Shattering Someone’s Career Identity

A talented litigator came into my office yesterday and reported that despite great performance reviews and an impressive track record of business development, the firm was letting her go. The pain in this associate’s face was palpable and although I know this individual will thrive in another setting, I was reminded of how much power partners wield over associates. It is a power that can be used in very positive ways (e.g. to boost the ego of an aspiring young professional or to mentor an up and coming star .)

But all too often, it is a power that is misused. In this case, it sounds like the partner felt threatened by the associate’s success and decided to “eliminate” the threat. Nice!

This individual will be back on her feet shortly. What a way to treat good talent, though. And what a waste of the investment that the firm made in this individual.

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