{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Posted a few days ago about lateraling to a firm to work for a rain maker and having been put on a deal with him alone (first deal at the new firm). Subsequent to the scolding emails we finally managed to almost close at 18:00 on Friday only to realise that the numbers didn’t add. The same document that I screwed up before led to one entity paying the wrong amount. I’ve never ran a deal alone as a first year and the partner has been MIA for most of the deal. Long story short (cont in comments) -", "post_id": "60fbc66a956b3a0022aa30cf", "reply_count": 25, "vote_count": 15, "bowl_id": "5df70ed2f7169f002b172d3f", "bowl_name": "Big Law" }

Posted a few days ago about lateraling to a firm to work for a rain maker and having been put on a deal with him alone (first deal at the new firm). Subsequent to the scolding emails we finally managed to almost close at 18:00 on Friday only to realise that the numbers didn’t add. The same document that I screwed up before led to one entity paying the wrong amount. I’ve never ran a deal alone as a first year and the partner has been MIA for most of the deal. Long story short (cont in comments) -

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The only person who will remember this experience with any meaningful detail is you. Worse people have made bigger mistakes and have recovered. They set you up for failure. This doesn't define you. Have a short memory.

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The first line of this post is the best and truest response.

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I’m so sorry this happened to you. Partners ultimately have to take responsibility for their subordinates. This deal did not blow up because of your mistakes alone. Rather, the partner should have known better than to dump all the responsibility on you and disappear, especially since you were only a first year. Do you have a paper trail of his being mostly MIA? I would save all those emails. Depending on the culture of the firm, they might still try to blame you, but hopefully they will come to their senses and realize that this partner was (arguably??) mostly to blame. When I was a first year I got completely yelled at for something that wasn’t even my mistake about 3 weeks or so after I started. After I fixed things, the partner calmed down and eventually said that this conversation never happened. It was traumatizing enough I never forgot about it, but I try to remind myself that no matter how bad you think you messed up, it’s not the end of the world. We’re lawyers, not surgeons. People will live. Try to take it easy this weekend, and hopefully the partner will have calmed down by Monday to more civilly discuss how to fix the situation and avoid similar mistakes going forward. Hang in there, OP!

likeupliftinghelpful

I received another massive lashing over email from the partner (and another partner from the corporate side called to ask why this happened and just put the phone down in my ear). Spoke to a senior associate who agrees as a first year I should never have had to run the deal alone but it is what it is now and the whole deal was a disaster because of me and my mistakes. It sounds dramatic but I have not stopped crying and don’t know how I’m going to recover from this and get my reputation back. Anyone else had a deal blow up because of their mistakes alone?

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Thank you all for the words of wisdom, encouragement and advice! Having lateraled (and still working remotely) it’s difficult to know who to confide in so this bowl has been my biggest support/answer guru. I’ve looked at all the comments (previous post and this one) and agree with what everyone is saying (and appreciate those who say it’s not my fault). The tears have stopped flowing and I think first priority now is to gain a bit of distance from this partner and get my confidence back by targeting less senior partners and/or senior associates to work with for a while. Although the new firm is great, the partner is not what I expected but hey, you win some, you lose some. Once I hit the one year mark I’ll definitely look to make a move if things get worse. Thanks for the support!

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Recruiter here. Honestly you might be better lateraling at 1 month vs 1 year. The pitch I’d shoot for as a recruiter is — she lateraled (not with me because I don’t send people to this shitty partner) and it was a quick disaster. If you leave at a year you look like a serial jumper. Just my thoughts but would depend more on situation / resume / etc.

I know it’s hard, but really do not take the lashing personally. They are stressed and angry and taking it out on you. Which is not OK, but you are a first year who was told to run wild with a deal, weren’t getting responses and you had no idea what you were doing. Law is a craft and they should have known better. Is there any way to find a partner who you haven’t worked yet to talk to you and give you advice? This partner sounds like a nightmare. I would try to find a way to get out from under him.

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1. Don’t cry. You’re a junior associate and it’s frankly the partner’s fault for putting you in that situation. In the future, if he does something foolish again, go to a reliable senior associate or junior partner and they will help you navigate the deal. 2. As long as you took ownership and fell on your sword, people will respect you for trying. Chances are you aren’t the first person who works for this partner to mess up. Take it as a learning opportunity.

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This is not your fault. I’ve worked several years in both biglaw and in-house. Any partner who tried to blame mistakes on their associates to a client, let alone a first year associate, would get laughed at and then promptly fired as outside counsel. Literally, does partner think clients are hiring biglaw firms so that they can put what everyone knows is an attorney in training in charge of complicated matters? It’s pathetic and bordering on malpractice. I assume he’s blaming you internally but would never dare do so externally, which means he knows whose fault it really is, and is just lashing out at you because he’s an asshole and he can. I’m a little confused re the corporate partners - does it seem like they’re on your side or are they also trying to blame you for making totally expected mistakes that a first year would make? Hang in there. I hope you find better people to work for, either at your current firm or elsewhere.

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Agreed with this. When I was inhouse we rolled our eyes at the first year billed hours because it’s essentially double billing with the partner. If there was a mistake and the partner blamed a first year, I would fire that outside counsel on the spot. Even with fourth years, if there was a mistake I’d look at how the partner also billed time for review and question what his hours were reviewing for. There is no matter so small that a first year should run it with no supervision. Unless you are a retooled 7th year as a 1st year in a new practice. From client side, your partner looked like an ass and any hours he billed now looks fraudulent.

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I agree with everyone else that it is not your fault. Best thing to have done/do in the future is leave a solid paper trail: follow up emails, call records, etc. that show you tried your best to get the partner's attention. Also, ask other people in your group even if not on the deal. They still will know what you're doing a helluva lot better than you do and may try to help you. Immediately start looking elsewhere. I'm a third year and I still get nervous working directly with partners though I regularly do that now leading deals. As a first year, I NEEDED the supervision of a mid-level or senior associate because they're the ones that were carefully reviewing work product and ensuring that numbers matched, etc.

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This is crazy - first years can barely lead disclosure schedules

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Lateral and don’t look back.

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Thank you again for the support! I feel infinitely better about my situation/work life in general since posting here and feel like I know what my next steps should be! But mostly glad to hear that maybe this wasn’t all my fault 100%

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This was absolutely not your fault. You are a first year. The partner who was in charge sounds incompetent, frankly, which is why he's a rainmaker and not running deals. He will never help develop you in the way that you need to. If you can't branch out to work for other junior partners, you can absolutely leave this place. The market is hot and much better firms can train you. Working under a rainmaker should be reserved for NEPs who want to make equity, frankly. Again- not your fault at all.

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Yea that's true. I guess I meant incompetent as being so out of touch with actually practicing law that he believes a first year can run a deal alone.

Partners have every right to criticize your work and tell you how to improve in the future. They do not have the right to yell or belittle you. First year or not, rainmaker partner or not, that’s simply unacceptable. I would tell the partner you realize you made a mistake and will not repeat it, but that you will be treated professionally going forward if you’re going to continue working with him. If that’s is a problem for that partner, I would start looking for a new job again.

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