By jessie kornberg • January 27, 2010•Women and Law in the Media
A bit behind on our TGW updates here. But the last two weeks had two gems for discussion:
1. Female associates being relegated to clerical work. I can't tell you how often I hear this. The example I hear most often is from junior associates who become "experts" at handling the logistics of court filings (which are a pain in the butt by all accounts) and continue to be tasked with that tedious work even when more junior associates join a case because of this "expertise."
In week 11, TGW, notes that she's continually tasked with client hand holding, but then the hot shot junior male associate manages to take all the credit for the benefits of the relationships she develops. Her super slick female investigator's response: "'It's not a conspiracy; you're good at it.' That's what my brother used to tell me to get me to do his chores." Love this assessment.
I think a key survival tactic in any successful firm life is finding a balance between saying no when peers ask you to do thankless work and still being able to ask those same peers to back you up when you need it.
2. Strategic reporting to senior partners. I like to refer to this as "the politics of the reply all." Choosing when and how to inform senior and supervising attorneys of news in a case is no small matter. And the decision is about more than basic CYA. Your work is the subject of constant evaluation the results of which can reverberate for many years to come. I have a friend who's been at a firm for 5 years. In his first performance review he received criticism on an assignment. All his other feedback has been positive and constructive, but he continues to hear about that early assignment every single year.
In week 12, TGW has game-changing information about her client. After some hesitation she decides to take the news to Power Suit, the female named partner, rather than Will her normal internal champion. She knows she's about to get a kudos, and she takes the opportunity to get the good opinion of someone with whom she's not as close, someone whose good opinion she still seeks. Smart.
The Good Wife airs Tuesday nights on CBS.