An associate at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft fantasizes about sitting down with her senior partner for a heart-to-heart on her development as an attorney. Another, at Cahill Gordon & Reindel, says his mentor just yells at him when delivering “feedback” on his work. A Cravath, Swaine & Moore associate complains that she pulls all-nighters, only to have partners demand quick corrections on her work without explanation.

The midlevels surveyed for our annual glimpse into associate satisfaction seem to be searching for quality time with their partners. From 177-lawyer Strasburger & Price (No. 20) to 1,100-lawyer Morgan, Lewis & Bockius (No. 138), associates who responded to our survey pleaded for a better dialogue with firm management and individual partners. “Learn to communicate. It is easier to hack into the CIA computer network than to learn about executive committee decisions that affect everyone,” says one Howrey associate.

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