Anyone else feel like the punching bag for many of the overwhelmed senior attorneys? High hours and formal positive reviews. However, I feel that the constant day-to-day rudeness, passive aggressiveness and jabs take a mental toll on me. They are generally nice to work with but I feel when things get busy, they tend to lash out at the more junior attorneys including myself.

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There’s one guy like this at my firm that everyone avoids like the plague

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Same. We have a senior associate like that and she only ever works with brand new first years because after a few experiences working with her/once new associates have enough on their plate to say no, no one will ever work with her again.

Not normal for people to do this - this should be the exception, not the rule. If you can avoid working with those people, you should.

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Same as Associate 1 and Attorney 1: we have people at my firm who do this (not many of them) and they almost exclusively work with juniors because everyone else has been burned by them and avoids them at all costs.

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Yes^^^ exactly

If they otherwise go to bat for you (like in addition to formal reviews — looking out for good opportunities, advocating for you behind your back), then I would try to reframe things in your head.

I think it can be helpful to remember we are all human and they have pressure on them. I also like that senior attorneys trust me enough to feel like they can share frustrations, etc. — even though those are sometimes directed at me (or become my problem to clean up).

Absorbing senior attorneys’ stress when things are chaotic can be tough, but also can be a kindness to them. If someone is treating you like a punching bag all the time (even when stuff isn’t chaotic), I think that’s a problem. It’s also not okay if they are abusive, even in chaos. But if people are a little harsher and have shorter patience when down to the wire, I think that’s just because they are stressed and this job is difficult. It’s not because of you.

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I hear this and agree to a certain extent, but when the person becomes outright verbally beligerant (screaming and cursing) the cons outweigh the pros. Even of they go to bat for you. It becomes harder to depersonalize the behavior.

They are also going to bat for you because they know they have few people in their corner.

smart

Yep. Working with a brutal partner who is making the senior miserable who is making me miserable. I feel bad for the senior but it’s not fair to take it out on me. Won’t work with either again.

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I experienced a NEP like that as a recent lateral (fourth year). I now avoid him like the plague whenever I can. There are a couple other ones like that, and I avoid them. Those problematic partners are constantly complaining to the managing partner and the section leader that they lack associates and that they can’t get anyone staffed on their files. One started trying to commandeer associates from other practice groups too because nobody will work with him. We just all choose not to work with them. All other partners ask before staffing us on new matters, and we usually say yes. It’s gotten so bad that the managing partner has to order us to work with the problematic 3 because if we were asked, we’d all say no. One screamed at me and slammed things around, and I politely told him to never speak that way to me again. Ever since then, we avoid eye contact, but I’m forced to work with him again because my section leader told me I need to do 2 new matters for him since nobody else will volunteer. As a lateral, I’m the lowest on the rung so I’m stuck with him.

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I had the same experience in the lateral firm with a senior associate.

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