I Need Advice RE D-Bag Associate


QI am finishing up my first year as an associate at a mid-sized firm. I clerked with this firm during my 2L summer and throughout my 3rd year, and they offered me an associate position.  During my clerkship, a new associate started at the firm who was one year ahead of me (he had just taken the bar and I was starting my 3rd year).  For my own amusement, I will hereinafter refer to this ass clown as “Douche bag Associate.” He was always very nice to me, even border-line flirtatious at times. However, it seemed like the minute I passed the bar and became an associate (as opposed to a bottom-of-the-barrel law clerk), he started treating me as his “competition.” I know it may sound egotistical, but it genuinely seems like this guy has spent the last year trying to undermine me and assert his superiority (of one year) over me.


I first noticed it just after I took the bar, and Douche bag Associate asked me how I got this job.  I told him I worked for a colleague of the founding partner in my home city the previous year, and he replied, “Well, I bet it didn’t hurt that you are cute.” Despite the fact that this jackass only got the job because his mom taught the managing partner’s children at an upscale private school (not to mention they are members of the same synagogue), he had to assure me that I did not land my job because of any work ethic or qualifications I possessed, but rather because of my looks.  Since that day, I have been very cautious of Douche bag Associate, who quickly traded in his mom’s old 2000 Toyota Camry for a BMW 3 series. He then bought a condo in one of the ritzier parts of the city and proposed to his girlfriend of 4 months (because living together before marriage is “sin,” but living together while engaged is ok), and began strutting around the office with an unearned sense of arrogance like his life was right on track (akin to some sappy Julia Roberts movie that he decided was the proper “path” in life).

Douche bag Associate continued his plight to find ways to compete with me. For example, incessant comments about how my attire was unprofessional and how women could get away with not wearing a suit at work every day (well, his “suit” consisted of some wrinkled piece of shit from TJ Maxx, no undershirt like some kind of uncle rico, and a shirt with a button-down collar (never any collar stays)).  Whenever he was ready to leave work, he would nag me to make sure that I left at the same time (thus, not billing more than him), frequently telling me that I “had permission to leave for the day.” Who the F*** asked him?  Most recently, I became worried about my job at the firm. Our office is designated into “teams,” but since I clerked at the firm and was used to working for all of the attorneys, I am not on any one team. At a meeting with the managing partner’s team (of which Douche bag Associate is a member), the partner told me to make sure I am asking for work from all teams because his team didn’t have enough work to keep me busy. That naturally scared me, especially in light of the economy (and the fact that my friend who just graduated from a TT school in the top 10 of her class got a job at the PD’s office making $30k without benefits).  I mentioned something about it to Douche bag Associate in an attempt to create some kind of rapport with him. He casually mentioned that I should be worried because I am the “least valuable” to the firm (never mind that his ass gets chewed out on speaker phone by the managing partner once a day for rookie mistakes, despite his “high level of expertise”), and that if anyone was going to get fired, it would be me. He was “just being honest,” of course. What a dick. Who says that to a scared first-year associate?

This guy—The Douche bag Associate, who goes secretly interviewing with other firms within our (small) practice field, secures himself an offer of $3,000 more per year with no benefits, values himself so much that he thinks this grand offer is some kind of “leverage,” and takes it to the managing partner.  I’m sure he thought the managing partner valued his work so much that he would immediately cave and match this $3,000 demand; however, the partner found him so worthless that he laughed him out of the office (who’s the “least valuable” now, bitch?)

Needless to say, Douche bag Associate is still here plaguing my presence every day and constantly attempting to make me feel inferior to him.  I have resigned myself to just ignoring the jackass, but he has everyone in the office fooled with his car salesman grin and cheesy one-liners.  I have never dealt with this breed of former law dork associate, and am not sure how to strategically deal with him (join the competition or take the high road?) So…my question…how do I get this guy off my back so I can avoid this daily awkwardness without sinking to his level and making the whole office think I’m some kind of raging bitch?

AThe answer is simple: Ignore him. You think about this guy way too much. The more you worry about him, the more power you give him. Pretend he doesn’t exist and get on with your life.

Ex-Bitter is a former big firm lawyer who now doles out advice to anyone who asks. Got a question? Email it to advice@bitterlawyer.com. Or read more Advice from an Ex-Bitter.

12 Comments

  1. BL1Y

    September 1, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    The best use for this guy is as a douchebag litmus test.  The only people who tend to be impressed by douchebags are people with the same douchy values.  Keep track of who likes him, so you have a better idea of how to get them to like you, or so you can make sure you avoid them as well.

  2. Anon

    September 1, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Try to become the invaluable lackey of a heavy-hitter at the firm for additional job security.

  3. Alma Federer

    September 2, 2010 at 3:27 am

    This guy sounds like the guy I worked with when I summered in NYC a few years ago.  There was this 4th year associate with a big horse-face who always nuzzled up to me when I least expected it—in the library, in the kitchenette, and once even in the managing partner’s conference room.  His breathe smelled like old socks (ugh).  He always called me a siren and that I could become partner if I were more “friendly”.  He asked me to go out with him to Ellis Island (why I don’t know), and he always wanted to go to lunch on Stone Street with me.  Well, I was not interested in this guy at all, so what I did is that I found a young female assistant interested in a relationship with a lawyer., and got her to meet with this guy.  Once he found out my friend was interested in a relationship, he immediately refocused on her.  She stayed with him for 6 months before dumping him, but by then, I was gone and I never went back to that firm.  The best thing was that she never slept with him!

  4. Ace in the Hole

    September 2, 2010 at 7:03 am

    Make sure as many people as possible know about his interviewing, and do your best to (subtly, of course) make sure that both his work mistakes and his obnoxious personal approach are seen and known by others.  He’ll be out in no time.

  5. BL1Y

    September 2, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Gotta disagree with you, Ace.  You’re basically asking that she try to out-douche the douchebag.  No way she’ll win.  She’s a novice douchebag, but this guy has been practicing 24/7 for years.

  6. 710

    September 2, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Who is this guy – the loser husband Scott from the Kardashian show??  That’s who I pictured.

  7. quado

    September 2, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    WARNING WARNING!!!  This comment is based off of a completely different field of expertise…. but similar circumstances.  Like I’ve said before like a broken record…I was a city cop for about 7 years before finishing my law degree while working fulltime…yeah I’m one of those… HOWEVER… this guy is what I used to call at the cop-shop a seniority whore.  Guys who have a couple of months seniority over someone else think they have 20 years under their belt compared to you.  Don’t sweat them…at all.  The instance you give them any attention is the time you give them an inch…give a douche an inch he’ll take a friggin’ marathon (26 miles).  He will stumble over his own BS in a while.  Get your own time in and see how things are working at that firm.  Get experience and BOUNCE if you need to.  That’s all I got good luck,

  8. Ace in the Hole

    September 3, 2010 at 6:10 am

    Well, that’s a good point BL1Y, I guess my thinking is that they already know he was interviewing, etc., so it might not be that hard for our intrepid associate to highlight his incompetence and other personality traits.  Then again, you’re right, if the other guy’s a scumbag he’s probably more prepared for a frontal assault.

  9. Craig

    September 3, 2010 at 8:12 am

    I would pity the guy.  Based on your post, you obviously realize the guy is delusional about himself.  I’m sure almost everyone agrees with you, and thinks the guy is a d-bag too.  I would just rise above it if I were you.  Either ignore him completely, or just laugh off, or be entertained by, his ignorant delusions about himself and how the world works around him.  He will get his in the end.

  10. Guano Dubango

    September 3, 2010 at 10:33 am

    I would like to put my comments in.  Granted, the man is a d-bag, but he may be so because he does not get the attention of the female lawyer.  I know, I have been there.  If the female opens up to him, perhaps he will be mollified, and will be happier.  It is like a little sensuality goes a long way.  I have given up on Alma, realizing she will never let down her guard for me.

  11. kevin_m

    September 5, 2010 at 5:38 am

    It sounds like the guy desperately wants to sleep with you but doesn’t think he can even came close to closing the deal. You’ll report him or worse yet, to his kind of thinking, laugh at him.
    So, having been “rejected,” he’s taking it out on you by being a jerk.
    The smartest, most mature, most professional way to deal with him would be to ignore him. Eventually, a headcase like him will find some other imagined slight to obsess over.
    Or, if you want some revenge, want to push that fabled envelope, you can completely play mind games with him. Flirt outrageously with him one moment, ignore him the next, talk about that WONDERFUL weekend you spent with your boyfriend the next.
    You have to be careful, lest you get a bad reputation in the rest of the firm. Still, if you play your cards right, you can fill his mind with a potent mix of desire/rage/confusion and drive him to the edge of a nervous breakdown.

  12. amlaw85

    September 29, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Is it just me, or has Bitter Lawyer not posted anything new in weeks?

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