Left Behind

Bitter and Abused Columns, Lawyer 8 Comments

I was working at a big NY firm for a couple of years when I was tapped to work on the acquisition of a dog food company based in some middle-of-nowhere Midwestern town. (Nothing against the Midwest, that’s just where the dog food company happened to be.) Negotiations had stalled, and our private equity client agreed that we should all travel to the company’s headquarters for a full day of meetings. There was no major airport for a gajillion miles, so we (clients, senior partner of my firm, another partner and me) flew there in our client’s private jet.

Upon arrival in Dog Food City, we met with our opposing counsel (also from a big NY firm) and hammered away. As our scheduled departure time of 6 o’clock approached, the client remarked that we should be making our way back to the airstrip. I was already packing up my pencils when my senior partner turned to his counterpart from the other NY firm and asked how his team got to town. The opposing senior partner sheepishly replied that they flew commercial out of New York the previous day and made the two-hour drive down to dogtown in a rental car that morning.  My senior partner glared at him with a look of profound disgust and sympathy. Sensing an opportunity for both charity and one-upmanship, he insisted that the opposing senior partner fly back to NY tonight with us. “Us” had just been redefined.

I did a quick mental count of our private jet’s seats and realized the only one left for me would have been the toilet. I quietly brought this to the attention of my senior partner, who pretended not to hear me. I implored him to consider that I hadn’t planned being away overnight, and that I didn’t bring a toothbrush or a change of clothes, and that, in any event, it’s really poor form to just abandon your associate at night in a town that doesn’t appear on a lot of maps and is a couple of hundred miles from a commercial airport. All this was to no avail—the pr*ck continued to pretend I wasn’t there.

Faced with the prospect of having to sleep in a dog food factory, I dragged myself over to where the associates from the other firm were gathered and begged them for a ride back to wherever it was they came from. They were a good bunch of guys, but they declined anyway, citing the need to discuss confidential client matters on the drive back to their hotel. I groveled, and eventually their collective sense of decency prevailed. Let’s just say I took my vengeance at dinner that night with my corporate Amex card.

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  • Al Dickman

    This is sad.  And it can’t be cured with a good meal in the middle of no-where with an AMEX card.  I doubt there was any pretty women in PODUNK to spend time with after dinner either.  Finally, this poor asswipe lost a full day of work (AND BILLING) because of the partner’s largesse, and didn’t do anything worth wasting a day of billing.  Its time to look for another firm, where there are better leaders than the partner douchebag in question.

  • Smurf

    That’s rough.  I would have chosen the toilet.

  • Lawyer Wannabe

    Opposing counsel is riding in your clients private jet.

    Would there be no issue of conflict of interest?

  • Anonymous

    Wannabee, it’s only a problem if confidential information is improperly passed on.  Under your theory of the law, I could never have a drink with opposing counsel.  Now, there are situations which border on the unethical, or worse, like where the DA is humping the judge she is prosecuting cases before and things like that.  That’s the only kind of “ride” I think causes a legal problem.  If there are any other people intelligent enough to comment, speak up.

  • Ghozer

    You should tell every single associate in the firm this story and refuse to work for the guy again while you look for another job.  In fact, you should out the partner by name, on ATL, or otherwise (assuming this is not fiction) – this guy needs to pay SOME penalty for such egregious behavior, and if the best you can do is deprive him of associates, do it. 
    I hope you billed every minute in transit, including the evening spent there when you were supposed to be home because he left you!

  • Bboy

    Poor form–I agree with the other posters.  You should never work for him again and start looking for other work.  If the guy treated you that poorly and is a senior partner, he likely (a) does not like you and (b) will be looking for an excuse to drum you out.

  • Snively Whiplash

    What a jerk. I can understand him taking the opportunity to establish some good relations by showing he is a big player with a jet at his disposal, but he should have explained himself and told you to live it up on the credit card and assigned someone to make logistical arrangements for you. He basically treated you like a nobody.

  • anon

    ohhhh poooor baabbby
    SHUT THE F UP. They forced you to fly commercial. Not like they abandoned you in the middle of the desert.