Friday, June 16, 2006

Fighting Stance

Although I was highly resistant, and close to teetering over the edge into visible, open defiance, I attended the meeting, but I came on my guard and ready to fight. Prior to the start of the meeting, when it was just I and the senior associate (who I like, but who dangerously happens to be a master delegator), the senior associate asked me how I was doing. I said, "fine," and bit the inside of my mouth to stop myself from ranting about FBH.

Then he asked me what else I was working on, and I frankly informed him about my asylum case crisis and the fact that FBH had been a nightmare, but that she had finally backed off a little bit over the course of the day. I told him straight out that I absolutely, under no circumstances, should be doing any work other than for my asylum case until Thursday, and that FBH was fully aware of the emergency situation. I was brittle, tense, short, and probably a little too expressive of my disdain for FBH. Oh, well.

The meeting started and I raced through disgorging all of the information I had in my head regarding preparations for tomorrow's meeting with our Expert. Shockingly, I knew a lot. A hell of a lot more than I ever wanted to know about our Expert's documents and the myriad of issues surrounding them. I managed to get everything pertinent out in under 45 minutes, eventhough a pesky new addition to the team - an associate who seems like a nice person, but who has only been on the Case-From-Hell for two days and thus has no eff-ing idea what she has gotten herself into - kept asking me substantive questions about the transactions at issue, questions that I had to wade through almost two years ago when I started on this monster of a case. She actually seemed genuinely interested in the issues. Poor thing. I give her three weeks before she starts cracking.

I'll be nice to her, of course, and lead her to the path of awareness and rebellion. Have no fear. But I sure as hell do not have time engage in a legal debate about various accounting issues at the the moment. I left the meeting with no additional work (success!), and made it clear to all of them that from my perspective I was not supposed to work on this Expert again until next week. That should at least forestall some b.s.

After the meeting, I raced back to my desk, continued drafting documents for my asylum case, and then hopped on a subway uptown to go see CG. I knew I didn't technically have time to go, but I thought it made sense to see my therapist after just having this massive breakthrough and professionally and strongly standing up to FBH. Sure enough, CG was delighted. She was especially delighted because of a specific shift in my thinking: Instead of internalizing FBH's b.s. and making myself sick about her displeasure, I'm not letting her make me feel bad. I know that she is a nasty bi-atch, and I also know that I am doing the right thing and excellent work. I know that there is nothing wrong with me. This is what I told CG and she said, "Buttercup, this is so great, you're going to make me cry."

After my mental health break, I zipped back home, ordered and wolfed down some so-so Italian food, and then continued working on my asylum case documents. I went to bed after 2:00 am and snuggled against Raj's warm body for a few minutes and tried to go to sleep.

Today's Battle: Today, at 2pm, is the Expert Meeting and I anticipate that FBH is going to harass me with numerous questions throughout the day. At 2:30 pm my asylum clients are possibly supposed to arrive, depending upon whether or not it was safe of them to come. I have 5 hours to crank out more of their affidavit. During the next 5 hours, my goal is to avoid FBH at all costs. Wish me luck.


God Damn It!!! I was already sucked into an email exchanged with FBH. Jesus! She already sent out 10 emails this morning, and I made the fatal mistake of trying to be helpful on one of them. Then, in response to my email she sends and email to the whole group, essentially stating the main points of my earlier email, stating that she wants someone to follow-up and find "x" document and she doesn't want to keep having to "map everything out." Keep in mind, I was trying to help the eff-ing bi-atch.

Well, NO MORE. I am not lifting a finger to type another response to her for the next 4 hours.


Bananarama said...

Hmmm... I can sympathize with wanting to do good by working on pro bono cases, but I can also relate to the higher-ups at your firm. Your main responsibility at your job should be to work on paying clients and spend whatever time is left over working on pro bono. I don't think it's a great idea to tell your bosses you don't have time to work on client work because you're busy doing pro bono stuff. Maybe you should get a FT job doing asylum work. That sounds like the best idea for both parties...

Just my opinion. And FBH *definitely* sounds like she would be difficult, if not impossible, to work for! :(

gravelly said...

Good Job at the meeting yesterday, Buttercup! You kept the power! Stay strong! You will be in my thoughts all day.

Buttercup said...


Thanks for your comment!

I would love a FT job doing asylum work, and I completely agree with you that it makes sense that the firm is focused on paying clients. They're a business and they want to make money.

My two issues are (1) That my firm gets a lot of mileage out of its reputation as being a strong supporter of pro bono; yet when it comes down to it they make it extremely difficult, at times, for their associates to do the work they have encouraged them to take on; and (2) FBH is a nightmare to work for - I have come to realize that my experience at this firm would have been very different had I worked for someone reasonable and who treats people decently.

And of course, when you have an emergency situation arise in a case that the firm encouraged me to take on, I have to be able to address that situation. Whereas there are people who can step in on my Case From Hell, or things that can wait, on this asylum case, there is just me and another associate. Our clients are relying only upon us, so there is no one else to fill in for us if we unable to do the work that needs to get done.

sister-friend said...

I understand Bananarama's point. But I think it's easy for people to say that you should focus primarily on your paying client cases without understanding the whole story. The two girls from your asylum cases are human beings. And I imagine that when you look into their eyes, $$$ doesn't freakin' matter.

Buttercup said...

Exactly, Sister-Friend.

In addition, we are supposed to represent all of our clients effectively - and we have an ethical duty to do so - paying clients or not.

In this case, as it is an emergency, and as my pro bono case has only two lawyers on it, whereas my Paying Client case has 25, if I did work for the paying client I would irreparably harm my pro bono clients.

However, if I did my work for my pro bono client (which I'm doing this entire weekend, which arguably should be my own time anyway), it would not affect my Paying Client in any way. First, b/c the partner is freaking out and wants me to do b.s. work that could be done later. Second, b/c there are others who can fill in for me for a few days while I take care of this emergency.