Updated on August 3, 2017
The bitches, as Shannon saw it, came in three varieties. She categorized them on her personal blog, in a post titled “Beware the Female BigLaw Partner.”
First was the “aggressive bitch”—a certain kind of high-ranking woman at the firm where she worked who didn’t think twice about “verbally assaulting anyone.” When one such partner’s name appeared on caller ID, Shannon told me, “we would just freak out.”
Next was the two-faced “passive-aggressive bitch,” whose “subtle, semi-rude emails” hinted that “you really shouldn’t leave before 6:30.” She was arguably worse than the aggressive bitch, because you might never know where you stand.
Last but not least, the “tuned-out, indifferent bitch,” Shannon wrote, “is so busy, both with work and family, that they don’t have time for anything … This partner is not trying to be mean, but hey, they got assignments at midnight when they were associates. So you will too.
“There obviously are exceptions,” she added. “But there aren’t many.”
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You would expect someone like Shannon, who asked that I use only her first name, to thrive in an elite law firm. When she graduated in the mid-2000s from the University of Pennsylvania Law School—having helped edit the constitutional-law journal and interned for a district-court judge—she had her pick of job offers. She knew that by going to a big firm she was signing on for punishing hours, but she had six-figure student loans to pay off and hoped her outgoing personality would win over bosses and potential mentors.