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How would you react to the worst in-office April Fools’ joke of all time?

First-year bankers and lawyers share a few things in common. They both have to be smart, driven and willing to work hours that most people wouldn’t wish on their worst enemy.

So, lawyers were likely a bit jealous when large U.S. banks started offering up luxuries like work-free Saturdays and mandatory vacation time, even though some consider the work-life balance rules a bit of a farce. Either way, lawyers have received no such memo – until Wednesday.

Weil Gotshal, a prestigious law firm known, like others, for its brutal working hours, sent out an email to first-year associates laying out new work-life policies – rules similar in spirit to those created by big banks, according to Above the Law.

Associates were told they wouldn’t be bothered with communications from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. on weekdays as well as on weekends and during vacations. Nothing crazy really, other than maybe the weekend rule. The young lawyers believed it, and likely exhaled and called their husbands or wives to say they’d be home by midnight.

Alas, the memo was a brutal April Fools’ joke. Understandably, associates were angry, telling Above the Law that the “f’d up joke” was “the worst…of all time.” Another added: “April Fools! We don’t really give a s*#t about you! Now get back to billing.”

Investment banks can work you to death but at least they don’t make a point of throwing it directly in your face. “Haha – of course we’re going to email you at 4 a.m., silly.”

Soon after the article ran one of firm’s executive partners emailed the entire staff to apologize and say the firm takes work-life balance seriously.

April Fools’ Day should be stricken from the calendar.

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Egg Meets Face at HSBC (The Guardian)

As we know, HSBC is in all sorts of trouble over compliance issues. Stunningly, the bank expects additional problems to continue, though they said that behind closed doors. In audio recordings of a confidential meeting, global head of sanctions Lee Hale said: ““It is a cast-iron certain[ty] this will happen, at some point in the future we’re going to have some big breach, some regulatory breach.” That’s probably true for all banks, frankly, but not something you want to admit.

Gorman Earns a Big Raise (NY Times)

Morgan Stanley Chief Executive James Gorman received a well-earned raise for 2014. Between cash and deferred stock awards, Gorman will receive $22.5 million, up 25% from a year earlier. Morgan Stanley’s return to shareholders matched that increase in 2014.

Dad, You’re Fired (Dealbreaker)

A while back, Michael Picarella sued HSBC for retaliating against him after reporting alleged sexual harassment against a young woman at the firm. He was later placed on administrative leave and given a zero bonus. On Friday, he was fired – in a somewhat unusual fashion. Someone at the firm reportedly dropped off a termination letter at the front stoop of his house. His son found it.

Euros See Bonus Bump (NY Times)

European bonuses were up 18% last year with the average payment topping $200,000. British bankers did fairly well; Swiss bankers did not.

An Active Day One in Court (NY Times)

The case against former Goldman Sachs programmer Sergey Aleynikov – who was convicted of stealing code from Goldman, then later acquitted, and now being retried – is off to a sloppy start. The prosecutor in the case on Wednesday asked to delay the trial until summer, even though he has had it for two-and-a-half years. The defense then asked for the case to be dismissed, noting that their witnesses have been ready for months. “You didn’t do a damn thing,” the prosecutor shouted back. The trial will begin on Monday.

Buzz Around the Office

Only In Texas (CNBC)

A Texas state trooper was ordered to get counseling after posing for a picture with Snoop Dog, who later uploaded it to Instagram.

Quote of the Day: “The foreign-exchange quarter was a blowout. You’ve got two ingredients there, volume and volatility, and you had both of them in the first quarter.” – Nancy Bush, an analyst at NAB Research on a good quarter for fixed income traders

AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor

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