Monday, May 19, 2008

Don't Bite the Hand that Feeds You - The Ultimate Partner

The head partner at the law firm in which I am a Law Clerk seems to have decided to take me under his wing. In between discussing various assignments related to his law practice, he teaches me the ropes in various aspects of practicing law, which I very much appreciate and it's a great experience.

The other day, he told me about the politics related to being a partner in a "big firm." (His wife is the managing partner in a "big firm.") He told me that there is a heirarchy of power among the partners in the firm. And he said that this heirarchy of power is reflected in the assigned seating arrangements at partner meetings. I've put together this diagram up above to help my dear readers understand what I mean. The #1 most powerful partner in the firm sits at the center head of the conference table. The 2nd and 3rd most powerful partners sit on either side of him. And the newer and less powerful partners sit increasingly farther and farther away from him. Assuming a 19 partner firm, the diagram above illustrates, number ordered according to power-position, how the assigned seating arrangement would look.

He said that one's prestige and position as a partner is carefully guarded. New partners can only be chosen when one of the partners nominates him and then the rest of the partners take a vote on whether that associate will be elevated to partner or not. Therefore, since a partner doesn't want to lose face by appointed a partner who doesn't get "confirmed," he makes sure to pre-garner all the votes necessary to get that person chosen as partner before he nominates him (or her).

Since that new partner's status as partner is due to the efforts of that one other partner who put his name behind getting him nominated as partner, there is a constant status of gratitude that is owed to that partner. The junior partner is then expected to tow the line on any position his nominating partner takes. If he's ever disagree publicly with a strong position taken by his nominating partner, he will likely find himself out of the firm within a couple of years. The junior partner would be considered an ingrate and one who has bitten the hand that fed him.

This got me to thinking. Just as one would never bite the hand of the partner who fed him his partner position, kal va'chomer, how much the more so, should one be conscious of the feeling of gratitute to Hashem for everything that Hashem has given him?!

A senior partner may "give" a person their position. But it is Hashem who decided to use that senior partner as the kli to give you the job. And it is Hashem who gives you your parnasa. So just as you would hesitate going against the will of your nominating partner, who is only a vessel for your parnasa, you should certainly not do anything against the will of the "Ultimate Partner," the Melech Malchei Hamelachim, Hakadosh Baruch Hu!

And it would follow from that, that if your senior partner asks you to take a position which the Ultimate Partner disagrees with, that the Ultimate Partner should certainly overrule the mere "senior partner!"

-Dixie Yid

(Picture courtesy of Me)

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Anonymous said...

What a nice thought, out of something so mundane.

Anonymous said...


First, thank you for your work. Fantastic blog.

Just noted this post.

I can't help but wonder if you have found a practice group or area that comports with your derech--a challenge in the profession.

Shabbat shalom

DixieYid said...

Thanks for your comment!

First of all, I'm not a lawyer yet. I just finished my second year in the part time evening division of my law school. Although I did attend one Elder Law practice group meeting at my county bar association, of which I am a student member, I don't know of any Practice Group specifically for Bnei Torah.

I have heard of resources for how to practice wills, trusts and estates in a more halachic way though. If you want more information on that, let me know and IY"H, I can get it for you.

-Dixie Yid