full circle?

So while at the first big corporate firm I worked at, a female partner (not Julia–the antithesis of Julia) deliberately sabotaged me in a performance review. By lying.

If it were true, I could live with it. But an outright lie? No.

This partner and I worked together very closely for two or so years. When I joined one of her cases and she realized that I was a strong writer, she cut every other attorney on the case so that it was just me and her. We won a bunch of cases together — cases for which I wrote the briefs (albeit with her supervision).

At some point, though, I broke away from her to work for other people. It seemed to be in my best interests; she was hoarding all of my time. Maybe I was wrong to do that, I don’t know. I guess I should have communicated with her about it rather than just announcing to her one day that I had been assigned elsewhere. I mean, if I’m being fair to her perspective, she gave me amazing opportunities when I was a very junior lawyer. But I guess in my egotistical mind, I didn’t “owe” her anything. I was talented, and she wasn’t the only partner that recognized that.

At my performance review that year, she decided to get me back, in the most juvenile way possible. She submitted a written statement saying I had no talent as a brief writer, and as a result, she didn’t see a future for me at the firm.

It made no sense.

Honestly, the firm didn’t even take it seriously; how could they? Every other piece of feedback from every other partner I had worked for said the exact opposite. We also had WON the cases she managed for which I wrote the briefs (which everyone knew) — and they were not easy to win. Not to mention there is no way she would’ve kept me as the sole attorney writing the briefs for those cases for over two years if she thought I stunk (she was known for unapologetically throwing people to the curb if she thought they weren’t any good).

Even though what she said didn’t have any real impact on my prospects there (at least it didn’t seem like it), I never got over that she lied.

A few months later, she staffed me on one of her major cases for a major bank. She gave me key, critical assignments on that case. Why? Because it mattered, and because she knew that despite her actions, I would always do my best. It was just who I was.

She relished riding me hard on those assignments, though, giving me impossible deadlines and insinuating she would badmouth me more if I didn’t meet those deadlines. I did, which she was shocked by–and which she praised me for profusely, perhaps deciding I had paid my penance and that it was time to move on. It was too late for that in my eyes, though.

We were knee-deep in that case when I announced I was leaving the firm for one of our competitors. She said nothing to me in response — no “good luck,” no “thank you,” nothing. Ever.

SO guess who is on the other side in the WF case?

That firm. And specifically, her. It’s her name on their brief. Things just got interesting.


3 thoughts on “full circle?

  1. this cycle for you is so incredible on so many fronts. it’s like a scripted reality show. this is really exciting!!!! i don’t think you needed an extra push to kick ass with this case given your larger commitment to your goals, but I guess it doesn’t hurt either.


  2. I want to watch this as a movie. Someday, When this is all over, you get to be Cheryl Sandberg/John Grisham. I am already trying to figure out who plays Kyla Gant.
    I find so much wisdom/power in what you’ve shared about the “witness” and your experience of showing up with integrity. And I think that will continue to carry you. I honestly am looking forward to following this case (because I know you are a lawyer for the case but also because Of the broader economic/banking implications).


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