Saturday, May 30, 2009

Left Behind at BigLaw

Two of my friends are here and we had an amazing time last night, but my friend L was stopped from making her flight. She was supposed to fly out early this morning and yesterday the evil female partner she works for told her no, there was too much to do, and she'd just have to stay at work to get it done. There's no hearing or trial next week, there's no immediate deadline, there's other junior associates around and my friend, while brilliant, is by no means irreplaceable. I was heartbroken for her. It's been a really tough past few weeks for her and she called our friend E sobbing on Monday night because the partner she works for had just yelled at her with a tirade laced with f-bombs. Classy. And infuriating. I hate that stereotype of the cold, bitchy woman who had to scratch her way to the top and I hate even more that like most stereotypes, it's occasionally true. It may not be fair, but it bothers me more than the occasional jackass male partner. Both are power-tripping, immature, and unnecessary ways to practice law, but when it's a woman acting awful the let down just feels more personal.

So anyway, L isn't here. It's the kind of thing I heard about the cold, cruel world of BigLaw that I haven't found to be at all true. I think the people I work with are genuinely good people and I enjoy working for them. I'm certain there will be a missed vacation or weekend off sometime in my future, we cater to clients who pay a lot of money for our services and it's a trade-off you take when you except the job and paycheck that come with it. But I know and trust that it will be for a good reason and that those forcing will care about what they're asking of me. A partner I had lunch with yesterday put it this way- you don't have to bargain away your personal life to be a successful associate, and when you do- whether because you're forced to or it happens through your own ambitions, life gets miserable in a way that is going to negatively affect your work product or the way you interact with those around you.

And because I'm still so sad for L trapped in her office all weekend with someone who yells at her on a daily basis, I thought I'd end on a totally different note. This is what Landon picked out of the pantry for his breakfast this morning:

It's a bar of crisco.



  1. Okay, just so you know, I'm totally already planning the wedding between Landon and my 16 month-old daughter. They would make beautiful blonde-haired babies together. :)

  2. The f-bomb! How professional! So sorry about your friend.

    Love the Crisco!

  3. That is just freaking hilarious

  4. He just gets cuter all the time. At least he's not like my sister who didn't ask. We found her snacking on a stick of butter on the kitchen floor when she was two. Maybe they like it cause he's squishy!

  5. Ohh shortening ... you do make everything nice and flaky. :)

  6. What a bitch. I know what you mean, it's worse coming from women, because at least with the men you can reason away that they're just misogynist assholes for treating you that way.

    The only female boss I've ever had was exactly like that. She was top of her class at a top school, and went to work at one of the Mega Firms after law school, so she thought that since she had to work 8 days a week throughout her career and be treated like shit, that everyone else should work that much too and also be treated like shit. Even if they aren't making Mega Firm money. Even if there wasn't any actual work to do. I expect to read in the news someday that someone poured water on her and she melted, leaving only her broomstick behind. Hmm... maybe your friend should give that a try with her boss.

    On a happier note, Landon is adorable.

  7. Eeeeeeeeep. Probably not a post I should have read a few days before my first day at a firm as a summer associate... O_O

  8. Aw, LL. I almost always love reading your blog, but this post kind of aggravates me. The attitude that women should somehow be "nice" or something often forces women of higher positions to be the "bitches" people like to characterize them as (and if we're going for the whole 'women be nice to women,' we really shouldn't buy into calling each other "bitchy" btw).

    This belief some women have that because we all have ovaries we should be good to each other is really cliched and sexist. Bosses, especially in big law, are often demanding, hard to deal with, egotistical, and a million other things. But it just makes it harder for us women when people have some belief about how we should act, merely because of our gender.

    It is also pretty ridiculous to rationalize that a man is just a "misogynist" if he is a difficult boss. Everything is not about gender. Of course it is sometimes, but it will be very hard to advance as a woman if you walk around with that chip on your shoulder.

  9. To Anon, I don't think you actually read what I wrote. I don't believe only women should be "nice," I think everyone should be "nice" - the presence or absence of ovaries notwithstanding. I did not use the word misogynist and I most definitely do not walk around with a chip on my shoulder. I have never walked into a woman's office adn expected her to be nicer to me because I am also a woman, I do however expect to be treated with some modicum of professionalism by everyone I work with.

    The only thing I said that was gender related is that when a boss acts unprofessional, irrationally demanding, and screams f*ck repeatedly at someone they work with -- when that person is a woman, I take that disappointment a little more personally. It's the same magnitude of disappointment I'd feel if anyone in my profession acted that way, it just hits a little differently, and I think it's because successful women do sometimes have this unfair, unnecessary reputation and I hate seeing it reinforced.

  10. Proto Attorney made the misogynist comment.

  11. Also, I think you need to look a little more honestly at what you said. You didn't just say it hit you differently, you said it "bothers" you "more."

    Anyway, sorry. I thought you would be more open to discussing why you said what you said and felt what you felt, otherwise I would not have commented just to make you defensive. So anyway, apologies.

  12. Yes, I used "bothers" and then clarified by adding it's because it feels more personal. It could have been worded better - I do try to be clear, but I am generally writing these posts quickly while holding a Landon who is either banging on my keyboard or on the verge of flipping out because my attention is diverted for five minutes.

    And I am open for discussion, but when re-reading your comment in order to respond, I did feel defensive. I didn't feel what I said (which was certainly open for comment and disagreement) deserved these quotes: "it will be very hard to advance as a woman if you walk around with that chip on your shoulder" and "This belief some women have that because we all have ovaries we should be good to each other is really cliched and sexist," nor do I think they facilitate the kind of discussion you seem to have wanted.

  13. Well, I guess we both reacted the same way, because I always get defensive when someone admits that something offends them or angers them more just because a woman did it. And I could not help wondering what you would have said if it was a male partner? Anything related to gender?

    I am not sure why my comment that "we all have ovaries" isn't applicable - you said you take it more personally when a woman treats you poorly and that it bothers you more. Eh. I guess I am not seeing the disconnect with my statement.

    And I tried to explain above, but the misogynist/chip on the shoulder comment was about the commenter who said, "because at least with men, you can reason away that they are misogynist assholes for treating you that way." Not you.

    Besides, at a law firm, I don't think anyone's first response when a boss makes you cancel a trip or stay late is that the boss is a bitch/asshole/misogynist. It's pretty commonplace, for men and women.

    So anyway. Enough of that. Maybe I should not have responded, but oh well, it's in past now. :)