Is Someone Out to Get You?

Photo by RDNE Stock project at Pexels

By Murray Gottheil | February 19, 2023

Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you – Joseph Heller

In some law firms there are politics among the partners. Someone wants to be the managing partner or win the compensation committee contest, and they need to accumulate friends and influence people to get what they want.

I know, I know. You cannot believe it. This may be true in other firms, but certainly not in your firm.

In your firm, all the partners respect and support each other. They never talk behind each other’s back. They are hard on the issues and soft on the people. They certainly do not form cliques, count votes, or solicit support between meetings to win votes at the compensation committee or the executive committee.

At your firm, it is all about the client. Personal issues among partners play no part in the assignment of associates and staff to client matters, any more than they have anything to do with the allocation of profits among partners, or the payment of bonuses and the distribution of work to associates.

Maybe those things happen in other firms, but not in your firm.

In your firm (and I am quoting from your website here), the partners are not only dynamic experts in their field, but they are also practical and strategic.

No, your firm is great. It is in those other firms where partners plot, scheme, and compete to get the biggest slice of the partnership pie, and associates try to brown nose their way into greater compensation and an early partnership.

No associate in your firm ever stayed at work until just after the last partner in their practice group went home for the evening. No partner at your firm ever held back from saying what they really thought at a partners meeting to curry favour with another partner. And no decision about the career path of an associate was ever based on anything other than the results of their hard work.

Thank God that you are not at one of those other firms! If you were, you would have to spend so much time trying to navigate the political headwaters. Luckily, in your firm that is just not an issue, and you can spend all of your time servicing clients and networking to win new clients, with nary a thought about internal political nonsense.

Despite how lucky you are, you are still a lawyer, and by definition you have a tendency toward paranoia. You have to spend a little time each week just talking yourself back from the brink and reassuring yourself that no one is out to get you.  And most likely you are correct. Nobody is out to get you. You are just being paranoid.

Please take this supportive message of reassurance in the constructive manner in which it is intended. There is absolutely no need to worry that I am trying to lull you into a false sense of security. Nobody is out to get you. Everything is great at your firm. Just keep billing.

Everything’s gonna be alright.

Murray is a happily retired lawyer who lives in the country, drives a pick-up truck, writes, teaches and mentors. You can reach him at [email protected] or see what he is up to at


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1 Comment

  1. Ugh. I couldn’t imagine what it must be like to work in a large firm surrounded by nerdy narcissists. You know, the majority of your class whose self-image is now wrapped up in what firm they work for. They are self-satisfied to a point (even though there are higher percentages of mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety than the general public) when no one else gives a crap and in general think douchebag.

    However, the real sociopaths make it to the top of the partnership. They are incapable of empathy and self-interest is an understatement.

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