Interview 51: It’s bad to cheap out when you’re in trouble.

This interview was one of those places I’m not really sad didn’t go better. A multistate construction company called me up about an application I had sent in.. truth is, I had actually applied there a couple times, but as I was to find out there was a reason I never heard anything back from them.

So I get a call from HR on a Friday afternoon and we start talking. She was a very easy person to talk to and I had enough interesting and pertinent things to bring up so that I was able keep the conversation moving along. At a certain point the HR person sorta hesitates and asks “So… uh… how much do you know about our company?” I sorta laughed slightly and said I had researched them enough to see that they had their hands full with a number of significant legal issues. In fact, there were a great number of recent news articles talking about some horrible employment issues they were being sued over and certain government offices were getting involved as well as some other internal strife that sounded as if a subsidiary was suing the parent company. It sounded like a really big mess.

The HR person suddenly acted as if a huge weight had been lifted off of them and the information came gushing forth. Apparently they had been worried because their marching orders were to ignore the information unless we were already aware of it. In effect, the HR person was a decent person because she was worried whoever she was interviewing wouldn’t know what they might be stepping into. It had turned out that the company had this job posted for several months prior, but no one in the legal department had the time over the last 3 months to look at a single application due to the massively increased workload brought about by the afore mentioned issues. That was in addition to the attrition of a couple people who decided the better course of action was to jump ship at that opportune moment.

So I was aware. It didn’t phase me mostly because I understood the litigation cycle they were going to be subject to and probably how to navigate it and reduce or at least ease the workload. So the HR person decided to fasttrack me to someone in legal after our interview. Almost as an afterthought they asked what I was looking for in terms of salary. I gave them a fair range, which honestly was on the rather low end for in-house; in fact the range included me taking a pay cut from my prior positions. Two days later I get a call back, and the call started by saying, before we get too far in, I wanted to tell you the salary range for this position. They said 70-80. I actually laughed slightly and said, “Oh.. no. Sorry. I’m not interested in anything close to that.” I followed it up saying I made more than that in my first job as an attorney, and considering what they were currently dealing with, they should seriously consider what caliber attorney they would be onboarding for that salary.

The person on the other end of the phone quite literally sighed. And said… ‘yeah. This isn’t anything I don’t know.’

Ouch. Sounds like I was dodging a bullet on this one. At least I saw it coming a mile away though.

Random Stories

One of the senior partners I used to work for had reached that unfortunate age when regardless of how good your eyes used to be, you now need reading glasses or bifocals or what-have-you. I too have sadly reached that point, but I digress. He didn’t wear glasses normally so he was able to get by with wearing those cheap reading glasses you buy at drug stores on the spinner rack.

The way he even found out about the cheap reading glasses was our paralegal had the same problem, and she used to buy the cheap reading glasses and had introduced him to the concept.

Unfortunately, the senior partner was also horribly absent minded about some things. And as mentioned in other posts on here, his organizational methods were… not organized. He would put down his reading glasses on his desk and they would in effect, be nearly instantly covered by a small avalanche of paper, disguising them from view until someone attempted to move the mountain of papers.

As luck would have it, our paralegal had effectively the same strength reading glasses as the senior partner and they were rather fast friends, so he would often borrow her glasses. The problem was, her reading glasses were purple rhinestone bedazzled spectacles, and the senior attorney was very absent minded. So he would put them on to read something, completely forget he had them on, and then walk into a deposition or client meeting wearing the purple bedazzled spectacles, generally looking insane.

The paralegal thought it was hilarious and often just didn’t mention it to him. In truth, it made my day a little brighter as well.

Interview 50: Mixed Messages

I had an interview recently with a huge multinational corporation. Had the standard phone screen and got passed up the chain until I had an interview with the General Counsel for the Americas and Asia. It was a very interesting interview primarily because the corporation was a European based corp, the counsel I was talking to was in S. America, and I would have been working remotely but based in a state across the country on paper.

The interview went fantastic. In truth, I haven’t had an interview like this in forever… if ever. The two of us seemed to hit it off instantly and we were both bouncing around conversation topics, both professional and some personal related, with extreme ease. Our conversation was so interesting that we blew through the interview time and talked a fair bit longer and had to reconnect with another zoom call to keep going. Eventually, another appointment intruded and the GC had to finally go, but they specifically mentioned it was one of the highlights of interviewing that they’ve had. And it definitely was for me as well.

I sent along a very thought out thank you note and a few days later I got a phone call from HR. I had technically applied for 2 positions with the company. One as a Sr. Counsel and one as Lit Management attorney. HR called me up a few days after the interview with the GC to tell me that they were going to remove me from the applicant pool of the Sr. Counsel position… and that I might get a notification that I was rejected, but to ignore it as that was just how their system worked.

Now, to me… that seems like a very good sign. I was being removed from the applicant pool of one job, one might assume because they were planning on hiring me for the other one. Right? Stands to reason.

Well we would both be wrong apparently. A couple weeks later I got an email rejecting me for the Sr. Counsel position, and then another email a handful of minutes later rejecting me from the Lit Management Counsel position as well. I’m not really sure what happened, but it seemed like I had the job and then somehow behind the scenes, it was taken away from me. Sorta sucks. The company sounded fantastic to work for.

Interview 49 – Variety

This was one of those odd stories where I honestly would love to know what the reason was that I was had been brought in. There had to be something, but I doubt I’ll ever find out. So I had previously applied for a fair number of jobs with the local municipal entity. I had prior background working for several other larger cities so I vaguely figured they would pick me up for something. They never did. Not that I didn’t interview with them from time to time. At this point, I think I had interviewed with some department or another on probably 3 different occasions.

Anyway, this particular time… I didn’t apply to anything. Instead one of the senior attorneys reached out to me directly and asked me to apply to a position. Far be it for me to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I rightly assumed they were interested in hiring me for this position specifically, based on seeing my resume in the general pool. So I shoot off the application on the city website and rather quickly have an interview setup.

I show up, and as this happens to be in the midst of COVID we are all sitting in a large room, strangely distant for each other. This wasn’t the 6 feet everyone was asked to give.. no. There were 3 interviewer, the senior attorney and two counsel, and a paralegal. And they were arrayed about 20 feet apart from each other in a circle, a very large circle, with me in the middle.

The interview went very well. It was a litigation position so we started sorta going back and forth on cases we had done. The senior counsel was asking questions which were basically just to show that you knew WTF you were talking about regarding the local scene. I.e. how many trials, what firms were you most often opposed, what’s your opinion on judges… basically things you’d only know if you actually worked in the area for awhile. The short version is I answered correctly and ultimately we were joking a bit back and forth about some of the opposing counsel and some judges. I had been working the state and federal side more than enough to be able to match anyone in the room. The interview went really well.

I never heard anything back from them. I don’t even think there was a rejection. Just silence. I think I was brought in to interview for a position they already had a candidate for, but they needed to pad the paperwork to show that they interviewed more than just their one person. I will never know, but that is my guess.

Interview 48 – Bad Timing

Sometimes, the right thing comes along at the wrong time.

I had just quit my more recent firm job because of COVID and conflicting family commitments. (read small children with no daycare). Anyway, without knowing how long things would be in the state they were with COVID, I figured I should try applying to jobs because it usually took months of applications and multiple interviews at various places before a decent offer was presented. In this case, I was wrong.

So within the first week after I start sending out applications I get a response back. A small construction company was asking me to interview for a general counsel position. It seemed interesting so I showed up and talked to everyone involved. It was a small operation, but they usually had a large workforce. Construction often has a core operations group and hires (potentially hundreds) of contract laborers when they are staffing up for a job. The company was nice, it had some rather clear ideas of where it wanted to go, had a good revenue stream, and everyone seemed super friendly (which is damn rare)… and they really wanted me. Within 2 days they sent me an offer.

The problem was… I had literally just quit my other job 2 weeks ago because there was no daycare to be found, and I was going to handle the kids until things started opening back up more normally. It would have been an awesome opportunity and I really liked the company… unfortunately it was the most perfectly bad timing. I really killed me but I had to turn them down because I didn’t actually expect anyone to move that quickly in the hiring process.

Short and cheap

I had a recruiter reach out to me, it was the corporate recruiter for a particular insurance company… not just the rando headhunter. They effectively said they needed people in my market and I had the experience they wanted, would I be interested. I honestly was not horribly, as I have been attempting to leave litigation (for reference, see a great many stories on this blog) hoping that other avenues of legal work would be less toxic.

I figured it was not a bad position, even if I might still be looking for something else. And there was always the possibility I would be surprised, however unlikely. Plus I had worked with other attorneys and adjusters from this insurance company collaboratively on other cases, and I had walked away with a generally positive view of the company. So I told the recruiter I was interested and ran through a phone screen with them.

The phone screen interview ended with them telling me that my experience was just what they were looking for and saying I was going to have a phone interview with the regional HR to move forward. Nearly the moment my candidate file was transferred, the interview process became confrontational.

Prior to even speaking to me, the regional HR sent me an email stating “I assume you have no trial experience.” Which was odd, especially since I had gone through a rather complete conversation with the prior HR person regarding my trial and litigation background. I shot off an email which dissuaded this new HR functionary of their assumptions with approximate numbers of trials and court jurisdictions.

The phone interview with HR #2 could almost be described as condescending and angry. At every question, they reminded me that they only had half an hour to speak, but would ask open ended questions which required explanation. Shortly into the interview they started telling me that they had two positions open, one senior, and one which would best be considered entry level. They then fielded the question of whether I would be open to the entry level position and stated the salary… which was less than I had been making at my first job, and about half of what I had been making at my prior job. I told them no, that was a non-starter. They then continued pressing for me to accept being submitted for the entry level position. I finally stated in no uncertain terms that I was uninterested in the entry level position. And their response? To say that it would be a good position to work up to the senior position and that I could email them back if I changed my mind. The interview pretty much was over at that point, they spent most of their time attempting to come up with reasons why my experience was not good enough, and basically I told them that I did in fact have that experience and more and, with a bit of a soft touch, that they didn’t know what they were talking about.

I got an email after the interview asking if I would be open to the senior position but at a reduced salary from what they had posted it at. In effect, hire me in at a senior level, and pay me entry level. Apparently they decided to ultimately pass on my application.

Needless to say, my positive opinion of the company has changed.

Interview 47 – An old acquaintance, a job, and the end of the world

My BigFirm job was rotting on the vine, and I was desperate to find something that would get me out of their office. Mind you, I think I could have stayed there for quite a bit longer before they finally kicked me out. Plus as we all found out in March of 2020… work was about to get a lot weirder.

At this point, I was reaching out to any old colleague I could remember trying to find someone who was hiring that will get me out of my empty BigLaw office. I started reaching out to <shudder> headhunters, just on the off chance they had something worthwhile.

In this limited instance… someone did.

A headhunter I spoke to contacted me back and told me she had a smaller branch office that needed someone ASAP. I figured it was going to be another crap offering like every other one a headhunter had offered up for me, but she told me the managing attorney’s name… and I did a double take. I knew the guy. And he was a really nice guy. He had been opposing counsel on a big case I had been involved with years ago. Sometimes you walk away from a case and just really like who you work with; in litigation, it is damn rare. It happens, but not frequently. This had been one of those rare instances.

We had a phone interview, where we both started chatting quite literally about old times and the people we knew in common and what had happened in the interim since the case we had both been on had ended. We met up for coffee at Starbucks as the ‘formal’ interview and he said I was hired if I wanted it. He showed up to the interview in sweats and a T-shirt as he was a krav maga instructor and was showing up after class to talk with me. The more I found out about him, the more I liked him. I told him the full disclosure of what was going on at my current firm. I liked the guy too much not to disclose something which could still come back to bite me. He listened and said that none of those people were clients of his firm, so fuck ’em. He didn’t care but he appreciated the honesty.

I quit the BigLaw firm and I am sure several people breathed a huge sigh of relief. I’m sure it was completely coincidental (a friend later told me it wasn’t) but the day after I put in notice, the office for the first time since I had started working there sent out a mass email saying they were having a happy hour and the first drink was being bought by the managing partner. I didn’t go. On my last day there, I think there were all of three people I said bye to who might notice I was missing. I only told one where I was going… and that attorney swore he wouldn’t tell anyone he knew where I went.

The new firm I started at was a midsize regional firm. Probably 50 attorneys in the main office, but I was in the satellite office, and there were only 4 or 5 of us. I say 4 or 5 because one attorney was in the process of retiring and was trying the tie up the last very few cases he couldn’t disentangle from; so he was nearly never there — which was a shame cause he was hilarious. It was a great office. I honestly liked everyone I was working with. The managing attorney was a great guy with tons of experience and very approachable. The rest of the team were snarky and funny and right up my alley. And my office had a beautiful view. I felt like I had finally clicked. The only weird part about the office was that I had to take 3 different elevators to get to it every day. It had apparently at one point in the past been a tiny museum of sorts and therefore was weirdly difficult to access for security purposes. The building wasn’t going to renovate just to fix access to the floor just because the museum left, but ultimately that too.. sorta added to the charm of the office. It was eclectic, and so were the people.

I started at my new firm Mid-February 2020. After about three weeks in that nice office, I pretty much never saw the inside of it again.

The Big Story IV – the weird postscript

I hadn’t heard anything from my former boss in forever. I knew he had won the arbitration, I had a general idea as to how much he probably got out of the case (mid-high 7 figures), but there was pretty much radio silence. I figured, as seemed to be the usual with him, he would blow into town, and call for dinner with veritably no forewarning, and we’d catch up for an hour or two and then I wouldn’t hear from him for another year or two.

That didn’t happen this time. Instead I got a call from the primary state Bar Ethics Counsel. To their credit, once they identified who they were, the first thing they said was, “this isn’t a call about you.” Its like getting a phone call from the morgue and the first thing they say is, ‘don’t worry, no one you know died.’

So the pending heart attack at being called by the Bar was averted, but then they told me why they were calling. Or at least, as much as they could tell me about why they were calling. To start, the way they had my name in the first place was because I had signed something they were interested in… never a good start to a conversation like this. Also, not as weird as one might first think. The firm had specifically told the associates that we were supposed to be present in the office specifically in part so that when the partners were not there (which was often) we would sign in their stead on paperwork. The partners used this utility extensively, potentially on purpose to create a smokescreen / barrier much like what was playing out.

They asked if I remembered signing a certain paperwork, and my response was something to the effect of “No, but I am rather sure I did. I signed a lot of those while I worked there.” Bar counsel seemed both unhappy that was going on, but also happy I had just fit an integral piece together for them in their case.

Turns out they were investigating my former boss. I got the general story, half of which sounded like bullshit that had been levied at him by our former law firm, but half of it sounded… well… plausible. Likely even. I had a long talk with the Bar Counsel. In the end, they said I might be required to testify as they were moving on him.

A decent amount of the claim against him was, to me at least, effectively fabricated / generated by our prior law firm. But, there were other things that definitely were not. He had apparently tried to strike out as a solo with a single associate and his paralegals, and he was not organized enough to really run a business. He never was, it just wasn’t in his skillset — which is fine. Not everyone needs to have OCD levels of organization so long as they realize they need someone else’s help with it. He never really got to the acceptance stage of needing help in that regard.

His organization in his office when I knew him involved 2 cardboard boxes, one for recycling, and one for the overflow from the mountain of important papers falling off his desk. He did not always throw the papers into the correct box. To give another example… he had 3 phones in his office. The landline, his personal cell, and the firm provided cell. The office landline was veritably dusty with disuse, but it was also the number on your business card. For the whole time I was there, the ‘messages’ light was blinking. I happened to mention to him one day he had messages and he dismissively said something along the lines of “oh, I forget what the code is…” Being the helpful person I am, I told him all of the phones in the office used the same pin (apparently he didn’t listen to any of the training). His interest was peaked, so I put his phone on speaker and typed in the code. The first message started playing and it said the date on it (on an un-listened to message in a law firm to a lawyer…) was from over a year prior. He realized the gravity of that moment and quickly picked up the handset and put it back down cutting off the speakerphone and hanging up. He then sort of said something to the effect of ‘I’ll have to get to those’…

The complaints against him, in part, sounded like he had not been able to transition to a more organized business style. He had also done something… questionable… with some accounts owed, which tied back to the other firm. Which is what I think they really nailed him for in the end.

I ended up with another few phone calls with the Bar Counsel. Ultimately I didn’t have to testify, but only because they reached an agreement with my former boss. He was ‘suspended from the practice of law for 5 years.’ Disbarred. Last I heard, he took off and moved across country. I haven’t heard from him since I testified at his employment arbitration sadly.

He had problems, but he really was a great attorney and a really nice guy.

Et Tu Brute? (I am Milton pt. 2)

She handed me a printout of the email. It was amazingly short for something attempting to end my career.

Basically, the claims office of my former insurance company employer, wrote a note to my brand spanking new employer 2 days before I showed up for my first day of work there. In effect, it stated that they refused to work with me, I was blacklisted, and nothing of theirs should be given to me to work on. There was a phone call or two that the managing attorney admitted to me as well. But the end result was that he decided I was radioactive and maybe I would just disappear on my own if he ignored me.

Before I go farther, I will say that when I left the insurance company, it was on good terms. I had been offered a ridiculously good career move which I would have been insane to decline. I had a small going away party from the other attorneys… I honestly counted them all as friends. I found out the below piecemeal over several months.

The insurance company’s legal office had been expanding and the managing attorney was having difficulty managing the office and the seams were showing a bit, we were crushed with work which was unrelenting and we kept getting empty promises of more help coming ‘soon’; that and a particularly good job market meant several attorneys and staff ended up jumping ship to better and higher paying positions elsewhere. At the time, I think I was the second attorney out the door of what shortly turned into a small exodus. At the end of it, half of the 20 attorneys in the legal office and about half a dozen paralegals left within the short span of 3 months.

I was aware of some of this. I was still in infrequent contact with people there. I had lunch with them from time to time because they were friends. They knew when I got shafted from the BigLaw office, and I even got a half-hearted offer to come back.

What I didn’t know was the backend result of everyone leaving. The office, which had been overloading the attorneys with twice the docket of cases as we should have had, could hardly absorb the excess work left when they lost one or two attorneys, let alone half the office. The overflow of cases was sent to the legal office the next large city over to help with… and it swamped them and spilled over to a third larger city attempting to stem the torrent. All referrals by the claims office to the legal office were halted for 6 months and all new cases were sent to outside counsel to handle (expensive!@!). At the end of it all, the insurance company paid out some ridiculous amount over a high 7-figures in legal fees to deal with all their hundreds of overflow case work with outside counsel, as well as an unknown amount in fast settlement of cases which would have otherwise been litigated or minimally litigated to a more acceptable settlement number. In short, they hemorrhaged money over this.

The managing attorney was forced to retire over this ordeal. Apparently, in an attempt to save his job, he pointed the finger at everyone who had already left, stating it must have been a conspiracy to bring down the office… obviously perpetrated by the people who had left.

Relatively fatal to this theory, none of us went to the same firm, nor did we all leave at the same time. Everyone left because they overloaded us with twice the workload that could be reasonably managed, and the job market was booming. My salary was boosted by 1/3 by leaving. It came down to the fact that at the end of the day, they just weren’t a very good employer.

The claims office (which I did not work for) did not see it that way. Apparently everyone who left became persona non-gratis. We were all blacklisted, and some story was generally accepted that we had all left at once to get back at the insurance company for some perceived wrong.

They reached out while I was working for my friend and tried to blacklist me there. When she told them it wasn’t a problem because I was leaving shortly, she made the mistake of telling them where I was going. They then reached out before I even started working at the BigLaw firm to blacklist me there.

I hired an employment attorney.

This did not sit well with my current employer. Suing a current client is rife with sticky ethical problems. The firm was terrified it would lose the contract. On my end of it, I had no other choice. I was being pushed out of the auto defense industry by one of its biggest players for the horrible crime of quitting my job at their company (with like a months notice… the gall.)

This all came to a head when I was called in by the supervising attorney again around month 6. He stated in a rather matter of fact tone that I still wasn’t pulling in the hours I needed to be. I looked around the room at the 3 people in the meeting with me, and realized they were all on the email which had circulated. I suddenly became much calmer and said, “well I guess we can all drop the pretense because we all know why I don’t have any fucking work, don’t we.” The meeting was short. They didn’t have any of the other scheduled meetings that day after mine was over… or if they did they got canceled in a big hurry to call the home office.

If I had little to do before, I had even less to do after that meeting. I spoke with the managing attorney a few times, it went about as well as you might think. Hostile, guarded, paranoid. They apparently decided there was more then enough here for some sort of employment suit so they sat back and decided continuing to pay my salary until I got bored and left was worth the expense. As luck would have it, I still had copies of a lot of information internal to the insurance company, which included email for everyone damn near up to the CEO level – which was a lot of people. A few emails blasted out to high enough levels got their attention along with a letter from my employment attorney. I never wanted to sue them, just to get them to back off and leave me alone. The generic accord of “we’ll leave you alone if you agree not to file an employment suit” was reached. I told them I didn’t want to sue, I just wanted them to stop fucking with my career over someone’s retarded fantasy. It was signed off by a VP in the company whom I knew.

I had already been applying to other jobs since I had been expecting to be fired for months. The first offer I got, I jumped ship. I probably could have continued on there for quite a bit longer, sitting in the far, small office with no work… forgotten and ignored.

I bought myself a red stapler which sits on my desk to this day as a reminder of my time at that firm.

I am Milton.

I haven’t written in a long time on here… I figured I would add a few posts related to what I’ve been doing in the meantime. I’ll start with a big one… strap in.

So I got hired into a BigLaw shop. They didn’t pay like true BigLaw, but they had the size on their side and are one of the largest in the country. You may have even heard of them. Anyway, the local office is one of the larger they have. It has several floors in a nice steel and black glass building, sitting ominously and incongruously off to the side and separate from any other high rises.

My interview wasn’t all that special. The firm was hoovering up nearly any loose attorney in the area and was growing the office at ridiculous speed. I spoke with the managing attorney. He pulled in another partner and asked if I would be ok also working in other specialties outside my experience, specifically employment, because they might want to use me with this other partner from time to time. I said sure, sounds interesting; I’ve never even looked sideways at employment law but, sure… why not.

I had previously worked as in-house counsel at an auto insurance company, and I was being hired-in primarily to work on auto insurance defense, notably because the firm had just recently acquired a contract to work with my previous company. The obvious conclusion being that I already knew what they wanted, how they wanted it, and also knew many of the names at the insurance company still.

I got a nice little office overlooking the highway, where I could watch the rush hour jam and get a front row seat to more car accidents than you can imagine. For the first month, I did nothing. Everyone kept telling me not to worry and to enjoy the spare time because the work would come, and I would be drinking from the firehose in no time.

For the second month, I did nothing. Everyone told me not to worry, it was busy and likely I would be assigned my docket soon. The managing partner was swamped and between the various lead partners, it would be anytime when the work would be poured on.

For the third month, I did nothing. At this point, other people started to notice. It was sorta that weird sidelong glance, where everyone seems to know something is off, but no one is really sure what is happening.

Now, when I say I did nothing, that’s not 100% accurate. I would wander the hallways of this BigLaw office and just poke my head into several peoples offices whom I had gotten to know, and see if they had anything extra they needed help on. A motion here. An appeal to research and write. Effectively odd jobs other people didn’t have time for. What I did not do, was auto insurance defense. Pretty much nothing. Which was weird since that was what I was hired for. I also did a couple jobs for the employment partner, but that didn’t last long. The reason they had wanted to know if I would be willing to do stuff for him was because it turned out he was infamous in the area (one of the largest cities in the country) for being an asshole; like a big chunk of attorneys in the city. Attorneys who didn’t even practice employment law knew him, and would say “oh yeah. I’ve heard of him… he’s an asshole.” It was uncanny. Anyway, it didn’t take long to verify for myself that he was, in fact, a raging asshole. Everyone who worked with him quit in short order (with the exception of one associate, and although the associate immediately agreed the partner was the biggest asshole he had ever met, had decided to tie his wagon to him simply because the associate quickly became indispensable to the firm because no one else would work with this partner. In fact the managing attorney had promised him that if he stayed with said asshole, he guarantied he would fasttrack the associate to partner in 3 years if he wouldn’t quit during that time.)

After a few run-ins with the employment partner earlier on, I asked the supervising attorney of the office not to assign me work from him any longer. The best part was, he said “why not?” I responded, “you know why.” He laughed, and said “yeah– yeah I do… but I figured I would ask anyway.” It wasn’t an unusual request in the office as it turned out. Apparently, if you were an attorney, you put your foot down and said ‘I don’t want to work with him’ (several partners had apparently said the same thing) or if you were staff, you just quit because you had no choice sadly. I felt really bad for his paralegals.

Anyway… I got into a slightly sad routine of wandering the halls looking for something to do. Taking long lunches, and in general surfing the internet. I spoke to the managing partner several times, and I always got the same “be patient, its coming” general statement with no real explanation of when. This explanation however, made no sense. For a short walk from my office was the other attorney who was hired in at the same exact date I was, who was slated to take on half of this insurance defense contract from my prior employer… and he was drowning in work. Yet at one point he told me he wasn’t allowed to give me any files to work on.

Something was wrong. My title had been changed, basically I had originally been hired in as a XXXXX Attorney and now I was a General Practice Attorney. I also wasn’t attached to a partner, which I didn’t actually realize was an issue until the required quarterly Associate’s (grievance) meeting. Basically all the associates were required to show up and air their grievances to the senior associate who theoretically would bring the issues to the managing partner to maybe (unlikely) rectify. Everyone went around the room and introduced themselves and stated which partner they were attached to, and when it got to me, I said I wasn’t attached to anyone and didn’t realize that was an issue but that I might have to talk to the senior associate about that. I had a conversation with her the next day and she told me to GTFO of the firm ASAP because something was wrong but she had no idea what, but it couldn’t be good.

Month 4… still fuck all. I felt like I had surfed to the end of the internet during work hours. I had been doing motions on esoteric topics I had zero background with, but I was trying to keep busy. During this time, I had an ever changing paralegal. Why ever changing you ask? Well, it became known pretty quickly that I had no docket and therefore very minimal work, so if someone needed a bit of a break, they would be assigned to me. By this point, everyone knew something was wrong. There was more than enough work, but none of it was getting to me. And then the first hammer fell.

The supervising attorney had a meeting with me and told me I just wasn’t pulling the hours I needed to. I looked at him directly and said, well nothing is being assigned to me… at all. He seemed to think (pretended) that was a little odd, said he’d look into it, but he stuck to the story that somehow it must be me who was not doing something. After this meeting there was about a week of people giving me more work, and once again it tapered off to nothing, regardless of me pestering them.

Round about month 5, I was talking to my paralegal du jour, she was the 7th-ish paralegal I’d had by this point. And she told me that she was quitting the firm. I looked at her and asked if it was anything I had done… she laughed and said how could it have been anything I had done since I don’t have any work. I also laughed and said, well, you never know — I just wanted to be sure.

Without going into detail on some of the personal parts of her story, she was attractive, and had been hired in to work for the managing attorney over the objection of the HR manager of the office. The HR manager then started spreading rumors that the paralegal was sleeping with the managing attorney and that’s how she got her job. This continued until eventually the ‘home office’ got involved and basically slapped down the HR manager (yet somehow didn’t fire them!?). Apparently it was only a short reprieve because the HR manager was just quieter about spreading the rumors. The managing attorney chose to distance himself from the paralegal and the perceived impropriety by sending the paralegal over to work with me, the other person who was apparently damaged goods in the office.

I initially asked why she was quitting, and at first she didn’t want to say. I told her I wasn’t long for the office either as I was going to either get fired or would have to quit. She asked why, I told her I had no work and thus no hours so it was only a matter of time. Without missing a beat, she looked sort of quizzically at me and said, “Well, you know why, don’t you?” I said no. And without pausing she said, when you first came on– there was this email…