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With the entry of each new associate class, it is hard not to think of days gone by, and friends moved on. Attracting top law school recruits, while no small feat, ultimately pales in comparison to retaining them. Consider the following: The unending onslaught of headhunters (who seemingly have every third year associate’s work number on speed dial), pay inflation and signing bonuses (which often look just good enough on paper to warrant a move, particularly between the fungible mega-firms), career nostalgia (one Gen Y friend told me she’d be surprised to stay at the same firm longer than two years), aging relatives (for some, the sense of familial obligation goes beyond paying for a suite at the local retirement home), the arrival of the next generation (difficulties associated with parental leave, daycare coverage and part-time work schedules, often tip the scales in favor of career departure), power couples (committed to following the best job opportunity on either side of the relationship), and career diversification (once a lawyer, not always a lawyer?). These are just a few of the issues with which law firms have to compete between Day #1 and handing out the gold watch. Rather than write a column about a real problem to which I do not have an answer, I decided to poll my legally-minded friends as to what qualities a perfect firm would have � in Through The Looking Glass sort of way. Responses were screened for humor, wit and creativity. Those possessing none of the aforementioned were discarded (or more likely lost in my inbox). One, although highly amusing, was regrettably censored. It would be a mistake to assume that the responses I received lack practical value, however. At the heart of every suggestion, even the outrageous ones, is one lawyer’s sense of something lacking. So, whether you read the following for a mid-afternoon laugh, or attempt to glean the deeper meaning, I hope you enjoy. In a perfect firm � The computers would be shut down on weekends instead of the air conditioning; It would be acceptable firm culture to publicly ridicule people who wore BlackBerries, cell phones, or other electronic gadgets as fashion accessories; End-of-year bonuses would be directly proportional to weight gain throughout the year; Anyone who attempted to assign a research project “to find a case they thought they remembered reading, possibly out of the Eight Circuit, where one of the parties might have been named Smith,” would be punished by having to do the project themselves; Business casual would be mandatory, and would be redefined to include “jammies”; There would be Red Bull fountains instead of water fountains (which would switch to beer after 5:00 pm and vodka after 9:00 pm); Talking back to a more senior attorney would be commended as a sign of a litigator in the making; Birthdays would be celebrated with naps rather than cakes; All attorneys would participate in a fantasy sports team (getting points for legal victories, losing points for legal blunders), with the winner automatically being named managing partner the following year; Work-life balance would be encouraged by decreasing bonuses/salaries for billable hours over 1950; Offices would be arranged by musical taste rather than practice group. Billable hours would be recorded by magical timekeeping elves; Everyone would have to leave their shoes at the door, even the clients; Wheeled bags would be outlawed. No one would be permitted to bring home more paper than could comfortably fit in a clear, one quart, zip-top bag; The firm cafeteria would be run by Emeril Lagasse; and Two words: beer o’clock; beer-thirty;

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