Stand Up to Your Boss

My boss pushed to file a lawsuit before it was ready.

I was a first-year associate right out of law school.

I knew the lawsuit wasn’t ready.

I went to my boss for help, and they pushed me away, not even making eye contact. “Figure it out, and it must be filed tomorrow.” They didn’t explain why it had to be filed “tomorrow.” There was no statute of limitations issue, so I believe it was client pressure.

I was also working at the office over a holiday weekend - again. Another colleague instructed me that at this firm, the lawyers “didn’t get holidays.”

I was in over my head.

I went to a senior associate and begged them to look at the Complaint. “I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve never filed a lawsuit before.” They looked at it and made some edits for me but were terrified too.

We both went to my boss’s office saying the Complaint wasn’t ready, and that we needed their feedback to make sure it was correct for the client.

My boss snapped at us and said, “Figure it out. And figure it out by tomorrow.”

We didn’t stand up to the boss. We were terrified. This was the point where I knew I had to leave this firm. I kept being put in situations where I was in over my experience level, being told to figure it out, and not having any sort of lifeline.

Unfortunately, I didn’t stand up to my boss. I wish I had, but I was worried about my job. The Complaint was not ready, but it still got filed. I did not put my name on it, because I didn’t believe it was properly prepared.

I left the firm for another one as soon as I could.

When you know something is not right – don’t give in. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

Stand up, and don’t back down.

Katie Lipp is the Founder of Law Practice Queen, where she coaches female lawyers on business development, to achieve more power, flexibility, and control in their lives. Katie also runs her law firm, Lipp Law, in the Washington DC metro area. You can learn more about Katie at Law Practice Queen.