I Love BigLaw But Hate My Prestige-Whore Partner


QI work at a prominent white-shoe firm in New York. Unlike most people, I actually like being a lawyer. I work long hours, but really enjoy it. Crazy, I know.

The thing that’s driving me crazy, however, is the intra-firm snobbery. In particular, there’s one Harvard/Harvard partner (Robert) who always refers to me as his “second-tier project.” It was kind of cute the first time he said it. Not so cute the second time. And really f#@king annoying the tenth, eleventh, fifteenth time.

I don’t mind working for Robert, but I can’t stand his constant, not-so-funny shtick. So, my question is: Should I tell him I don’t like being referred to as his “second-tier project?” If I do, will he still work with me? Will he ruin my reputation? Please advise. For the record, I went to George Washington, graduated top 5% and was on law review.

AThe most amazing thing is that you don’t mind working for this elitist, unfunny, condescending, insecure tool. You’re either incredibly understanding or suffer from abused-associate syndrome.

Anyway, the answer is YES. You absolutely should tell Robert that you don’t love the “second-tier project” joke. You have two choices:

  1. Next time Robert does his thing, come back at him with a sarcastic response that makes him look like the dick he is. As in: “Oh my God, Robert, you totally busted me.  I keep telling people I went to Yale. I wonder if anyone will ever work with me because I only went to GW and was on Law Review.” Or something like that.
  2. Talk to him in private and explain, calmly but firmly, that his constant joking about your credentials is demeaning and that you’re worried it might negatively impact your career.

Whether or not he wants to work with you again is irrelevant. Taking care of yourself—and your dignity—is way more important. Good luck, and don’t let this jackass kill your BigLaw buzz.

Ex-Bitter is in southern Africa for two weeks with pretty spotty internet. This is an archived Ex-Bitter column that originally ran in February 2010.

(Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/reallyboring/3716757590)

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.

1 Comment

  1. Guano Dubango

    November 25, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Yes, I would do this also. I have received some commentary about my LLB coming from the University of Accra, even though I have an LLM from a major US university in DC. There is a female partner who has trying to get into my pants for the last year who always refers to me as her man-slave. I am unclear whether this is because of Ghana’s history in the slave trade or because she has hinted, more than once, that she is dying to sample me in bed. I am not interested in this woman and even though she is post-menopausal, I shudder to think of what would happen were I to provide sexual pleasure to her once, because I am sure she would always have me enslaven to her for more as long as I am with the firm. Besides, I do not find her sexually attractive and do not want to ruin any chances with a potential law beauty that sees me with this cow. So you have my sympathy, and tell the man to stop.

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