Earthquakes Are for Pussies

Bitter and Abused Columns, Lawyer 7 Comments

Submitted by “anon_in_LA”:

A little context: I work in a huge firm in downtown LA but am from the Northeast. We have blizzards, maybe the occasional hurricane, but that’s about it. No brush fires. No mudslides. No earthquakes.

From 8.30 a.m. on this morning, I was the designated first-year note-taking bitch on a horrible, long-ass page-through of the latest rounds of docs for this private equity deal my firm’s dealing with for this investment fund client. The partner on the deal—not a bad guy, but a total robot who has stacks of deal toys lining his office shelves, and not one picture of his wife or kids—made me take the call from his office. (Already a disaster, since I couldn’t even mute the phone and just look at the Internet while everyone else droned on about crap that I can barely understand.) A couple hours into the call, I’m trying to stay awake by focusing on things the partner has on his desk when the desk starts shaking. Along with everything else in the building. And the city.

So this is my first real earthquake and it’s pretty intense, at least for someone from the east coast.  Our firm is 30 floors up and after shaking and knocking things off shelves, the building keeps swaying and people are running into the hallways, pretty much freaking out. Everyone except the partner. Who doesn’t skip a fucking beat. Doesn’t even make eye contact with me.

I’m clearly freaking out and go to stand up, wondering if I should go in a doorway or call my mom or something.  But the partner, still without pausing the call, just shoots me a look like I am the biggest loser whiner in the world for being concerned about a little building shaking. He grimaces and motions for me to close the door, clearly annoyed with the noise from all those people milling about in the hallway going on and on about, oh, the fucking 5.8 earthquake that just happened.

So, I sit back down. About 10 minutes later, I’m actually motion sick, and one of the NY bankers pauses the call and interrupts my partner, telling us she just heard there was an earthquake in LA and is everything OK? Like the robot sycophant that he is, my partner starts laughing and grinning—and BTW, why the grin? It’s not like they can see your ass-kissing face over the phone, douchebag—and says something like “Ha, yes, ma’am. Looks that way.” And then he dropped the subject.

Almost four hours—and a blackberry full of emails and voicemails from friends and family on the east coast later—I finally got to call my mom and tell her I was OK.

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  • second year

    that’s how these guys do it.  all about business.  good stuff.

  • BigLaw Subversive

    Dude, if a partner’s look is enough to keep you from acting to SAVE YOUR OWN LIFE by getting the hell out, you’re hopeless.  If someone had given me a look as I was trying to get to safety in what could have turned into a killer quake for all anyone knew, the most I might have done is told him to fuck himself right there on my way out the door with the client on the phone.
    Consider your level of fear and emasculation here – you risked your safety, your very LIFE, to keep from irritating a partner with unreasonable, nay outrageous, expectations.  It may be time to reexamine your priorities.

  • Anonymous

    Actually I think this is just a result of you not being a native Angelino. Sure it was a 5.8, but the epicenter was almost a full hundred miles away south of Pomona. (Orange County Area). In the L.A. area it should have felt significantly smaller, like a 4.0 (about 20 times less powerful) and the earthquake itself was minor (I believe zero deaths, maybe a couple minor injuries, little damage). Although I can’t blame you for wanting to stand in a doorway or something.

  • bar examinee

    i kept writing when the earthquake hit. get over it :o.

  • Seattle Attorney

    Hilarious.  I know a few like that.

  • YrNextBestAsst

    Ah…but do you have a 55 page disaster recovery plan incase next time, the building does collapse and a few of the team members are never found? Someone to do their share of the work and keep those billable hours in full swing? Anyone, anyone?

  • Jesse

    It’s just an eartquake you pu55y – I’d do the same thing, unless you want to tell the client you need to call your mom.