pls hndle thx, Sex, Sex Scandals, Sexual Harassment

Pls Hndle Thx: Reverse Schadenfreude

Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to advice@abovethelaw.com.

pls hndle copy 2.jpgATL,
What is current law firm protocol with respect to affairs between partners and associates? The head of one the practice groups at my firm is having an affair with an associate in another group. It has been going on for awhile and is embarrassing for some of us who are aware (funny how people think they are being discreet, isn’t it?!). Am I obligated to tell someone? Will anything happen to them or is it generally acceptable (or not a concern) for this to go on? I’d like to send a note to the managing partner or head of HR — thoughts?
Rats of Nimh

Dear Rats of Nimh,
My first reaction to this question is, seriously, who cares? My second reaction is, calm down and get a life. Unless you think the associate has avoided layoffs (if any) because of protectia, what’s it to you if a partner you may or may not work with is having an affair with an associate whom he or she does not review?
I fail to see how this affair is embarrassing to you and others, unless you’re jealous that you were not selected as the object of desire. This happened to me once, where a partner I had a rabid crush on passed me over for another associate and I became enraged and threatened to three friends that I would lateral out because distance makes the heart grow fonder, at which point one of them reminded me that I had never actually spoken to said partner in real life, per se. The point is, “reverse Schadenfreude,” as my friend Megan likes to call it (i.e., fury at other peoples’ happiness), is a powerful emotion. It’s tough to think that others are experiencing carefree sexual liaisons and personal fulfillment while you code documents by the glow of your Pets Who Want to Kill Themselves computer wallpaper. However, polite society dictates that you grin and bear it. In these sort of situations, I find that gossiping viciously helps.
Emailing the managing partner or head of HR is patently ridiculous. They may be hosting the liaisons for all you know, like Jerry Seinfeld did for Madonna and A-Rod when he invited them to his Hamptons house to conduct their adultery in some peace and quiet.
Sorry to say, but you’ll just have to live with this one.
Your friend,
Marin
After the jump, no references to Les Miserables.

Under good Samaritan statutes that may be applicable in your state, I think you have a duty to report this situation to … no I’m just kidding.
Marin is right that this is clearly none of your business. And even if you made it your business, nobody likes a snitch. But since you are asking, the affair is not appropriate.
As I’ve said to countless friends over the course of my life: don’t s*** where you eat. It’s really that simple. The partner is exposing himself (or herself) to a sexual harassment lawsuit. The associate is exposing herself to a partner, and that is just gross. People who have sex with people they work with are painfully uncreative and lack the social skills to catch a date in the wild.
So feel free to laugh, mock, and scorn both the partner and associate. While you are at it, feel free to tell Above the Law which firm and which partner you are talking about. But don’t run off to HR like a little tattletale.
Snitches get stitches.
Big Pussy Bonpensiero

It’s not that lawyers necessarily “lack the social skills to catch a date in the wild.” How are you supposed to pan for gold between the hours of 10pm-6am during the week and 1-4pm on Sundays? Attorneys typically lock down their relationships early because they know that once they start working, they won’t have time to go on horrible first dates or haunt the Barnes & Noble lecture series. If you’ve found love in college or law school (ahem, Elie), you’re just as uncreative as someone who finds love at work. For those of us who dared to emerge from law school single, you’ve got to take intrigue where you can get it, and sometimes “it” is located in the office down the hall.
Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to advice@abovethelaw.com.

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