Concerned about associate's leaving

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Concerned about associate's leaving

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:29 pm

I started my stub year and immediately got staffed on a deal with one senior associate. The deal wasn't that large so he was basically running it with the partner chiming in from time to time. We have an amazing working relationship and he constantly gives me great, positive, feedback. It's actually a pleasure to work for him.

Today I learned that he will be leaving the firm for an international market, and that at this point he's just tying up loose ends.

Now, putting aside my personal disappointment that I won't be able to work for him, I'm scared that all the goodwill I have developed and the work I've done would be for naught (other than contributing to skill development, etc. -- I don't mean to sound ungrateful), kind of like a tree falling in a forrest. My official review won't be for a while, long after he's gone. But then I am afraid there will be no one to speak in my behalf, and I'll have to once again worry about creating first impressions with no benefit of a decent reputation to precede me.

Would it be entirely inappropriate to raise this concern with him in an informal setting? E.g., he's having a small party to celebrate his departure -- maybe I could casually bring it up then? The best case scenario I'm hoping for is his just supplying an honest review of my work to the partner before heading out.

Not sure if this will change the answer, but it's NYC, biglaw, and corporate.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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anyriotgirl

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Re: Concerned about associate's leaving

Postby anyriotgirl » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:30 pm

I don't understand what you're trying to accomplish
Last edited by anyriotgirl on Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Concerned about associate's leaving

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:31 pm

anyriotgirl wrote:I don't understand what you're trying to accomplish


Sorry, edited to add that.

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cfcm

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Re: Concerned about associate's leaving

Postby cfcm » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:38 pm

First, this is basically your life as a junior associate, and would be the case even if this guy wasn't leaving:

I'll have to once again worry about creating first impressions with no benefit of a decent reputation to precede me


To your question, I'd probably err on the side of not bringing it up with him, but if you do, a going away party feels like an odd setting to do it.

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Re: Concerned about associate's leaving

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:46 pm

cfcm wrote:First, this is basically your life as a junior associate, and would be the case even if this guy wasn't leaving:

I'll have to once again worry about creating first impressions with no benefit of a decent reputation to precede me


To your question, I'd probably err on the side of not bringing it up with him, but if you do, a going away party feels like an odd setting to do it.


Hmm, you don't think it would've been beneficial for me personally to have someone who liked my work (just assume this to be true) stick around at the firm?

Hutz_and_Goodman

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Re: Concerned about associate's leaving

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:54 pm

I wouldn’t bring this up in a million years. I had a partner who loved me retire. Obviously it’s better for me if he has stayed but it would be awakward to bring up.

I would tell the senior associate you loved working for him and ask who he would recommend that you seek out work from: another senior associate who is talented and good to work with. He will likely recommend you to someone else.

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cfcm

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Re: Concerned about associate's leaving

Postby cfcm » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
cfcm wrote:First, this is basically your life as a junior associate, and would be the case even if this guy wasn't leaving:

I'll have to once again worry about creating first impressions with no benefit of a decent reputation to precede me


To your question, I'd probably err on the side of not bringing it up with him, but if you do, a going away party feels like an odd setting to do it.


Hmm, you don't think it would've been beneficial for me personally to have someone who liked my work (just assume this to be true) stick around at the firm?

Sure, absolutely. My point was only that, whether this associate is there or not, you were going to end up working with other people on other deals and would again have had to establish your reputation. It helps, obviously, to have senior people vouch for you but there's a still "prove it" factor, at least in my experience.

njkga

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Re: Concerned about associate's leaving

Postby njkga » Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:28 pm

Whatever you did with that guy? Do it again with other people. More than one other person.

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pancakes3

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Re: Concerned about associate's leaving

Postby pancakes3 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:35 pm

it'd certainly be a shame to waste all that goodwill you banked over the course of 3 months in your stub year on a minor deal with a senior associate.

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Re: Concerned about associate's leaving

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:54 pm

pancakes3 wrote:it'd certainly be a shame to waste all that goodwill you banked over the course of 3 months in your stub year on a minor deal with a senior associate.


Well OK, we obviously disagree about the importance (or at least the magnitude) of the goodwill but there's another concern as well: The way staffing works is a little opaque, but I've heard when more senior associates are staffed by the partners they give their opinion regarding whom they want as juniors on the deal. I doubt it's close to dispositive but all else being equal I'm not sure why a partner wouldn't want to oblige if it keeps the senior happy
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Concerned about associate's leaving

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:55 pm

cfcm wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
cfcm wrote:First, this is basically your life as a junior associate, and would be the case even if this guy wasn't leaving:

I'll have to once again worry about creating first impressions with no benefit of a decent reputation to precede me


To your question, I'd probably err on the side of not bringing it up with him, but if you do, a going away party feels like an odd setting to do it.


Hmm, you don't think it would've been beneficial for me personally to have someone who liked my work (just assume this to be true) stick around at the firm?

Sure, absolutely. My point was only that, whether this associate is there or not, you were going to end up working with other people on other deals and would again have had to establish your reputation. It helps, obviously, to have senior people vouch for you but there's a still "prove it" factor, at least in my experience.


Right, thanks. I guess I'm just mourning that marginal loss of support and was trying to mitigate the best I could

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unlicensedpotato

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Re: Concerned about associate's leaving

Postby unlicensedpotato » Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:55 pm

pancakes3 wrote:it'd certainly be a shame to waste all that goodwill you banked over the course of 3 months in your stub year on a minor deal with a senior associate.


I laughed

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bruinfan10

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Re: Concerned about associate's leaving

Postby bruinfan10 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:17 am

unlicensedpotato wrote:
pancakes3 wrote:it'd certainly be a shame to waste all that goodwill you banked over the course of 3 months in your stub year on a minor deal with a senior associate.


I laughed

:lol:
we are a weird profession.

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Re: Concerned about associate's leaving

Postby lagamemnon » Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:45 am

pancakes3 wrote:it'd certainly be a shame to waste all that goodwill you banked over the course of 3 months in your stub year on a minor deal with a senior associate.


lmao

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Re: Concerned about associate's leaving

Postby barkschool » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:32 am

pancakes3 wrote:it'd certainly be a shame to waste all that goodwill you banked over the course of 3 months in your stub year on a minor deal with a senior associate.


The partner track was so clear and so near

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Re: Concerned about associate's leaving

Postby qxfr » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:09 pm

Go into his office one day, say that you've really enjoyed working with him and you've learned a lot, and ask him if he has suggestions for other partners or senior associates in the firm to do work for. When he gives you those names, go say hello to them and say that you did a bunch of work with X before he left, and X suggested that you try to work with them - most senior associates or partners will try to work with a junior who approaches them specifically and asks for work.

Your concern about losing the goodwill isn't really an issue given that you just started at the firm, and if you could do a good job with one senior associate, you can do a good job with another one. It's not like you're about to make partner and suddenly your partner mentor has left.

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Re: Concerned about associate's leaving

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:33 pm

I'm a senior associate, and I actually don't think OP's question/concern is weird/inappropriate/unreasonable (of course it's overstated ("all the goodwill I have developed and the work I've done would be for naught") but OP is a stub year and everything is going to seem like a bigger deal than it actually is). Obviously, the big picture solution is for OP to make the same impression on others as on this senior associate. But I think it's not unreasonable for OP to take a couple of steps - just NOT at the senior's going away party:

- Go to the senior's office, wish him well, ask him for feedback on your work (i.e., do a bit of due diligence to make sure that his opinion of you (at least as much as he is willing to share it with you) is as positive as you believe it to be.)
- If it sounds good, then you might consider asking him for two things. First, whom would he recommend that you work with, based on his knowledge of them and your interests? After he provides some names, ask if he could put in a good word for you with them to make it easier for you to get staffed on their matters. Second, if all of this is going well, consider asking him if he knows whether it'd be possible for his feedback to be incorporated into your review.

I'd tread lightly on that last, though, unless you are sure he views your work as really superlative AND seems like someone who is willing to take time to advocate for you. If I were leaving my firm, I personally would be willing to "leave a note" of this sort for a stub year who had really, really impressed me. But I'm not sure my review would add much if the stub had just done passable work that reflected their level of inexperience. And a lot of us try to be very encouraging to stubs even though their work is generally not usable without significant editing--so you, OP, may be reading more into the senior's encouraging words than they are worth. Also, note that even if he wants to leave a review for you, it'll essentially be dependent on some partner months later remembering to include an emailed review from this senior associate.

TL;DR: definitely get some feedback from him and see if you can get a referral from him to others in your group, so that way you can solve your "decent reputation" concern. You could try to scope out the prospect of an early review but there are many reasons that likely won't yield much fruit.

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pancakes3

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Re: Concerned about associate's leaving

Postby pancakes3 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:37 pm

so i didn't mean to be as snarky as i came off but my first impression was that the motivation and concerns seemed detached and robotic.

if i had a good working relationship w someone like that, i would be concerned too but the approach would be of "oh no, i'll miss you and you've been such a good experience so far. any last parting words of advice?" rather than "fuck, i'm losing leverage"

i'm glad that sound advice was dispensed irrespective of my snark.

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RedGiant

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Re: Concerned about associate's leaving

Postby RedGiant » Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:04 pm

Yeah, OP...newsflash...most law firms are revolving doors. I would use this as an opportunity to get brutally honest feedback (this guy has nothing to sugar coat because he doesn't have to worry about working with you again.) This could be very valuable.

You will have to build and rebuild your rep over and over in a law firm. So consider this the first time. At my firm, they do solicit if you have worked with any folks who have left the firm, and they do ask those folks for feedback. So there's that too.

You'll survive this. You will be staffed again. Don't worry.

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Re: Concerned about associate's leaving

Postby BernieTrump » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:43 am

Anonymous User wrote:I started my stub year and immediately got staffed on a deal with one senior associate. The deal wasn't that large so he was basically running it with the partner chiming in from time to time. We have an amazing working relationship and he constantly gives me great, positive, feedback. It's actually a pleasure to work for him.

Today I learned that he will be leaving the firm for an international market, and that at this point he's just tying up loose ends.

Now, putting aside my personal disappointment that I won't be able to work for him, I'm scared that all the goodwill I have developed and the work I've done would be for naught (other than contributing to skill development, etc. -- I don't mean to sound ungrateful), kind of like a tree falling in a forrest. My official review won't be for a while, long after he's gone. But then I am afraid there will be no one to speak in my behalf, and I'll have to once again worry about creating first impressions with no benefit of a decent reputation to precede me.

Would it be entirely inappropriate to raise this concern with him in an informal setting? E.g., he's having a small party to celebrate his departure -- maybe I could casually bring it up then? The best case scenario I'm hoping for is his just supplying an honest review of my work to the partner before heading out.

Not sure if this will change the answer, but it's NYC, biglaw, and corporate.


Do not, under any circumstance, do this. It's just weird, in a way that could affect you. Chill, my brother. You have to prove yourself dozens of times over the course of BIGLAW. If you do it fine on the first effort, you'll be fine on efforts 2-20.

Go to the party. Congratulate your man. Order overpriced scotch and make it a double. Tell him you're glad you had a chance to work with him and hope to keep in touch.

This stuff isn't that hard.



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