The Allure of Flat Hierarchies

AuthorJohn P. Box Jr.
The Allure of Flat
Millennials Think Horizontally,
No t Ve r t ically
During the summer of 2006, life was good. I was a summer associate
at a large international law firm in Washington, DC. This was before
the belt-tightening following the 2008 financial meltdown. Associates
and partners took me and my fellow summer associates out to two-hour
lunches on an almost daily basis; we went go-karting together; we went
to Nationals’ baseball games together; we spent evenings at partners’
homes; and we vacationed at the luxurious Greenbrier resort with our
significant others—all on the firm’s dime. We pulled in the equivalent
weekly salary of a first-year associate but for a fraction of the work and
a lot more of the fun. My fellow summer associates and I joked that the
firm hierarchy went, from bottom to top: junior and mid-level associ-
ates senior associates counsel income partner equity
partner summer associates.
Joking aside, everyone knows that law firms maintain well-defined
hierarchies from staff and associates up to partners. After a few days
box50388_03_c03_037-050.indd 37 11/3/17 10:43 AM

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