Hypothetical Screw Up: Would Like feedbak

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Anonymous User
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Hypothetical Screw Up: Would Like feedbak

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 07, 2015 12:30 am

I want to know how bad this sounds.

I was given an assignment by the partner I usually interact with, but it was for another partner I barely see or hear from. It wasn't substantive or important really, just involved research and drafting an article for a legal trade publication surveying different sectors about secured transactions.

The partner who assigned it to me said: this is for partner X, on this topic, here are some other articles that have already been submitted. We want you to work on this, and we will sit down and discuss, review, give feedback, and then submit it. He did not give a deadline, but generally implied it was supposed to be submitted in the next few weeks and is something I should work on when I had time.

So I did, after about 2 weeks, got all the info I thought I needed, sent an email to partner x who was responsible for this practice area for the firm and would be submitting. Never heard back. Ran into him in the hall a day later, told me he got the email, but that couldn't talk about it. Didn't say he would be in touch or anything, or give a time frame.

So I sit there waiting for 2 weeks, somewhat researching and outlining the info maybe another couple hours, thinknig I'm eventually going to hear something about a drafting meeting. Finally at 8:30 pm one random day right before they were supposed to submit it, partner x emails me saying, "assigning partner told me you were working on this and would have it ready for me, send it over I need to submit it." All I have is a shit outline of some stuff and they want a multi-page organized article. I didn't have time to type that up immediately so basically I responded:

"Dear Partner X, I do not have a finalized blahblahblah. From my communication with assigning partner it was my understanding there would be a drafting session, where my research would be reviewed and the format, inclusion of material so forth would be determined. I have an outline of the topic with links to sources, which I am attaching. Please inform if you would like me to come meet you." - along those lines.

Anyways, don't here back at all, think dude is really pissed. I probably should have just typed something - even before he emailed me - I really couldn't have gotten it to him as soon as he wanted it, but there was no deadline, and it really just faded into the background. I know its my fault regardless of if its my fault, but how bad is it that I didn't have a clean draft ready? No deadline given, never heard back, reached out with email, did research. Let me know
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Apr 07, 2015 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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rpupkin
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Re: Hypothetical Screw Up: Would Like feedbak

Postby rpupkin » Tue Apr 07, 2015 12:42 am

You did kind of screw up (more on that in a moment), but it's unlikely anyone involved is going to remember this. It's not like you blew a filing deadline or something. I wouldn't dwell on it too much. However, there are at least a couple of things you should've done differently:

1. Always ask for a deadline. When someone "generally implies that something is supposed to be submitted in a few weeks," you don't have enough information. Propose a (manageable) deadline if necessary--e.g., "is it alright if I finish this two weeks from Wednesday?"

2. When someone asks you to draft an article, draft an article. Don't just write an outline unless you're specifically asked for an outline. It's fine to make an outline for yourself as part of your writing process, but don't send that to others as your work product.

3. Always follow-up if you don't hear back after a day or two. Your random meeting in the hall (where the partner didn't have time to talk) wasn't sufficient.

Yeah, big law sucks and is inefficient and you shouldn't have to manage the people who manage you, but that's the reality. Be more proactive next time.

Anonymous User
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Re: Hypothetical Screw Up: Would Like feedbak

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 07, 2015 1:01 am

rpupkin wrote:You did kind of screw up (more on that in a moment), but it's unlikely anyone involved is going to remember this. It's not like you blew a filing deadline or something. I wouldn't dwell on it too much. However, there are at least a couple of things you should've done differently:

1. Always ask for a deadline. When someone "generally implies that something is supposed to be submitted in a few weeks," you don't have enough information. Propose a (manageable) deadline if necessary--e.g., "is it alright if I finish this two weeks from Wednesday?"

2. When someone asks you to draft an article, draft an article. Don't just write an outline unless you're specifically asked for an outline. It's fine to make an outline for yourself as part of your writing process, but don't send that to others as your work product.

3. Always follow-up if you don't hear back after a day or two. Your random meeting in the hall (where the partner didn't have time to talk) wasn't sufficient.

Yeah, big law sucks and is inefficient and you shouldn't have to manage the people who manage you, but that's the reality. Be more proactive next time.


Thanks. I know the real problem is it made him stay extra hours to do this when he had other things to do, but I'm hoping the research at least made it somewhat easier. The main thing is I had no feedback on its accuracy, or the scope of the writing, even if the things I researched were what they wanted. This would be made clear regardless after the fact, and it would look better to have a polished draft, but maybe not if it was completely off base. Mainly I was just hoping for the sit down to discuss it before I wrote something. And yes I am quite junior.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Hypothetical Screw Up: Would Like feedbak

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:03 am

You screwed up but it's not a big deal and you shouldn't worry about it. Generally partners hate non-billable work just as much as associates do, so it's unrealistic to expect partners to review an outline of an article, give feedback, etc. Next time draft a polished article that is ready to be submitted.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: Hypothetical Screw Up: Would Like feedbak

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Tue Apr 07, 2015 3:43 pm

I'll just emphasize that you should ALWAYS ask for a due date. Always. Always. Always. If the partner is "vague" then throw out a proposed due date. Always ask for a due date.

I make it a habit when working with someone (especially when I haven't really worked with them before) to end the initial meeting where I get the assignment by repeating to them my understanding of what I am being asked to do and the timeframe. If there is some mis-communication, it gets hashed out right there before you walk out.

So yeah you did screw up, not the end of the world but Partner X may never want you to do anything again. I can tell you right now if I had given an assignment for WHATEVER and a junior attorney didn't complete it when I needed it and I had to then do it in a scramble - I wouldn't forget that, and I wouldn't care about any excuses / explanations unless it was like "my mom died."




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