Ladies, I desperately need advice. My law firm merged with another, larger, firm just over a year ago. Culturally, it’s a big shift, and the leader of my practice group is male and I seem to have gotten off on the wrong foot with him. I have been practicing law for >25 years, but he treats me like I am a rookie and not a very good one at that. He’s one of those people who is extremely transparent about he feels about someone; for example, (cont in comments)

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Be strong and remember you are smart, accomplished and a kick butt lawyer. I went through this. I had a successful male partner who despised me. It was hard some days but I kept my chin high and cranked out awesome work. He talked about me behind my back, he wrote a horrible memo about me to management that was full of lies, he made up lies about what clients said about me. Everyone knew this was him because the firm lost associate after associate because of him. I had great mentors who wanted to protect me and had little respect for him. Ultimately, my success depended on me. I joined the firm in 97 and am still here. He finally left last year. The beauty is I made partner over his objection. He wanted to be on the compensation committee and I was selected for five years - not him. He wanted to be on the management committee and I was selected for five years - not him. He wanted to be litigation section chair and I was selected for five years - not him. Once I became a director he became a fleck - if even that. He is now at a new firm with no business and about to retire because he has no work. I have a ton of work and made my successes happen. Please fight through this. Please do not let him win. You were raised to rise above - do it. Some day’s will be so hard but you are amazing and can soar past him. I wish I could sit in your office everyday and help you get to the other side. If others left due to him there have to be open ears in today’s world at your firm. The firm has to be tired of him. There have to be successful lawyers who want you to stay and will help you. Find those ears and stay strong. He needs to be called out by management for his immature and belittling conduct. You can do this!!!!

likeupliftinghelpful

Sim eu sei
Uni

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“Other women (associates, not partners) have left because of him”.

That is what’s wrong: Him. Not you or any of those other women. If I were you I’d gather evidence against him and present it to whatever your firm uses as HR. He is a liability as he is incapable of working in a respectful manner with women. Also, how does he deal with female clients? I’m assuming your new larger firm must have some women clients. Or does he dismiss them as well?

This is not an issue that you need to fix for him. He needs to fix himself and if he cannot, then he needs to leave.

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I agree 100% with Capital One. Document, take written statements from those who left because of him, video tape meetings, write the story and present it to HR . But first, provide the and names and dates of meetings along with your recap (story) in one email, requesting an appointment to file this grievance ASAP.
Also, you might ask around find out if he has close connections with anyone in HR . Use discretion.

likehelpful

Do you have strong relationships with leaders of other practice groups? I agree with both answers above - and you also need his colleagues to be your champion.

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Well, can you confront him his style? I mean it sounds like he is a bully, and he is intentionally picking on you. So you should just fight back

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I Agree! I would sit down and explain how his actions are affecting you and ask him how he thinks you can build (or rebuild) the relationship. Always take the high road and don’t “play” at his level. I would agree that you should also document what was said at this meeting.

Good luck!

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Sorry you are going through this. Know that in M&A there are big losers and big winners. Sadly this is part of transactions. I know it hurts as it is happening to you. Make sure you know the game you are in and the politics. It sounds complex. Maybe think about parallel Strategies one is how to deal with him at your firm, the other I would create options for yourself in the market you don’t have to take them but put out feelers-it will get your confidence back and you will feel more empowered at your firm and I always have plan C which is if the firm exits me I know my $ and other demands. Having strategies and options both inside and outside your firm o suspect will help you regain your power. Avoid doing nothing as this means it will continue to happen to you - which is not fair or right but I see it often as I work in transaction services. Good luck and remind yourself 25 years as a lawyer and female gender that is gold in the market place !

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he’s left me out of meetings and other groups; in meetings, he will disparage all ideas I contribute, and then ask everyone for their opinion except for me (this is very noticeable and embarrassing). He’s also the type of person whose body language is a dead giveaway of how he feels about someone, and so whenever I speak you can tell how irritated he is by the look on his face. All of this behavior has really affected my confidence and well being. I used to love my career, but have gotten to the point where this has taken a significant toll on my life, both at and outside of work. Other women (associates, not partners) have left because of him and for similar reasons. They were left out, made to feel less than, etc. I’ve tried talking to him about this but he dismisses me and acts like he doesn’t understand a word I am saying. I don’t want to leave my firm, but I don’t know how long I’m able to live like this.

Has anyone dealt with something like this? What kinds of things can I try to improve the situation I’m in?

Yes you are marked and he is targeting to remove you. It’s the cold hard reality but that happens in these new boss/ M&A deals. Start getting your ducks in a row to move on.

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I may have a different view in that try to a point else find peace and quit . There is no point constantly proving to a system that doesn’t value you . This is called the Tom Sawyers painting the fence effect - many kids lost everything they had to paint because it looked unattainable and attractive when it was mundane . Find another boss

Agree with all. Get your ducks in a row but also flag to HR. You are a lawyer so would know better but this sounds like exactly the type of behavior that is called out in all those trainings about a hostile workplace. If he has marked you then at least start building up the case for a favorable exit package.

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