Lawyers Behaving Badly and How to Deal with Them

mindy-kaling-why-not-me

Incivility in the legal profession runs rampant.

In “Call Out the Bullies“, fellow lawyer Jessica Prince brings attention to the bully tactics often used by male lawyers against young female lawyers. These tactics include patronizing comments, screaming, and humiliation.

Jessica recommends either confronting the behaviour or ignoring it, depending on the battle.

In Why Not Me? Mindy Kaling offers some advice to young women. Her advice can easily be extended to the legal arena, where outrageous lawyers shoot “slings and arrows” against young female lawyers.

  1. Adopt Kim Kardashian’s attitude. “Haters are just more people paying attention to me.”
  2. Be Confident. You deserve to be treated with decency.

    “Confidence is just entitlement. Entitlement has gotten a bad rap because it’s used almost exclusively for the useless children of the rich, reality TV stars…But entitlement in and of itself isn’t so bad. Entitlement is simply the belief that you deserve something.”

  3. Be brave.

    “People get scared when you try to do something, especially if it looks like you’re succeeding. People don’t get scared when you’re failing. It calms them…But when you’re winning, it makes them feel like they’re losing or, worse yet, that maybe they should’ve tried to do something too, but now it’s too late. And since they didn’t, they want to stop you. You can’t let them.”

  4. “Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, then feel entitled.”
  5. “Listen to no one except the two smartest and kindest adults you know, and that doesn’t always mean your parents.”

I would add: compare the behaviour against the behaviour of someone you admire. Ask yourself, “would the person you admire act like that?”. If the answer is “No”, then you know the behaviour is outrageous and let it roll off your back.

Let them see that their words can cut you and you’ll never be free of the mockery. If they want to give you a name take it make it your own. Then they can’t hurt you with it anymore.

– George Martin, Game of Thrones

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