Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

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Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:00 am

I find myself in what is almost certainly not a unique situation. I'm a graduate of 2013, and have been practicing since passing the bar in July of that year. I started out in the public sector (DA/PD office) and did that for about two years before jumping to a small commercial lit/corporate firm. After a year there, I lateraled into biglaw in a secondary market (same state, a few hours away).

I've in biglaw for 5 months now and am completely miserable. It's not the hours, but my boss. He is insufferable. He is rude, yells, stomps around the office for no reason, etc... pretty much the whole nine yards. His attitude is not just directed towards me, but at the office as a whole. Our office is small, less than 10 attorneys and less than 5 support staff so avoiding this partner is impossible. It's to the point where I lose my lunch when this partner calls my office, or screams at me from his office. I wake up defeated every morning and can't wait until the weekends. I've started working with my door closed all day to avoid any unnecessary interaction.

I don't really know what to do. It seems like a move is too soon and while I had a federal job almost in the bag, the process was cut short because of the hiring freeze. I've dealt with difficult supervisors before, but this is at a whole new level.

Any advice on how to handle these situations? Should I start looking anyways?

ClubberLang

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby ClubberLang » Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:04 am

This is risky, and I've certainly never tried it, but what about calling him out on his BS? If you've got one foot out the door anyway, what if you just told him that you aren't happy with the way you are being treated, you are a professional, and should be treated respectfully. I think standing up to him would earn you some respect.

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby dailygrind » Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:31 am

ClubberLang wrote:This is risky, and I've certainly never tried it, but what about calling him out on his BS? If you've got one foot out the door anyway, what if you just told him that you aren't happy with the way you are being treated, you are a professional, and should be treated respectfully. I think standing up to him would earn you some respect.


I would be super cautious about this until you have another offer in hand. Sounds like it could blow up in your face as easily as help you.

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:41 am

Another attorney (much more senior than me) tried to talk to him. It didn't go so well. If I had more seniority, I would speak my mind, but with only 5 months in, I'm scared I will lose my job.

Few other things to note is that this partner is a rainmaker and has been practicing for a long time. Other offices joke about how he's difficult to work for, but for those of us stuck here, it's really bad.

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby SFSpartan » Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:43 am

ClubberLang wrote:This is risky, and I've certainly never tried it, but what about calling him out on his BS? If you've got one foot out the door anyway, what if you just told him that you aren't happy with the way you are being treated, you are a professional, and should be treated respectfully. I think standing up to him would earn you some respect.


This is high risk, though potentially high reward. I've worked for 2 screamers (not law, previous career) and at some point stood up to each of them. One of them calmed down and seemed to respect me more after I asked him to stop. The other got mad and was worse.

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:51 am

Alternatively, you could go out of your way to kiss his ass. If he's a rainmaker, he can certainly teach you something. Feign interest. Could work. I suppose it could piss him off too...

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LaLiLuLeLo

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:56 am

Get out asap. I understand why you might be reluctant - jumping from job to job, etc. - but this shit is not good for your mental or physical health.

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:28 pm

LaLiLuLeLo wrote:Get out asap. I understand why you might be reluctant - jumping from job to job, etc. - but this shit is not good for your mental or physical health.


Im in the same position as op but that is easier said than done.

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
LaLiLuLeLo wrote:Get out asap. I understand why you might be reluctant - jumping from job to job, etc. - but this shit is not good for your mental or physical health.


Im in the same position as op but that is easier said than done.


Well, op is wondering if looking should even be an option. Obviously getting something may be harder, but op should absolutely be looking.

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Prana-9

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby Prana-9 » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:56 pm

How do the other attorneys handle the situation? If there are one or two that seem unphased by it, approach them and ask for their advice.

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby iliketurtles123 » Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:23 pm

Easier said than done but..
if your entire office hates him (or at least it seems like that), why not stick together and plan to talk to him/upper management as a group?

Rainmaker or not, if an entire group has a problem, I'm sure there will some changes that will be needed to be made on his part. They can't fire everyone.

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby RaceJudicata » Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:50 pm

iliketurtles123 wrote:Easier said than done but..
if your entire office hates him (or at least it seems like that), why not stick together and plan to talk to him/upper management as a group?

Rainmaker or not, if an entire group has a problem, I'm sure there will some changes that will be needed to be made on his part. They can't fire everyone.


If the Rainmaker is truly a rainmaker (particularly in such a small office), the firm likely won't do anything to stop Rainmaker's behavior. Also, the office probably exist because of Rainmaker's business.

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 26, 2017 2:35 pm

I would start looking for jobs now and get out asap without burning any bridges. You always have to watch out for you. It sounds like your career is on a good path as you've been able to make good jumps thus far..so I'll go as far to say that you've done good work and gotten good experience. Your resume will speak for itself when potential employers come across your resume. Your crappy situation now is unfortunate and I feel your pain. If you are truly miserable, then get out of there. Really, whatever money you're making is not worth the pain and agony of what you're going through. Work should be stressful, not painful. You sound like you are in pain. Hang in there....

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 26, 2017 2:47 pm

Thanks for the advice everyone. My significant other and I are interested in relocating to a different state, too (to a larger city). I was thinking maybe that can be used as a better excuse for wanting to leave after just 5 months. Along those lines, does anyone have suggestions as to how to explain wanting to leave after 5 months? I certainly cannot say my boss was terrible.

Also in regards to complaining to upper management... I tend to think this partner's rainmaker status makes him untouchable. We're talking millions of dollars in business as well as feeding other offices work in larger cities.

also, FWIW, I was a "t20" graduate with decent grades.

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Prana-9

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby Prana-9 » Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:16 pm

Something along the lines that your spouse is not happy at current city and did not give you a choice in not moving.

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 26, 2017 5:01 pm

You basically described what happened to me. I was at a midlaw firm on the bigger side, I lateraled to true big law, and my boss was intolerable and would not "let" me work with other partners even though he didn't have enough work for me. He was intolerable to the point that I was having insomnia for the first time in my life. I lost over 15 pounds in 3 months, even though I was already really fucking skinny. I left after three months, and went back to the same midlaw firm I was at before and am very happy. Would you consider going back to the small firm you were at before? Did you leave on good terms? At least it is a known quantity.

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 26, 2017 5:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:You basically described what happened to me. I was at a midlaw firm on the bigger side, I lateraled to true big law, and my boss was intolerable and would not "let" me work with other partners even though he didn't have enough work for me. He was intolerable to the point that I was having insomnia for the first time in my life. I lost over 15 pounds in 3 months, even though I was already really fucking skinny. I left after three months, and went back to the same midlaw firm I was at before and am very happy. Would you consider going back to the small firm you were at before? Did you leave on good terms? At least it is a known quantity.


I left on good terms, but going back to the small firm isn't an option for a number of reasons.

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 26, 2017 5:17 pm

Not trying to be a dick, but what I don't understand is that for three years of law school people hear "big law is unpredictable, the conditions are demanding; it can be soul-sucking; it's well-compensated because they treat you like crap; etc." Then you finally make it into biglaw and the odds, which were against you at the start, finally call in your bet. You're making money but you're at the whims of the environment. It's a "careful what you wish for scenario," perhaps a touch more extreme than most but it is what it is. Yes, you'll be eating out your insides with a combination of caffeine, Advil and Zantac, but my advice is to stick it out for at least the year. You came to the nuisance. Nobody will care that you had a good reason to leave after 5 months, if the interviewers came from biglaw they'll likely have had similar experiences (real or mythologized in their minds). Again, sorry for being a dick, but it needed to be said.

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby whysooseriousbiglaw » Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not trying to be a dick, but what I don't understand is that for three years of law school people hear "big law is unpredictable, the conditions are demanding; it can be soul-sucking; it's well-compensated because they treat you like crap; etc." Then you finally make it into biglaw and the odds, which were against you at the start, finally call in your bet. You're making money but you're at the whims of the environment. It's a "careful what you wish for scenario," perhaps a touch more extreme than most but it is what it is. Yes, you'll be eating out your insides with a combination of caffeine, Advil and Zantac, but my advice is to stick it out for at least the year. You came to the nuisance. Nobody will care that you had a good reason to leave after 5 months, if the interviewers came from biglaw they'll likely have had similar experiences (real or mythologized in their minds). Again, sorry for being a dick, but it needed to be said.


Fair, but it might take awhile for OP to find another job, so I'd start looking now.

Also I don't get why people who have government jobs lateral to firms? Huh?

If you don't hate your law job and don't dread going into work everyday, that's as good as it's going to get....don't get why people who are in okay situations choose to lateral to biglaw....

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby iliketurtles123 » Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not trying to be a dick, but what I don't understand is that for three years of law school people hear "big law is unpredictable, the conditions are demanding; it can be soul-sucking; it's well-compensated because they treat you like crap; etc." Then you finally make it into biglaw and the odds, which were against you at the start, finally call in your bet. You're making money but you're at the whims of the environment. It's a "careful what you wish for scenario," perhaps a touch more extreme than most but it is what it is. Yes, you'll be eating out your insides with a combination of caffeine, Advil and Zantac, but my advice is to stick it out for at least the year. You came to the nuisance. Nobody will care that you had a good reason to leave after 5 months, if the interviewers came from biglaw they'll likely have had similar experiences (real or mythologized in their minds). Again, sorry for being a dick, but it needed to be said.


I think there's a difference between working crazy hours and having a demanding partner v. having a screamer who treats you with no respect or dignity.

The latter is more demeaning and eats away at you personally and nobody should have to go through that/expect that. We all expect to be worked hard but not humiliated (I'm guessing OP's situation is that bad).

Except for very few situations, there's no reason anyone... or at least anyone who is a professional and not a child... should yell or scream at all in the workplace.

Anyway, OP have you tried phasing him out mentally when he screams? Think about it. He treats everyone like this. This is his NORM. When he screams, don't stress yourself out and don't get to his level. He does this to everyone and at all times. Don't let it get to your head, breathe, and just respond calmly. IME, if you react to someone who's angry/screaming by being flustered, defensive, etc., it only makes it worse since they feed off your reaction. Rather, respond calmly and with confidence and they usually realize how ridiculous they're acting when they're yelling their ass off and the other person is not even phased. Obviously depends on the person.

If it helps, think to yourself "this man is a toddler. let him cry for a little bit, fuck him, and just carry on with my day." Because in the end it doesn't matter. Look at the big picture.

Also might help to smoke a ton of weed. just saying.

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby whysooseriousbiglaw » Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:07 pm

iliketurtles123 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Not trying to be a dick, but what I don't understand is that for three years of law school people hear "big law is unpredictable, the conditions are demanding; it can be soul-sucking; it's well-compensated because they treat you like crap; etc." Then you finally make it into biglaw and the odds, which were against you at the start, finally call in your bet. You're making money but you're at the whims of the environment. It's a "careful what you wish for scenario," perhaps a touch more extreme than most but it is what it is. Yes, you'll be eating out your insides with a combination of caffeine, Advil and Zantac, but my advice is to stick it out for at least the year. You came to the nuisance. Nobody will care that you had a good reason to leave after 5 months, if the interviewers came from biglaw they'll likely have had similar experiences (real or mythologized in their minds). Again, sorry for being a dick, but it needed to be said.


I think there's a difference between working crazy hours and having a demanding partner v. having a screamer who treats you with no respect or dignity.

The latter is more demeaning and eats away at you personally and nobody should have to go through that/expect that. We all expect to be worked hard but not humiliated (I'm guessing OP's situation is that bad).

Except for very few situations, there's no reason anyone... or at least anyone who is a professional and not a child... should yell or scream at all in the workplace.

Anyway, OP have you tried phasing him out mentally when he screams? Think about it. He treats everyone like this. This is his NORM. When he screams, don't stress yourself out and don't get to his level. He does this to everyone and at all times. Don't let it get to your head, breathe, and just respond calmly. IME, if you react to someone who's angry/screaming by being flustered, defensive, etc., it only makes it worse since they feed off your reaction. Rather, respond calmly and with confidence and they usually realize how ridiculous they're acting when they're yelling their ass off and the other person is not even phased. Obviously depends on the person.

If it helps, think to yourself "this man is a toddler. let him cry for a little bit, fuck him, and just carry on with my day." Because in the end it doesn't matter. Look at the big picture.

Also might help to smoke a ton of weed. just saying.


Maybe it's because I've done NYC biglaw, but there are screamers and assholes in every department. It blows if it's the only partner you work for though..OP should start looking, but having asshole partners and senior associates is common in biglaw.

I think it's actually worse to have backstabbing two-faced partners who will throw you under the bus without telling you than straight up screamers, but that's my opinion.

That said, start looking now - it might take you awhile to find another job.

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby Npret » Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:10 pm

Why did you make the moves you've made? Did you have an overall plan or goal? What brought you to this firm in the first place? You know you won't ever be a partner.

Looking at your overall path might help you figure out where to go next.

I wouldn't let the 5 month thing keep me from looking hard for another job. I hope you don't need a recommendation from him but it is what it is and you need to leave.

Who knows maybe the hiring freeze will work itself out.

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby Npret » Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:15 pm

iliketurtles123 wrote:Easier said than done but..
if your entire office hates him (or at least it seems like that), why not stick together and plan to talk to him/upper management as a group?

Rainmaker or not, if an entire group has a problem, I'm sure there will some changes that will be needed to be made on his part. They can't fire everyone.

Actually they can. And they would if the rainmaker partner wanted them to do so. Most lawyers are fungible commodities.

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby whysooseriousbiglaw » Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:18 pm

Npret wrote:
iliketurtles123 wrote:Easier said than done but..
if your entire office hates him (or at least it seems like that), why not stick together and plan to talk to him/upper management as a group?

Rainmaker or not, if an entire group has a problem, I'm sure there will some changes that will be needed to be made on his part. They can't fire everyone.

Actually they can. And they would if the rainmaker partner wanted them to do so. Most lawyers are fungible commodities.


Yup, he's a rainmaker. Nobody gives a crap about fungible associates who don't bring in business. Sure, if you're a Rothschild, you'll have more sway....

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Re: Advice needed... miserable lateral after 5 months

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:26 pm

Npret wrote:Why did you make the moves you've made? Did you have an overall plan or goal? What brought you to this firm in the first place? You know you won't ever be a partner.

Looking at your overall path might help you figure out where to go next.

I wouldn't let the 5 month thing keep me from looking hard for another job. I hope you don't need a recommendation from him but it is what it is and you need to leave.

Who knows maybe the hiring freeze will work itself out.


The firm has internal published realistic partnership metrics, so it was sort of an option. I also knew that I eventually wanted to either go in-house or into a better paying government job. As a DA/PD in a major city, I was making so little money I had incurred credit card debt, on top of student loans. I moved to a small firm to get the experience I needed, but quickly realized I was underpaid for the work I did and still couldn't dent my loans (I work the same hours at my biglaw firm now and make more than twice as much - also as stated above, the hours are not my concern). The biglaw firm offered the "name brand" for me to hopefully make one last career jump to a good in-house or government job (preferably federal). We all know how lawyers are about "pestige," and no one wanted a "small firm lawyer" because you apparently don't get the same "biglaw lawyering skills" at a small firm (completely false, btw).

It's hard to move up having not started in biglaw, so I am greatful for having been given the opportunity. The environment is bad, though... really really bad. Almost all of my work (85%) comes from this partner, and he will screen other work partners want to give me before I can work on it.



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