5 Ways to Know You've Finally Arrived at the Firm

By Mark Wilson, Esq. on February 17, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Junior associate, senior associate, partner -- it's great to have titles, but these days, you can make up your own title to inflate both your self-importance and your outward appearance of importance.

As they say in writing class, "Show me, don't tell me." Your title might say you're a "senior" whatever, but how do you know when you've finally "arrived" at your firm? The Law Firm hierarchy will tell you.

1. Lunch With the Partners.

This one can be deceptive. "Hey, the partners are taking me out to lunch" seems like you're really important, right? Unless you've been at the firm for a year. In that case, they're taking you out just so they can remember what you look like. It's kind of like taking your kid to Chuck E. Cheese. (Note: If you've been at the firm for a while, this could also mean you're very important. Use your judgment.)

2. Lunch With a Client.

Now you're moving up in the world. Some kind of real business has to get done at this lunch, and you've been instructed to do it. Hopefully the client is paying, but even if it the client's not, you can still expense that trip to Wolfgang Puck's sauerkraut-fusion restaurant. Having lunch with a client is a signal that the partners (who finally know your name) trust you to seal a deal. Don't mess it up!

3. Working From Home.

Being able to work from home is basically your bosses saying, "Hey, I trust you not to read TMZ all day and watch 'The Price Is Right.'" It's a special kind of trust that takes a long time to cultivate, and whatever you do, do not break your sacred bond. You still have to get work done, but you can do it in your pajamas while Taylor Swift is blasting as loudly as you want. It's like the scene in "The Shawshank Redemption" where Tim Robbins crawls out of the sewer pipe and stretches his arms toward the sky.

4. Business Trips.

Don't let anyone tell you otherwise: Business trips are awesome. The firm could save a heck of a lot of money by putting you up in a Best Western, but for some reason it has to be the W or the Hotel Monaco. Hey, I'll take it! Business trips are basically a vacation. Sure, you might have to spend all day in a conference room doing doc review, or taking depositions, but at least you're doing it somewhere else! (See also: Per diem.)

5. Client Meetings All Day.

You know those associates and partners whose Outlook calendars are booked solid all day? They're at the zenith of the law firm. Rushing constantly from meeting to meeting, with no time to get any actual work done, is the highest aspiration of any lawyer at a law firm. Really, you don't have to do anything other than show up to work. And can you bill these hours? You bet! It's like having the day off, except you're hitting your billables and there's lunch provided.

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