Mid-Level Associate Making Small Nit Edits/How to Improve at Feedback

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bear patrol

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Mid-Level Associate Making Small Nit Edits/How to Improve at Feedback

Postby bear patrol » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:10 pm

2nd year associate in biglaw. I work for a mid-level associate who makes nit edits to memos and emails that are not substantive and piss me off. I want to get better at receiving feedback and not impulsively reacting "these edits are dumb and stylistic, I think they are making edits for the sake of edits."

I am not talking about typos, which I definitely make but try to print out work product before sending to prevent typos as much as possible. I am talking about stylistic phrasing and changing words that have the same meaning. It is stuff that I wish I did not care about and could let go, but my initial reaction is to get pissed off until I stop caring and try to self-preach the "growth mindset" to myself. I read the associate's written product and try to imitate it as much as possible. The partner we work for doesn't seem to care that much - I have sent her stuff that she has approved without hestiation saying "good job" while this assoicate always finds a way to change something.

Does anyone have tips on how to handle feedback like this in a more productive way? Thank you.

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Re: Mid-Level Associate Making Small Nit Edits/How to Improve at Feedback

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:20 pm

bear patrol wrote:2nd year associate in biglaw. I work for a mid-level associate who makes nit edits to memos and emails that are not substantive and piss me off. I want to get better at receiving feedback and not impulsively reacting "these edits are dumb and stylistic, I think they are making edits for the sake of edits."

I am not talking about typos, which I definitely make but try to print out work product before sending to prevent typos as much as possible. I am talking about stylistic phrasing and changing words that have the same meaning. It is stuff that I wish I did not care about and could let go, but my initial reaction is to get pissed off until I stop caring and try to self-preach the "growth mindset" to myself. I read the associate's written product and try to imitate it as much as possible. The partner we work for doesn't seem to care that much - I have sent her stuff that she has approved without hestiation saying "good job" while this assoicate always finds a way to change something.

Does anyone have tips on how to handle feedback like this in a more productive way? Thank you.


To be honest, sometimes when this happens to me at work I almost feel like the more sr associate who is doing this simply doesn't want to acknowledge you're better/as good at them at a certain task already. And they don't want you to realize that, either. I've had a more senior associate do that kind of editing to my work once, but unfortunately, knowing less of the terms of art in a particular field, she edited some of them so the language was plain wrong/really awkward. In short, she clearly didn't know more, but insisted on editing the language anyway.

Biglaw is a competitive place by nature and a lot of people aren't just in it to do the best job they can. They're trying to assert their authority and expertise, and reinforce a certain pecking order.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jhett

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Re: Mid-Level Associate Making Small Nit Edits/How to Improve at Feedback

Postby jhett » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:21 pm

It's just a cross you have to bear when you're at the bottom of the totem pole. When you get more senior, you can impose your own preferences on others (if you have any, that is).

Just realize that certain people have certain grammatical/writing preferences and tailor your writing to their preferences. It's nothing personal and it doesn't mean you're not a good writer. For example, when I did patent drafting in law firms, each partner and in-house counsel had different drafting preferences. Depending on who I was writing for, I might have to drastically change writing styles from matter to matter.

lolwat

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Re: Mid-Level Associate Making Small Nit Edits/How to Improve at Feedback

Postby lolwat » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:23 pm

First possibility is that it truly is simply a matter of style, in which case the edits are not really "feedback" so much as "this is how I'd like it written." Unfortunately in those cases you do have to tailor your writing to your audience which, if you're submitting it to the senior associate for review, is that senior associate. I disagree with a lot of senior associate/partner edits I get, but unless I am given discretion to accept or reject the edits as I see fit, I simply have to accept all of them.

Second possibility is that the senior associate's stylistic changes are objectively better than what you have written. You should keep an open mind about whether that is the case. While I noted above that I disagree with a lot of edits I get, I also agree with a lot of others, too. Phrasing, tone, style, etc. matter a lot in writing. In those cases, you try to learn from it.

Third possibility is what the first response to OP said. Of course sometimes people just have to "add value" by changing something that's unnecessary. Who cares though really? If it's not objectively terrible just accept it. If it is objectively terrible or wrong (like the above poster notes regarding terms of art in a particular field), then don't change it and deal with it if the senior associate makes a stink about it.

dixiecupdrinking

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Re: Mid-Level Associate Making Small Nit Edits/How to Improve at Feedback

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:34 pm

You need to eliminate any pride of ownership over your work product. It's not yours. Everything you write in this profession will get worked over a million times. Even the partner signing the brief will get revisions from clients, co-counsel, other partners, etc. Some of them might be important for reasons you don't grasp. Others might be stylistic but improve the writing marginally. Some may make it worse. It doesn't matter, it doesn't belong to you. Do the best you can, take lessons as they come, and move on.

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Re: Mid-Level Associate Making Small Nit Edits/How to Improve at Feedback

Postby Abbie Doobie » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:34 pm

bruh that mid level has to have something to show for when they bill dat .3 for reviewing your work. quit trying to ruin the system. "I want to get better at receiving feedback" sounds like some millennial bullshit

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rpupkin

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Re: Mid-Level Associate Making Small Nit Edits/How to Improve at Feedback

Postby rpupkin » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:42 pm

bear patrol wrote:Does anyone have tips on how to handle feedback like this in a more productive way? Thank you.

It's quite possible that the mid-level's feedback is pointlessly nitpicky. It's also possible that you're not a great writer and that the edits are useful. There's probably a 75% chance that it's the former, but I would assume the latter.

Oh, one more thing: even if the mid-level's nits/edits are pointless, this does not even make the top-10 list of things that are annoying about big law. Just let it go.



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