I Work for a Pro-Life Law Firm


QHi, Ex-Bitter. I’m a third-year associate at a mid-size Midwestern firm. I do mostly transactional work but occasionally pitch in on pro bono litigation, which I like. While the firm I work for was not my first choice, I’m thankful to have the job and generally enjoy the work, which these days involves more and more client interaction.

Here’s my problem. When I took the job I didn’t do what us lawyers call “due diligence.” I saw a job opening, the work fit what I wanted to do, and I applied. I’ve now learned in the last three years that the managing partners are very conservative and somewhat connected politically. Actually, it took me about the first few months to realize how conservative, though politics are not really an issue in the office. The other day, though, I was with three other attorneys and told them where I worked. One of the lawyers said “Oh, you work for the pro-life firm.” I said I hadn’t heard that before. Internally, though, I knew it was pretty true.

I’m not pro-life, far from it (I actually just contributed money to Planned Parenthood in the wake of this whole Susan G. Komen thing). But I’m offended that people in the community may think that I work for a “pro-life” law firm. I also imagine that the money the firm and partners make from my billed hours ends up supporting pro-life causes. What should I do? Did I make a deal with the devil?

AYes. Every new associate makes a deal with the devil. Think of it this way. There are thousands of new associates working for law firms that profit from the associates’ grunt work. Those profits go to the firm, then go to partners, which in turn goes to purchase new homes, expensive booze, gas guzzling high-end SUVs, diamond necklaces for mistresses, and trips to the Botox clinic. Are associates supporting a partner’s Botox habit gone horribly wrong? Are they supporting a partner’s penchant for sex with llamas?

And, oh, my God! Some of that profit goes to political causes!

Here’s what’s missing from your question to me: what did you say in response to your one pal saying “Oh, you work for the pro-life firm?” Did you blankly look away, shrug your shoulders, then mumble “Oh, I hadn’t heard that before?” (even though you had). Or did you get up, angrily denounce the other attorney and throw water in her face, saying something like “power to the people, you bitch!” Or did you do what you probably should have done: say something sensible and accurate, like, “yes, some of the partners in the firm support pro-life causes but we’re not a pro-life firm, far from it.” And then present your liberal credentials, if you’re not a fan of the whole brevity thing.

Believe me, the law firm probably knew you weren’t on their team when they hired you, politically speaking. And the fact that it doesn’t come up in the office is a good sign that you work for a decent place and that they like you and your work. That said, if your stomach turns at the thought of working for a firm that is the devil incarnate, I cannot help much with that. It’s your conscience, sister, but us lawyers are pretty good at bifurcating politics and emotion from the facts at hand. Think of it that way.

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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.

8 Comments

  1. Guano Dubango

    February 3, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    I do not believe in birth control. I want my woman to bear issue, not tamper with my fertile wife’s privates.

  2. Ellen

    February 4, 2012 at 7:34 am

    What I DECIDE to do with MY own BODY is MY BUSIENESS!

    FOOEY on men that want to control my BODY! FOOEY!

    I will not let a man have sex with me uneless we are ENGAGED, so I would probabeley NOT have a aboretion if I had a baby, but I do NOT want men telling me to do it or NOT do it.

    It is MY body, and it is NOT for you men to stare at me and tell me that I have to have an aporetion. FOOEY on you! FOOEY!

  3. Mean Partner

    February 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    A recent study says conservatives have sex less often but climax all the time. So have a good time when you’re there. I bet conservative women are hot anyway, since they are around all those stiffly conservative men afraid of doing anything that might get them sued or ruin their acreer. So go for it! Look at FOX news: the men are kind of meh according to women, but the women there are pretty hot. A early 30′s senior associate with a GOP sticker on her car: perfect for any guy.

  4. John

    February 15, 2012 at 2:53 am

    How is this person complaining? They work in a firm where the partners have political views (who doesn’t?) and they are so good at keeping it out of the work place that a different lawyer from outside the firm has to tell them about it!

    Worryingly the person seems less bothered about the money that may support the cause than ‘appearing’ to support the cause themselves, as if they don’t want to be ostracized by their supposedly open minded pals.

    Deal with the devil… oh the irony.

  5. bitter oz lawyer

    February 19, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Why are you complaining? You actually like where you work and what you do and most importantly! your partners treat you well… also, they respect your views even though your views differs from theirs!… perhaps it is you who is the one with the close mind.

  6. bitter oz lawyer

    February 19, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    *closed

  7. southern bitter

    March 28, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    i am conservative (resounding “duhhh”) and worked for a very liberal firm right out of law school. i was not fortunate enough for everyone to keep their mouths shut around me. be thankful they don’t rub it in your face all the time.

    if you think being pro-life is the devil, try arguing about the value of a “free-market economy” with a socialist, who, btw, happens to be a partner. oopsies.

  8. Rudy

    February 19, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    It’s never okay to kill an innocent human being. An unborn child is always innocent simply by virtue of being a baby. Therefore, to kill the unborn child is always wrong. Abortion can in no way ever be justified. Science and reason confirm this.

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