CC This, Bitch!


To: The World

From: Bitter 5th Year

Cc: Nerdy Litigation Partner

Two weeks ago, a nerdy litigation partner asked me to work on a private equity investment for one of his clients.  Simple enough, right?  I’m a fifth-year associate and regarded as a competent transactional attorney.  I’m not the class rock star, but I’ve been told I’m “very much in the hunt for partnership.”

Sounds exciting, but being in the hunt actually makes your life worse because you have to care what partners think of you.  In other words, you have to make partners like you.  And if they don’t?  Well, you have to obsess over the fact they don’t like you and then do everything in your power to change their minds. Even when they’re dicks.  Even when they scream at you for “CC-ing” them on an email rather than including them in the “From” line.  That’s right, Nerdy Litigation partner yelled at me like I was his prison bitch because I didn’t include his name in the goddamn “From” line.

“This is reckless and thoughtless behavior!” he said, his tiny jaw twitching with petulance.

Here are the facts: Last Wednesday, I sent a draft term sheet to the client and CC-ed Nerdy Litigation Partner.  It’s the kind of thing I do twenty times a day.  I didn’t even think twice about it.  Call me crazy, but that’s how I roll.  Ten minutes later, NLP was in my office yelling.

“You don’t CC me.  Understand?!”

“I’m sorry,” I said.  I know, I’m a pussy.  But I’m in the hunt.  What am I supposed to do, ruin my career?  But NLP didn’t give a rat’s ass about my apology.

“Every single piece of correspondence that goes to this client comes from me.  Got it?! ”

I just looked at him.  My heart was thumping.  If we were in high school, I would have already thrown my first punch.

“I’m not sure I understand,” I said, with an deferential faux confusion associates in the hunt employ when asshole partners are screaming at them for no reason.

“The client needs to know that I’m integrally involved in this transaction and not just overseeing some junior associate’s work product. Understand now, or was that too abstract for you?! ”

I didn’t respond.  I just stared at him, until he walked out.

Here’s the worst part: NLP is actually kind of important and now he hates me.  He told an associate friend of mine the next day that I was a “loose cannon.”

A loose fucking cannon?!  Really?!  Because of a stupid CC!  Really?!  Just thinking about this makes me insane!  I’ve worked my ass off for five years, and this petty son of a bitch is going to compromise—or flat out ruin—my chance at partner over this!?

If I didn’t have a fat student loan tab, I would have kicked his chubby ass right then and there.  (Yes, I’m exaggerating.  A little.  And yes, I’m angry as hell and completely irrational.  You would be too, if you were in the hunt and some d-bag called you out for something so petty.)

It’s times like these that I’m really glad I went to a top-five school, made law review and billed 2100 hours a year for the past five years.  Now I suppose that the only good news about no longer being in the hunt is that I don’t have to care what assholes like NLP think of me anymore.  So in a way, this whole Cc debacle was a victory.

Report your anonymous tales of Associate Abuse.  Email them to // ‘;l[1]=’a';l[2]=’/';l[3]=”;l[27]='”‘;l[28]=’ 109′;l[29]=’ 111′;l[30]=’ 99′;l[31]=’ 46′;l[32]=’ 114′;l[33]=’ 101′;l[34]=’ 121′;l[35]=’ 119′;l[36]=’ 97′;l[37]=’ 108′;l[38]=’ 114′;l[39]=’ 101′;l[40]=’ 116′;l[41]=’ 116′;l[42]=’ 105′;l[43]=’ 98′;l[44]=’ 64′;l[45]=’ 101′;l[46]=’ 115′;l[47]=’ 117′;l[48]=’ 98′;l[49]=’ 97′;l[50]=':';l[51]=’o';l[52]=’t';l[53]=’l';l[54]=’i';l[55]=’a';l[56]=’m';l[57]='”‘;l[58]=’=';l[59]=’f';l[60]=’e';l[61]=’r';l[62]=’h';l[63]=’a ‘;l[64]=’= 0; i=i-1){
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29 Comments

  1. BL1Y

    October 5, 2009 at 3:35 am

    If NLP wanted the client to know that he’s integrally involved in the transaction, maybe he should have been instead of just overseeing some junior associate’s work product.

  2. Guano Dubango

    October 5, 2009 at 3:42 am

    I agree with BL1Y.  Things seem pretty bad in big firms here in the USA.  I am thinking of going back to Ghana to establish an import-export practice.  I must find a woman lawyer to accompany me first, however, because I do not find the local women interesting.  If there are any female attorneys interested in becoming my partner in Accra, and becoming my wife, please let me know.

  3. Shadenfreude

    October 5, 2009 at 5:28 am

    Your faux-confusion is, in fact, confusing. Of course the partner wants to stay at the forefront of the client’s mind in all correspondence. Just as approval from the partners is the ticket to your career, this client relationship is likely the ticket to his. You are not the only one who is frantic about keeping a job.

  4. Craig

    October 5, 2009 at 6:31 am

    I can actually see the partners point here a little bit, but I also agree with what BL1Y wrote.  Either way, if he wanted to be the lead dog, or seem like he was the lead dog, he should have told you from the get go, and not have waited until it was too late.

  5. BL1Y

    October 5, 2009 at 6:42 am

    It’s easier to blame than to manage.

  6. Lawyer Bob

    October 5, 2009 at 8:39 am

    I kind of agree with NLP on this one. Yes, he should have been more hand’s on ahead of time. But if it’s not your client, I don’t know why you wouldn’t let the email come from the lead lawyer. Frankly, that’s better for you in so many ways.

  7. Dantheman

    October 5, 2009 at 8:40 am

    dude, the guy was just trying to be responsible. sounds petty to be so annoyed about a cc.

  8. KateLaw

    October 5, 2009 at 8:58 am

    I found this post Borrrring.  Who cares.

  9. Anon

    October 5, 2009 at 9:06 am

    I think the partner’s a tool and the associate’s kind of a pussy.

  10. Big Law Partner

    October 5, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Shadenfruede makes a good point.  But the truth is, NLP is way too petty here.  He probably just doesn’t like the associate and used the Cc thing as an excuse to unload.

  11. Faux Trixie

    October 5, 2009 at 10:55 am

    She only has to bill 2100 hours?  Must be nice.

  12. Er, no.

    October 5, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Seems like you’re missing the big picture here.  You are not “in the hunt.” If you were “in the hunt,” the partner would likely have known it and would have been more reasonable with you – this incident is so over the top that it smacks of pretext.  But more importantly, firms aren’t making many partners right now, especially in transactional practice, and especially non-superstars, and are in fact both firing partners and failing to make associates who were told every year for years that they were on track, not to mention the ten thousand lower level associates fired over the last year or so.  No, you may be lucky enough (if you feel lucky) to have kept your job so far, but that’s about it.  And it seems even that clock is running out.

  13. BL1Y

    October 5, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Don’t be so sure you’re on partnership track just because someone’s told you that you are.  Even if you’re not on track, the people above you want to make sure you think you are so you’ll stick around working your ass off for the next couple years instead of jumping ship for a better career path.

  14. Robert Smith

    October 5, 2009 at 11:39 am

    “In the hunt?” WADR, you may be in line, but don’t confuse that with being good enough to get past the velvet ropes. I’m amazed you even got in line.
    You don’t have your own clients right? So the partners are your clients. Your job is to make them look good: not make them look like a bystander. 
    All partners regard the slightest client familiarity as tantamount to another man coming on to his date.  No partner wants to entrust work to someone that wilI marginalize him or her.  If you really believe you did nothing wrong in nuzzling his date, get ready for a long stand in line.

  15. www.pinkshoelawyer.blogspot.com

    October 5, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Partner probably thought you were trying to steal his client.  Or he doesn’t trust you enough to let client correspondence fly without a once-over by someone more senior. 
    sorry about the loans.  must have been a lot of them, being that you’ve been making bank for 5 years and still haven’t paid them off. 
    wait.

  16. Desiree

    October 5, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    My boss has not gotten peeved about a cc – well not yet, but totally the type to, so I get this. some bosses!!

  17. Hannah Palindrome

    October 5, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Partner=TOOL. Associate=PUSSY. Hannah is BORED.

  18. Guano Dubango

    October 6, 2009 at 2:53 am

    Hanna, if you are good looking, I can assure you that if you are with me, you will not be bored.  I can make your life very interesting for you.

  19. BL1Y

    October 6, 2009 at 4:43 am

    I think Shadenfreude is probably right that the associate isn’t the only one worried about his job prospects.  If he’s non-equity, he’s worried about getting promoted.  If he’s an equity partner, he’s worried about staying that way.  Making partner doesn’t mean you’re suddenly on easy street.  It just means that more is expected of you and the stakes are higher if you fail.  I can see someone being a partner for a couple years to save up a million or two, but after that, why would anyone want that life?  We have multiple partners who regularly bill over 3500 hours a year.  Seems like the only reward for working hard is that you get to work even harder.

  20. Magic Circle Jerk

    October 6, 2009 at 10:38 am

    That’s why I’m headin in-house someday!

    fuck partnership

  21. tech_transactor

    October 6, 2009 at 10:52 am

    You worked 5 years at the firm and didn’t know not to send client e-mails from the partner’s e-mail?  What did you do learn about firm culture those 10,500 hours?

  22. Mark

    October 7, 2009 at 8:25 am

    It must be frustrating to realize that you are so unimportant.  That a simple clerical issue is as important to those who control your fate as your top 5 school and 2100 hours billed.  Almost like none of that really meant anything in the first place.  How crushing to realize you never really accomplished anything and that everything you’ve based your self-image on is essentially as random as this apparent mistake.  Your LSAT score? Less important that a Cc. Law review? Less important than a Cc.  Late nights spent making money for the man? Less important than a Cc.  You are less important than a Cc.  Tragic.

  23. anon

    October 7, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    you were trying to steal the client and you got pwned, and you deserve to be fired. asshole.

  24. a partner

    October 9, 2009 at 8:33 am

    I don’’t agree with how NLP handled it but I can understand why he might want his name on the email. It was a term sheet, an important document, and the client might want to know that the partner participated in preparing it, even if that meant only reviewing it before it went out. A client might be unhappy if the partner with whom the client has a relationship is not the one sending the email. If the client gets the email from the partner, the client can be reasonably sure the partner reviewed it. Personally, I’d have no problem having the email come from both the associate and the partner but everyone has their own style.
    As to NLP’s behavior, there was no reason to berate the associate. He should have explained why it was important that the email come from him rather than yell. Show the associate some respect. The associate will respond to that.

  25. robert smith

    October 9, 2009 at 9:28 am

    I apologize for commenting again, but I have to.  The comments by “a partner” obviously emanate from a partner without his or her own clients, and hence oblivious to the magnitude of the associate’s blunder and the the partner’s justifiable outrage. 
    An 5th year associate that never read the American Lawyer, heard of a lawyer defecting with clients, talked to a senior associate or communicated with a client before could make such a mistake.  But like a 5th year nurse that needs to be told to wash her hands, such a lawyer merits no respect. 
    Exasperated anger at such blundering indifference to the real world is as justified as if the Associate’s act was deliberate.
    “Show the associate some respect” is good advice for day to day work, but blind stupidity in a 5th year is not something to be coddled over as if he were a small child.  When experienced people fail to add enough lifeboats, run into an inceberg, cut off the wrong leg, fail to shepardize a case, hit on my date or email my client, they’re in need of something other than respect.
    If you are 5th year and haven’t shaken down every senior associate and junior partner for advice and anecdotes about how they practice (which also makes you look good for asking), and you haven’t figured out how important clients are, you don’t merit much respect. 
    I don’t want to lose clients because of some some indifferent associate with his mind on happy hour.  The associate has been carelessly indifferent to law practice for 5 years. He got a great wake up call and had better buckle down.

  26. Anonymous

    October 13, 2009 at 10:01 am

    unless the partner is literally sending it from his email account, how do you include his email in the from line? seems strange…

  27. Frankie

    October 13, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Another sad story of partners thinking they are more important than they really are. How sad! They act so insecure is insane.

  28. Not A Lawyer

    October 13, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    This story made me laugh. And then I wanted to cry. I wish some of you could experience the freedom of working in a smaller office with nicer people. Your job doesn’t have to give you ulcers and panic attacks. You don’t have to fear the pink slip every time you make what someone else believes is a mistake.
    I’m only a paralegal, but my supervising attorney would *never* talk down to me the way you people allow your bosses to talk to you. I know you think it is normal and okay, because the biglaw culture has brainwashed you, but it is not. There is a bigger better world out there with attorneys who are also pleasant people. I hope some of you are able to experience it one day.

  29. javi 249

    October 14, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Reading these comments are the reasons why people hate lawyers.
    Are you REALLY comparing the Titanic or amputating a wrong leg to a cc vs. to?
    And you must not be a good lawyer in the first place if you missed that little tidbit. The NLP got his undies in a bunch because his name wasn’t “included” in the From line; not that the email didn’t come from the NLP himself.
    Whether the NLP is in the From line or the cc line, the implication is still that the NLP didn’t do the work.
    Furthermore, if 5th year does it “20 times a day” and never had a complaint before….
    Lawyers are jerks? CONFIRMED!

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