BigLaw is Literally Putting Associates in Boxes

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Solosmall practitioners, it is assumed, gaze upon the perks offered by BigLaw with great envy. What if you had the marble floor entryway, the shiny elevator on the 32nd floor, the sweet private office where you get to choose your own desk? Yeah, about that last part.

In [Paul Hasting LLP’s] new midtown Manhattan space, junior lawyers won’t get the offices many dream of in law school. Instead, they’re getting a cubicle.

The move will only affect first- and second-year associates, who will be seated in pods of 12 in prime window-lined real estate on the ends of floors. For now, the firm is calling them the “end zones.”

Of course they are calling them something ridiculous like “end zones,” because that is what you do when you are trying to make people feel better about the fact that you have literally stuffed them into a little box. Note also the other bone thrown: you’ll have a great view! Except you will be in a glass box for all to see.

The open zones will be cordoned off from the rest of the office by a wall of glass, and dividers will separate each desk. “There’s plenty of privacy,” [Barry Brooks, the chair of the firm’s New York office] said.

That must be a definition of “privacy” that we were hitherto unaware of. So, solosmall folks, comfort yourself with the fact that even though you might have to work in the spare bedroom at home with the kids’ toys and the dog underfoot, you are not working in a glass box.

Featured image: “Office Workers And Their Individual Cubicles Working Space character illustration” from Shutterstock.

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  • legalofficeguru

    The next step down is when your desk is, in fact, a box. A large cardboard appliance box, turned upside down with an inverted “U” cut into it so you can put your legs underneath. I’ve actually seen that happen.