Talk about a cool first day of work. In October 2005, Kristen Brierley, 23, arrived at her new job as client relations coordinator in the marketing department of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter in Morristown wearing her best corporate attire--only to be greeted by ghosts, witches and the occasional Harry Potter. You see, Kristen joined the firm on Halloween, a day where traditionally the spouses and children of McElroy's more than 300 employees descend on the firm in full costume to trick-or-treat around the office. It was a sweet way for Kristen to launch her marketing career.
Halloween parades are a once-a-year event (though typically not in the office!) and then it's back to business as usual. Kristen soon discovered, however, that her new employer was no ordinary law firm. The culture there is young, fun and employee-focused. In fact, in 2006 McElroy was named the No. 1 best large company (200 or more employees) to work for in New Jersey by the publication NJBIZ. Why? Kristen has a few ideas. "Everybody at the firm is on a first-name basis and is treated very respectfully," she explains.
Oh, and then there's that vacation. Every other year, the firm takes its attorneys and their spouses to Jamaica, all expenses paid. Planning the Jamaica trip is part of Kristen's job description, which also earns her a place on the Jamaican guest list this coming January. That positive environment extends to all employees each year at the annual firm picnic, during which some 600 people head to Managing Partner Ed Deutsch's home for a day of fun. "We found that good people, people who have their priorities in order, very much want to be in a positive work environment, a place that respects them, a place that doesn't allow abusive behavior," says Deutsch.
Kristen, an East Brunswick native who graduated from Edison's Bishop George Ahr High School in 2001 and Hofstra University in the spring of 2005, is thrilled to have such a great first employer. She is also learning a lot about her chosen field. "The job is very diverse," says Kristen, who majored in marketing at Hofstra. "I work on the firm's newsletter three or four times a year. I'm responsible for doing the itinerary for Ed Deutsch's travel. You also need good computer skills for this job, for any job." Kristen's latest project has her hopping: planning the Honolulu, Hawaii swearing-in ceremony for this year's American Bar Association president, Karen Mathis, a McElroy attorney.
Kristen's advice to marketing graduates who are job-hunting at big companies? Keep an open mind. "You shouldn't limit yourself to only marketing companies. Here I am at a law firm doing things I actually went to school for. I'm getting a lot of experience and responsibility at this job." Come January, she'll also be getting a tan.