To: The World
From: Bitter 5th Year
Cc: Nerdy Litigation Partner
Two weeks ago, a nerdy litigation partner asked me to work on a private equity investment for one of his clients. Simple enough, right? I’m a fifth-year associate and regarded as a competent transactional attorney. I’m not the class rock star, but I’ve been told I’m “very much in the hunt for partnership.”
Sounds exciting, but being in the hunt actually makes your life worse because you have to care what partners think of you. In other words, you have to make partners like you. And if they don’t? Well, you have to obsess over the fact they don’t like you and then do everything in your power to change their minds. Even when they’re dicks. Even when they scream at you for “CC-ing” them on an email rather than including them in the “From” line. That’s right, Nerdy Litigation partner yelled at me like I was his prison bitch because I didn’t include his name in the goddamn “From” line.
“This is reckless and thoughtless behavior!” he said, his tiny jaw twitching with petulance.
Here are the facts: Last Wednesday, I sent a draft term sheet to the client and CC-ed Nerdy Litigation Partner. It’s the kind of thing I do twenty times a day. I didn’t even think twice about it. Call me crazy, but that’s how I roll. Ten minutes later, NLP was in my office yelling.
“You don’t CC me. Understand?!”
“I’m sorry,” I said. I know, I’m a pussy. But I’m in the hunt. What am I supposed to do, ruin my career? But NLP didn’t give a rat’s ass about my apology.
“Every single piece of correspondence that goes to this client comes from me. Got it?! ”
I just looked at him. My heart was thumping. If we were in high school, I would have already thrown my first punch.
“I’m not sure I understand,” I said, with an deferential faux confusion associates in the hunt employ when asshole partners are screaming at them for no reason.
“The client needs to know that I’m integrally involved in this transaction and not just overseeing some junior associate’s work product. Understand now, or was that too abstract for you?! ”
I didn’t respond. I just stared at him, until he walked out.
Here’s the worst part: NLP is actually kind of important and now he hates me. He told an associate friend of mine the next day that I was a “loose cannon.”
A loose fucking cannon?! Really?! Because of a stupid CC! Really?! Just thinking about this makes me insane! I’ve worked my ass off for five years, and this petty son of a bitch is going to compromise—or flat out ruin—my chance at partner over this!?
If I didn’t have a fat student loan tab, I would have kicked his chubby ass right then and there. (Yes, I’m exaggerating. A little. And yes, I’m angry as hell and completely irrational. You would be too, if you were in the hunt and some d-bag called you out for something so petty.)
It’s times like these that I’m really glad I went to a top-five school, made law review and billed 2100 hours a year for the past five years. Now I suppose that the only good news about no longer being in the hunt is that I don’t have to care what assholes like NLP think of me anymore. So in a way, this whole Cc debacle was a victory.
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