.
Joe Patrice: So they didn’t want a data-driven — even if you disagree with the methodology, I feel like transparency is good. I really am very cynical about this move. I think that all they’re trying to do is be more opaque because they know they’re going to win the peer-review portion which is all that’s really left, other than U.S. News estimating and they feel that they can just kind of screw over the transparency that we’ve all asked for, because if you don’t like how the methodology works you can reverse-engineer, but anyway, whatever.
Kathryn Rubino: Yes, I think that there’s plenty to be said about the methodology and also still say that there are good things about transparency, but I think at this point and maybe it was different when U.S. News was the only game in town, but the ABA collects a lot of data about Bar Passage and other kind of key metrics about the quality of a law school. Now provides you with a ton of information. If you know where to look for it about these things as well, and all of it is compiled at lawschooltransparency.com, which is a fantastic website for prospective law students that has so much information on it, it’s wild. And so the information is in fact out there whether or not folks participate in U.S. News.
Joe Patrice: Well, but it’s going to be harder with that data, not being released. I mean, they even law school transparent who relies on a lot of that data ending up in U.S. News to take. Anyway, point is, we’ve gotten a field of this Bracket situation, so we think it’s — I think it’s largely stupid that this how the law schools are choosing to act. They don’t want a scientific evaluation of who the best law school is, so we’re going to give them an unscientific version. So we just seeded the law schools per their ranking in U.S. News last year and asked our readers to just go ahead and vote.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, you have had quite a few choice comments about it and I would like, listen, I don’t always give you credit, but I want to give you 100% of the credit here, you immediately called what was going to happen. The first round upset that, you know, you want to talk about, a 1000% called before you hit Publish on the post.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, I was pretty sure that our readers, many of you readers are wonderful, very serious folks. We also have a segment of readers who are hopeless trolls, and we love them too. And I knew that those hopeless trolls were going to immediately, once I saw that the matchup that Yale at number one had was against number 32 ASS Law, the Antonin Scalia School of Law, out of George Mason, I knew ASS Law was going to win, and boy, did they? They took out Yale. They are rampantly cheating. Almost a million votes cast in one of the rounds.
Kathryn Rubino: I love how honest you are about the cheating too. I think there was like one of the headlines, you were like, “Look at — look at this crazy cheating” and wild results follow.
Joe Patrice: There are not a million people who have a real opinion about whether or not ASS Law deserves to win this competition, even if every reader cared at all voted, we would hit that number, but that’s not every reader voting.
Kathryn Rubino: It is certainly not.
Joe Patrice: Especially, when you look at the other competitions where you can see that we have people who feel like they shouldn’t even be voting in that one, but they are all involved in this ASS Law one, and I don’t care because that’s not scientific and that’s what U.S. News wants, they want to turn it over to the crazy people, they can turn it over to the crazy people.
Now, at this point as of this recording, we have a final four voting going on. You can still — as when this is released, you can still vote in the final four.
Kathryn Rubino: What are the match-ups?
Joe Patrice: So ASS Law is going to be taking on Northwestern and —
Kathryn Rubino: Couldn’t be defeating Northwestern is when I’m —
Joe Patrice: Well, that’s probably true and Texas is taking on the Penn. Did you think those are the four best law schools in the country?
Kathryn Rubino: No.
Joe Patrice: Absolutely not, but that’s what happens when you try to have a non-scientific way of doing.
Kathryn Rubino: Democracy is good times.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, this is what I mean. I don’t want to knock democracy but I do want to knock —
Kathryn Rubino: Sure, you do.
Joe Patrice: No, but I do want to knock a lack of a scientific rigger, and that’s what we have here. So we had a situation where we turned it over to the opinions and this is what we got. And now do I think that that’s going to be reflected by U.S. News? Not really. I think that when U.S. News asks people, it’s —
Kathryn Rubino: Well, they also make sure it’s only one vote per person, so here’s that.
Joe Patrice: Well, they do that. They are certainly that, that would help a great deal, and they also were asking people who were a little more serious and they’re going to say the — basically thought —
Kathryn Rubino: Sure, the serious side of ATL readership are the folks that we’re getting to the inquiry from U.S. News.
Joe Patrice: They are the people I see voting for Yale in that matchup. So those people exist and those people will probably dominate the U.S. News ranking vote and it will still look like whatever. But I mean, the point is still the same. It calcifies public opinion when you do it in a serious way and it turns it when you do it in a non-serious way, but the problem remains the same. If you are not taking evidence as it exists and evaluating it on its own terms, you’re going to get screwy results and that’s what U.S. —
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, evidence-based analysis is important.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, and that’s what U.S. News is asking for and even if the numbers come out this year and it’s the same, same top 14, it almost always is. That’s not an argument for taking away that data, had no impact. It did have an impact, it just calcified things. And that’s not good for anybody either. We don’t want to live in a world where we aren’t critically examining the way in which law schools operate, and we just shrug our shoulders and do the exact same thing. This has been a fun competition, you should all vote. See if you can make Northwestern beat ASS Law, you won’t because I’m sure they will still win.
Kathryn Rubino: But you too know how to create this box.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, but whatever, do what you can, vote early and often in this one. I don’t care. It’s all proving the point.
Anyway, so that’s where we are. We will then after this have the championship between whoever and whoever, ASS Law and whoever probably, and then they will have voting over the weekend and announce the winner next week. So there you have it.
Kathryn Rubino: Stay tuned.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
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Joe Patrice: All right, so another story they having last week was one of yours, what happened?
Kathryn Rubino: An Illinois attorney, Calvita Frederick, decided to not follow the advice of a Federal Judge. I mean listen —
Joe Patrice: Ooh, that’s not good.
Kathryn Rubino: — if a Federal Judge is giving you some advice, you should probably take it, right? Especially if you have a case in front of that particular judge, they’re probably giving you the advice for a reason, for a purpose, you should probably take it.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, even if it’s bad advice, you should listen to it for at least the unlimited purpose of appearing before that judge.
Kathryn Rubino: Right, right. In this particular case a judge, Steven Seeger, had told Frederick to re-file their motion and watch out for their tone that was full of potshots and hyperbole.
Joe Patrice: Okay.
Kathryn Rubino: The judge dismissed the case said that the wrong party was listed as the defendant and in appealing that Calvita Frederick wrote a Motion to appeal that or to re-consider that rather, and decided to launch into the judge and the judge’s previous decision saying that the judge failed to do adequate research that the opinion, it was full of manifest errors of fact and law was mistaken and/or deliberately chose to disregard the evidence in the record and so on and so forth. In fact, Judge Seeger said, “The court could go on.” Counsel did. After 28 pages counsel finally ran out of gas, which I have to appreciate Judge Seeger’s, both sort of the levity, which he approached this pointing it out saying, “Listen, this is full of potshots and hyperbole” and even saying like, “I’m a Federal Judge, I had to get confirmed in front of the Senate.
I can take this. It’s not about my personal feelings, but you’re not doing your argument any benefit at all.
Joe Patrice: Judge Seeger has been great. This isn’t even the first time we’ve dealt with him on this podcast, but we’ve written about him and talked about him a bit over the years. The last time we talked about him on this show was when there was a town that tried to find an elderly couple or just a person. Anyways, find some elderly — no, it was like an 80-year-old who the town tried to find $30,000 for a bunch of nonsense that he was none too pleased with the town’s attempt to extort money from an 80-year-old. He also was not talked about on this show, but of interest early on in COVID, he was noted for some people demanded that they hold a hearing early on in the lockdown on some stupid copyright claim, and he wrote something back — somewhat tongue in cheek and humorously about, you know, you are not the important problem right now. He’s becoming kind of an Above the Law All-Star, so it’s good to see.
Kathryn Rubino: What’s interesting is this particular case is the attorney in question, Calvita Frederick, is also — we’ve been written about her before, actually, our colleague Chris, who’s not with us this week, but actually wrote about her previously because another judge said of Calvita Frederick that it was the worst lawyer — the poorest performance by an attorney that he’s seen in his 12-plus years on the bench.
Joe Patrice: You never want to hear that one.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, it’s not great.
Joe Patrice: I didn’t even realize this was a meetup of a couple of ATL All-Stars.
Kathryn Rubino: The point is that also Judge Seeger had given Calvita Frederick, I think, 10 days or however many days to refile the Motion, perhaps removing some of the tone issues, let’s say, and she never did. Never did re-file. That’s not how you’re going to change hearts and minds.
Joe Patrice: No.
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Joe Patrice: Okay, so we have a couple of stories that are intertwined, I think is probably the right answer. Which one do we want to start with?
Kathryn Rubino: We can talk about the topic, which is what are big law firms or mid-sized firms doing when it comes to getting back to the office? We talked about it a million and five times. We will continue to talk about it more because there’s no clear standard. How many days do we measure, how many days you’re in the office? By the month, by the week, by the quarter? Who knows? And what do you do? How do you build camaraderie? How do you teach up the younger associates to make sure they’re at the same level? Who knows them? But it’s interesting to see the different approaches firms are taking. I think the more fun version is Seward & Kissel, who announced that for the month of August they are just closing up shop. They don’t get a month off, mind you.
Joe Patrice: Not closing.
Kathryn Rubino: The office is closed.
Joe Patrice: The office is closed.
Kathryn Rubino: The office is closed. Folks are just told to — they’re going to be fully remote in the month of August.
Joe Patrice: I mean, that’s great.
Kathryn Rubino: That’s great. And of course, there’s the normal caveats, right? If you’re on a case where it’s required, who knows what that exactly would be? But obviously all the normal sort of caveats. But I love that it opens the door for folks to be able to review documents on a beach somewhere.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, no, definitely. Seward & Kissel, I think, is very good about this question generally speaking.
It’s not just this — they also are the firm that’s doing a lot of fun events to build a culture we’ve written about –
Kathryn Rubino: Make people want to go back.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, we wrote about how they created an office-wide mini golf tournament by constructing things in there, fun things to keep people feeling like, yeah, I’m in this office, but there’s a reason to be here. And it’s an approach that begins from the premise that you got to do your work. We all know you can do it remotely. We also would like folks in the office for culture reasons, for training reasons, whatever, rather than punish you if you don’t come to the office, let’s do something to make you maybe want to be here more.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, and I think that even though — everyone’s — the office is closed for August also builds this sense of camaraderie. When you come back after the Labor Day weekend, I’m sure the office is going to be filled with all sorts of good natured chatter. “Oh, what did you do?” “Where did you work from?” “Oh, that sounds like so much fun. Do you have pictures?” I think that this naturally builds that environment that people want to go back to.
Joe Patrice: Absence makes the office grow fonder.
Kathryn Rubino: Sure. They also announced that the week of Thanksgiving and the last week of December, sort of between Christmas and New Year’s, they would also be similarly fully remote, which that’s what people want. They want that flexibility. “Oh, is it cheaper to fly out the Saturday before Thanksgiving instead of 9:30 p.m. on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving?” No shit. People want that flexibility to be able to make those choices for themselves, for their families and still do the work that they signed up to do.
Joe Patrice: Right. And you hit the nail on the head with flexibility, and this is the thing we talked about with regard to a lot of these go back to work policies. It seems like some of these firms are thinking, so long as we’re giving you three days or four days or whatever it is in the office and we’re making that our policy, why can’t we just dictate what those days are? And the issue is, at least from my experience, most people aren’t upset about the idea of coming into the office. They’re upset about the idea that it’s being dictated when to come. After they just went through a couple of years where they worked fully remote and turned in the biggest profits that the firms have ever seen. If they know they can produce like that, they want to be trusted on the level of, “You know what, this Tuesday, I just happened that this was the day I could get this appointment, so I’m not coming in. I’ll come in tomorrow.” And that’s what they care about, not the number of days.
Kathryn Rubino: Right. I think that obviously there’s a balancing act and a certain point I think firms have to say we’re employing professionals and we have to allow them to use their professional judgment. I think it’s okay even to say we prefer if you’re here on Tuesdays or whatever, and it’s fine, because, listen, if I have a choice between my dentist appointment on Tuesday or Wednesday, okay, fine, I’ll choose Wednesday. But if I don’t have that choice and it’s only Tuesdays or a specialist is only available on Tuesdays, trust me as a professional enough to know that that’s true, and I will be there next Tuesday and I will still be there on Wednesday and I will do as much work as I always did.
Joe Patrice: Right. So on that note, Seward & Kissel is approaching this from the perspective of incentivizing people to come to the office. What’s the opposite?
Kathryn Rubino: DPW, Davis Polk has updated their handbook to include the sort of heads up that if you don’t comply with their in-office mandate, then your bonus might be impacted.
Joe Patrice: So now here’s what’s interesting about that to my mind. You know, some law firms have minimum billable requirements and you have to bill a certain amount to get your bonus or else or you bill a certain amount and you get smaller part bonus than the full bonus, yadi-yada. David Polk does not do that. They are a lockstep bonus shop, so if you don’t bill as much one year as you do another year, it doesn’t matter. You’re getting your full bonus either way.
So, with this statement what Davis Polk is saying is they don’t care if you work as much so long as you’re doing it while sitting in the office.
Kathryn Rubino: Well, nominally, I think that is what they’re saying, but they’re also not creating sort of a clear bright line. It’s more of a heads up that this is what their expectations are and it could impact your bonuses. There’s no sort of formula you miss X amount of days, Y percentage is taken out of your bonus number or something like that. I think that they’re going to likely use it judiciously and say, “oh, this is someone who we don’t think is meeting the standard of the firm and this is one of the ways that that is true.” I mean, we don’t know yet, but it feels like the sort of thing that they’re going to be applying very much on an individualized basis. So we have to wait and see what the stories sounds like after bonuses come out. But, it’s a heads up at the very least that we are very serious about our in-office policy.
Joe Patrice: It just strikes me if you’re trying to use this to weed out people that you don’t think are performing then go ahead and create an hourly minimum like a bunch of other firms did. It’s not something I think is a particularly good practice for a law firm to do as far as helping with — we’re talking about culture. I think it creates something of a toxic culture to do that but if that’s what you want to do then go ahead and do that.
Kathryn Rubino: I don’t know. I would rather from a firm culture perspective, I’d rather work somewhere that tells me I have to be in the office three days a week or my bonus will be impacted rather than some firm tell me I have to build 1,900 hours or my bonus will be impacted.
Joe Patrice: Sure, but what you’re saying and I think is correct, is that this isn’t going to be applied in any kind of bright line manner. This is going to be used as a proxy for them to ding some other people who they think haven’t performed anyway.
Kathryn Rubino: But there is a pretty clear way to avoid that. Be in the office. I think it’s three days a week.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: It’s not that much.
Joe Patrice: Sure. It strikes me as weird to be making your bonus discussion be — we don’t care if you ended up only billing 1,500 hours so long as you FaceTime did it sitting in your cubicle. That strikes me as bad. Like if you care about the money then care about the money. But anyway, that’s the back and forth we have.
Well, cool. So thanks everybody for listening. You should subscribe to the show, if you haven’t already, so that you get all the new episodes. You should leave it reviews, stars, write something. It’s all very helpful. We could use some more stars because we don’t have the best rating simply because of a stretch in between hosts, where I was doing a lot of interviews and people said, this is getting weirdly salesy, which I agreed with, and so we managed to find a way to get out of that. But it would be nice to have some new ratings to reflect where we are currently. Then you should be following us on social media. I’m at Joseph Patrice. She’s at Kathryn1, numeral one, you should get both on Twitter.
For now, who knows? We’re going to lose blue check marks soon, so whatever. Also ATL blog is the account of the website. You should be reading Above the Law. That way you get all these stories and more as they happen, so you can have your homework done before you show up. You can listen to The Jabot, a show that Kathryn hosts. You can listen to the Legaltech Week Journalists’ Roundtable, which I’m on. You can check out all the other shows from the Legal Talk Network. And with that, I think we said everything, so talk to everyone later.
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|Published:||March 29, 2023|
|Podcast:||Above the Law - Thinking Like a Lawyer|
Above the Law - Thinking Like a Lawyer
Above the Law's Joe Patrice and Kathryn Rubino examine everyday topics through the prism of a legal framework.