Here at Above the Law, we like to provide a service to our readers. Sometimes things happen at a law firm that you just can’t talk about to your colleagues. But you can always tell us.
Last week, we corresponded with a frustrated attorney. Despite the fact that he’s quite senior and has changed firms looking for a better situation, he’s still dealing with the kind of casual disrespect most associates all across the land must suffer:
I sit here today at my new law firm, still disgruntled, I find myself writing a fictitious response to a real email sent to me on Monday by my boss. I actually sent the fictitious email to my brother, for pleasure reading, and not to my boss of course. I thought I would share it with you.
The very real email he received from the partner in question seems innocuous enough:
Please let me know if you are licensed in Kansas. I have some work that needs to be done over there.
It’s a harmless enough request, until you learn a little bit more of the backstory that this associate just wishes he could explain to the partner…
If you’ve never wanted to write one of these emails before, then you’ve never worked for a law firm:
Dear Self-Absorbed Asshole,
I have been working for you for 7 years (at two different firms) and you should know everything about me, including my cock size. After all, you should be able to get that information from your useless wife.
You don’t know if I’m licensed in Kansas? Let me answer that question in two ways; (1) by telling you to go F yourself; and (2) by reaffirming point number one. With respect to point number one, go F yourself. I guess you will never know if I’m licensed in Kansas. Would you like to know if I slaved hour after hour, at your specific direction, to take the Kansas Bar Exam in the Winter of 2004? Would you like to know if I failed it the first time because you gave me about 10 briefs to write in the two months leading up to the exam and I had zero time to study? Would you like to know how many times I have used any Kansas license that I may or may not have in the past 7 years? Actually, I’ll answer that question. About three times.
If you would like to know whether I’m licensed in Kansas, may I suggest looking at your own firm letterhead, where you insisted that every attorney list all of their state licensures? If you would prefer not to waste your time doing that, I’d like to direction your attention to point number two: go F yourself. In conclusion, go F yourself.
It’s funny that so many partners don’t know how angry they make the people they work for. The funny thing is that this partner probably has actual knowledge of where this associate is licensed, but it was easier for him to send off the email instead of taking the nanoseconds it would have required to fully access his hippocampus.
And that’s really what stings. It’s not that the partner didn’t have this associate’s life details at his fingertips; it’s that he didn’t care to remember them. He couldn’t spare a few seconds to remember a salient professional detail about a person he works closely with.
That kind of stuff, writ large over a significant amount of time, is what drives associates insane.
How can associates keep their mind balanced in the face of such reckless apathy? Well, writing fake emails is actually a great way to start. For what it’s worth, I used to do it all the time — and that was probably the difference between me quitting on good terms, and me leaving with an indictment for attempted homicide hanging over my head. As long as you don’t hit “reply all” (I used to commit my elaborate fantasies to paper, fold it up in my pocket for the day, and then shred it), it’s a harmless outlet that allows you to blow off steam.
And, of course, if you want everybody to see your creative version of telling partners to go jump in a lake, you can always send it our way.