condescending fellow clerks

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Anonymous User
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condescending fellow clerks

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:28 am

Hello all,

I am currently doing a clerkship. There are several clerks in my courthouse. A couple are HYS (or whatever the acronym is) and I felt that they're incredibly condescending to me. I graduated at a high ranking at my T1 school and fortunately got a clerkship (which was always my goal). I was afraid it was just me being paranoid (imposter syndrome), but my co-clerk brought up how condescending they were to me. How do I respond? Should I speak up? Should I just not deal with it and play the long game? Let them realize it.

My original plan was just to not engage. but my co-clerk said something that got me thinking.

This is also a warning to all of you to keep it humble and check yourself. Don't be a jerk.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:34 am

Are they your co-clerks or just other clerks in the same courthouse? If the latter, I would just ignore them - if they're that obviously condescending that your co-clerk commented, they're only making themselves look bad. Do good work and let them look like snobs.

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Rowinguy2009
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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby Rowinguy2009 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:43 am

I'm sorry you're dealing with this - it's unfortunate and it sucks.

I tend to think this kind of choice comes almost completely down to personal preference. If it were me I probably just wouldn't associate with them -- it seems they're shitty people, and you're only going to be working in the same courthouse (it sounds like you don't even really work together, right?) for a year. Whenever you have any kind of adversarial interaction with someone in the workplace, you always kind of risk that you'll be labeled as a "drama starter" or something like that, even if your reasons are justified, which is why I personally don't think that a confrontation is worth it.

At the same time it's your life and you're the one having these interactions, so if you feel you need to stand up for yourself then just do it.

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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby lolwat » Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:21 pm

Why bother giving a shit what they think? Sure, in a perfect world, they'd otherwise be great connections to have down the road in your career, but you don't need them. Focus on yourself.

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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:40 pm

OP here.

I think all of you are saying what I was thinking to begin with. Don't worry about saying anything and just charge ahead and do a good job. I'll probs just not engage with them. If they say something offensive to me, then I'll speak up.

I would be interested if anyone else has any stories.

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mjb447
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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby mjb447 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:55 pm

You probably won't convince them of much anyway - you'd probably just go from being "the clerk from the bad school" to "the clerk from the bad school with a real chip on his/her shoulder about it." Your judge thought enough of your background to hire you, and it sounds like your co-clerk is supportive, so there's not much you'll gain from a confrontation in the eyes of anyone who really matters.

(And yeah, this can be one of the more annoying things about clerking. I love the ritual display and struggle for prestige dominance that waaay too many introductions at law clerk meet-n-greets start off with.)

mvp99
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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby mvp99 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:20 pm

Lol fck em.

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ggocat
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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby ggocat » Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:41 pm

Do not engage. Nothing you say on the topic matters to them anyway.

Do good work.
Do be content with your life and decisions.

Signed,
TTT grad and career clerk at a sTTTate court of appeals

MichelleMichelle
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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby MichelleMichelle » Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:00 pm

.
Last edited by MichelleMichelle on Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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lavarman84
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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby lavarman84 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:45 pm

I was going to say that it might be in your head, but if your co-clerk noticed it, it's definitely not. Just ignore it. It's not like you have to see them or work with them at all.

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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby jrose55 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:59 pm

I would encourage you to think about why they might be acting that way. All that I know about these people is that they went to HYS. Did you do something to piss them off? Don't write them off for being snobs so quickly. Generally, when someone at work is rude to me, I think about what I might have done to set them off first. If I really can't think of something, then I write them off as a-holes.

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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:00 pm

:idea:
jrose55 wrote:I would encourage you to think about why they might be acting that way. All that I know about these people is that they went to HYS. Did you do something to piss them off? Don't write them off for being snobs so quickly. Generally, when someone at work is rude to me, I think about what I might have done to set them off first. If I really can't think of something, then I write them off as a-holes.


1000% agreed. Yes, for sure, it may be that they're genuinely a@@holes, and if so, not worth your time. But I also know, from experience, that sometimes HYS folks can just be socially awkward, or inexperienced. And so maybe it's a misinterpretation, or miscommunication. It's like kids who go to Harvard when they're asked where they went to school. Sure there's plenty of ways to answer that without being a tool, but for some, they can be like "how am I supposed to answer? if I say "Harvard" the person will think i'm bragging or being too proud; if i say "in Boston" they'll think I'm being purposefully condescending or something." It may sound simple to most people to navigate these social interactions, but for some, it's not, and we can give them the benefit of the doubt, at least once. And yes, often, it IS the other people who just have a chip on their shoulders and want to label HYS kids a certain way without that benefit of the doubt. (not saying you're doing that though here, because we don;t know.)

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lavarman84
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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby lavarman84 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote::idea:
jrose55 wrote:I would encourage you to think about why they might be acting that way. All that I know about these people is that they went to HYS. Did you do something to piss them off? Don't write them off for being snobs so quickly. Generally, when someone at work is rude to me, I think about what I might have done to set them off first. If I really can't think of something, then I write them off as a-holes.


1000% agreed. Yes, for sure, it may be that they're genuinely a@@holes, and if so, not worth your time. But I also know, from experience, that sometimes HYS folks can just be socially awkward, or inexperienced. And so maybe it's a misinterpretation, or miscommunication. It's like kids who go to Harvard when they're asked where they went to school. Sure there's plenty of ways to answer that without being a tool, but for some, they can be like "how am I supposed to answer? if I say "Harvard" the person will think i'm bragging or being too proud; if i say "in Boston" they'll think I'm being purposefully condescending or something." It may sound simple to most people to navigate these social interactions, but for some, it's not, and we can give them the benefit of the doubt, at least once. And yes, often, it IS the other people who just have a chip on their shoulders and want to label HYS kids a certain way without that benefit of the doubt. (not saying you're doing that though here, because we don;t know.)


You answer Harvard. That's the answer to the question.

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Pneumonia
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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby Pneumonia » Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:01 am

Definitely ignore. Where it occurs, that kind of condescension is motivated by insecurity. Like all other recently graduated first-year clerks, the people you're talking about are realizing that they don't know anything about anything. And the people who went to HYS know even less, especially if you're at a state supreme court (?). They went to shiny schools, so they're bringing that up a lot because they feel insecure about their work. People who went to other schools may bring up their position in journal or the grade they got in a particular course. Of course, you shouldn't do any of these things. You all have the same job. Let your work product speak for itself. Indeed, if you're right about their nastiness, you've probably already begun to distinguish yourself.

I'd also like to echo what was said earlier about being extra vigilant with regard to miscommunication etc. The practical realities of the student experience at HYS can differ markedly between HYS and other schools. That's not to say the educational realities differ, or even that the opportunities do. Here's an example: lots of students at HYS "choose" not to be on a journal. It's possible to do that because there are tons of journals and many/most have walk-on membership. By contrast, a far greater number of schools have one flagship journal and a few secondaries, all of which are competitive. So if an HYS person says "I decided not to do journal" that can come off as arrogant/dickish to someone who worked really hard for their journal spot at another school.

There are many more examples. But the point is that—for some—it does take a certain amount of effort to not come across as an asshole if you went to HYS. Everyone should undertake that effort. However, when avoidable mistakes happen, they aren't always the result of innate assholery.

To your original question, if you're right that these people are being mean to you on purpose, then really the only thing you can do is brush it off. Take comfort in knowing that they're only picking on you because you intimidate them. If you suspect that the condescension could be a result of ignorance or misdirected teasing, then I think bringing it up one-on-one is your best course.

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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:45 am

I'd be nice and chill and talk about non-law interests and laugh at their jokes. They'll probably relax after a month or two and be normal.

You don't have to actually like them, but nothing wrong with networking and making nice with coworkers, even if they rub you the wrong way.

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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:47 am

(same anon as above, hit post too soon)

The good part of this strategy is that people who are genuinely nice, but just awkward, will respond really well, and assholes will give you excellent stories.

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Luchando
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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby Luchando » Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:55 pm

Pneumonia wrote:And the people who went to HYS know even less, especially if you're at a state supreme court (?).


:roll:

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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby lolwat » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:14 pm

There is a possibility of miscommunication.

I wouldn't really go to the other extreme. I suggest building the self confidence to recognize that you're doing just fine regardless of what school you went to versus the HYS kids, but there's no real reason to take a negative view of people who went to HYS either. I see that a lot in practice (e.g., "lol those Yale attorneys don't know how to practice law, they should just go be law profs") and it turns me off every bit as much as elitist people being elitist.
Last edited by lolwat on Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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grand inquisitor
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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby grand inquisitor » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:15 pm

they resent you bc you have the same job as them with 100k less debt

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:45 pm

Lawyers are assholes. News at 11

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Pneumonia
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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby Pneumonia » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:34 pm

Luchando wrote:
Pneumonia wrote:And the people who went to HYS know even less, especially if you're at a state supreme court (?).


:roll:

I wasn't trying to insult SSC clerks. I was referring to the reality that hardly anyone from HYS will have taken e.g. "California Civil Procedure," whereas students from local schools often do take State Civ Pro, State Family Law, etc. The bar exam doesn't equalize that disparity.

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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby Quichelorraine » Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hello all,

I am currently doing a clerkship. There are several clerks in my courthouse. A couple are HYS (or whatever the acronym is) and I felt that they're incredibly condescending to me.


I know you said "HYS," but out of curiosity: is it one school among them in particular? Because during my COA clerkship year, the condescension flowed freely from one main offender and much less so from the other two...

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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby lavarman84 » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:07 pm

Pneumonia wrote:So if an HYS person says "I decided not to do journal" that can come off as arrogant/dickish to someone who worked really hard for their journal spot at another school.


I'm not seeing it. As a person who was on a journal, I'd tell them they made the right move.

There are many more examples. But the point is that—for some—it does take a certain amount of effort to not come across as an asshole if you went to HYS. Everyone should undertake that effort. However, when avoidable mistakes happen, they aren't always the result of innate assholery.


It really doesn't take much effort to be a normal person and treat people right. If you feel you have to walk on eggshells because you will upset the other clerks (who are also going to have stellar credentials), you are doing so because you think you are superior, and that's the problem.

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Pneumonia
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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby Pneumonia » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:19 pm

lavarman84 wrote: I'm not seeing it. As a person who was on a journal, I'd tell them they made the right move.

I didn't pull that example out of thin air. It's something that I was "kindly made aware of" during my 2L summer.

lavarman84 wrote: It really doesn't take much effort to be a normal person and treat people right. If you feel you have to walk on eggshells because you will upset the other clerks (who are also going to have stellar credentials), you are doing so because you think you are superior, and that's the problem.

You might also be doing so because you've accidentally offended some people by failing to frame your lack of journal participation in the correct terms. Once one is aware of these things then they're easy to navigate. I agree that walking on eggshells can be a sign of a superiority complex. I'm just trying to point out that it might also be an attempt at kindness. But perhaps that too is suspect.

The main point is that all new grads are insecure and that everyone should show grace to one another at the margins.

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lavarman84
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Re: condescending fellow clerks

Postby lavarman84 » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:25 pm

Pneumonia wrote:
lavarman84 wrote: I'm not seeing it. As a person who was on a journal, I'd tell them they made the right move.

I didn't pull that example out of thin air. It's something that I was "kindly made aware of" during my 2L summer.

lavarman84 wrote: It really doesn't take much effort to be a normal person and treat people right. If you feel you have to walk on eggshells because you will upset the other clerks (who are also going to have stellar credentials), you are doing so because you think you are superior, and that's the problem.

You might also be doing so because you've accidentally offended some people by failing to frame your lack of journal participation in the correct terms. Once one is aware of these things then they're easy to navigate. I agree that walking on eggshells can be a sign of a superiority complex. I'm just trying to point out that it might also be an attempt at kindness. But perhaps that too is suspect.

The main point is that all new grads are insecure and that everyone should show grace to one another at the margins.


Well, I'd just avoid whoever made you aware of it. You gotta have some major insecurity issues to be offended over that.

Maybe I overestimate lawyers when I assume they aren't sensitive about everything.




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