Conflict with same-year colleague

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Nebby

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Re: Conflict with same-year colleague

Postby Nebby » Wed May 03, 2017 5:15 pm

Phil Brooks wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
lurklaw wrote:For any junior associates or law students reading this, the takeaway is never to seek out pro bono work.

OP here. This is one takeaway for me, but not from any inherent problem with pro bono. I just don't care about it and accordingly my motivation to prioritize it ever is nil. I like my regular work and there's tons of it, and I don't feel any kind of internal moral satisfaction on any of the matters I've worked thus far.


Why don't you care about pro bono?

Some people don't give a shit about helping out people unless they're getting paid fat stax

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Conflict with same-year colleague

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed May 03, 2017 7:55 pm

Phil Brooks wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
FedFan123 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:The idea that you have to be careful dealing with a woman to avoid accusations of harassment is sort of the flip side of DF's "don't talk about panties to a woman" comment, but I also think it's overblown and paranoid, as well as another way women are "other"-ed/excluded in the workplace (unless of course the issue is that you are somehow inclined to say stuff that could be understood as gender stereotyping, or just believe that you don't have any control over that, but I think that says more about you than the woman).

The idea that there may be generalized differences between women and men is, as others have suggested, kind of a red herring, in that you aren't approaching a hypothetical generic woman, but a person in the workplace whom you know as an individual. Any advice on how to deal with a specific individual based on whatever scientific article is going to be less than helpful.


My point was strictly in general, and I specifically said that specific situations could change the equation. However, don't forget that we are probably talking about a big law firm. OP was in corporate and the other associate was in lit, so he had probably never even met her before they started working on this pro bono project together. Thus, OP probably had no idea (and still probably doesn't) about how she would react to these sorts of situations. This is exactly the type of case, where you don't really know the other person other than randomly being thrown on a pro bono project together, where I would "proceed with caution"

But why wouldn't one also "proceed with caution" with respect to a male associate whom one didn't know personally?


A male associate cannot accuse another male associate of harassment because in the United States, unlike in other developed countries, harassment is a form of discrimination, so it is not actionable unless it is "on the basis of" a protected characteristic, such as gender. It would be difficult to accuse someone of discriminating against his/her own gender.

It's not easy for anyone to bring a harassment claim these days, but yes, a man could bring a harassment claim against another man (either classic "quid pro quo" sexual harassment or something like being harassed on the basis of not meeting standard gender roles).

Also the idea that men need to treat women a particular way because of potential harassment suits is also disturbing. Do you assume male associates would be equally out to get you/manufacture allegations against you through non-harassment means? Isn't the solution just not to harass someone? This is yet another way to make women (or other protected classes) "other" and a threat to (white) men in the workplace.

(If you're getting at the fact that the US doesn't have a lot of protections against bullying in the workplace that's fine, but not a gender issue.)

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Re: Conflict with same-year colleague

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 03, 2017 8:09 pm

Nebby wrote:
Phil Brooks wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
lurklaw wrote:For any junior associates or law students reading this, the takeaway is never to seek out pro bono work.

OP here. This is one takeaway for me, but not from any inherent problem with pro bono. I just don't care about it and accordingly my motivation to prioritize it ever is nil. I like my regular work and there's tons of it, and I don't feel any kind of internal moral satisfaction on any of the matters I've worked thus far.


Why don't you care about pro bono?

Some people don't give a shit about helping out people unless they're getting paid fat stax

OP here. I dunno. I don't have an intrinsic motivation towards doing it. I recognize it's great to give back to the community, been doing it in some form or another my whole life, volunteering at church, etc. Just doesn't make me excited to accomplish things the same way my day job does. I'm definitely not a true believer in pledging myself to great moral causes like Nebby here (something I deeply respect him for). Why don't some people really like pizza? Different things jazz different people I guess.

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eav1277

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Re: Conflict with same-year colleague

Postby eav1277 » Wed May 03, 2017 8:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Nebby wrote:
Phil Brooks wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
lurklaw wrote:For any junior associates or law students reading this, the takeaway is never to seek out pro bono work.

OP here. This is one takeaway for me, but not from any inherent problem with pro bono. I just don't care about it and accordingly my motivation to prioritize it ever is nil. I like my regular work and there's tons of it, and I don't feel any kind of internal moral satisfaction on any of the matters I've worked thus far.


Why don't you care about pro bono?

Some people don't give a shit about helping out people unless they're getting paid fat stax

OP here. I dunno. I don't have an intrinsic motivation towards doing it. I recognize it's great to give back to the community, been doing it in some form or another my whole life, volunteering at church, etc. Just doesn't make me excited to accomplish things the same way my day job does. I'm definitely not a true believer in pledging myself to great moral causes like Nebby here (something I deeply respect him for). Why don't some people really like pizza? Different things jazz different people I guess.


Idk if comparing interest in pro bono versus interest in pizza is the best comparison, but OP is right, everyone's unique.

Regarding your original situation, I definitely think the other person should have communicated more if they were unhappy with your contributions.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Conflict with same-year colleague

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed May 03, 2017 8:37 pm

Eh, I think in biglaw a devotion to pro bono may well get in the way of achieving in the job you actually want to succeed at. And if the OP isn't into lit and the pro bono is lit it's not like they're going to magically get excited by it just because it's pro bono.

lolwat

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Re: Conflict with same-year colleague

Postby lolwat » Wed May 03, 2017 8:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. I dunno. I don't have an intrinsic motivation towards doing it. I recognize it's great to give back to the community, been doing it in some form or another my whole life, volunteering at church, etc. Just doesn't make me excited to accomplish things the same way my day job does. I'm definitely not a true believer in pledging myself to great moral causes like Nebby here (something I deeply respect him for). Why don't some people really like pizza? Different things jazz different people I guess.


Reasonable enough, although the pizza analogy is odd. Pro bono cases sometimes suck in the sense that you're spending so much time helping ONE PERSON (if it's not a case that will impact a bunch of people) when that same amount of time could be spent helping a bunch of peeps in other ways. Then again, the reason pro bono legal work is so much in demand is because there are a relative shortage of lawyers willing to help the people who need legal services but can't pay for them. Anyone (generally speaking) can volunteer at a church; a much smaller subset of the population has a law degree and is admitted to the bar. But everyone is different, don't take it as pressure to do pro bono work. I certainly do very little of it myself. In fact I can't remember the last pro bono hour I billed. It's been a few years.

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Re: Conflict with same-year colleague

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 03, 2017 8:43 pm

OP. Pizza analogy was dumb but I'm exhausted after getting this stupid pro bono filing put together. I hate all things litigation

On the plus side, I have successfully convinced my supervisor on a different pro bono project to turn it into a summer associate task (it's a research thing not for an actual client).

ETA thanks for all the perspectives y'all. Really appreciate it.

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rpupkin

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Re: Conflict with same-year colleague

Postby rpupkin » Wed May 03, 2017 11:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote: I'm definitely not a true believer in pledging myself to great moral causes like Nebby here (something I deeply respect him for). Why don't some people really like pizza?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddWC_aAK7hk

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jess

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Re: Conflict with same-year colleague

Postby jess » Thu May 04, 2017 1:23 am

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Last edited by jess on Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Winter is Coming

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Re: Conflict with same-year colleague

Postby Winter is Coming » Thu May 04, 2017 8:37 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Eh, I think in biglaw a devotion to pro bono may well get in the way of achieving in the job you actually want to succeed at. And if the OP isn't into lit and the pro bono is lit it's not like they're going to magically get excited by it just because it's pro bono.


I agree with this. My extremely limited corporate pro bono work over my summer (so these were the "good" projects) was helping non-profits that didn't seem like especially "good" companies from a moral or social standpoint. Most of what I would view as fulfilling pro-bono (asylum, etc.) is essentially lit based and I feel like I'm losing that skill set going into corporate. For lit people it can be a way to do morally fulfilling work, while at the same time maybe getting into court or writing a full motion on your own way earlier than for a paying client so can really be a win-win.

Phil Brooks

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Re: Conflict with same-year colleague

Postby Phil Brooks » Thu May 04, 2017 10:39 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Eh, I think in biglaw a devotion to pro bono may well get in the way of achieving in the job you actually want to succeed at. And if the OP isn't into lit and the pro bono is lit it's not like they're going to magically get excited by it just because it's pro bono.


Do you do a good amount of pro bono?

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Conflict with same-year colleague

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu May 04, 2017 10:52 am

Phil Brooks wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Eh, I think in biglaw a devotion to pro bono may well get in the way of achieving in the job you actually want to succeed at. And if the OP isn't into lit and the pro bono is lit it's not like they're going to magically get excited by it just because it's pro bono.


Do you do a good amount of pro bono?

I'm not in biglaw. (If that was the point of your comment, I should have said "based on what many people in biglaw have pointed out here." It seems that if you want to be in biglaw long term there can be a conflict between billing hours on paying matters/building a business, and devoting yourself to pro bono (especially if you are not in lit), though I'm sure it varies by firm and how much the firm actually values pro bono. I'm suspicious just because it reminds me of how in academia people get recruited for service activities all the time but they don't actually get rewarded much for them when you go up for tenure where research is king. Maybe an unfair comparison.)

Phil Brooks

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Re: Conflict with same-year colleague

Postby Phil Brooks » Thu May 04, 2017 11:03 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Phil Brooks wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
FedFan123 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:The idea that you have to be careful dealing with a woman to avoid accusations of harassment is sort of the flip side of DF's "don't talk about panties to a woman" comment, but I also think it's overblown and paranoid, as well as another way women are "other"-ed/excluded in the workplace (unless of course the issue is that you are somehow inclined to say stuff that could be understood as gender stereotyping, or just believe that you don't have any control over that, but I think that says more about you than the woman).

The idea that there may be generalized differences between women and men is, as others have suggested, kind of a red herring, in that you aren't approaching a hypothetical generic woman, but a person in the workplace whom you know as an individual. Any advice on how to deal with a specific individual based on whatever scientific article is going to be less than helpful.


My point was strictly in general, and I specifically said that specific situations could change the equation. However, don't forget that we are probably talking about a big law firm. OP was in corporate and the other associate was in lit, so he had probably never even met her before they started working on this pro bono project together. Thus, OP probably had no idea (and still probably doesn't) about how she would react to these sorts of situations. This is exactly the type of case, where you don't really know the other person other than randomly being thrown on a pro bono project together, where I would "proceed with caution"

But why wouldn't one also "proceed with caution" with respect to a male associate whom one didn't know personally?


A male associate cannot accuse another male associate of harassment because in the United States, unlike in other developed countries, harassment is a form of discrimination, so it is not actionable unless it is "on the basis of" a protected characteristic, such as gender. It would be difficult to accuse someone of discriminating against his/her own gender.

It's not easy for anyone to bring a harassment claim these days, but yes, a man could bring a harassment claim against another man (either classic "quid pro quo" sexual harassment or something like being harassed on the basis of not meeting standard gender roles).

Also the idea that men need to treat women a particular way because of potential harassment suits is also disturbing. Do you assume male associates would be equally out to get you/manufacture allegations against you through non-harassment means? Isn't the solution just not to harass someone? This is yet another way to make women (or other protected classes) "other" and a threat to (white) men in the workplace.

(If you're getting at the fact that the US doesn't have a lot of protections against bullying in the workplace that's fine, but not a gender issue.)


Please don't imply that I am "assuming" anything. I never said I agreed with the idea that one should "proceed with caution" against anyone, or that harassment laws were too burdensome, or whatever. The above poster asked whether the genders of the participants in an interaction carry any consequences, and I pointed out one narrow consequence--the likelihood that a viable harassment claim could arise out of the interaction would be different. It's likely low in both cases, but it's lower in one than in the other.

And again, it's not that men need to treat women "in a particular way" because of potential harassment suits. It's that men need to treat women BETTER because of harassment law. One of the goals of tort law is deterrence, to change behavior for the better. Why would it be "disturbing" if harassment law achieves this goal by causing white men to make a conscious effort to treat members of protected classes more respectfully? What would be the problem with this?

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Conflict with same-year colleague

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu May 04, 2017 12:36 pm

True, the point of the laws is to change behavior. My concern about bringing this all up in this context is that some men will feel they have to be cautious around women in a way that they don't need to be around men, and will therefore favor working with men. This is also me going back to the original question: "how do I handle this conflict with my peer who is seriously pissed off?", and thinking that "if the peer is a woman you have to be especially careful due to harassment suits" is not a helpful response at all. (I realize that wasn't your response, I'm just explaining where my reaction is coming from.)

(The solution is obviously not to get rid of the laws, I just strongly dislike the idea of women - or gays or any other minorities- in the workplace being seen as harassment-suit risks. Not sure how to resolve that.)

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Re: Conflict with same-year colleague

Postby elendinel » Thu May 04, 2017 1:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Nebby wrote:Some people don't give a shit about helping out people unless they're getting paid fat stax

OP here. I dunno. I don't have an intrinsic motivation towards doing it. I recognize it's great to give back to the community, been doing it in some form or another my whole life, volunteering at church, etc. Just doesn't make me excited to accomplish things the same way my day job does. I'm definitely not a true believer in pledging myself to great moral causes like Nebby here (something I deeply respect him for). Why don't some people really like pizza? Different things jazz different people I guess.


It may also just be a thing that the pro bono available to you requires legal skills/knowledge that is not the least bit interesting to you.

I like pro bono/volunteer work, but if the only sort of work like that that would be available to me is helping someone form their non-profit, I wouldn't touch it, either. It depends a lot on whether or not your firm attracts pro bono projects that engage you on more than the cursory "helping other people" level.



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