Any advice on a partner that is plain mean (cold, curt, & non responsive)? I’m told she likes me—hate to see how she treats associates she dislikes—but still have trouble not taking it personally.

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I have no advice but want to say that you’re not alone. I’m in a very similar situation and have the same feelings. Good luck!

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I feel the same way. It’s bearable, just really not enjoyable and hard to not take personally

Pretend the communication is coming from a man instead of a woman. Would you then describe this partner as professional, to-the-point & probably busy? And is being “cold, curt & non-responsive” truly equal to being “mean”? What do you mean by being “cold”? Did you tell her your dog died and she responded with “Tough. How much did you bill today?” That would be a bit cold. Without further details, your post seems to be an example of how women are labeled “bitches” for the same behavior that earns men far more favorable titles.

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I find that a number of these replies are not especially helpful, but again, all of this. I’m pretty sure Associate 1 is a member of PTAF. (Moment of levity was needed)

Was in a similar situation and found this partner giving me like 80% of my workload. The only out for me was to start working for other partners. I found out much later that she just didn’t find me “serious enough”. It took some work to find new partners but I’m much happier now. Ironically, now that we rarely if ever work together and I’m not dependent on her for my work, she’s much nicer to me.

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As an associate, I worked with a male a** who had gone through dozens of associates before me. I worked for him almost exclusively. I couldn’t take his abuse any longer. I went to a partner very well respected who didn’t put up with BS. He and the firm managing partner went to the jerk and told him I’m off all his cases. I never worked with him again, made partner over his objection, passed him by in compensation, and had every leadership position at the firm that he wanted and never held. He finally left.

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Wow, that’s an amazing story. Good for you for sticking with the firm and outlasting the asshole.

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Have you talked to her about it? Maybe she just doesn’t know that’s how she makes you feel. I work with a partner like that and addressed it directly (in a respectful way, of course). I phrased it as how his behavior made me feel instead of accusing him of being mean. He apologized and has been quite pleasant to work with since.

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People might surprise you. Or not. If it’s the latter, then at least you know you tried. Hang in there.

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Based on your comments I think you should start looking for a new job or at least try to work with different partners. People like this partner generally don’t change. The fact that she has a revolving door of associates pretty much gives away that she is a lost cause. Why work for somebody like that? There are better people to work for at your firm or elsewhere.

Find a partner who is respected, genuinely liked, approachable and preferably a rainmaker, seek advice. I often help others in your situation. I don’t cause waves but approach the partner to let them know the perceptions (ok reality) and offer suggestions on ways to improve, and I follow up. I don’t want to lose any more valued associates because of my partners’ poor behavior. Short of hitting it head on or not working for the partner anymore, there is not an effective solution. It might be that she is over stressed and pulled in a million directions, and barely hanging on. If that is the case she needs to find solutions to improve her situation. Wish I could help.

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