How often do you get yelled at?

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dpcjsa

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Re: How often do you get yelled at?

Postby dpcjsa » Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:07 pm

Apologies for posting essentially the same response twice, guys, as an Anonymous Poster. I had not been here in a while until today and, d'oh, I'm having problems on my phone.

I'm sorry for the poor worker at the Boston firms. I've heard horror stories about Boston from friends in law school. In particular, I hear some of the lawyers at Duane Morris are real jerks. . . .

And affairs? Yeah, we had those, too. I'll never forget the lawyer who routinely banged his secretary in the freight elevator, and got caught in the act.. When asked how she liked her job, the secretary said, "it has its ups and downs. "

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Re: How often do you get yelled at?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:51 pm

People yell at me sometimes. I don't take it personally. It's a stressful job and no one keeps their cool all the time. If someone is so upset that they feel compelled to yell at me, I just chalk it up to an unusually bad day and say there but for the grace of God go I. (And frankly, if something I did precipitated it, I try to figure out what I did to provoke them yelling and then not do it again.).

nixy

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Re: How often do you get yelled at?

Postby nixy » Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:18 pm

I don't think anyone should get yelled at. I was just surprised by the idea that a biglaw firm is going to beg an associate to stay in such circumstances, or that most associates will feel able to drop everything and walk out if they get yelled at. I'm now just a little confused by the emphasis on not yelling at subordinates (which I absolutely agree with), because I thought this thread was about lawyers yelling at lawyers, not about lawyers yelling at staff/assistants/paralegals etc.

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Re: How often do you get yelled at?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:44 pm

I've been in biglaw for ~5 years. The amount of screaming I've faced has dropped precipitously since my first two years (and second year was much better than the first). Part of that is just getting better and not making the kind of mistakes that will make someone scream - though for some, any inconsequential mistake or decision will make them scream. Just as big, if not bigger, is maneuvering away from partners who are screamers. It's easier said than done, and can sometimes even require a lateral move if you become the go-to for someone awful, but it's something that you need to do to keep your sanity. That's doubly true if the screamer is someone who doesn't have a ton of business on their own, because IME partners with tempers will rarely be the ones to promote you and your reputation throughout the firm to other partners (or clients). They might use you over and over for their own work, but they're not going to help you build your network.

In general I've found that rainmakers tend to be more even-keeled than those with marginal or no books of business, but there are certainly exceptions. And the good thing is that, as you get older, you should start working more directly with the partners that matter, but again, there are exceptions.

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nealric

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Re: How often do you get yelled at?

Postby nealric » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:08 am

I think literal top of the voice yelling is quite a bit more rare than rude comments or a dressing down. I've not personally experienced what I would call literal yelling at any point in my professional career.

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totesTheGoat

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Re: How often do you get yelled at?

Postby totesTheGoat » Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Don't forget that the staff can make or break our success, on a daily basis, because without the paralegals, secretaries, word processing staff, mail clerks, photocopy staff, and even the cleaning crew our lives at work can truly suck.

The staff often I've known live by the adage that says, "poor planning on your end will never constitute an emergency on my end."

But if we are nice to people, day to day, it's amazing how far they'll go to help us, even in a pinch.


I didn't realize how pervasive of a cultural issue this was until I left my Biglaw firm and one of the secretaries gave me a teary-eyed hug and said "don't go, you're one of the good ones". It was eye opening. I didn't think I had been particularly nice to the secretaries. I had put them in a bind more than once with little forewarning.

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Re: How often do you get yelled at?

Postby hlsperson1111 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:54 pm

Oh yeah, my #1 rule (both for myself and for judging the character of others) is to never abuse the staff. I have remarkable tolerance for attorneys who yell at other attorneys (it's a stressful job, associates are highly paid and expectations are high and a little bit of yelling is not the crisis many make it out to be), but if you mistreat the staff you are a garbage person in my book.

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Re: How often do you get yelled at?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:45 pm

I'm about to leave a large firm and I've never been yelled at, but a few months back I went to sleep at about midnight after checking my emails and woke up at about 5:30 a.m. to 23 missed emails all from the same partner. Not every one of those emails was directed at me (some I was cc'd on), but it did require me to get in the office quickly to get something done by that morning. I usually wouldn't have even gotten up that early, except I had to go to the bathroom. This was an extreme example, but I dealt with a fair amount of this type of all around the clock stuff. Ideally you wouldn't have either, but I tend to think I would rather work with a partner who yells occasionally, than work for the type of partner who's entire life is work and therefore wants yours to be that way as well.

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Re: How often do you get yelled at?

Postby cowgirl_bebop » Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:03 pm

Thankfully never. I really only work for 2 partners and neither of them are big on screaming, at least not at other attorneys. I've fucked up a few times and they've gotten upset, but they always kept it professional.

kaiser

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Re: How often do you get yelled at?

Postby kaiser » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:08 pm

I'm a senior associate and never been yelled at and never heard anyone else being yelled at. I've heard stories about it from friends at other firms but luckily have never encountered it. Hard to even imagine such unacceptable and unprofessional behavior.

That being said, I've had a few pretty stern conversations in the past where something I did or screwed up really ticked off a partner. I knew the moment I was told to shut the door behind me that it wasn't going to be good. But a stern and forceful conversation is a far cry from yelling/screaming at a colleague in a professional setting.

To be honest, if a partner ever yelled or screamed at me, I wouldn't stand for it. I'd likely walk out and tell them I'll come back when they are ready to discuss more calmly. And I would probably note that its not appropriate. Of course, its easier to hold your ground as a senior, but I doubt my pride would have let me stand for that even as a junior.

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Re: How often do you get yelled at?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:32 pm

I agree with some other posters in here. I’ve never been yelled at but have had partners and senior associates come into my office and tell me how terrible I am for like 30 minutes. I just sit there and nod my head and say thanks for the advice and ill fix x, y, or z.

Then I browse some sites to see if there are any places hiring.

I’d honestly rather get yelled at than be lectured for 30 minutes.

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Re: How often do you get yelled at?

Postby biglaw_advice » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:44 am

4 years into biglaw and have not been yelled at, though sometimes I think I'd prefer yelling to passive aggressive emails and backhanded put-downs. Having never experienced someone yelling at the top of their lungs at me, it's hard to say for sure. Could just be my firm's culture or luck of the draw with this generation of partners, but haven't heard any other associates with horror stories of being yelled at either.

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Re: How often do you get yelled at?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:05 pm

In two years of biglaw, I was yelled at once. I can take any type of yelling, but not when it's negatively affecting the work we do or if you expect that our relationship--working or otherwise-- won't be affected. Nobody yells at me and is easily forgiven. I will absolutely yell right back at you if you're being unreasonable. In this scenario I had to escalate the situation, and I won't be speaking to that person again.

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Re: How often do you get yelled at?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:41 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm about to leave a large firm and I've never been yelled at, but a few months back I went to sleep at about midnight after checking my emails and woke up at about 5:30 a.m. to 23 missed emails all from the same partner. Not every one of those emails was directed at me (some I was cc'd on), but it did require me to get in the office quickly to get something done by that morning. I usually wouldn't have even gotten up that early, except I had to go to the bathroom. This was an extreme example, but I dealt with a fair amount of this type of all around the clock stuff. Ideally you wouldn't have either, but I tend to think I would rather work with a partner who yells occasionally, than work for the type of partner who's entire life is work and therefore wants yours to be that way as well.


Recent big law refugee. I left after 3 years because of partners and situations like this.

I never had to deal with yelling, but the frantic, always-high-importance-emails partners were the #1 reason I left my firm. (I worked primarily with partners in other offices or on another floor, so I rarely had facetime with the worst offenders and communicated mostly by email.) I woke up stressed due to my email inbox, I remained stressed all day because of the incessant flow of emails, and went to sleep stressed thinking about emails I had just read and anticipating with dread the ones I would wake up to. It was never the work or the hours that got to me. It was the tone of partners' emails and the passive aggressive way they spoke to me ("per my last email," "Why didn't you do X like I asked?") and their incessant "Re: URGENT" demands.

I was always on edge and could never turn off completely. I realized last summer during a camping vacation where I had no service that being constantly glued to my phone at all waking hours for work-related reasons was not sustainable and seriously affected my mental health. Earlier this year I took a government job where I rarely get emails and no one is stressed. My mental health has improved drastically, I've lost weight, I sleep well every night, and I am a better husband and friend. You don't realize how much of a toll it takes on you being available to work 24/7 until you work a normal 9-5. I took an enormous pay cut but not having a barrage of stressful emails around the clock is worth it.

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Re: How often do you get yelled at?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:24 pm

To echo the last poster, I am in a govt job in a large state agency. One time the general counsel closed the office door too loudly after a heated discussion with one of his attorneys and he got written up by HR for it. After, there was an office memo on door closing etiquette.

Govt life is the way to go haha

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Re: How often do you get yelled at?

Postby JHP » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:To echo the last poster, I am in a govt job in a large state agency. One time the general counsel closed the office door too loudly after a heated discussion with one of his attorneys and he got written up by HR for it. After, there was an office memo on door closing etiquette.

Govt life is the way to go haha

That is amazing--what I would give to read it. "All staff are reminded that the sound of doors being closed must only reach a maximum level of 60 decibels. Multiple violations of this policy will result in the violator's door being temporarily removed until they have completed at least 10 sessions of door-closing lessons supervised by the human resources department."

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Re: How often do you get yelled at?

Postby SFSpartan » Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:09 pm

Like other posters, I get yelled at/passive aggressively talked to a lot less now than I did as a junior. Also, greatly prefer being partners that do direct confrontations, rather than the passive-aggressive white shoe version of yelling. For some reason the latter really fucks with my self-confidence/general mental well being.

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Re: How often do you get yelled at?

Postby nixy » Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:48 pm

There’s yelling, and then there’s yelling. I’ve been yelled at (once) but I think the thing that made it not that a big deal was that it was someone essentially at the same level as me (a little more experienced but has no supervisory role over me), who happens to be a pretty loud and excitable type. It annoyed me but I didn’t take it personally, and I had fucked something up that affected them, so what can you do. I also didn’t yell back but felt fairly comfortable pushing back. (I have also seen this person yell at opposing counsel, actually.)

I think the occasional heated conversation is very different from yelling as a regular means of communication, intended as a way to handle mistakes, especially at someone who can’t really push back. A former colleague definitely yelled at staff, and although it was always in moments of particular stress/pressure (like intense trial prep emergencies, not as a regular matter of course), and it was their least admirable characteristic. (But this was someone who got mad at me because we were waiting to do closing arguments at trial, which they were doing - I was done with my part of the trial - and I checked my phone and found good news on a different case, and they got legitimately mad at me for being happy while they were stressing about closing. So you know, trial gets weird, and I’d imagine deals or whatever corporate people do get weird too.)

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Re: How often do you get yelled at?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:50 pm

I'm at an office where it is thankfully rare, but there is one older partner that is known for it. I was paired with him on one project, and after putting up with a few rounds of screaming, finally barked back with a "What the f*** do you want me to do then?" He stopped after that, we actually got along well, and he gave me a great review. In a strange way, I think he respected that I screamed back. Certainly glad it's not a common thing, though.



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