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10.2.05

So today I managed to get emotional and upset and have one of those outbursts that I didn't think before speaking. Way to go in controlling that, idiot. It's been - what, a week - since my review?? I forgot already... So what did I do this time, you ask? (Ok, I know you didn't, but the point of this post is to discuss this, so let's pretend, you and I.) We had a committee meeting, and I expressed myself in a way that will not be looked upon favorably at my next evaluation. (Luckily, it's 12 months away.) My exact quote was that it was "fucking bullshit."

For that little expression, I was pulled out into the hallway with a partner and lectured. I was told that while constructive criticism is ok, negativity is not. (What is not constructive about saying that something is fucking bullshit?) Anyway, I tried to explain my thought process, but I was interrupted with a, "do you understand what I am telling you?" Defeated, I answered yes - I guess my opinion is irrelevant. Then I get a condescending, "then what am I saying to you." (Well, actually, you are saying all sorts of things which, if I expressed them, would get me fired. Is that what you mean? Oh, you mean what are you trying to say? He literally made me repeat it. I was standing there with my arms crossed. If you could get fired over body language, I'd totally be fired.)

And in case you wondered what was fucking bullshit, the local bar association wants to create a pro bono system. It had community goals for committments for 100,000 hours of pro bono work for 2005. It received a promise for over 70,000 hours (from 35+ firms). My firm is one of those 35. So this was the firm meeting for those with interest. It had the partner in charge or the effort, my mentor (a junior partner), two other (both senior) partners, a (senior) named parter, the (senior) managing partner, and four associates. The four associates are all female and are all junior. (Two started at the firm in 2002, one in 2003, and one in 2004.) And they said they can't make pro bono mandatory, and my response was, "why?" They want people who are truly interested. I pointed out that many other firms had a pro bono requirement, and said that others aren't interested b/c they are concerned with their billable hours, and the fact that only 4 associates showed up is fucking bullshit. (And on the billable hours requirement, many firms offer some or all of the pro bono work as billable hours. But I digress.)

Then around 5, my mentor came in to tell me that I can't be angry when people don't do charity because I will be angry all the time, because more people don't do anything than do in this world. (He also said that I can't complain unless I give the tithe (10% of my salary) to charity.) (This conversation, of course, means that my mentor and I have had two conversations in 2005, which is two more than we had in 2004.) He also assured me that "anyone who matters was in that meeting." (I am not 100% sure why he said that, but I assume that it's because the managing partner and a named partner were there are were committed to the program.) That's fantastic, but I'm not interested in pro bono work to score points. A point I kept to myself. He asked why I did charity word. You know, I don't know. He said that it was b/c it made me feel good. I'm not sure that's it. I think it's more a sense of obligation in a way. I have been given such benefits that others don't have, and I owe it to give something back. Call it karma. Whatever. The fact is, I am luckier than so many people, not because I deserve to be, but because there but for the grace of God...

Anyway, this is a long way to say that I still think that pro bono should be mandatory. They get tables for dinners (like $1000 a head affairs) and they push and push and push until we agree to go to [insert cause here] dinner. But they can't push pro bono work? Are you kidding me?

1 Comments:

  • At 1:07 AM, Blogger CC Baxter said…

    That's f*cking bullsh!t.

    Very few people will actually say what they think in business and take a stand. Good Job.

     

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