Turning the Tables on the Law Firm Tyrant

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Just about every lawyer — at least BigLaw attorneys — experiences the law firm tyrant: “a senior lawyer, usually male, whose primary interpersonal strategy is aggressive domination. Though successful in his own way, his primary approach to subordinates is negative pressure and the infliction of psychological suffering. If someone makes a mistake, he doesn’t call that person aside into the privacy of his office to correct the error but instead makes a public spectacle of intimidating, humiliating and demeaning the person in front of other employees. Everyone is expected to recognize his expertise and exacting perfectionism.” Sound familiar? It surely did to me — I met more than my share during my years in BigLaw. And this type of legal tyrant is a far cry from a senior lawyer who gives tough but constructive criticism with the intent to help you improve your legal skills.

Brian A. Garner tells the tale of an associate who figured out how to get the best of his cruel nemesis who had undermined the associate's self-esteem to the point he considered leaving the law. (We called this "battered associate's syndrome.)

Read the law firm associate's tale of the ultimate vengeance, "The sadistic editor and the lawyer who survived his wrath.”