Weekend Open Thread

Something on your mind? Chat about it here.

Lacoste and Catherine Malandrino are doing a collaboration this summer, and I love the look of this drape dress. It looks chic but breezy, perfect for summer parties. It’s already sold out in tornado blue, but it’s still available in brass yellow (pictured), black, white, and navy for $255 at Lacoste.com. Lacoste + Malandrino Drape Dress


  1. Random question:

    This site has Christian Louboutins at deep discounts. I’m looking for wedding shoes right now. Can these be real? What’s the catch? Ever heard of this site?


    • One thing I find a bit alarming is that none of the links (About Us, Return Policy, Delivery Information, etc. etc.) seem to work. That’s a bit of a red flag. I wouldn’t rule out that the product is real, but this is certainly no well established reseller.

    • Don’t do it!
      I know someone who bought from them and it did not work out! Luckily, she used pay pal, but the whole thing is still a mess. If it’s too good to be true, it usually is, unfortunately.

      • Argh, yes. I need to remind myself of that more often.

        • Fashion Faux Pas :

          If your heart is set on Louboutins for your wedding and you don’t mind spending some time shopping, you may want to try a Neiman Marcus Last Call (if you have one near you) or a consignment store. I’ve gotten Louboutins for $150 at the former and $20 at the latter.

          • No Neiman Marcus Last Call near me — I’ll have to scope one out. For some reason, I always have terrible luck with consignment shops. I always find them to be overcrowded, overpriced, and/or picked clean.

            My biggest problem is that I simply hate in-person shopping. I’ll order something online over going into a store any day.

          • Bluefly.com also has a selection, although the prices aren’t always that great of a discount.

        • Does Rent the Runway or a similar business have designer shoes, perhaps?

  2. Recent Grad :

    Alright ladies, I need some career advice. I just graduated, will be taking the Bar in July, and I don’t have a job yet. I’d like to go into IP law/litigation, but I don’t have any summer experience in this field. I have experience in litigation, just on the criminal side of things. I do have excellent grades, including three IP classes, from a very well respected university. My job search was on hold for the Spring semester, mostly because I was pulling 60 hour work weeks in addition to my classwork. That job is finished, and they can’t afford to hire me as an attorney (and it’s not IP related), so I am job searching. I didn’t have a summer job in IP because I couldn’t find one available, so I took what was available in my area. I don’t regret the experience I got, because they were wonderful jobs, just not in the right field.

    What is the best way to go about entering the field of IP for someone in my situation. I’m in the Southeast if that helps your answers. Thanks in advance!

    • Have you taken the patent bar? or are you looking to do just trademark/copyright?

      • Recent Grad :

        I am not qualified to take the patent bar, without adding a few more undergrad courses in the sciences. So that is a long-term goal. Right now, just looking at copyright, trademark, and such.

        • Hopefully this doesn’t come off as to harsh, but I think you need to broaden your horizons significantly. I don’t think there are going to be many jobs at all for an entry level attorney trademark/copyright position for someone with no experience. I would look for firms or places that have a IP practice, and try to get some work in those departments without expecting to be an IP attorney. I got into IP (non patent) by accident since I had a summer doing copyright and one doing trademark, and in my job search never came across something like that (and I was looking for any practice area, and had strong IP experience and course load).

          • Recent Grad :

            Not harsh, this is exactly the type of advice I’m looking for. I don’t expect to walk into an entry level IP job, but it is my long term goal. I don’t want to get so far down the road in another practice area that I can never switch over to something I love (compared to something I “like). Can you clarify what you mean by getting work in an IP department without expecting to be an IP attorney?

        • Is there any way for you to take the classes you need to take the patent bar? Even if it means summer school while studying for the bar? If it’s just a few undergraduate courses that you’re missing, it would be worth it. You will be so much more marketable in IP if you have passed the patent bar (or even if you’re just qualified to take it but haven’t done so yet).

          • Recent Grad :

            I need about 8 more classes in order to take the patent bar. So, it’s not possible to do by the fall, but definitely possible by next fall. Should I apply for those “patent eligible required” positions, knowing it will be at least a year before I can fit this requirement? Thanks!

          • 8 classes is quite a few – that’s pretty much two full time terms of college. I personally wouldn’t apply for the “patent eligible required” positions at this stage, but I would if it were “patent eligible preferred.” Ever since I read that men are more likely to apply for (and perhaps get) jobs for which they don’t meet the stated requirements, I’ve been trying to expand the universe of jobs I’m willing to apply to – but 8 classes away seems like a real stretch.

          • I hate to say it, but even WITH patent bar eligibility, you likely won’t get the IP job without the summer associate experience. I’m an Emory Law 11L and the only ones with the patent law offers were those who were patent bar eligible and had the summer experience. And on top of that, only those with software/electrical engineering are getting the offers.

          • Anonymous :

            It’s been a while since I’ve looked at the patent bar requirements, but 8 classes sounds like the entire courseload required (if you don’t have a hard sciences degree). If that is the case, then I’m not sure you’ll look competitive compared to those who do have a hard sciences background. If you only had 1-2 more courses to complete, my answer would be different.

          • Passing the FE exam will make you eligible to take the patent bar. My husband is an engineer and he says it’s not very hard (Well, he actually said that he thought I could pass it if I were set on taking the patent bar, and I don’t have much of a science background at all). It might be a cheaper, faster alternative to taking the science courses you’d need.

          • Recent Grad :

            Thank you Lynnet. I will look into that.

    • Recent Grad :

      Okay–let me add a few more things. One of the classes I took included working with real people with IP problems. So I come with a portfolio of work. I also did a Trademark/Copyright infringement complaint at my most recent job, even though the remainder was all criminal law. But there’s just not a dedicated summer of working in the field.

      But what I’m hearing is, unless you’ve been an IP summer, or already taken the Patent Bar, you aren’t going to get the job? How about transferring into it after a few years?

      Thanks for the feedback so far ladies. It’s just frustrating knowing that I would do well in the field, but not being able to even get a second glance at my resume.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I’m going to co-sign all of the above advice. I also have a bunch of classes to take before I would be eligible to sit for the patent bar. I have an LLM in IP (probably not the best idea but I graduated Dec 2009 without any job prospects), 1 summer at a small IP firm, and 1 semester working with an IP solo practitioner and I’ve had a horrible time trying to find an IP position. I’m currently working through a temp agency and continuing to search for a permanent position (ideally IP but really anything at this point).

        Its tough out there. Try to get experience in IP where you can or whenever you have the opportunity, but definitely keep your search broad for now.

      • Its not really about your summer job, its that you want a job that is kind of mythical. There are very few attorneys that do just trademark/copyright. Because if a company wants an IP lawyer, if you can’t do patent then they would have to hire two attorneys. Or, they can hire just the one that does patent law and teach them copyright and trademark. There is a lot of fields I’m sure you will do well in, don’t limit yourself to just IP. Trademark and Copyright are great fields, there are few emergencies, and litigation doesn’t usually go all the way it gets settled early. You’ve kind of picked a great field you want to work in, but its really small, and you don’t have the qualifications. I’d look for firms that at least do some IP stuff and try to get a job maybe in general litigation, and once your in let it be known you’d be happy to help out on IP projects. Good luck

    • Since this is your first post-grad job and I assume it’s financially important to get a job ASAP, you should try to get a general litigation position at a firm that has some IP litigation work. You don’t want to come off as only interested in this narrow area, but it is appropriate to show interest a practice area while also saying you want to work on challenging litigation and get courtroom experience (not practice specific). My experience as an associate in the SE is that most of the bigger firms have general litigation practice groups at least for younger associates, so you may be able to get experience on some IP cases if you’re interested in them.

      Regarding the patent bar, I think you need to fully commit to IP litigation and/or trademark prosecution, copyright and transactional work — not patent prosecution. Despite what earlier posters said, patent prosecution work is its own separate game and usually the attorneys who do this work do not also do litigation (or will consult on the technical issues but won’t ever be giving opening statements in a jury trial, etc…). Many patent prosecution jobs will also require top science qualifications (often master’s or doctorate science degrees), so just because you could take a few science classes to be eligible, you will still may not be competitive. As a warning, be cautious of firms that would want you to go this route because they may not have the client base or experienced attorneys to really train you as a patent prosecution attorney and support the position long term (ie – they may just want to say they have a patent pros. attorney but you will need to stay busy with other work).

      It sounds like you have relevant experience, have worked hard and would be a great addition to any law office whether your first job is all IP (rare) or whether that falls in line down the road. Best wishes!

  3. This looks like a great wear-to-work dress and it’s only $26, unfortunately it’s not my size. If anyone is a large, you might want to snap this up:

  4. Anon for this :

    Regular, but anon for this. I am not really sure why I am writing this, other than the fact that you are such an amazing group of women and I need a place to vent. I am in my early 40s, married and have 2 kids. DH and I went to the OB/GYN to talk about IUDs v. tubal ligation. I mentioned casually that my last period was the same as when I had been into see her for my annual. Turns out that was in October! As I was pretty certain that I was not pregnant, she sent me in for blood work. Well, it turns out that I have gone through menopause without knowing it.

    It is so hard to take in. I knew I did not want more children, but there is such a huge difference between “want” and “can.” For no logical reason, I am feeling such a loss. DH doesn’t really understand, because we had obviously made up our minds about no more kids. It is just so weird that something is suddenly gone.

    We have been through a lot in the past few years. DH was in a serious accident and had numerous follow on surgeries, my dad died, and just the bustle of being a FT working mom, so I guess this is just my body’s way of handling all of that.

    I know most people on this blog are younger than me, so this is even less of blip on your radar than it was on mine, but I just needed to share a bit!

    • TheOtherCoast :

      I’m sorry you are hurting over this. You are still fairly young so I understand why it was unexpected.

    • Thank you for sharing. My Mom recently went through something very similar. She had a hysterectomy to correct another health problem. She’s in her late 40s, and was absolutely not planning to have more children. At the time, I didn’t understand why she was upset. Even though the choice was hers, she was devastated by the abrupt end to that part of her life. Her advice was to rejoice and celebrate in the two lives your body has already given you. Know that you have sympathetic ears who will always listen, and understand your loss.

    • Also going Anon :

      I’m about the same age and had a similar scare. I hadn’t had my period in almost 9 months, plus I was having night sweats, mood swings, etc.

      My doctor had me go off the pill and my period came back, along with the terrible cramps that prompted me to go on the pill in the first place.

      So, while I can’t speak to the specific issue of being in menopause, I can tell you that I understand why you’re so upset. It’s something that’s always been there and now it’s gone.

      In my case, I’m single and don’t have kids, but do want to have them, if I meet the right guy, so it was really upsetting to think that I might not even have that option.

    • I’m sorry. Although I haven’t been in your shoes yet, I can relate to the feeling of loss when certain options are no longer available. It doesn’t matter that you’d already made up your mind that you didn’t want that option, the point is that you get to choose it!

    • It makes perfect sense that you would feel a loss and even grieve. It’s a shift in your body’s status/capabilities, and even if you didn’t want more kids, it’s both a sign of your/everyone’s mortality (which it sounds like you didn’t need reminding about!) and moves the possibility of kids from being your decision to one you don’t have control over.

      Maybe some therapy to think about the various losses and changes in your life would be helpful?

      • Anonymous :

        I am sorry to hear that. Maybe this is a good excuse for a makeover for the new fabulous you?

      • This! It’s the grief of the “might have been”, the option, the choice. On the one hand it’s liberating, on the other hand it’s the end of a era.

    • I’m so sorry. One of my best friends had to have a hysterectomy in her 40s, and while she never planned to have kids and is single, she mourned the loss deeply nonetheless.

    • Anon Canadian :

      Long time lurker, first time commenter.

      I’m really sorry to hear about your loss. Even though you didn’t want anymore kids, it’s understandable that finding out that you no longer have the choice can be upsetting. Especially since it’s about so much more than having kids. It really is a massive life change to go through menopause.

      Early and unexpected menopause is something that I think about often. My mom went through menopause abruptly in her early 40′s. The day my dad’s mom died her period stopped and it never came back. The dr’s said that it was just trama and she should be fine in a couple of months and then her mom died 5 months later.

      I’m 27, been with my guy for 8 1/2 years, with no kids yet and I’ve always had really painfull periods. I was actually sent for testing because they thought something was wrong.

      Between my mom’s menopause experience and my menstral problems, it’s always in the back of my mind that I might have problems having children. But I always try to be positive and look on the brightside.

      Anon for this the bright side for you is that you don’t have to have surgery to get your tubes tied and your menopause experience seems to be fairly uneventful. I know many women who have horrible menopause experiences. Hot flashes, mood swings, and many other uncomfortable symptoms.

    • oh so anon :

      My very good friend and her husband decided after they were married that they did not want to have children. It was more of a lifestyle choice and being relucant to share their time with each other than anything else. She’s in her mid 30′s. She recently found out that even if she wanted to have children, because of issues pertaining to tumors in her uterous and related issues, it would be every unlikely that she would be able to carry a baby long enough for it to survive. She went through a period of loss and sadness and she felt so surprised to be feeling these things in light of the fact that she had 100% decided not to have kids anyway. She explained it similar to how you explained it… deciding not to was HER choice. Not being able to was nature’s choice, not HERS and that just sucked. After a short while, she came to peace with it. I guess why I’m sharing this is to let you know that you are not alone and that even though to you, it may not make rational sense why you feel a loss, it is a loss (a loss of choice, a loss of control) and allow yourself the respect to recognize it as such. And, celebrate that you no longer have to worry about BC ever again! Man, I bet that’s a huge weight lifted off your shoulders!

    • Anon for this :

      Thanks, everyone! I appreciate the comments and warmth. I will try to focus on my good luck in not having had any of the side effects!

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Nope….sounds like we are in the same space age wise….and while I am certain, I don’t want more kids, I think I’d be devastated to find out like that. Currently struggling w/ a similar decision and leaning toward a ligation….. Totally understand your sadness….

    • I’m just a few years younger and, for various medical and other reasons, probably won’t/shouldn’t have anymore children (I have 2). I feel incredibly sad about it as well, to the point where I sometimes think, what if we try for one more… but that really makes no sense whatsoever. The idea of not holding a newborn baby of my own again is hard to get my mind around. It is hard to close off that possibility, it is hard to deal with your body “letting you down” in some respects, and it’s hard to deal with getting older and developing a new self-image. I totally hear what you are saying. My little one is growing up so fast and I’m really going to miss that baby phase (but will appreciate getting sleep, time for myself, etc.). I’m trying to acknowledge that this time is bittersweet and focus on the positive.

    • Cecelia Celiac :

      Anon for this, I went through the same thing at age 45. I have two healthy, happy kids but did want more but the time was never right. To have it happen suddenly with no warning was hard. It feels especially weird when my teenager has her period – to feel different. But we both are lucky that it was a symptom-less change.

      I would urge you though (and I’m going to sound like a broken record) to get tested for celiac and for nutritional deficiencies. I found out that I had celiac shortly after menopause and was deficient in calcium, Vitamin D and had osteopenia (early osteoporosis). Celiac did all that including the early menopause, which does not run in my family.

      In any event, best wishes to you.

    • Another Anon for This :

      Thanks so much for sharing this! I’m 45 and coming to the realization that I won’t have children. I’ve always been ambivalent about whether or not I wanted to have them, but in January 2010 my husband and I agreed to stop birth control and just “see what happens”. And nothing happened. And now it looks like nothing will. Although there have been months of “will I get/be pregnant or not”, I guess I’m fortunate that the realization that I won’t get pregnant has been gradual. Sometimes I go through moments of grief/regret and other times moments of relief. So your articulation of what you’re going through has been reassuring to me. Thanks for sharing this.

      • Anonymoose :

        Thanks to the OP for sharing her feelings, and for the others who have commiserated. I’m 43, married @ 40, and throughout our relationship, we’ve taken a fairly passive relationship to BC, so that ‘nature could take it’s course.’ Well, it hasn’t taken any course. Like Another Anon for This, coming to the realization that I probably won’t have bio-children – even though I’ve always been a bit ambivalent about motherhood – is tough. We went to an adoption orientation meeting, which feels encouraging, but is also a solid acknowledgement of the unlikelihood of bio-kids. It’s a tough change to face, especially when so many of us feel young, vital, and fit in every other aspect of our lives.

    • Big hugs to you. You are not reacting abnormally. I would feel the same way.

      As you said, there is a big difference between “don’t want to” and “can’t.” I think even when you decide not to have more children at a certain point, it’s in the back of your head that you can change your mind if you want to (at least, that’s how I feel about it). Then, something like this happens and it turns out your decision was more final than you thought. It’s okay to feel a sense of loss over this. My mom said she felt a sense of loss when she went into menopause, and she was 52 and had had a tubal ligation for 20 years! I also have a friend who tried for 7 years to get pregnant, was never successful, and adopted a little boy – and still went through some terribly painful emotions when she started menopause earlier this year. Something that was a big part of your life – the ability to have kids – is now over and it’s okay to have sadness about that.

      I will say that from what I have seen, going through menopause “without knowing it” is much preferable to going through some of the agony I’ve seen my menopausal friends in. I’m not going to say “you’re lucky” but it definitely could be worse? You absolutely need to do something for yourself that helps you process the loss. Unfortunately, we don’t have “rites of passage” for times like this, as a culture. But maybe planning a girls’ weekend, a weekend retreat for yourself, or a special event for you and your kids would help you mark the passage.

      Don’t feel strange for being totally normal. Hope you feel better soon.

  5. I’m younger than you, and unmarried, so I can’t say “I’ve been there and I know that feeling and it’s rough” but I can relate to that feeling of loss/frustration/sadness that always seems to accompany finding out that something you thought was/was going to be your choice is actually out of your hands. And even if the ultimate outcome is exactly the same, there is something unsettling about that sudden feeling of powerlessness.

    So, hugs to you.

  6. I LOVE this dress. Obsessed. Wish I had the body to wear it!

    • Ditto, especially in this yellow color, which I’m in love with for some reason. Wore this exact shade of yellow headscarf to work on Tuesday with a gray outfit – perfect ending for the holiday weekend.

      • I love yellow and gray together- sophisticated with a pop of sunshine. Maybe I’ll dig out my yellow skirt this weekend.

      • I don’t wear headscarves, but I am scarf obsessed in general, and now that it is finally sunny here, I am bringing out all the brightest, cheeriest ones I can find. But I *need* a bright yellow one like this!

  7. Sydney Bristow :

    Does anyone have advice about whether it is a good idea to consolidate student loans and what company is best if I did decide to do it?

    I have loans from a number of lenders with a pretty wide range of interest rates, two of which are variable. I haven’t started repaying these loans yet, but most come do over the next few months (and I don’t have expected repayment dates for some yet).

    The whole process just seems really overwhelming and I’m not quite sure where to start. I’ve already got IBR set up for my federal loans, so these are all private companies. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • One benefit of unconsolidated loans is that when you have extra money to apply to pay down principal, you can apply it towards the highest interest piece. Once consolidated, you’d lose this option. So there are a lot of considerations!

      • Sydney Bristow :

        That is an excellent point that I didn’t realize. Between that and what AIMS said below, maybe I shouldn’t even bother. Right now I’m scared about making my payments in the first place, but it might be shortsighted to make a decision like this an not take into account a situation down the line where I would hopefully have some extra money to put towards loans.

      • I will say this, I paid down my two highest interest rate loans first and brought my monthly payments down by half–couldn’t have done that if I consolidated.

        • If you are worried about making your payments though and are thinking about an IBR or ICR repayment plan, consolidation may be your only real option. IBR and ICR repayment plans are generally meaningless unless all of your loans are with the same lender. In my experience, lenders will not take into account loans you have with other lenders when figuring your payments under these plans.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            I finally got all my lenders to tell me my estimated payment amounts and my first payment due dates yesterday. I think I can swing my payments for those loans and my federal loans are on IBR, so ultimately I think I’m ok for now. Thanks for the advice Batgirl and Paige.

    • No advice, but just wanted to commiserate. I finished the consolidation application for my fed loans yesterday and it was exhausting. My loans have changed hands so many times in 3 years I’m not even sure if the info was correct.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I feel your pain. I finally sat down with all of my paperwork and went through all of it to determine who my lenders were and set up online accounts with all of them. Between that and my most recent credit report, I’m 99% positive that I tracked them all down.

        • You can check all your loans at the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) – http://www.nslds.ed.gov/

          It will tell you the current lender / principal / interest rate / etc for your federal loans. Not sure if it lists private loans as I only have federal.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            Yup, its only federal. My private ones are the ones being sold multiple times. I think I’m pretty lucky because all my federal loans have the same lender.

    • As far as I know, banks aren’t consolidating loans anymore all that much. very few companies do, and the terms probably aren’t great . Unlike just a few years ago, (last that I heard) it’s not really an option anymore.

      Maybe the lack of real option to do it helps with the overwhelming feeling?

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Thanks AIMS. It actually does help a bit. Getting it all organized in the first place helped and I just want everything set and all the details worked out so I can just be overwhelmed by the amount instead of the amount + everything else about them.

    • Check out Graduate Leverage (and no, I don’t work for them, but I’m still kicking myself for consolidating with Citibank instead of Graduate Leverage.)

  8. My cousin is planning my bridal shower, and I want to get her something to thank her for all of the thought, time and effort she has put into this. Her husband suggested earrings, which I think is a nice idea. Her style is pretty classic/conservative. I don’t love the options at Tiffany’s, and now I’m stuck on where to look. Any suggestions? Thanks.

    • Hamilton Jewelers? They’re a smaller retailer but based in some pretty preppy towns, so they tend to sell more conservative jewelry (And they have a website, of course :). I’ve gotten pretty and classic jewelry from there before.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      If she’s classic/conservative, I’d also consider a strand of non-white pearls. They are more one-style-fits-all, as opposed to earrings. For earrings, there are a lot of variables, like drops v. studs, ear sensitivity to metals, etc. While she surely has a lovely strand of white pearls given her classic/conservative style, what about gray? peach? black? I find myself reaching for my gray strand more often than my white, and you can get a very nice strand of freshwater pearls for a couple hundred dollars. A pendant with a solitary tahitian-type black pearl would also be a hit, I think.

      • s in Chicago :

        I just wanted to say I totally agree with this suggestion. It’s amazing how great gray pearls look with anything black, gray, blue, or white.

    • Macy’s is having a jewelry sale. I got myself a set of classic pearl earrings over Memorial Day for over half off.

    • Pearl paradise? Beladora2?

  9. For the corporette who was looking for a chic summer hat. This one is adorable and on sale: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/nordstrom-summer-straw-cloche-hat/3129912?origin=keywordsearch&resultback=0

    • I’m not the corporette in question but thanks for the link nonetheless since I love hats. A friend had a bridal shower last weekend – the theme was a garden party and hat wearing was encouraged – it was so much fun!

  10. This morning I shaved one leg and forgot to shave the other one! How does that happen?

  11. Low Morale :

    Anyone else working in an environment where there are several people who seem to have substance abuse/alcohol problems? I work in a small department and there is one person who has gotten to the point where we had a meeting to discuss a possible intervention and two others who are absent/late/hungover at work on a regular basis. Tensions seem to be mounting between some of the attorneys and the support staff, and I’m wondering if there is any connection. At any rate, it’s pretty uncomfortable having to deal with the related moodiness and petty drama. When people seem to be in better moods and there are no sports to talk about, the conversation just moves on to alcohol.

    I hear all the time that alcohol problems are fairly normal in the legal sector, but I am just wondering if this is something I can expect in future jobs. Sometimes I feel like I am in some bad after-school special.

    • AnonThisTime :

      Several years ago, I was on staff at a law firm with several heavy drinkers. The office would be deserted every Friday at 3:00 (and the nearest bar was bustling), but I was expected to say and “cover” in case attorneys from the firm’s out of state offices called. I ended up moving to a new firm (much better) and the managing attorney from our office now risks disbarrment because he’s been unable to get his act together despite multiple stints in rehab.

      Know that it is not an acceptable work environment, even though people talk about how rampant substance abuse is in the legal profession. There are lots and lots and lots of firms where attorneys handle themselves professionally both “on and off the clock.”

      Best of luck to you. I know how frustrating it is.

    • Anonymous :

      Get a copy of the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous as it has a chapter called “To the Employer.” Focus on the behavior and not the cause: it is irrelevant WHY the person is wrinkled, or late to work, or rude. The fact is that it is unacceptable behavior in the workplace. Once he or she is chastised for the shortcomings, then an EAP or other services can be offered.

      • Low Morale :

        I am not in the position to make any changes, and I also have some issues with AA I do not care to go into here. I was just wondering how common this is in the workplace and how people who really have no power in the workplace manage to cope in such an environment.

    • I worked at a biglaw firm with one prominent drunk. Usually only after hours though. Not all places are like that. I have also worked at a different biglaw firm and a small law firm, and there were no habitual intoxication problems at either of those places.

    • Anonymous :

      Wow. Amazing how common this is. I’m the only person in my section who has not had their license revoked for DUI.

      One co-worker was depressed and drinking to the point that I made sure I knew where the fire alarms were in case I walked in and found him hanging (I figured I’d pull the alarm since I’m too little to cut him down and reception never picks up the phone). I was told by my supervisor to stay out of it (another alcoholic) since it wasn’t my concern.

      No advice, just glad you shared your experience. Who knew? Thanks.

      • Please, call 911 if anyone you know attempts suicide.

        In your specific scenario, the fire alarm may or may not directly connect to the fire department (it should, but they’re often faulty) and even if the fire department responds they will be looking for a fire and won’t know to look for a suicide. Also, in the case of a suicide attempt by hanging, cutting him down isn’t the only way to help; lift his legs up so he’s not hanging (you can place them on a chair) and then see if you can clamber up somehow to cut him down. Seconds can make a huge difference in saving someone’s life in this situation – few people who hang themselves do it “properly” so their neck breaks and they die quickly. Many suffocate and choke, and can be saved if found in time.

        Yep, I have experience working with mental health :).

        • Anonymous :

          Thanks for the tips. Duly noted. (What has this world come to?)

          My big concerns are that the phones don’t always work, and 911 calls have to go through the main operator (they often don’t pick up the phone if they’re busy, chatting, etc.). We’ve argued the logic of this but it’s still company policy.

          • Does your company have an anonymous hotline you can call with your concerns, both about your colleague’s mental health and about the slacking off of the main operator?

            911 should not be routed through an operator – that’s a huge liability issue for your company! Every employee should be able to reach emergency services him or herself. (And if you really need it – call from your cell!)

            I’m sorry about your colleagues – this is a rough situation to be in. One of my friends had a colleague jump from a balcony into the atrium of their office building. Not a pretty sight, and he had a young child. It was such a tragedy.

    • The Other Bar :

      In California there is an organization called “The Other Bar” that helps lawyers and other legal professionals with alcohol abuse. They sometimes come do MCLE programs for my bar association. They also have an anonymous service you can call and ask them to do an intervention with a particular lawyer. Perhaps other states’ bar associations also have similar programs.

      There’s lots of good info on their website: http://www.otherbar.org

  12. I’m a summer associate at a nonprofit in California, and just finishing up my first week. I wore slacks and blouses/button-ups all week (a knee length pencil skirt one day), but most of the attorneys wear jeans with nice tops, polos, button-ups, etc. Only one (the most senior) wears slacks. I was specifically told I could wear jeans yesterday, and it was mentioned again today (in a nice way though – no pressure).

    My instinct is to keep wearing business casual for now, and maybe wear jeans on Fridays starting in 1-2 weeks. The other summer is wearing jeans + button-up today.

    What do you think, Corporettes?

    Also, I absolutely love it here! My assignments are SO interesting and the people are wonderful :)

    • sounds like they want you to know it’s ok to wear jeans; if you are more comfortable in business casual that is probably fine as long as you don’t give the impression you’re relating more to the senior than the peers, I think.

    • H0nestly, if everyone else is wearing jeans, and they’ve specifically told you more than once that you can wear jeans, I would go for it.

      On this site, we do seem to advocate wearing more upscale/formal clothing for summer associates/junior members/anyone not a partner ;) , but the foremost rule always seem to be to know your office. And here they all seem to go for jeans, and have encouraged you to do so.

      That is, unless you’re more comfortable in slacks and would wear them regularly the rest of the time.

    • BarPrepper :

      I struggled with this during my summer. We had casual Fridays and I was informed my first several Fridays that I was “too dressed up.” I found that support staff (who came to work in sports jersey’s and flip flops…don’t get me started) resented me being “over-dressed” even in a denim pencil skirt. I risked alienating the people whose help I most needed for impressing my bosses, so I switched to trouser-cut jeans with button-up shirts and blazers…I always, always always pretend that I’m in slacks when I wear jeans. It seemed to really help with building good will between myself and the support staff, and I got the respect of the attorneys by still looking like “one of them.”

  13. Hi all! I’ve been a lurked on this site but have never posted. Anyhow, I could use you ladies’ advice. I need sunglasses that fit my petite head. When I say petite I mean may face is narrow/eyes are close together AND I need short endpieces since inevitably pairs I’ve even just tried on slip down my nose.

    Any insight? TIA!

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I have a small head too: Paul Frank. The frames run very small, and are available in regular and rx, and are fairly inexpensive. Other brands that fit me are Tiffany and Kate Spade. All the european designers (Chanel, Fendi, Gucci, etc) are all way too big for my head.

    • Anonymous :

      The kids section, seriously.

      • This! I always wondered why all glasses looked stupid on my face, then I went to lenscrafters and the lady had me try kids frames. Best decision ever! My eyes are centered, the glasses don’t fall down my nose, AND they were $100 cheaper than the women’s version of the same pair!

        • Ohh good idea. I’ve never really had to have Rx glasses but I’m sure I will eventually! Thanks for the advice everyone.

    • The best bet is to go to an optical store like Lens Crafters and have an optician tell you what your size is. There are often two sizes together with a square between that will give you the eye size and bridge size respectively, and then another size on the earpieces that will give you the temple size. Sometimes this may be on the tag. Most of the time you will just look at the eye size since an optician will be able to fix the earpiece to fit your head. The typical size for women’s glasses seems to be 135 and even that still requires some modification for my face.

    • Runnin' for it :

      If you want designer sunglasses, I found this website today- http://www.bestbuysunglasses.com. When you click on a style of sunglasses, they actually provide the size (lens width, bridge, lens height, and temple size). This seems like a good site to use once you know your size or a pair they carry that fits. Today I used the site to shop for a new pair by looking up the size of a pair of Fendi’s they carry that I already have that fit me well, but the pair I picked out I didn’t buy from the site. I bought them from Nordstrom and had them price match to this site.

  14. Etiquette question – coworker jan smith had a new baby. Husband is ned smith. I know the card traditionally reads mr and mrs smith, but that seems stodgy right? So do I address it that way? Or jan and ned smith? Or jan ned and april (other kid) smith? Why is this so hard?

    • As long as I’m 100% certain that mom and dad (or mom and mom, or dad and dad) share the same surname, I always go with:

      The Smith Family
      123 Main Street

      Then, inside, I go with Dear Jan, Ned, April and Baby…

      • This is what I do, too. From experience, though, I would advise that if you’re sending things to relatives, you should probably include some other identifying information. Especially if they all live in the same town. I’m still not sure all of my wedding thank you notes went to the right cousins….

    • Agree with teh other commenters on using the Smith Family, and wanted to add that it is very sweet of you to include the older sister! She will appreciate that.

    • Anonymous :

      If you want to be really nice, include a small gift for the big sister as well. The parents will love you forever.

      • Anonymous :

        Random thought: would it be “cute” to address the card to the baby? Maybe congratulate the “baby” on joining such a wonderful family?

        • Anonymous :

          That’s a great idea! I’m sure the parents would get a kick out of someone talking up how great a family the baby will be joining.

  15. Why not ” To the Smith family”?

  16. PSA: I tried the Frieda 3 day straight and it is amazing! Normally my hair is huge and curly this time of year no matter what I do. I used it Sunday night and my hair was frizz free through Weds in super humid NY. It did get a little wavy over night, but once I ran the flat iron through it it was perfectly straight again. It is a great alternative to an expensive Keratin treatment. I had Keratin done last year and I think this feels and looks much better!

    • LOVE the 3 Day Straight. My hair’s not truly curly, just wavy and frizzy. A few weeks ago I bought a bottle of the Frieda 3 Day Straight and love it. My hair stays straight, not even picking up kinks if I put it in a ponytail or keep my side bangs tucked behind my ears. And it feels so soft, like just after a salon blowout. So worth $9!

    • skippy pea :

      Great. I will try it. I really hope it works on my hair the way you say it works on your hair. :)

    • Wow, really? This sounds like a miracle shampoo…I’ve got to try it!

      • Another huge endorsement for 3-day straight. I’ve been growing out my wavy, frizzy hair for some time (I’ve been straightening it since high school) and lately, even with a flat iron, its been looking poofy and frizzy soon after I get to work/leave the house. I was contemplating chopping it off again. Then, I found the 3-day straight (I haven’t used it for three days yet). It leaves my hair smooth and shiny and frizz free. It doesn’t puff up or get “fuzzy” around the top of my head.

        As a note to other users, it makes your hair feel pretty gross while its wet, but as soon as you dry it, its perfect. Also, its not a “straightener.” You still have to blow-dry and flat iron perfectly, but it makes the style last all day (for three days, apparantly).

  17. Recovering from my day by having a glass of wine and watching Too Big to Fail on HBO. Has anyone seen this? It’s pretty compelling for a movie about the 2008 financial crisis.

    • Equity's Darling :

      The book is also really good.

    • Yes! Very interesting stuff, isn’t it? I didn’t realize how fast everything happened. I would absolutely watch it again. Enjoy, Bunkster!

      • I think I need to watch it again, just to understand everything.

        • I agree. The speech in the middle where they explain the whole mortgage meltdown was helpful. Also, I don’t think I ever grasped the entire domino effect this could’ve had until watching this. And at the end, it’s a bit chilling that the banks, after all of this, are still too big (and even bigger than they were) to fail.

    • Nope, I lived it. I worked for one of those firms. Watching that movie would be like torture.

      • Not in law :

        I thought that they had a couple good explanations, like the mortgage one, but they could have added a couple more that would have made the domino more clear to the average person – like explaining what would happen if AIG failed.

        • Yeah. But it was only an hour and a half long so they did a pretty good job in that timeframe. I’m reading the book now for the full story.

      • Sorry. Was it fun while it was good times?

        • No, I wasn’t one of the elite few.

          • Anonymous :

            Sorry. Hope you’re OK now.

            I always figured Wall Street banking was the biggest gravy train and kick myself regularly for not taking that career path.

        • Remember…there were secretaries, janitors, and “lower level” people at those firms too. And they lost their jobs and everything too. Not everyone was getting million dollar bonuses who “had it good” while the getting was good…

  18. I’m not sure if Ippolita ads have always been on Corporette, but I recently bought this ring. It’s gorgeous, and I receive a lot compliments on it:


  19. Hooray! It finally got above 65 degrees in Seattle: We’ve had the coldest, wettest spring on record and it hasn’t been above 65 since last fall. Just in time for the weekend!

  20. Hi ladies,

    On the upper portion of my arm, I have these red marks that almost look like tiny bug bits that have been itched so they are now a wound. I also have light patches of skin in the same area (I am Caucasian, if that helps).

    My derm told me what it is, and basically it’s caused by an overbuildup of keratin and dead skin cells that clog the skin and cause uneven tone, etc. She recommeded a cream I bought for a lot of money at the drug store that has some acids in it to help slough off the dead skin (no prescriptions are available) to control, but not cure it. It hasn’t really gotten any better, and it’s been 3.5 weeks now of nightly, sometimes twice daily, application. I know it’s trivial but these spots really bother me. For some reason, there are more on my right arm.

    I was wondering if anyone has had experience with this, and if there are other things I can do to help? I tried a salycitic (can’t spell it!) body scrub to slough off dead skin cells in addition to moisturizing, but it doesnt seem to work.

    • I get the same type of patches and in my experience (having tried a gazillion things) the best solution is to leave it alone and it will clear up eventually. If it itches, put some cortisone cream on it. Otherwise, all the scrubbing and peeling and sloughing will only irritate it more.

    • Always Anon :

      I have keratosis pilaris on my upper arms, which sounds like what you are describing. I had some success with KP Duty by Dermadoctor, available at Sephora, but the CeraVe moisturizing cream, available at drug stores, has worked better than anything. It seems to be worse in the winter.

      • second Derma Doctor’s KP Duty–they have a lotion and a scrub. I use a dry brush to scrub on the exfoliating scrub, and it helps a lot.

        I also use AmLactin, which you can get at Walgreen’s If you go to their website, there’s normally a coupon that you can use.

    • I get itchy spots on my upper arms in winter, too. I use Eucerin Calming Itch-Relief.

    • skippy pea :

      I do! I do! Sadly. I have pore’ y (yuck) upper arms similar to what you are describing. I tried Amlactin and nothing -nada.

      I will try Cerave. the one thing that I feel might help my condition is using sugar scrub regularly on that part. That smooths things out like nobody’s business. Not that it reduces the pores or large hair roots – whatever you want to call it, but atleast it does not feel rough when I run my hand over it.
      Maybe if I use the scrub regularly, it might reduce?

    • just be sure it’s not actually bug bites. I’ve been freaked out about mysterious bumps/rashes ever since my brother had red marks on his arms that the dermatologist couldn’t figure out. Turned out they were bed bug bites and his apartment was crawling in them (and he does not live in a major city).

      • Anonymous :

        GASP! So sorry. Where did they come from?

        • Turns out they were already in the apartment he moved into. When he called the exterminator, the guy said “I thought we got rid of those last year!” The landlord, of course, had not mentioned this at all. I live in a completely different city, so I was unaffected. It was a huge pain to deal with, evidently, and I saw pictures of the bite marks and they were awful. The irony is I live in New York, which has a huge bed bug problem, evidently, and I’ve never had an issue, but he’s in a tiny college town in the south. I now religiously check the beds of hotels when I check-in and vacuum my suitcases when I return from trips.

    • I had this in the past – tried all the creams, etc. – found it went away on its own when my stress decreased, via exercise, work and diet changes.

    • My daughter and I have KP on our upper arms. It seems to be a fair skin thing, particularly hard on redheads. I know it seems like you could just scrub it off, but that really doesn’t work. It may make the condition worse. There’s a cream called Amlactin that works for many. For others, a lotion containing salycilic acid may help. But it’s a chronic condition. These won’t cure it, they will only reduce the symptoms.

      • I’ve typed a “thank you reply” three times, but it never shows up. So thank you! to everyone for your tips!

    • I have KP too, and discovered it’s a hormonal thing when it went away when I was pregnant, then came back after. Exfoliating with a scrub (like the St Ives Apricot stuff) and/or salicylic acid seems to help. I’m usually too lazy to do it though.

    • When I was a teen I got something like this on my legs frequently, usually just when it started turning hot (like now). Went to the doctor once, and he said that it was a bug bite that got infected (which I don’t think was true, since I would get them routinely and on both legs). Anyway, the only thing that I ever found to help, and I know it sounds weird, was to take the cleaning solution that they give you when you get your ears peirced (OK, I was working at Claire’s at the time- teenager!) and rub it over the spots the minute I noticed the beginnings of it. That seemed to stop them, and eventually it just stopped happening altogether. I think that just rubbing alcohol or peroxide would work as well.

  21. BigLaw Refugee :

    I ordered a bunch of stuff from Nordstrom, and this jacket, a linen/viscose blend with an interesting (sort of “ruffled” but not in a frilly way) neckling, available in tan and navy, was my favorite. It strikes me as structured and neutral-colored enough to be professional looking, yet the ruffle makes it fun. It came out of the box looking halfway decent, so I’m expecting it not to wrinkle as badly as 100% linen.

    It’s still available in XS only at around $135 (40% of orig price).


    Pet peeve, though: my order came in 4 different boxes, 3 of them with only 1 item! I had a similar experience with a big order from JNY. I’m curious whether others have had this experience, and with which retailers. J Jill and Talbots usually send it all together or at worst in 2 boxes.

    • Anonymous :

      I ordered a lipstick from Nordstrom once and not only did it come in a way too large box, but the free samples were sent in a separate mailer. Huh?

    • This might be TMI, but did you check and see if the boxes shipped from the same location? My guess–especially since you’re ordering from them at a sale time when merchandise might be moving faster–is that they didn’t have all the pieces you wanted in stock at the same distribution center. So, in the interest of good customer service (and not making you wait any longer than necessary), they sent it to you from four separate facilities.

      Honestly, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a retailer where this wouldn’t ever happen, and the chance of it happening is going to increase with the size of your order. If it makes you feel any better, it wasn’t ideal on their end, either–it’s more expensive (and more work) to ship four boxes vs. one.

      • One addendum–I *think* there as some places (JCrew and L.L.Bean?) that ship everything from one location. In that case, you wouldn’t see split orders unless they were heavy or something was backordered.

      • I think Nordstrom specifically often ships items directly from the stores and they come separately, often with store receipt… my 4-item order on the sale came in three separate boxes and two were from stores. They all return to the same place though.

      • BigLaw Refugee :

        Yes, some seem to have come from different stores. I actually had a bit of a panic the other day when I realized some items, which supposedly shipped first, were missing. Apparently they are still en route.

        I’ve had this happen with several retailers, and it makes the process of figuring out what I got and organizing the returns much more difficult, so it’s a factor in whether I order. At least with Macy’s and JNY, the one-item shipments were in little bags, and there were clear packing lists with each. With this Nordstrom shipment, the one-item shipments are still in big boxes, and there’s no packing list – just a store receipt.

        I love Nordstrom, but I think next year I will try to hit the sale in person.

    • Re-posting…

      I went to pick up the black Halogen Taylor pants at my local store and ended up buying the Halogen seamed knit pencil skirt in cadet blue that was recommended by so many of this community. I got this lovely blouse to go with it: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/halogen-drape-neck-mesh-top/3187498?origin=keywordsearch&resultback=3058

      They didn’t have the skirt in my size so they’re shipping it to me free.

      I think this look will be perfect for my trip.

    • I’ve had Amazon and Target do that to me several times (the multiple boxes). I’m sure that it has to do with different distribution centers. What gets me is that it’s always the extra item that I ordered just to get up to free shipping that comes first in a separate box!

  22. To piggyback on the above discussion of patent law, I have some questions about it I’d love to get the corporettes’ thoughts on.

    For background, I have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and have worked as an engineer for 5 yrs (more on the process/manufacturing side than the design side) and late last year moved into a non-engineering but still technical role at my employer. Way back in high school when I first decided to go for an engineering degree the grand plan was to then go straight on to law school to become a patent lawyer – I enjoy and am good at math and technical subjects but reading/writing-related things come most easily to me. I have a 3.71 GPA for undergrad and I did take the LSAT once (but could have studied more) and I got a 164.

    However, I discovered that I enjoyed engineering itself, various other life things occurred, and the more I researched about law school the more I got nervous about the high level of debt I’d be taking on and the billable hours requirements I’d have once I started working as an attorney. But five years down the road I’m feeling somewhat burnt out on engineering and some of the things it entails (such as most likely working for a large corporation and that while you start out a decent level of pay you also cap out pretty early), so I’m more curious about the “road not taken”of patent law.

    So my questions are:
    1) How different is the patent law market compared to the current abysmal market for lawyers in general?
    2) How desirable (or not) is a mechanical engineering degree for patent law and how would that impact my job prospects?
    3) Would that I have work experience as an engineer help or not?
    3) I’m currently in Iowa – I know of one patent law boutique in Des Moines but other than that would I most likely have to head out of state for a job? Either of the coasts is not an option and since my husband is definitely not a city guy we’d have to live somewhere within commuting distance of a city. I grew up outside Chicago and have in the suburbs and Rockford.
    4) Would the U. of Iowa law school be a good option or even for patent law am I advised to get into the best possible law school I can get into, cost be damned?

    I know this is a book, but whatever thoughts anyone has would be most appreciated – I really respect the advice corporettes give.

    • Friends with patent attorneys :

      I have several friends who are patent attorneys but am not one myself. I would advise you to do some online job searches to see if mechanical engineering is in demand and if so, if in any geographic locations you would consider. My friends seem to say that electrical engineering is pretty hot in the market right now but not sure on mechanical.

    • My understanding is that mechanical engineering, especially with job experience, is very in demand right now. This is based mainly on the fact that although my class (2011) is currently only about 40% employed, all of the mechanical and other engineers I know are employed and a lot of them had multiple offers.

      I think U of Iowa has a decent patent law program. Honestly, if you don’t want to live in a big city, I think choosing a school local to the area you want to work would be far more useful than shelling out a lot of money for a big name school. That’s assuming you’re talking about a difference in rankings akin to that between U of I and Georgetown, not between some 4th tier school no one’s ever heard of and Georgetown.

    • Have you thought of going the patent agent route? No need for law school and you can do a lot of the same work.

      There is also a good patent law market in the Twin Cities, is that a possibility?

    • Twin Cities Patent Litigator :

      I’m a patent litigator in the Twin Cities with a BS in Aerospace Enginering and an MS in Mechanical Engineering. I work at a large general practice firm with a substantial patent prosecution and patent litigation practices. Here’s my take on your questions.

      1. I think the patent law market is better than the general law market but it’s not like the good old days when a technical background and JD could get you some kind of patent job w/out too much difficulty.

      2. I’ve found an ME degree to be pretty useful–it’s not as useful as an EE degree, but I think it carries more weight in the patent world than a biology degree.

      3 (1st). Work experience as an engineer would definitely be considered an asset at my firm.

      3 (2nd). I’m originally from Iowa, as are many of the lawyers at my firm. I think the Twin Cities is a nice compromise between Des Moines and Chicago. My husband is really outdoorsy and finds all kinds of opportunities to fish, bike, camp, etc.

      4. Having gone to a third-tier school, I recommend going to the best school you possibly can. That being said, the University of Iowa is well-respected in Minnesota. But if you’re thinking about moving up here, I would apply to the University of Minnesota to improve your job prospects.

      You didn’t say if you were thinking about patent prosecution (writing patent applications, responding to office actions from the PTO, and doing clearance opinions) or patent litigation (representing parties sued for or suing for patent infringement). If you are leaning towards patent prosecution, my recommendation would be to take the patent bar and work as a patent agent for a bit before dropping the big bucks for law school. But you might surprise yourself–I always thought I’d be a patent prosecutor but after 8 months decided litigation was a better fit for me because I really enjoy legal research, writing briefs, litigation strategy, and being in court.

      I hope this helps!

      • Twin Cities Patent Litigator :

        Ugh, try “the Twin Cities are” or “the Twin Cities area is.” Sorry, I’ve been working on a brief since 6:30 this morning (which is not a recommendation for this job).

    • Alanna of Trebond (formerly 2L NYC) :

      I think the other responses have addressed your question pretty well – but I thought I’d chime in as someone who has been dealing with the bad job market as a new lawyer (well, almost!).

      1 & 2) At my school (T-5), I think most people have summer associate jobs (although they are so opaque about numbers), and all of my friends from my patent law class are employed at top firms, some of whom have MAE backgrounds. I did find that chemical engineering/bio and electrical engineering/computer science seem to be the general tenor of most of the patent cases that I have worked on, but I am not sure if that makes a difference in hiring. I am a ChE and had no problems at all in getting a job.

      3) I think it can only help to have work experience — although I would recommend having a “story” as to why you transitioned to becoming an attorney. To that end, it may be worthwhile to work as a patent agent or at least take the patent bar to get a feel for that side of things.

      3(b) & 4) I would still recommend trying to get into the best school you can — although maybe keeping in mind how much you are paying — because you already have a marketable degree, you may discover while in law school that being a patent lawyer is not all you wanted, and then you can leave law school with no regrets (obviously, pretty unlikely scenario). I’m afraid I don’t know very much about University of Iowa — but perhaps if you can get a full ride there and you are planning to stay in that region, it would be a good choice.

      Hope that helps! Good luck!

      • Love your name. Those books were pretty transformative for me growing up and I still reread them more often than I’d like to admit.

  23. Cautionary Tale :

    I know some Corporettes are starting summer internships right now, so I thought I’d share a tale of what NOT to do that happened to me this week. Pardon any awkwardness as I try pretty hard to keep my anonymity and hers.

    I’m a lawyer for an entity that is regulated by a federal agency. My org and the fed agency are currently negotiating a potentially billion dollar compliance plan (no exaggeration there.) This week we had a meeting about it. Suits all around as I would think is obvious. Nearly an hour after the meeting started a young woman walks in the room and sits down, not at the table. She’s wearing a dress that is business casual at best, and no jacket. A little off, but not a problem since she’s not talking.

    When we pause the meeting to take a break, one of the agency lawyers introduces her as their intern. At the end of the meeting, Intern positions herself by the door as we’re all shaking hands and trying to keep things as pleasant as possible following a somewhat tense negotiation. On our way out, someone from my group asks Intern by the door “So you’re interning here?” Intern proceeds to say that she just finished up her second year at X law school but she did her undergrad work in Y subject area and this issue is so interesting because blah blah blah.

    The woman was laughing and talking about this issue as flippantly as if she had just read about it in a case book and was chatting with classmates. Her bosses and my group are on opposite sides of a legal dispute and here she is, blocking the exit so we have to listen to her hold forth. We were all stunned. One of the more senior attorneys turned to me when we got out of the building and said “She was their INTERN, right? What was she thinking?” It’s safe to say that if she ever applied to him or I for a job and we made the connection, her application would be seriously dinged for having no sense of propriety.

    So please:
    People supervising interns this summer: If you let your intern go to a meeting, tell them about dress code and decorum ahead of time. This woman just didn’t get it, and I at least partially blame her supervisors.

    Summer interns: Remember that you’re working on real open cases this summer. They are about real money and affect real people’s lives. You’re at your internship to learn. Watch how your supervisors treat the people in your meetings and try to emulate their tone. Be cognizant of the impression you are leaving on EVERYONE you meet, and remember that not everyone is interested in your opinion.

    Good luck this summer, ladies!

    • Summers, also remember that some uptight offices are probably pretty miserable.

      • another anon :

        This response proves it’s not worth offering advice to some people. Sometimes interns and summers are just a waste of an education.

      • Not Really a Lawyer :

        Wait, what? Are you implying that the OP is “uptight” and “miserable” and the intern’s behavior was acceptably within professional standards?

        • The summer intern didn’t do anything horrible. She was laughing and chatting and wore a dress that was too casual. Great intern? No. Worst intern ever? No. It’s not like she was laughing during a murder trial, she was probably nervous and trying to appear engaged. I think it’s a little bit of an overstatement to be “stunned” that an intern didn’t know where to stand and was nervously chatting without the appropriate serious tone. That said, this site is good for interns to learn the what not to dos and stories like this help. I’ve been seeing some super short skirts lately from the DC women who look like they are headed to work. Some aren’t even interns I think they are just clueless.

          • Anonymous :

            Good points but the OP’s older co-worker noticed and the consensus among them was LIKELY DO NOT HIRE.

            OP is posting this to be helpful, the woman damaged her career, but it doesn’t seem to be well received at all.

            I wonder if a “What would you do?” approach would work better for these matters.

      • The OP is trying to help. Would you prefer she keeps her thoughts to herself?

        • OP’s complaint seemed to be that when intern (for the agency) was asked about herself by a members of OPs team (the organization), intern blocked the door and spoke flippantly. Intern should read the tone but upon being asked about self, intern should show enthusiasm about subject matter (or her background?). It could have gone more smoothly but I don’t think this is a blacklisting offense.

          My beef is mostly with OPs comment that not everyone is interested in intern’s opinion. Here, she was asked about herself by the organization employee and maintained a responsive conversation. Should she have stared back in silence?

          Women need not be expected or socialized to be wall flowers.

          • Anonymous :

            “Women need not be expected or socialized to be wall flowers.”

            True, but I don’t agree that the OP is making this into an anti-female power issue. She’s stating the reaction from her coworkers.

            Uptight, miserable as you may think they are, they’re professionals who make hiring decisions and that she may need to deal with in her legal career.

          • AnonInfinity :

            L., this was exactly my problem with the OP, though I couldn’t figure out a way to say it eloquently. I don’t understand what the intern was supposed to do in response to a conversation-starting question about her.

    • Anonymous :

      Flippant The Intern likely wouldn’t recognize herself on here even if she reads this blog. That’s the behavior I expect from someone’s spoiled, self-centered, socially clueless highschooler — or someone who’s sleeping with her boss and gets away with it.

      • Can we please stop using “sleeping with the boss/using sex to get ahead” as a put-down for professional women? I’ve seen it a couple of times on this site when someone tells a story of a woman not being fully professional, and someone makes a comment about them probably being sexually inappropriate, too. I find it disturbing that smart, successful women still feel the need to tear each other down by calling each other sluts. What in that story makes you think she’s sleeping with the boss? I suspect you would not assume that a young male intern who is inappropriately casual and has a high opinion of himself to be sleeping with his boss.

        • Anonymous :

          It’s not meant as as insult, it’s meant as a conclusion.

          I can only come up with a few reasons why a firm would tolerate unacceptable/embarrassing behavior from an employee.

          Those include that they’ve earned it (not likely from an intern or summer); it’s not worth having The Talk since they just seem to be thick or not worth mentoring; or the person has special status within the firm (related to or has a relationship with someone higher up).

          • Accountress :

            No, you meant it as an insult. You learn three things about the young woman in the OP’s description- she’s wearing a dress that’s a little too casual (if she just started, it’s possible she’s going to buy new outfits this weekend- which tons of people on this board recommend), she’s standing in front of the door (yeah, it’s annoying- but we’ve all done it; she was having a conversation about what had been mentioned and showing that she was paying attention- in any other situation, that’s be considered a positive.), and she’s young.

            NOTHING in that reads that she’s a spoiled high schooler or that she’s sleeping with a higher-up, and that kind of sexism (from other women, especially) needs to stop.

          • No, I’m quite sure I meant it as a conclusion. Whatever. Next issue.

          • Troll!

          • Anonymous :

            Not so much. Just someone with an opinion that differs from yours.

      • People are socially clueless because of judgmental b—s who would rather call a younger woman catty names then become a mentor and help her learn the rules of the game.

        • another anon :

          Yes, that’s pretty much me and I don’t offer apologies for it. Offering unsolicited advice can backfire.

          Example: “You may not realize this, but your outfit is inappropriate and showing up late and belittling the negotiations impacts both you and your firm. Also, please move as we’d like to leave.” may justifiably be met with “Who are you to tell me what’s what? Get over yourself. I’m filing a complaint on your inappropriate behavior.”

          Not everyone thinks it’s a big deal and wouldn’t take the initiative to research what was expected from them.

          If someone on the opposite side of an issue walks in late, dressed inappropriately, and behaves in a socially inappropriate manner I certainly wouldn’t offer any advice. I would gawk about it with my co-workers later though.

          • Eponine, I could not agree more.

            Another anon’s response saddens me. Whatever happened to “do unto others as you would have done unto you?” If the shoe was on the other foot, another anon, and you committed a social faux pas after being thrust into an unfamiliar situation, would you want someone to pull you aside and tell you about your mistake? Or would you rather that person walk away and “gawk about it with [her] co-workers?”

            I find it highly unlikely that an intern would react to constructive criticism with a “who are you to tell me that?!?,” presumably when she hopes to parlay that internship into a full-time position. To be sure, you might not want to say the same thing to your boss, but it seems entirely appropriate to offer advice like that to an intern or a subordinate.

            I recognize that in the OP’s situation, giving advice to the intern was infeasible because she was on the opposite side of the negotiation. But refusing to give such advice to an intern at your own firm/agency/organization seems quite petty and shortsighted. It is virtually impossible to make an accurate judgment about the quality of someone’s intellect or body of work from a brief conversation and an inappropriate outfit.

            Many very successful and wealthy people — on Wall Street (especially) and in politics, for example — aren’t known for their social graces or fashionable wardrobes. Read ANY book on the financial crisis (I recommend The Big Short or Too Big To Fail) if you don’t believe me. Somewhere along those *mens’* career paths, wise executives made decisions to cut their awkward subordinates some slack with respect to dress/manners because of what those subordinates could bring to their firms. Maybe we, as women, should try to do the same thing, even though it makes us feel better about ourselves to “gawk” at others’ mistakes with our co-workers.

          • Gawk away. That’s harmless enough I guess. But I find it reprenhensible that Anonymous made the leap from socially awkward intern —> must be sleeping with her boss. Thank God I never encountered this kind of vindictiveness when I was a junior lawyer.

          • Anonymous :

            Eponine I’ve read many of your helpful and insightful posts and have great respect for your wise comments, but I’m still disagreeing on this point.

            The OP almost being insulted for offering advice that other took years to figure out, and that’s horrifying.

            If an intern is completely clueless about serious matters I write that intern off or approach with caution, not out of spite but because I am concluding that they are likely to be equally clueless about other matters.

          • @Anonymous – I replied to the commenter who said the intern must be spoiled or sleeping with her boss, not the OP.

        • Agree with Eponine. We should mentor younger interns, not judge them or gossip about them behind their backs. Growing up, I did not have the benefit of having a role model to help me learn about the dos and do nots of makeup, clothes, and social mores. My mom regularly wears stretchy pants with the footband at the bottom and oversized sweaters with huge sequins. The only makeup that she wears is lipstick on her lips and cheeks. Everyone around me was similarly casual. It took a long time for me to learn how to dress and use makeup properly. During that time, I would have appreciated if someone had taken the time to mentor me and talk to me about appropriate workplace wardrobes. I cringe now when I think about the things that I used to wear on my first job (fortunately, it was a casual workplace), but I was lucky enough that my boss was willing to look past that and see my potential. A few years after I left my job for grad school, she told me that I was the best employee she had ever hired for that position. We should not assume that, simply because someone acts nervous or a bit awkward or dresses somewhat inappropriately, she is a spoiled brat or sleeping with the boss. It could also be that she has not had the mentorship or sufficient exposure to the appropriate behavior to model herself after. Nobody is perfect from the get-go, and I think we should support each other, rather than tear one another down.

          • Yes, me too. It wasn’t until my second job that I realized sundresses weren’t work attire, and stretch pants weren’t casual Friday wear. I imagine I was pretty cringeworthy, but I’d never known anyone who worked in an office until I went to law school, and no one really guided me on what to wear during my internships other than to wear a jacket for court appearances. I was the opposite of spoiled – I was working class, and I only owned one suit. I worked hard and I didn’t realize it mattered until someone sat me down and told me.

        • Eponine, I completely agree. I will be forever grateful to the female attorney who pulled me aside when I was a summer associate at a midsized firm and told me that although the firm’s dress code was business casual, I would be doing myself a big favor by wearing suits. She gave me reasons that made total sense (you want to inspire confidence in your professional abilities, I look very young, I would be appropriately dressed in case there was a last minute meeting/court appearance I could sit in on, etc.) and I was so glad I had an opportunity to correct it. It’s even served me well working there as a real attorney. I wear a suit almost every day and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten when getting dressed that I had a client coming in that day but didn’t need to worry about my professional presentation because I was already in a suit.

    • summer in illinois :

      Duly noted, and as a law student I do appreciate the tale. A lot of people in my class have been told to be friendly to everyone and constantly express interest (which, to be fair, is likely to sound like airheaded excitement to someone more knowledgeable). The intern you met might have been nervous and reacted by being overly chatty; emulating tone is one of those things that distinguishes professionals from newbies and can take a while to learn.
      In response to the comment about spoiled, self-centered, socially clueless highschoolers — I’m in a totally different externship situation right now, where I know I’m guilty of blocking doors, hallways, etc. at times because I’m not used to finding my way around new environments, and I’m not sure yet how to read my boss’s moods and signals. It’s difficult to guess the unspoken rules in new places and I can only hope that I won’t lose my references for something I haven’t figured out yet. Having switched careers to go to law school, I’m still keyed to my old environment in surprising ways. But I was a rising professional in the old field and I’m fairly determined to have a good go at law. Learning this stuff is part of why law students need internships, and it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re hopeless rubes.

      • As an older student who’s also changed fields: amen.

      • Another Sarah :

        This. Wardrobe notwithstanding, to me it sounded like the intern was excited about seeing something in which she’s interested be played out right in front of her. And then when someone actually spoke to her, she was ever more excited and it may have come off as flippant. She probably thought, “I definitely need to make a really good impression, so I’ll show them what I know! Yay!” She also probably went a bit overboard and didn’t realize that she was blocking the door. If someone took her aside afterwards, she probably won’t make the mistake again.

    • At my public sector entity, we treat our interns as valued members of a team and invite them to share their opinions and reflections, since the internship is supposed to be a learning experience for them (we don’t pay our interns). She was probably nervous and didn’t realize her comments weren’t welcomed by the opposing team. It was her boss’s fault for not warning her of the dress code ahead of time, though, I agree.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I hope you talk to her about this and explain what she should have done in the situation. She probably thought she was being friendly and engaged in what was happening.

      As a student I was often invited to depositions, negotiations, etc., and I tried to be friendly to everyone in the room and if someone asked me a question, I would certainly chat with that person.

      Maybe she felt embarrassed that she was improperly dressed and was trying to make up for it with an overly chipper mood. Maybe she was nervous and was trying to be friendly. Maybe she doesn’t know how to read the tone of the room yet. Who knows, but this doesn’t seem like it should be a career ending gaffe, in my opinion. Or maybe I missed something.

      • Another Anony :

        That might cause liability issues. The intern was on the opposing team.

        • AnonInfinity :

          Oops. I misread the OP; I thought the intern was one of the OP’s own interns.

          I do stand by my genearal point that this is not the worst mistake that ever could be made and it is definitely a teachable moment for her (from her own supervisors, of course).

    • This seems way too harsh to me. Perhaps the woman “got it” but was told about the meeting right before she came in? This would not be uncommon at all in my current workplace, and would explain the casual dress and lack of understanding about what to do. I work with some people who just won’t wear a suit, period, which isn’t going to help an intern trying to navigate the system figure out what to wear at what times. At best this is what, her first or second week on the job? She’s not going to be an expert just yet and needs good mentors to sit down and thoroughly explain things to her.

      • As an older attorney, this complaint seems a bit silly. Most people understand that interns know very little about the professional world, and will give them leeway on the wardrobe front, given that most aren’t pulling in any salary yet (doubly true if the intern is working for a non-profit or a government agency as was the case here). Honestly, I doubt most people would remember her from the meeting if she applied to the firm years or even months later, and I expect this one incident wouldn’t be held against her if her credentials and references were otherwise good. I’ve seen summer associates and even young associates do ton of “unprofessional” things, and go on to successful careers as they’ve matured. Always best to treat (and “judge”) people as you would like to be treated if in their shoes.

    • Anonymous :

      A somewhat related question coming from an intern. I am wondering if I’ve made a huge error in wearing flip flops for my commute. Hopefully this hasn’t damaged my reputation. I work in a business casual government agency.

      I am not used to walking in heels and I have been commuting to work in flip flops. I tried to do this commute in heels my first day and ended up with some awful blisters. I’m typically wearing suits and I think it would be obvious that these are not the shoes that I am going to be wearing at work. I thought it would be fine to change into my heels in the office bathroom. When I was taking the elevator to my floor, one of the men in the elevator just stared at my feet. I felt so embarrassed. I think I looked fine besides the flip flops. My toes are painted and well kept. I was wearing a suit that fits well. The skirt is knee length. I could change into the shoes before i get into the building but I just thought that would be embarrassing if someone saw me barefoot on the bench outside the building.

      What do women typically do? I see so many women who look professional on the metro wearing flip flops to commute in. I figured it was pretty common.

      • It is. I’m not in law. But I posted a few weeks ago about commuter shoes and many people suggested flip flops, especially if you’re wearing skirts. The other suggestion was wedges which would work with trousers.

      • BarPrepper :

        I’m guessing you’re just fine in flip flops. Some of my colleagues change into sweats or jogging gear for the “commute” home, and I nobody cares – they look professonal when they’re working, and that’s perfectly fine.

        If I risked having people see my feet on a regular basis, though, I would be sure to have a nicely polished set of toes! The chipped polish that I’ve rocked on my toes through most of law school certainly doesn’t give me that “pulled together” look I’m after.

      • Yeah, it’s fine. I commute in sandals in the summer and clogs in winter. Several of my coworkers ride bikes in wearing jeans or sweatpants and change into work clothes – I’ll make fun of them in the elevator in the morning (“It’s not Friday yet, Steve!”). Don’t worry about it. I doubt he was actually staring at your feet.

        If you’re walking during your commute, I’ll act like an old lady and scold you that you should wear more supportive footwear. Flipflops often cause injury. See, e.g., http://www.newsweek.com/2008/06/09/flip-flop-flaws.html.

      • Flip flops are generally fine for commuting, but I would suggest black flats or even black Toms or something if leather flats are too hot. I used to wear flip flops to commute when I worked in DC, until one morning I rode up in the elevator with the Executive Director. He didn’t give me a condescending look or anything, but it was rather embarrassing to have my feet exposed like that when the rest of my attire was business professional.

    • another anon :

      As another poster pointed out, this thread seems to have hit a nerve.

      Maybe this can become a teaching moment rather than a war.

      What are the steps involved in mentoring an intern? Call the intern into the office at the end of the day and explain their attire is inappropriate? Send the intern home immediately if they show up wearing something questionable?

      • I (or someone else) tell the interns for my team that they should keep a suit in the office, as all the attorneys do. I tell them in advance of a meeting whether they should wear a suit. If the meeting comes up unexpectedly, I tell them to change into their suit. Before the meeting, if there are any out-of-the-ordinary quirks they should know about (e.g., this is an extremely sensitive negotiation, don’t talk to the opposing team) I tell them in advance. After the meeting, we chat about it and the intern can ask questions.

        • Or even just a suit jacket. I’m an attorney and regularly just put on one of the jackets in my office over the dress or with the pants/sweater I’m wearing when I need to go to court. I’m also in a fairly laid back small town in WA though, so I understand that other locales would call for a full suit.

        • It’s probably a good idea to have a suit, or at least a jacket that will work with anything, on hand. But bear in mind that interns (and associates, in my experience!) are often told to go somewhere at literaly the last second, as in, the partner thinks of inviting them as he or she passes that intern’s office on the way out the door. There’s often no time to change, or even grab the jacket, without seeming high maintenance and fussy.

      • Alanna of Trebond (formerly 2L NYC) :

        As an intern, I had two thoughts after reading this post.

        As to the attire — I think you could speak to someone at the end of the day rather than at the beginning about what they are wearing. Then, they can change it in the future and not worry about it during the day. Could be done via email.

        As to the demeanor — this part freaked me out a lot! This is precisely how I act about something that I am excited about, and while I have no idea about the tenor of this particular meeting, I do enjoy getting the opportunity to talk to senior people about something I have only learned about in class. So I am not sure what to do in that situation.

      • I am forever grateful to the woman who pulled me aside during a college internship to tell me that I needed to wear closed-toed shoes in the winter. In retrospect, I should have realized this much earlier, given that I’d had at least two comments along the lines of “boy your toes must be cold!” My mom had never said anything to me about seasonal shoe choice, so it didn’t even occur to me that it would be an issue.

        Honestly, I think most interns will respond positively to those who they know have their best interest at heart. The woman who spoke to me acknowledged that it wasn’t a comfortable conversation to have, but ultimately, she felt it was important information for me to know. She also couched it in such a way that it sounded like this was a conversation she’d had before, which helped me feel like I wasn’t the only woman in the history of the world to have made this mistake.

    • I work for a large corporation, so my observations my not be completely on point in the law world, but I’d like to add my $0.02. When a new employee starts in my office or group, I usually introduce myself and at the end of the introductory conversation I add, “Feel free to ask me any questions as they come, even if they seem a little awkward. There is definitely a culture in the office, and it can be hard to understand for the first few months.” Most people (interns, new employees, people recently transferring from another location) are grateful, even if they don’t have any questions.

      Then during a conversation over the following weeks, I ask how things are going and the normal pleasantries. During this conversation, I usually mention a couple of odd quirks that the person may not have noticed. For example, one of the senior managers does not like when people book flights during the middle of the day, even though they usually the cheapest option. Another senior manager is 15 minutes early to everything and does not like when people arrive to a meeting at the stated time. So I just mention that’s probably better ot be 5 minutes early. Typically the new person is grateful and responds asking me to let them know if there is something that they are doing wrong.

      I’ve found that using these two examples are fairly harmless and not directed as feedback for the new person, but that it helps them understand that I am sincere about wanting to help and makes it easier to approach me with other questions/concerns. Likewise, in the few instances where I have felt strongly enough to give constructive criticism, I find people are much more open to the discussion because there is a relationship there, and the person rarely becomes defensive. I do this for both men and women.

      My company has a large and active networking community for women, and usually twice a year (a few weeks after a large group of new hires start), they have an image consultant speak at a brown bag lunch about what to wear, general etiquette, etc. Some of the information is basic and most people know it, but it’s a good reminder and particularly helpful to people who don’t have a significant amount of professional experience.

    • Wow – surprised to see the follow-up to this post. I saw this over the weekend (I think it got stuck in the moderation queue) and found myself nodding — it’s amazing what young men and women do to shoot themselves in the foot, both in the eyes of their superiors and colleagues they encounter in the job. My own response was to start this blog rather than try to talk to people about it, but that’s just me… :)

  24. PSA: Carlos Falchi bags 80% off on 6pm today!

  25. Nordstrom fulfills online orders from warehouses as well as stores, so if your items are coming from different sources, each will come separately. I bet if you look at the receipts, some will be actual store receipts. I think I read somewhere that this is for faster fulfillment, but it’s been a long crazy week and I might just be making things up now and thinking I read them somewhere…

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