Dear Dr. Part-Time Bitter, Esq.

Overschooled Columns, Lawyer 29 Comments

Okay, so lets just say that you’re graduated from a top-five law school. And before you went to law school, you graduated in the top 3% of your undergraduate class. Let’s say that you also have five years of top-tier litigation experience under your belt.  Then, on top of that, let’s say—just for shits and giggles—that you also have a medical degree.  And wait, Johnny, there’s even more. Throw on a few national publications, a few speeches, and last but not least, the development and sale of a profitable web business.

So, in a reasonable world, you’d think this schmuck would have it pretty good. At a minimum, you’d think he’d be treated with a modicum of respect.

But you’d be wrong. Dead wrong.

Here I am, while trying to build another business, doing some part-time work at a law firm, going about my day-to-day when WHAM! I receive the following email (identifying parts removed, obviously):

I saw you briefly this morning but you generally come in without letting me know you are in and you leave without letting me know that you are leaving. I think it would be better if you just popped in to let me know you’re in and again when you leave so I have a sense of when you’re around and what you are doing. At this stage you have no way of knowing what you should be working on so it concerns me that you haven’t spoken to me to let me know what you’re working on or to ask me any questions whatsoever. Also, as an aside and certainly not meant as a directive, our staff appreciates a “good morning” when you come in. You certainly aren’t required to say good morning or good bye to anyone (but me that is), but you may find it easier if you do. I have again heard complaints from several people about the amount of time you spend on your cell phone both talking and texting and behind closed doors. The occasional phone call is fine. A tremendous amount of time on personal matters is not fine.

The imminent question I have, however, is how to craft my response. Do I

  1. counsel this poor sap on the realities of her small little world;
  2. continue to work for this jackass while continuing to mull over my options to maim her;
  3. confront her in person and perhaps deliver a swift kick in her rather large ass;
  4. do nothing and continue to hate my life knowing that a 17th-tier law school graduate actually has the authority to draft emails like that to me since I’m a lowly part-time hump; or
  5. post the email for the world to see on a popular legal blog in the hopes that the Wall Street Journal will get a hold of it and print it, so I can then personally deliver her a framed copy?

All thoughts appreciated.

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  • Ace in the Hole

    Seems you’ve selected option (e), the only thing you left out was her name and firm.  Please post.

  • BL1Y

    Law firm partners really need to stop playing schoolmarm.  If you’re getting your work done on time, they shouldn’t care when or where you’re working.  Unless a partner lets you know that they need you to be around one evening, you should be allowed to go home without asking permission.  And, if an associate doesn’t know what he’s supposed to be working on, that’s a failure in management.  It’s not an associate’s job to assign himself work.

  • Juris Depravis

    We are missing some piece of the puzzle here. If you are such a rock star (and you evidently forgot to mention your ginormous wang, unlike the Boston weather dude), if you are so successful, if you have made all the right moves, HOW AND WHY IN THE HELL ARE YOU WORKING PART-TIME AT SOME ASSHAT CONVENTION????? Fleeced in a divorce? Hooker turned out to be 16? The playful bondage resulted in her (or him) being permanently disabled? Also, if you have such a stellar pedigree and track record, WHY IN THE HELL DO YOU NEED TO TAKE A STRAW POLL HERE????? The fact that you do not have the wherewithal to figure out this little personality conflict on your own calls everything you claim about yourself into question and may, in fact, legitimize some of the “concerns” raised about your behavior.

  • Anon

    Newsflash:  It’s rough out there, doc.  Even for guys with fancy resumes.  Reality is, you’re not that special, dude.  Just another hump with a couple of prestigious degrees with no real talent.  Sorry.

  • Frat Guy Law Type

    Don’t respond.  If you respond, you will be nagged into compliance.  If you comply, you will slowly be nudged from part time to full time employee.  Letting the boss know where you are at all times gives the boss way too much control.

  • Another PT Guy

    I’m finishing up a part-time gig myself, and I had the opposite experience.  I popped in to the partner’s office to say hello and good-bye.  His response:  “You know, you really don’t have to do that.  You can come and go as you please.”

  • BL1Y

    You should make a point of getting in earlier than your boss, and leaving a sticky note on her desk documenting when you got into the office.  Also, you should keep your resume handy.

  • Craig

    That email was her way of telling you that everyone thinks you are a selfish dickhead.  And judging from your rant, you are a selfish dickhead.  Personally, I would not care whether you are a dick or not, as long as you got your work done.  But obviously at this firm, being friendly is part of the job description.  You have three options: 1) genuinely become more friendly, 2) tell them you will change, then still do the same shit and see what happens (this is what I would probably do), or 3) don’t respond at all and continue to be a dick.  Not very complicated.

  • Schadenfreude

    No one is going to respect you just because, so you should not feel entitled to respect in any way shape or form. You want them to respect you, earn it. Or leave. The world goes on, nobody blinks an eye. That email would piss me off too, and I would probably have an open and clear conversation (in front of her underlings, just to undermine her) about how condescention and patronizing is unprofessional, and you would really be better managed with a clear and direct approach. At the same time, your entitlement would piss me off and I would tell you so in no uncertain terms.
    If you are the ubershit, then smile comfortably, and enjoy your dot-com money. No one likes to hear new money whine.

  • Craig

    I guess Schadenfreude came up with a fourth option I glossed over.  Become an even bigger self entitled prick and make a scene in front of the entire office.  That would surely be the most entertaining way of going about it.

  • Schadenfreude

    It’s what I do Craig. I am a power-obscessed douchebag who likes to belittle people in entertaining ways. As you can imagine, I have a copy of Dante’s Inferno and the collected works of Machiavelli sitting on my desk. If life gives you lemons, find the bastard who gave them to you and squeeze one into his eye.

  • Sarcasum

    What kind of loser doctor would rather work in a litigation shop–couldn’t pass the boards, or no longer insurable?  What kind of loser feels the need to recite his own credentials?  You suck.  Get over yourself.  If you were really worth anything, you would be your own boss.

  • Big Jim

    Sarcusm: I think you’re missing the point.  He’s actually being sort of self-effacing.  His point is: I’m a loser.  Not I’m a winner.  He’s got great creds, yeah, but he’s as pathetic as the rest of us.  PS—Just because you’re your own boss, doesn’t mean you’re a success.  So chill out, homie.

  • BL1Y

    If I was my own boss, I’d fire me.

  • Schwarz Sturm

    It is rather obvious that you are either shy or a humongous dick and that nobody enjoys working with you. You can’t really expect the rest of the office to change their ways just to get along with the part-time douchebag that has a resume longer than Atlas Shrugged. Do you have any social skills, or do you just throw your poop at anyone that angers you?

  • R Smith

    Schadenfreude: I love the “squeeze on in his eye” ending. To the Part Time JD, you are the typical “life as a grad student” that lists “wine-tasting” on his resume, and wonders why no one takes you seriously.  I don’t care if you spoke at Davos, drank with Bill Gates and won a nobel for literature.  If you can’t produce the business or try a case, you are just another one of life’s freeloaders looking for a subsidy from the worker bees you despise.  Dozens if not hundreds of washed up politicians, burned out senior partners, “citizen of the world” associates and worse have rolled in here looking for work. None have employable skills, or control business, but all assume they are entitled to large salaries as a reward for their cosmopolitian lack of utility.  Do yourself a favor: run for office or find a government job where pay will be regular and little will b expected.

  • Smurf

    I find that most of the comments to this article are “dead on balls accurate.” (It’s an industry term.)

  • Guano Dubango

    I just got done with a major project.  Dude, the times are tough, and you may have credentials, but that does not mean dick in this job environment.  The woman may be on your case because you have not paid attention to her or had sex with her.  Perhaps if you try this, she would pipe down.  Women can be tempermental.  I still do not fully understand them, but you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them.

  • BL1Y

    I think the phrase might be “Dead on, balls accurate,” basically two phrases both meaning “very accurate;” redundant for emphasis.  Not to be confused with “dead on balls” accurate, a form of accuracy I hope never to witness.

  • Hannah Palindrome

    And the winner is…Ace in the Hole!

  • Alma Federer

    As usual, most of you guys are clueless.  The partner wants the people at the firm to work together, and this guy simply does not want to lower himself into doing so, preferring to waltz in and out as he pleases, and texting his friends all day at the office instead of working.  It has NOTHING to do with the partner being female.  Even if it were a male partner, they would not put up with this type of superior attitude.

  • Deposition is untenable

    “Self-absorbed” and “out of touch with reality” are the two phrases that came to my mind after reading this

  • mr. noodle

    with your credentials, assuming them to be true (and i have my doubts), you must be an increeeeedible schmuck.  i mean taking the term “schmuck” and elevating it to heights it’s never seen.  i can only think that that’s why you’re (1) not full-time at this firm; (2) not senior to your “abuser”; and (3) whining like a sissy on a great, but relatively obscure website.

  • Sabrina

    Option (f) stop being a douche, be polite, and actually do the work you’re being paid to do.

  • anon

    Well, Schadenfreude, I enjoy what you said. It was poignant and relatively funny, and it is fine and all if you enjoy being a douche. But have you really read Machiaveli? I’m just saying that most of Machiavelli’s works were not about being “power-hungry” or “ruthless”. In fact they tended to be more moderate in tone. He often advocated acting bravely, but being smart enough to have a back-up plan. And marching in and belittling a superior without having your shit packed and ready to go to a new job isn’t really Machiavellian.
    While Fortune favors the brave, she is a bitch and she will screw you at the worst of times. So have a backup plan- That is Machiavellian.

  • Schadenfreude

    @ Anon – You are “dead on balls” accurate. It’s a new industry term. I was referring more to Machiavelli’s methods on maintaining loyalty in your power. He advocates doing “good works” in public so that you are loved, while being equally public about putting people in their place so that you are respected and feared. Where this guy will never become the “prince” stems from Machiavelli’s point (in the same chapter) that while it is better to be feared than to be loved, it is treacherous to be feared and hated. This guy will just be hated.

  • Depotime

    Wow.  You folks are MEAN!

  • JD, WTF?

    Her email is a SUGGESTION.  If she wants to give constructive criticism and actually expect a response from you, she should grow some balls and knock on your door.  Otherwise, “trash” the email and keep doing what you’ve been doing until and unless she comes to talk to you and oh, I don’t know, actually ask you something that illicits a response.  Until then, take her SUGGESSTION under CONSIDERATION, work that piss poor job, get your check and then spend it getting piss ass drunk.

    The way I see it, for me to be cheerful in the morning and check in, usually costs an employer an extra $50,000 ontop of what I’m already making.  Shit, they don’t get it do they?  Give me something to smile about, bitch!!!

  • Keri B

    Wow, boy do YOU’ve got a lot of comments to read!  Cool post, but most commentators are right, you sound like you think you are entitled to something (although others are using the words “dick” I think you see the parallel).  Men brought in on a mitt for a contempt hearing in family court feel the same way.  Poor or rich, young, old, brilliant or dumb, all you folks are the same (yup, you’re deluded just like the dad not paying his child support), you feel entitled.  Snap out of it and be accountable for your actions and the world around you.  The world owes you nothing.  You’re taking up space, using our air, and think you’re due something in return?  Grow up or just leave.