13 June 2007

The Grand Vizier's Garden Party

Continuing the theme of using titles from the classic era of rock music, though there was no grand vizier in sight - uness you count Robert Venables, perhaps ...
After an hour or so of DNA patents, I spent an excellent evening at the Legal Charities garden party in Lincoln's Inn. Arriving independently of my colleagues, I did a lap of the lawns before happening on a group of colleagues - unlike last year, they included no partners, and therefore lacked a bottle of champagne. Some had blagged glasses by feigning interest in the offerings of a legal publisher, and I went off with one of them to find glasses of our own. We found glasses, but the owner of the bottle from which we tried to fill them was not sufficiently understanding.
We then found a couple of other colleagues, and began to debate how we might assemble the wherewithal to buy a bottle of our own (£25) when Chris Jones appeared as if from nowhere and took me to meet his group - who had ample supplies. So I had a pleasant chat with them, Nigel Brown appeared too and we reminisced some more, then Vanessa joined us and Chris wisely decided to cultivate his guests a little so Nigel, Vanessa and I set off to circulate.
I'd spotted that a firm with which I have been having deep and meaningful conversations recently had a pitch at the garden party, and I wondered aloud to Vanessa (out of Nigel's earshot) whether I should fraternise with them, which I did after she'd left for dinner with her uncle. She also encouraged me to take up the half-formed lunch invitation I had issued or been issued with at the last Warwick Graduates event I went to, where I'd seen one of my contemporaries whose firm's headhunter had phoned me just last week. I felt it slightly improper to go talking to partners in such circumstances: perhaps I should not be so cautious.
First, though, I spotted Keith Walmsley, and we exchanged a few words, so I even made an opportunity to talk to a client.
Gatecrashing the reserved part of the lawn that I had set my sights on, I engaged one guest in conversation before being pointed in the direction of the partner I had met twice before, who could not have been more pleased to see me. He was pleased to introduce me to some of their guests as if I was already with them, which felt good if rather premature, especially after I had so recently resolved to have words with a partner in another firm that - I hope - might be interested in me. This job-hunting business is a strain.
Calling in at the office on my way home to collect my bag, I stopped to speak to Ian, and perhaps because a few glasses of champagne have loosened my tongue I was fairly candid with him about how I see my future with the firm and how I feel about their continued efforts to recruit a new partner to do, essentially, my job. Probably not clever, but I feel I owe it to him to be straightforward and I am finding it stressful to keep much to myself. It's good to have colleagues to whom I can talk, colleagues who are in a similar position (though usually about 20 years younger than me) - it would probably be better not to include equity partners among my confidants (and confidante).

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