Mr. Procrastination

Bitter and Abused Columns, Lawyer 12 Comments

I was asked by a significant partner with whom I actually enjoy working to help out on a multi-million dollar appeal.  Fabulous.  Actually supervising me on this project, however, would be the schlumpy Neanderthal partner we charitably call “Mr. Procrastination.” Not fabulous.

Round one was post-trial motions, all-nighters.  Round two, the initial appellate brief, was when he waited until the weekend before I was to try my first jury case (yes, pro bono, but still) to come up with edits and expected me to work all weekend.  I lost at trial, by the way—and believe I actually committed malpractice with how unprepared and exhausted I was.

Fast-forward to the reply brief in the appeal.  Knowing partner’s tendencies, I got him a draft within days of receiving appellee’s brief.  And an extension.  We had eight weeks to reply.  My thrice-weekly reminders that I’d need his comments/edits were futile, of course.  As you could probably expect, I began receiving frantic calls on a Sunday, less than 24 hours before the brief was due to be filed.  He had finally read my draft, and it needed to be completely rewritten.  I was pissed.

Finally, after six years of practice, I had enough of this crap.  I pointed out that these revisions could have been made during normal business hours at any point during the prior seven weeks.  I pointedly noted that he hadn’t even read my draft before that weekend, had he?  I noted that I don’t practice this way—that we were jeopardizing a significant client and a multi-million dollar, high profile appeal by doing shoddy, last-minute work that is, frankly, malpractice.

I expect I’m due to be fired any time now.  Mr. Procrastination told me it would be his mission to drive me out of the firm.

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  • Your Only Answer

    If you should choose that path, your only answer is to have him removed from the firm first – by hook or by crook.  Good luck.

  • Anonymous

    Unless he’s brilliant, that cock of a partner likely is related to someone in the firm.  What an asswipe!  Best of luck in finding a better place to work.

  • Brett

    Glad to see you grew a pair.

  • DesertSol

    You did the right thing.  In the long run, everything will be better.  Weather the storm.

  • Al Dickman

    Best of luck working for another place.  This guy sounds like a real douche.

  • Aussie bloke

    you know what mate,
    you should threaten to rat him out to the client, and make your mission to make his life and career a living hell while you remained unemployed.
    And explain the whole thing to the first partner who put you on the case. your never know, with this guy’s nasty reputation they could be happy with a simple reprimand


    Good job.  Why did it take you six years though?

  • Snively Whiplash

    That’s a tough spot. My advice is to plan to remain with your current employer. An old lawyer once told me, “Never worry about anthing untill it happens.” It is advice I wish I had utilized better in a couple of situations. Don’t let a wimpy player (if he can be called a player at all) like Mr. Procrastination get in your head and make you mess up anything else. Make sure if you do get canned, which I doubt will happen, that you didn’t give them a semi-legitimate excuse.

  • Bitterer

    There’s no such thing as a significant partner.

  • NoobieLawStudent

    To be perfectly honest, having worked as everything from a document clerk to an administrative assistant, I have a very different perspective on the pecking order.  You don’t go to Mr. Procrastination when you KNOW he is going to sit on his bum forever (the extension was a good start).  You go to his SECRETARY and sit on her (politely).  You want someone kicked in the tush?  Start with his staff.  Mr. Procrastination probably wouldn’t even know how to GET his e-mail without her(him) and they are more than happy to pass on the harassment.

  • Nemesis

    After he said it was his mission to get you driven from the firm, you should have replied, “So, I can expect to be fired… what, like 8 years from now, when you get around to it.” Classic.

  • manda

    so, is all the work they make you do worth it?  i’m assuming you make scads of money, do you get to enjoy it?