Thursday’s TPS Report: Anne Klein Wedge Dress

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Anne Klein Wedge Dress I like this deep red abstract print dress from Anne Klein, complete with a really wide colorblocked black strip at the bottom. The colors are the main thing that i like — it looks like a great mix of pink, watermelon, even some dark blood red thrown in there. Amazon has it in regulars, petites, and plus sizes for $60.85-$139. Anne Klein Women’s Wedge Dress

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(Update: Note that Dillard’s has it even cheaper, for $52.)

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  1. Not sure how I feel about the black band at the bottom, but the print is gorgeous!

    • I HATE the black bands on the bottom of dresses. Lazy tailoring. FOOEY.

      • e_pontellier :

        The only plus to this (super lazy) style is that us tall girls can add a black band on the bottom of regular dresses and look trendy.

        just kidding, that never works.

        • Wait, so I shouldn’t go out an buy a bolt of black fabric to add to all my dresses? Darn… ;)

          • Maybe the tall among us can cut off the black band and wear it as a tunic! (Kidding!)

          • I actually do that more often than I’d like with dresses that insist on shrinking in the wash… despite my best efforts to the contrary (no hot water, no dryer, etc.).

        • I decided to try this out, and I hope others can learn from my mistake. This dress is really odd. Forget the black band at the bottom – that is the least of it’s issues. It had the oddest fit I’ve ever seen. I’m not even sure how to describe the arm openings. They were really deep as some commenters predicted, but that was like an “over sleeve” and the bodice of the dress actually came to where you’d want it to, so it wasn’t like you were going to accidentally be flashing bra or armpit. The “over sleeve” part was very strange and blousy and gave the entire top of the dress an incredibly unflattering poof. But then the waist and hips fit normally, so you couldn’t really even try to fix it with a belt (not that that ever really works – the paper bag effect isn’t good either). Long story short, I can’t begin to imagine how much pinning is going on in the picture of the model to make the dress fit and lie the way it does in that photo. I had high hopes, but this is a definite return.

      • LOL. Too bad, because the print is outstanding.

        Why is it called a “Wedge” dress? I was imagining chunky wedge heels printed all over the dress until I saw it.

        • Based on a little googling a “wedge dress” tapers from the shoulders to the hem. This doesn’t exactly appear to do that. Also, that seems ridiculous.

          Let’s say you are a pear. Well, this probably will be too loose on top and too tight on the bottom, even if it would “balance” your figure. Or, let’s say you have broad shoulders (like me), this will make you look like a linebaker. Who looks better in a dress that tapers from the shoulders to the hem?

          • I think the only reason to wear a true wedge dress would be to play with a unique silhouette, which is fun sometimes. The shape would not be particularly flattering on many body types.

          • This would not work on me. I am big both on top as well as below.

        • I bought this dress a couple of weeks ago and returned it because of the “wedge”. The size (same as I wear in other AK dresses) was ok, but the wedge styling made it feel too big on top.

      • Me too! So lazy.

    • I like the black band. It makes it look layered to me, which is a look that I like.

    • I agree. The black band is bad, but the print is great. And it’s always nice when a dress caters to plus and petite sizes. This one just misses the mark. (I just can’t fathom why they would add that black band!)


    • She looks like she’s trying to look like she’s from the future.

    • Okay, I actually like the black band. I feel like that print would just be too much if it were all over. In fact, although I like the colors, I’m not so sure the print isn’t already a little too much.

      • Wannabe Runner :

        Agree. I’m in favor. I think it works on this dress because it gets darker toward the bottom.

    • The band makes me think that they ran out of material or the material was too narrow.

  2. Sydney Bristow :

    Oohhhh I really like this dress, although I’m torn on the black part at the bottom. I think I’d like it more if the print covered the entire dress.

    • hellskitchen :

      Or at least if there was some ombre effect merging the print and the black – that would look better than the black band

    • At first glance, I thought this was a dress worn over a skirt! I like Hell’s Kitchen’s idea of the black appearing in a more graduated way instead of a harshly delineated band.

    • i reeeallly like the print, i would like it enough to buy, but there is no way that cut is going to fit my pear hips. Sad, cuz Anne Klein does lots of dresses with room in the hips. Why don’t designers do more multiple dress cuts in the same fabric? :o(

  3. Diana Barry :

    Ooo, I like this. Upon looking at the zoomed-in view, though, it looks like the armholes might be too low. But with the black bit at the bottom, you could add on another stripe of black if it was too short!

    • I haaaate that. I have had to cast aside so many cute dresses because the armholes show half my bra. Why do designers do this?!

      • They probably think that’s how women get promoted in the workplace.

        • So that’s what I’ve been doing wrong…

        • I hate it when men look at my boobies! I should not have to wear Icelandic sweaters all year long to keep leering Louie’s from drooling all over the floor. Guys, my boobies are mine, and are reserved for my boyfriend, that is, when he is good to me.

        • lawsuited :

          Best way to get promoted is to show your….armpit. Yikes!

      • If it’s a sleeveless dress, it’s pretty easy to get the top part of the shoulders altered to make the armhole smaller. Basically, short women have less distance from armpit to top of elbow, and some designers design for taller women with more distance from armpit to top of elbow. There’s usually a seam right on the top of the shoulder that can be opened and your tailor can take a couple inches off to bring the armhole up to cover your bra.

  4. In the Pink :

    Dear Fancy-Pants and Lingerie shops:

    Please do not cast aside your long-standing customers who now need un/non wired undergarments. We are girls too. Don’t just shunt us off with a comment to “look online.”

    Dear Lingerie companies:

    Please start to offer more lovely, carefully crafted, detailed items for those of us who wan un/non wired undergarments. We like to be se**y as best as we can. There’s more to the un/non wired situation than sports and maternity/nursing garments.

    Yours, apparently no longer –

    In the Pink

    • Gap Body had some attractive wireless undergarments the last time I looked, though I haven’t actually tried them myself and can’t speak for the quality.

    • Soma has some pretty bras without underwire.

    • SpaceMountain :

      So does Natori.

      • MaggieLizer :

        +1 on Natori; they go on sale at Nordie’s pretty frequently.

      • phillygirlruns :

        +1 on natori. also, hanky panky, cosabella.

        signed, a dedicated underwire lover who is often jealous of those who can look se y in little wireless lace/mesh contraptions

    • Saw this on my monthly hateread/scan of Cap Hill Style and I LOVE IT:

      • Out of curiosity, why is Cap Hill Style a hateread for you?

        • This thread explains some of it for me (not trying to speak for a.)

        • comment in moderation b/c i linked to a this site post and it has this site’s name in link. Weekly News Update from 8/3/2012 explains how some of us can’t related to CHS.

          • Ah, I found it! Thank you.

            I enjoy reading her blog mostly, but I do take her style ‘rules’ and other generalities (women aren’t good with finance) with a grain of salt.

  5. I LOVE Anne Klein –even with the color block. Yay!!!!

    This dress is NOT to expensive so I will ask the manageing partner for permission to get my 20% reimburesement.

    The manageing partner should say YES b/c he aksed me yesterday to bring my OWN laptop in to work after my PC CRASHED yesterday, and I had to carry in my OWN Apple Macbook Air here. FOOEY!

    I do NOT have the billeing software on this machine, and that mean’s that unless the teck guy comes back with my machine, I will have to sit at the manageing partners’ desk to enter all of my billeings today, b/c the manageing partner wants me to bill everything in AUGUST.

    I do NOT want the manageing partner stareing at me today b/c I am wearing a sun dress and he always stare’s at me anyway when I am in his office.

    The manageing partner also want’s me to ask Jim for more transeactional work. That mean’s I HAVE to call him today. UGH! I was hopeing that Frank would to go over the HSR but the manageing partner wants me to WOO him for more business. FOOEY!

    I did NOT want to have to do that before LABOR day, b/c Jim wants me to go with him to a BASEBALL game. Now he want’s to take me to see the Brooklyn Syclone team in Coney Island, but I do NOT like honky-tonk. I DO love the beach, tho, but this water is DIRTY! FOOEY! He also sugested the US Open, but I am NOT a tennis player, and I think he asked what I looked like with tennis short’s on. I do NOT want to show him.

    The teck guy has NOT come back yet…. FOOEY!

  6. Anonymous :

    Is a long (ankle length) sky blue satin dress suitable for a wedding? Color too light?

    • I assume it’s an evening wedding? I think the color is appropriate for a wedding, yes. The satin material makes it formal enough.

    • Yes it’s suitable, but the color it might look bridesmaid-ish. You should be ok as long as light blue isn’t one of the wedding colors.

    • How light are we talking? If it could be mistaken for white in some lights (especially in the evening), then it could be inappropriate. If there is any risk that it could appear white, you may want to accessorize with some bold items that would take it away from the bridal look.

  7. Hey everybody. The storm has pretty much passed at this point. There were times during the night when there was neither wind or rain. Crews are out getting power back on but it’s going to take awhile. I was finally able to get out this morning to start cleaning up the yard. We’re a little warm but otherwise fine.

    • Cornellian :


    • In the Pink :

      Good news, NOLA. Looked grim on our local radar, moving so slowly. Hey, did you put mosquito repellent in your hurricane box? Looks like H-town is almost out of that…I have to remember that when I update our box in the spring. Stay welll, pace yourself, and here’s to your hubs coming home asap to help out. Been there, done that on my own here and in MD/DC. All the Centerpoint trucks left to head your way this morning, so did helis from Ellington Field. There are some led folding lights that we used in Ike. Neat to have, and they stand up so you can read, play cards, etc. For your box next year?

      Be safe!

      • We managed to get the yard cleaned up then on of those last bands came through and we got a monsoon! No mosquito repellant. I’m not outside much. Would love to open up to my upstairs screened porch but it’s so dirty my cat will make a mess. I have this perfect little flashlight I got at Brookstone that looks like an egg and goes around my neck. Unfortunately I didn’t get extra batteries for it so I’m using it sparingly.

        • In the Pink :

          Oh cool, NOLA. Gotta get the egg thing. Much better than holding one between my teeth or using a headband light that we would normally use for renovations. THANKS. Stay well. I hear there are still tornadoes around. Best to you.

    • Just got power back! Hope you’re next!

    • So glad you’re doing OK. Here’s hoping the power gets restored quickly.

    • aw, glad you’re doin good…. come oooonnnnnn power!!!!!

    • So glad to hear you got through okay!


    Just a reminder for anyone who didn’t see the earlier discussion and may want to join: we are meeting for brunch at Bolsa on Sunday 9/23 at 11:30 a.m..

    If you’re interested in joining and aren’t already on my e-mail list for this, please shoot me an e-mail at [thiswebsite]herbie at gmail dot com. I’ll follow up with another announcement and an e-mail the week before.

    Looking forward to it!

  9. a passion for fashion :

    I’m glad im not wild about this dress because i am officially on a clothing budget — and a low one at that (my husband apparently has a different idea than i do about what it means to budget and he figures if im trying to cut back, i may as well really cut back, and now there is a challenge). Wish me luck!

    • You can do it! I’m a complete shopaholic and I’ve been on a shopping ban since July 1. At the beginning, it was really hard – my tendency is to buy new outfits for occasions I deem special or sometimes just to walk around the mall when I was bored/tired/stressed. But two months in – I’m not even really tempted to shop and buy things. I’ve been shopping a few times with friends but to be honest, all I’ve been doing is admiring the pretty fall clothes. I just need to make it another 4 weeks!

      Good luck!

    • During my shopping ban I found that doing a sort of Project 333 was really helpful at curbing my urges to pull out the plastic and go wild. It made me shop around in my closet and see how many things I really had in there. It was also eye opening to me that no one at my office seemed to notice how often I was wearing clothes. All of that concern about wearing the same dress two weeks in a row was really all in my head.

      • hellskitchen :

        What’s Project 333?

        • Pick 33 items, wear for 3 months. I decided that accessories/shoes didn’t count and went for 33 items of clothes.

          • SF Bay Associate :

            Assuming underthings don’t count either, I probably do that normally. I feel uncool now. And it’s not thrifty if those 33 items are all nice ;).

          • Honey Pillows :

            That might be more doable than the 33 including the shoes and scarves, jewelry, etc. When I saw that included shoes, I immediately discounted it, but I could actually do 33 items of clothing.

          • SF Bay Associate, I couldn’t imagine that included undergarments. Ew…

          • I think I do this on a regular basis (sans undergarments or accessories) anyway. Yet, I have not had a work wardrobe for a long time.

          • hellskitchen :

            I am going to try this – really need to streamline my closet

          • How many item of clothing do people have?

            Not to be a special snowflake but I counted my clothes recently thinking that I would do the 333 project to simplify but I only have 40 items of clothing total anyways so it seemed sorta besides the point. (Not counting pjs/exercise clothes.)

            So maybe I actually need to buy more clothes? Is everyone secretly thinking that I wear the same things all the time? I also live in a tiny urban house so maybe it just seems like 40 is a lot of clothing items because the closet my SO and I share is so tiny?

          • Wannabe Runner :

            Bette – Good on you for only having 40 items of clothing. I have tons more, but I envy you and your control/willpower.

          • a passion for fashion :

            Wow Bette — that is impressive. I wouldnt even know where to begin. And I would never be able to do this if shoes/accessories counted — I have like 150 pairs of shoes!

            I’m thinking some version of this migh be a good idea though to try to figure out what i really wear and dont wear. Like maybe Ill pick 33 items and rotate every month. if there are things i totally dont like or dont wear in that month, out it goes.

      • This is precisely what I am doing and it has really made me think differently about what I already have. If I can do it, Passion For Fashion, you can too!

  10. This is a kind of a specific threadjack, but you never know. If there are any Michigan alums in Chicago, do you know what some good Michigan bars are to watch the game on Saturday? I just graduated last year and moved to the city and I’d like to watch the game somewhere fun.

    • Have you checked with your Alumni Association? I know mine has chapters in most major cities and they have viewing parties every game day at a local bar each respective place. I know the Alabama party will be at the Houndstooth Saloon in Chicago–so you may want to steer clear of it. ;)

    • I think a lot of my recent grad friends go to Duffys, I think its a very Greek scene though. Go Blue!

    • S in Chicago :

      Joe’s on Weed Street usually has dedicated space by school (bigger and more local schools usually have a whole room, and the less followed schools usually get a corner or smaller side room with a big screen). Suspect you’ll have a huge room.

    • Rockit, 22 W Hubbard by Wrigley Field.

    • Here’s a map of all the Michigan friendly and Alumni Association bars. Just in case any other Michigan Alums need to figure out where to watch!

    • My sister is a Michigan alumna. When she was living in Chicago, she attended a number of events hosted/planned by the local Michigan Alumni Association. So, yes, there are Michigan alumni and alumnae in Chicago and, yes, they are active.

    • Backgrounder :

      Duffy’s. Nice to see some Wolverine love. Go Blue!

    • Divaliscious11 :

      This should help…

    • Thanks all! I should have known that there would be so many Mich alums in Chi-town :)

    • Maize and Blue :

      Your local alumni association probably has a listserv so find it and join it! Mine does and they will send out where everyone is watching the game. Go blue!

  11. momentsofabsurdity :

    Argh. I moved out of my apartment this morning and the one thing I forgot is my dog’s FAVORITE toy. The one that he carries around with him into every single room, like a security blanket. The one that if somehow he left it in another room and the door is closed, makes him run around like a madman and then sit by the door, staring, and looking at me to whine. THAT’S the toy I left. Not the expensive, nice toys that he couldn’t care less about. The one that is his freaking binky.

    My options are to go to a store of the chain supermarket I bought it at to see if they have them in stock (closest is 20-30min away), drive back to my old apartment tonight and hope someone is around to open the front door (my keys are on the counter) or be a horrible human and let the dog live without his toy.


    • Looks like you may be driving back to the apt… any way you could call your landlord and ask them to mail it?

    • Woods-comma-elle :

      I don’t have a dog, but I would probably try to retrieve it.

      Can you call your landlord/estate agent to ask if someone has found it? Were there cleaners going in or something? If there are and they find it, they may throw it away so I would call someone sooner rather than later.

      I realise that may be totally OTT but I am a sucker for animals.

    • Call the manager of your apartment right now and explain the situation. Anyone with half a heart will go look for the beloved toy and keep it until you can get it or arrange a time to let you in so you can do it. It’s his lovey! A new one won’t smell the same. (Although that’s definitely plan B.)

    • emcsquared :

      As a fellow dog lover – you know that the minute you go to extraordinary lengths to retrieve the beloved toy, your dog will stop caring about it and instead chew all your underpants or shoes to shreds, right? *grin*

      But yeah, I’d go back to the old apartment for it.

      • Argh! How irritating. But I’d go back to the apartment.

        The dog I grew up with had one disgusting, disintegrating, slobber-covered tennis ball and about 30 shiny pristine dog toys that he ignored. I tried to replace the tennis ball with a new tennis ball and he just didn’t want it. I think the smell of himself (and heaven knows what else) on that ball made it his special toy.

        I’m wondering if you bought a replacement of that same toy, your dog might also reject it because it wasn’t smothered in his own smell.

        • My dog has a similar security blanket toy and when it was finally dangerously torn to bits we threw it and replaced it with an identical model, different color. We thought it would be rejected, but lo and behold the dog still takes that thing everywhere.

          • This is my dog too. He will carry around one toy until it is completely destroyed, but will accept a similar or identical replacement of the toy as long as we take the old toy away completely (and call it the same name, but I don’t know if that’s necessary…).

            FWIW, his security blanket toys are these stuffed toys shaped like fish that Costco sells in a bundle of 3 for $6. We are going to be in trouble when Costco stops selling them.


    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Thanks guys. I’m driving back tonight… sigh. The things we do for those we love…

    • A dog likes what is familiar. That’s also why we often keep sweaty tee shirts belonging to our exes, to remind us of what we had!

  12. I have been disappointed with Anne Klein quality the last time I purchased. But a few years ago, the pieces were great. I’m not sure if they have multiple lines or whether the quality has gone downhill.

    • Yeah, I ordered a bunch from Ann Klein last spring, and every single item was much lower quality than I expected (and went back). It was very disappointing.

  13. Any thoughts on where to find the skirt Natalie Morales was wearing on the Today show this morning? It was black tweed with two front pockets and (I think) white trim around the bottom. Super cute.

  14. Need an opinion :

    Hi Ladies – looking to your impeccable tastes for an opinion.

    I’m wearing this dress to a wedding this weekend:

    Nudge patent pumps, red patent pumps, or nudge leather pumps that have a goldish-metallic hue to them?


    • hellskitchen :

      I’d go for the red patent pumps or the goldish ones as a second option. Weddings are times to bring out the fun colors!

    • Second the red patent pumps. But I also think you could do a kelly green shoe, something yellow, a neutral espadrille, or (boring) a navy.

    • Also, forgot to say it, but really cute dress!

      • Thanks!!! I got an amazing deal on it at the Lilly Pulitzer online summer sale while buying absurdly printed tops for the weekends

    • Not sure why it auto-corrected nude to nudge…

  15. I was in the mall yesterday and wandered into a JC Penny’s – they had an amazing selection of really cute business casual wear for just crazy-prices. A lot of really cute pencil skirts in different colors (and some color-blocking, but in a way that I really liked) for something like $25 a peice, and really cute tops of the sort that would be great under a blazer or cardi for $12-$15.

    Of course, this pretty much just made me mad, since, at 23 weeks of pregnancy, I’m not buying that sort of thing, but I hope that someone can make use of this advice.

    Also, I was in Target the other day and they had an amazing selection of tights in pretty much every color ever. But, also of no use to me. Sigh.

    • Godzilla is gonna be so happy so hard when she reads this.

    • When I was pregnant, I wore non-maternity tights and just wore the top part low under my bump. It might be worth a shot – fun tights are an easy way to jazz up some of the more basic maternity dresses.

  16. I really like Anne Klein’s older pieces, I’d be sad if the quality went down. Yesterday I wore a “vintage” AK blazer (at least 5 years old) and was impressed at how nice it still was.

    Now for my TJ:
    I’m having a wardrobe malfunction. I tore my calf muscle in April training for a half marathon. Since then I quit exercising. I felt bad about it and started eating. I’ve gained more than 10 pounds. Today I’m wearing Spanx under my dress and I can hear them rubbing together when I walk but I need them for the tummy control! It took me a few mins to figure out what the noise was, at first I thought it was my shoes. I tried to walk without my thighs rubbing together but it looks ridiculous. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • Woods-comma-elle :

      I appreciate this may not be an immediate solution, but maybe wear another pair of plain underwear over the spanx – something of softer material.

    • Honey Pillows :

      No one else can hear them rubbing -don’t worry!

      • Woods-comma-elle :

        And also this.

      • This. And on the infinitesimal chance that they do hear something, they’ll think it’s your shoes, like you did.

      • Thirded.

      • lawsuited :

        My pants always rub together when I walk making a quiet (I hope!) swishing sound. I can’t imagine that anyone who might hear it would think about it too hard, and if they did….they’re weird.

    • Take off the Spanx. No one needs tummy control.

      • Wear your Spanx proudly if they make you feel good! And toss them off if they don’t! Do what you want :)

    • Senior Attorney :

      Can you pull up the legs so they don’t cover your thighs?

    • You’re in the same boat as lots of women.

      You can try using Body Glide on days when you don’t wear Spanxx.

      But most people won’t notice the noise.

  17. Thanks to everyone who had suggestions last night for my super casual new workplace, I don’t understand the shorts but not jeans thing either, but I hate, hate, hate jeans with a passion…. like haven’t owned any in 5 years hate so I don’t really mind.
    I fully plan on looking nice for the first couple of weeks until I get the lay of the land- no worries there.
    I can do a knit dress or flowy skirt with a cardigan with no trouble at all so it will be easy :)
    thanks again!

  18. Any ‘r e t t e s out there that work in house for energy companies? A job opening has surfaced in my area in that field. My parents know one of the more senior attorneys for the company, and I am trying to figure out the best way to approach applying for the job, reaching out to my contact person, and gaining some more insight into the industry in order to determine if it’s something I would enjoy. Any suggestions or advice would be very appreciated!

    • What sort of energy company? (I don’t work for an energy company but used to be in IB, and I will say that the culture and legal departments of these firms will differ greatly depending on the type of “energy” company.)

      Oil & gas exploration & production? Integrateds? Refiners?

      Midstream companies? (pipelines, storage, moving the stuff after it gets pulled out of the ground)

      Utility companies (consumers of the commodities extracted and moved by the previous group of companies)?

      • Sorry so late to check back – it’s been a crazy day. It is a utility company. I should have been more specific, now that I see all the ways that it could have been interpreted!

        • powerfish :

          I’m outside counsel for several utility companies. While I’m not in-house, I like to think I know the industry. It’s definitely complex subject matter (still, and I’ve been doing it for twenty years). But I totally love it. One thing I like about energy and utility law is that it is a relatively small bar (I’m wondering if I know Susan right now). You see the same attorneys all the time, so your ability to collaborate rather than just advocate is very important. It’s about issues, not parties. It’s political, in both good and bad ways – good in that there are multiple ways to advocate for your issue (courts, agencies, rules, legislation) and bad because, well you can probably figure that out.

    • Utility Lawyer :

      This may be too late for you to see. However, I’ve been an in house utility lawyer for 10 years. I would agree that it is a very small bar, and in general very collegial. Most who I’ve met in the industry are very open to sharing their experiences. So I would recommend you reach out to any contacts you have at the company, tell them why you are interested and why you think you would be a good fit (even if you don’t have a utility background). I would also agree that it is a complex subject matter, that gets further complicated by the politics that can swarm around the topic (think about everything from power outages to fossil fuels vs. renewables). I would recommend that you do what you can to learn about the industry and the specific company sooner rather than later. In my experience, in-house lawyers in the industry work hard and can put in long hours under extreme stress. Depending on the specific position, the subject matter can be very arcane and detailed, steeped in rate design and accounting treatment, or winding through a labyrinth of regulatory complexities. But the people in the field tend to be good folks trying to do the right thing, and often are strongly tied to the communities they serve. So working for a utility can be a great place to work. And as an added benefit, many still offer defined benefit pension plans and other great benefits that are being cut in other industries. Good luck with your search.

  19. Stupid-ish question for lawyers (or similiar, I guess) – when you speak to someone on the phone for the first time, do you identify yourself as a lawyer? The 2 basic situations that I’m thinking of are 1) when we get an inquiry from a potential client and I call them to discuss their case, and 2) when a potential client calls in and the call is transferred to me.

    Of course, I identify myself, but I think that a lot of people don’t immediately catch on (or aren’t sure) that I’m an attorney, not just a secretary or paralegal (yeah, of course it’s because I’m female, but whatareyagonnado). But I always feel like if I specifically say “Hello, this is Lyssa Lastname, and I’m a lawyer” I come across like I’m trying to prove something. (I’m reminded of that saying about how if you have to tell people that you’re in charge, you’re not.) Sh0uld I say “Hello, this is Attorney Lyssa Lastname” like it’s a title? Why can’t attorneys have titles like “Dr.” (or actually be called Dr., since we technically are)?

    • This is a good question. Often I get asked if I can transfer them to the lawyer on the file. But I’ve been speaking to a lot of clients recently and I’ve found if I’m able to answer their questions competently, they generally stop seeing me as the paralegal or assistant.

      I generally just identify myself by name and then if they ask later on in the call, I specify that I’m a lawyer, but I never start with that. Sometimes I say, I’m the junior lawyer on the file or something if it’s a new client and I’m following up for my partner.

    • Can you say, when you introduce yourself, “This is Lyssa Lastname, I’m an attorney with Firm X”? And if it’s a case in an area you specialize in, identify that as well.. “..specializing in family law cases.” (Or whatever.) I get phone calls from the public a fair amount with questions about government policies/programs, and I’m young, female, and probably sound it, so I always introduce myself with my role (“I’m a Job Title with Branch X working on General Topic Y.”) Once I get into the substantive question, then it’s clear I know what I’m talking about, but I’m very aware that my voice combined with my ethnic/multi-syllabic/unfamiliar name (especially when I get calls from rural areas, which I get a lot of) can be confusing at the beginning of a call.

    • I always say, “Hello, this is NAME, and I am an attorney with FIRM.” I get mistaken a lot for a secretary too, so I find it helpful to just get that out of the way up front.

      • I say something similar – “Hello, this is Attorney Jessica C. at FIRM”
        I started answering the phone that way because (1) I heard my supervisor (a man) introduce himself that way on phone calls and (2) I lost count of how many times people asked to speak to the attorney.

      • This is how I do it too. I say, “Hello, my name is AG. I’m an attorney with Firm Name. . . .”

        I get a lot of folks asking me to transfer them to the attorney handling the file. I just say, “That’s me. How can I help you?” I don’t make it snippy, I just get them to move on. My time is precious.

    • I usually use my title (associate) to serve this purpose with people I haven’t met before – Hello, this is Cat, I’m an associate in the Chocolate Teapot practice of [BigLaw].

      (hi, AAM readers!)

      With existing clients, I usually introduce myself as Cat, outside counsel for Client, and have been asked to assist with your negotiations with Y.

    • Diana Barry :

      I don’t ever identify as a lawyer. I say “this is Diana Barry, from [Dewey, Cheetham, and Howe]” and then go on to say “you had called our office regarding [area of law]” or whatever it is.

      If people take a while to catch on, just let them…then THEY will feel awkward about assuming you’re not an attorney, if that’s what they did. :)

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Ha! For my LW&R class years ago, we had to write a memo on “firm” letterhead. Without any coordination, about 3/4 of the class all wrote on “Dewey, Cheetham, and Howe” letterhead. It was awesome. NPR and Car Talk ftw!

        • Haha. I commented before seeing either one of your comments.

        • Car Talk references = morning, made.

        • Hah! I would have put (and had for my Facebook profile “job” for a while) “I Can’t Believe It’s a Law Firm” under the leadership of attorney Lionel Hutz. But that’s just me. (I miss Phil Hartman.)

      • PharmaGirl :

        Thank you for the car talk reference.

      • I deal sometimes with another attorney who has the same first name and middle initial (C) as I do and I asked her once what her middle name is. She said the initial stood for her maiden name, Cheatham; she took her husband’s name in no small part because she didn’t want to spend her entire career hearing Dewey Cheatham & Howe jokes.

      • I do this, too: Hi, this is Godzilla Monster, from Gremlin Engineering, following up that dangfool thing you did, etc.

    • Yes. I usually say “this is karenpadi. I am one of the (niche) attorneys at (firm). I heard from (source) that you have some work to be done.”. Or something like that.

    • I wouldn’t say “and I’m a lawyer” but rather “Hi, this is Lyssa Lastname, associate attorney with Dewey Cheetum and Howe.”

    • Are you me? Add to youth and gender my desk placement (receptionist) and the fact that I am sometimes the first to pick up the phone (small office). Oh, and that I’m new here. I try not to let it bother me, but I went to law school, took three (count ’em!) bar exams, and have practiced for 4 years.

      One client, after I answered a technical legal question, told me “You’re good at this–you should go to law school!” Thanks, sir.

      • My grandmother had Alzheimer’s and could never remember that I had gone to law school and was a practicing attorney and used to be SO impressed when I told her I worked at a law firm. She would always say “Oh, all the best secretaries work at law firms! You’ve done well!” and beam at me. Eventually I stopped correcting her because she always got confused when I said I had gone to law school and was a lawyer and it was amusing to see her so proud that my college degree had gotten me a good secretarial job. :)

        • Former Partner, Now In-House :

          I heard an interview on NPR a couple weeks ago with a woman who has just published her memoirs. She worked her entire career as a receptionist etc. for The New Yorker, starting in the 1960s and for several decades. She had a college degree, and while she was there she earned an MA or a PhD (I forget which). Your grandmother would have been very proud of her, too. The memoir sounds fascinating. I wish I could remember her name.

      • Midori, you need NGDGTCO stat! People need to be taking you seriously.

  20. Three things:

    1. Speaking of terrible quality– I used to shop at Ann Taylor pretty much exclusively for my nicer clothes about 5 years ago. As their styles have changed, and their quality gone downhill, I’ve pretty much stopped shopping there. I decided to give them another chance last month and bought a dress and some pants. The dress has been wonderful. However. I have worn the pants maybe 4 times, and the seam just fell out of one of the pant legs. I am holding it up with binder clips. I feel like doing a very dramatic darth vadar scene… “You have failed me for the last time, Ann Taylor!”

    2. I passed the second section of the CPA exam (yay!) and am now studying for the third section (boooo). This is the biggest section and it is overwhelming and depressing, and I’ve let my house turn into a pig sty. This is all going to be worth it someday, right?

    3. I really want the Cole Haan talia pumps in black. Has anyone seen them on sale? I bought my last pair of Cole Haans at Marshall’s for $30. I’ve worn them so much that I think it would be worth it to pay a lot more than $30 for my next pair. However, I really cannot swing $200. They’re sold out of my size on zappos. :(

    • and by seam, I meant hem.

      • In the Pink :

        saw several CH on sale/clearance racks at DSW store yesterday. As they hurt my toes, I didn’t look further. You might check online as well…Happy studying to you. You conquered the others, so hit the rest too!

    • re Cole Haan – are you anywhere close to the outlets? I got my pumps (not sure if they’re the Talia, but they’re black, round toe, about 3 inch heel) from a Cole Haan outlet for $100.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Are they on sale on Zappos? Nordie’s will price match.

    • They’ve been on sale on Zappos and 6pm, among other sites. I see them at Nordstrom Rack sometimes, too. However, I noticed that they were sold out at a lot of places, freaked out and emailed CH customer service to make sure they weren’t being discontinued. They told me that they’ll be back in stock in the fall in a new range of colors, so if you can’t find them, wait a couple months.

    • parisienne :

      their quality has absolutely gone down. I used to be obsessed with their perfect pumps, which used to have leather soles. A couple months ago, they started making them with rubber soles and cheaper materials, but still at the same price.

      no more Ann Taylor for me.

    • Woods-comma-elle :

      I got my first ever thing from Ann Taylor recently, a tropical wool skirt as my sister had been raving about it, but it gets so creasy!! I put it in my wardrobe after ironing and took it out and had to iron it again, and it did not look good at the end of the day. Plus it’s dry clean only which gets my goat (and wouldn’t matter so much if it wasn’t so wrinkled straight off the bat)

    • Research, Not Law :

      I have also sworn off of AT and Loft. It’s very disappointing, but I’m fed up with the terrible quality. If only I could go back to 2005 and stock up.

      I’m also super peeved that they went the way of super sale pricing, so I had to wait around for their 12 hour 50% off sales.

    • Congrats on the CPA part 2! My hubby took the exam a few years ago, and yes, it is worth it. :)

      • Cornellian :

        wait, are you a Finn living in America? Or does your handle have some other meaning?

        • Not, not a Finn. The handle has more of a connection to music than to Finland. I was born and raised abroad, though, just not Finland.

    • Congrats on passing your second section! I assume you’re studying for FAR, and don’t worry, I totally ignored everything else in my life while I studied, but it was definitely worth it in the end. There is so much information in that section that no one can possibly know it all, so that helped me through it. I seriously considered giving up a few times, but now I am so glad that I stuck with it!

      And I’ve also seen Cole Haans at DSW in the clearance section. Never online and never even in the regular part of the store (although, I admit I’ve never really looked for them). They were probably around $100, but I don’t know what style they were.

      • CPA to be :

        Yep. I’ve passed BEC and REG, I’m taking FAR at the beginning of Oct. and then AUD in November. I am so fracking tired of studying and of people asking me “are you done yet?” I am driving my very tidy and orderly husband crazy with my insane slovenliness. I have moved study rooms from the office to the guest bedroom, and wherever I go looks like a tornado struck.

        Thanks for the advice everyone– yes the shoes are on sale at zappos. Perhaps I’ll see if I can get a nordies price match. I’ll definitely check out DSW, though the one around here has not been that great in the past.

    • If you don’t need them immediately set up a size alert on Zappos – my size came in after about two weeks.

    • Look in the clearance section of neiman marcus dot com for Cole Haans.

  21. How do you stand firm in front of senior management regarding career aspirations?

    I have had great results in “function A” but no recognition, horrible manager and had to work on function B, C and D with no compensation. And over the time, I started liking work of function B more.
    My line manager crushed my spirits several times and called my work ordinary and denied me yearly promotion 2 years in a row because she was too lazy to fill the annual review form despite me insisting and complaining to HR.
    During a recent restructuring, function A (my primary role) moved to a regional reporting. Now, my manager is in transition.
    When I expressed interest in function B she said I have no chance of getting a job with them because they are a global team and do not have a headcount.
    However, I didn’t give up and due to outstanding results (which my line manager didn’t understand due to her incompetence) the global team created a position for me which not only reflects my aspirations, but corrects the financial harm (promotion) and acknowledges my results.

    My (soon to be ex) manager setup a conf call with my regional managers so they understand why I want to change my career path.
    She said they will push back because I cannot leave in 1 month, and I will have to ensure business continuity.
    It makes me angry that only now she acknowledges how critical my contribution is to the business whereas she used every bit of energy to deny it before.
    I do not want to be stared down by top management. I want to do function B, I feel better doing it, I feel recognized, and I thrive.

    Any tips for not being intimidated by senior managers?

    • Since she hasn’t filled out a performance evaluation for you, I would start coming up with a list of accomplishments under each area. Be prepared to talk about why work under function A actually makes you a better asset to the function B project team, how you could contribute etc. Also having a transition plan in place as a suggestion for stopping A to do B in a month would be a good plan. Basically think of every excuse she could throw out there and have an answer already thought up and pro-actively state it. Also, if you know she’s going to be your ex-manager, it might be worthwhile to email the people on the call pro-actively a list of your accomplishments in the related areas, so they have something to review before hand.

    • Sorry I must be missing something here, you’re essentially giving a months notice (twice as much as you might if you were to accept an external offer) before making an internal move to a role created in your preferred area because you’ve already proved how awesome you are there.

      Do your own ‘review’ complete with boast file if you feel that will improve your confidence with this chat but don’t be afraid of this discussion.

    • Thanks;
      I will prepare a 1 pager about my achievements to date.
      I have already made up my mind and want to join the new position. I just want to sound assertive when doing it.

  22. Another couple questions for lawyers – I’m fairly junior and things are starting to pick up and I’m getting more responsibility:
    1. When doing things like discovery (depositions in the US I guess), how do you prepare?

    2. On an ongoing, practice management basis, how do you organize your to-do list and determine what needs to be done when? I feel like I’m just barely getting things done but I’m not really getting ahead of the curve, which is how I generally like to be.

    • Not in litigation, so I can’t help on#1.

      On #2, I do a couple of things: long term task reminders, a short term daily to-do list, and the zero inbox strategy. For long term reminders, I set up a “task” in Outlook so that I get a reminder at specified times to deal with a project or check in on something.. For the short term, I usually email myself at the end of the day with a to-do list for the next day. That keeps my short-term tasks organized and gives me a quick list to tack the next morning. If I’m having trouble getting started on something or devoting enough time to a project, I will make an appointment on my calendar to work on that project. Then, my calendar sends me a reminder “Work on Project X, 2:00 to 3:30,” so that helps me ensure that I am spending enough time on long-term projects.

      My daily emailed “to do” list works pretty well because I adhere to the zero inbox strategy. Zero inbox is where I strive, at the end of the day, to have zero messages in my inbox except for my to-do list for the next day. I do this by: (1) responding to an email immediately if I can, (2) forwarding and delegating an email to someone else if that is appropriate (with a task reminder for me to check in later if necessary, and (3) filing anything that I can’t deal with immediately, but adding the task (whatever it is) to my short-term list or as a long-term task. For example, if I get a reminder that my client needs to file a report in 6 months, I file that email away but add a reminder to start on the report a few weeks before it is due. To keep junk out, I have filters so that all nonessential emails never even hit my inbox and instead go into folders for me to deal with later (e.g., newsletters and things that I read about once a week). It really makes me feel on top of things to have so few things in my in-box. My strategy is loosely based on Getting Things Done and someone else’s article on the zero inbox strategy.

      • You are good!

      • Great strategies Homestar! I hate having anything in my inbox and I like that you shedule appointments to work on specfic projects. I find it so difficult to switch between reactive and proactive work.

    • (1) I haven’t done depositions (yet) in my practice, but I’ve done alot of discovery (production, interrogatories, etc.) and I usually ask myself what is the purpose of this? What am I (or opposing counsel) looking to get out of this discovery request? If you’re defending the deposition, look at opposing counsel’s pleadings and motions thus far to get an idea of what arguments he/she is has made and that’ll give you an idea of what they’re looking for information on. If you’re taking the deposition, look at your theory of the case and ask yourself what information this deponent has that could aid in proving your theory of the case.
      (2) I find that my calendar drives my work – hearing dates, meetings with clients, court orders setting deadlines, discovery deadlines, etc.

    • 1. First I run a search in the documents for anything with the witness’s name on it. I especially make sure I see and review thoroughly anything tagged as a hot doc (not sure how big your cases are or what kind of review coding you do but I’m sure you have some sort of file for the docs that are the sort of “big deal” docs for the case). Second, I think about the role of the witness in the case. How does this witness fit into the trial strategy? (I don’t care if you’ll never try the case. You still need to think in terms of trial.) Is this person a party? A witness providing a certain piece of information? An expert? Why is this person a witness? In your perfect world, what would this person say on the stand and how would the jury/judge interpret it? Most importantly, what sound bites do you want to use in cross? Third, I outline the topics I want to cover, keeping in mind the person’s role in the case. Fourth, I write up questions, covering all of the topics. I may or may not stick to them, and I certainly want to be confident enough to go off script if something comes up, but it helps me think through the process. I often go into a deposition with the list of questions, but I realize that could be distracting for some people. I have sometimes also created a shorter checklist of topics so I can glance down and see if I’ve covered all the territory. For some trickier issues, however, it’s often best to have the question written out. If you want the witness to say “no, I never saw his face” and that’s a crucial piece of the case, you’ll want a question that corrals the witness as tightly as possible (experts are really tricky here — they often testify as a regular part of their business and they know your tricks and are the wiliest witnesses you’ll ever meet). When I first started, I often felt like the deposition had to be like a performance, but I quickly realized that they can be a lot rougher than that — you can look at your notes, go back over something, take a break, etc. to make sure you get exactly the information you need. Not sure how helpful all of that is!

    • You’ve gotten good advice so far, but I’ll add:

      For 1: It definitely helps to look over one or several examples from similar cases, if possible (i.e., we have a set of questions that get asked in just about all divorce cases, regarding money, property, kids, etc.) If your firm doesn’t have them (and they should), then ask around for the more basic questions. Also, I find it helpful to look over all of my notes taken thus far – what did the client find significant when he/she called, and do I need more information about that? That sort of thing. For interrogs, sometimes it’s also helpful to run the almost final draft by your client and see if they have any more suggestions (be careful, though, because sometimes they get really hung up on things that aren’t really legally significant).

      For 2: I’ve fooled around a lot with this, and, right now, I find that a multi-front system works really well. First, I have a word doc on my desktop and our server that lists every case I’m involved with (ABC order). I use that to list what happened last (hearing on X date to establish Y), what I’m waiting to happen (waiting for X to call with Y info), and what happens next (MSJ on January 5th, discovery due 12/2). I have a color coded system for this (yes, I’m crazy). One color means I’m waiting for information in-office (such as, I’m waiting for my assistant to do something), another for waiting for external info (someone to call me back or send me something), another for things that I need to do, and another for FYI things, and I try to date everything.

      I try really hard to make changes to it every time something happens, but I’ve found that I’m not great at that, so I’m now making an effort to review and update it each and every Monday morning (or Friday afternoon). It’s a lot to go through if it hasn’t been kept up, but once I started keeping up with it, it only takes me about a 1/2 hour, and it keeps things from falling through the cracks (such as, I was waiting for X to call back, it’s been a while so I should call again).

      My second front is my written list, where I write down everything that I need to do right now. I like a written list because I can take it with me and can scribble things off as I finish. I rewrite it every few days, and just add to it as I go.

      My 3rd front only happens when I get super-busy (not right now, as you can tell by my this website action). That is, I figure out what I need to do *that day* and write each on a separate sticky note, which goes on my desk. I can move the order around depending on priority. When I finish a task, I can crumble the note up and throw it away, which always feels good. Makes it a little bit easier to buckle down when I really need to get some things taken care of.

    • Former Partner, Now In-House :

      Everyone has said great things about depositions. I will add that the goal of depositions (as all discovery) is to collect admissible evidence to use at trial to prove your cause of action or affirmative defense or to disprove the opposing party’s. If no one on your trial team has yet created a list of the causes of action/defenses and the elements of each one, think about doing it yourself. Then think about where (document or witness) you are going to get evidence to prove each element. If your witness’s name appears on your evidence chart, then make sure you ask all the questions you need to at his or her deposition, including getting the witness to authenticate any documents you plan to use at trial that he or she is the only one to authenticate.

    • TO lawyer :

      thank you everyone! my firm is smaller so there isn’t always a great emphasis on training – I feel much better for the next time I have to go to a deposition alone.

      And I am so impressed with your zero inbox strategy Homestar – I’d love to get my inbox down to nothing…

      Lyssa – you and I might be cut from the same cloth. My to do lists/systems in undergrad/law school were always color-coded and multifaceted – I think I need to get back to that. Maybe tomorrow before the long weekend or Tuesday morning I can spend some time getting reorganized before fall officially starts and the insanity begins to surge again!

  23. In the Pink :

    DO the other readers ever wish there was a colorful line in between each posting topic? Just sayin’ – especially when scanning through for new posts when having just a few spare minutes…Kat?

    • Yes, I have a love-hate relationship with this site because I find the format so irritating to try to keep up with. I so wish there were a C * rette message board instead.

  24. Thanks to the ‘r e t t e who recommended a reasonable change in eating in response to TJ. I am slowly working my way to the no grain, no dairy, no caffeine. I changed my lunch, dinner, and breakfast this morning and feel significantly less gross than normal! Probably all mental, but I’ll take it.

    • Glad it is working for you. I like the standard of “significantly less gross than normal.” I may have to share that with my sister!

  25. Constance Justice :

    Just wanted to say thank you to everyone for your kind words and support yesterday. I am going to work from home for a few days while I sort things out in my head. I received a wonderful note from a client today about how pleased he was with my work, and that really helped. I did make other partners aware of the situation, but this is was my go-to partner for work and advice, so I’m pretty sure my job hunt is on.

    • I’m glad you brought it to others attention and are taking a few days. You are awesome. No racist jerk can take your skills, talent and drive away from you. It is his loss that he can’t those qualities and chooses instead to focus on things that have no bearing on your standing in the legal profession or society. It is pathetic that in 2012, there are people who believe this kind of cr*p and how amazing they are at hiding it until just the “right” moment.

      I hope you find a new firm that values you for who you are and what you do and that you get to do an I quite dance on his desk. :)

    • Good luck! May you have lots of success in your job search and do keep us posted.

      We can help you draft farewell emails to that a-hole partner. (Mostly for your amusement, not necessarily to send.) :-)

    • What was the response from other partners? Were they (I hope) horrified?

    • Diana Barry :

      Good luck! I just glanced at your post this morning – yikes! Hope you find something new and better soon!

  26. Ladies – let me apologize in advance for really only posting here when I need advice. I read every day, but I rarely feel like I have anything to add to all the great advice you all give – but I’ll try harder.

    That said – help! I posted here a while ago about being let go from my BigLaw job, and so appreciated the sympathy and advice you all gave me then. I was given a few months to find something, but tomorrow is my last day and so far nothing has lined up. However, I have an interview next week with a great organization that I’d love to work for. My issue is that I applied soon after I’d been let go (i.e. with months ahead of me still to find a job) and so my resume/ cover letter indicated that I am “currently employed” at my firm – which is still true as of today, but won’t be as of my interview date. How do I disclose this without sounding like I withheld info, without dwelling on it, and without killing my chances? Any advice would be much appreciated!

    • My guess is that this would come up naturally in the interview. They probably will ask something like “Why are you looking to leave your current position?” or otherwise bring up your BigLaw job. Then you can respond: “Actually, working at [BigLaw] firm wasn’t a good fit for me and that position did not work out. [Now say something positive about why it wasn’t a good fit, for example, you prefer to work with topics like those that this organization focuses on.]” Or, you can say something like “With the recent [name issues that specifically affected your firm’s clients], our department had to make tough decisions and cut some positions, including mine. This was actually a positive development for me because [now say why you want to work with organization.” Your goal is to tell them the truth but also give them reasons why it shouldn’t keep them from hiring you.

      If it were me, I think it would be easier to bring up during the interview rather than ahead of time, but others could have a different perspective.

      Also, it always struck me as a little dishonest, but some firms agree to list you as employed even when you are not doing any work for them. Is it possible for your firm to keep you on the website and not otherwise challenge that you still list yourself with them even if you are no longer doing any work and not getting paid?

    • Can you send beforehand, or carry in, an ‘updated’ resume? It sounds like you applied quite awhile ago so other parts of your resume may have changed too. In my field, I would carry copies of my resume to an interview, but I’m a lawyer so can’t speak to the culture there.

      • Gah! I’m *not* a lawyer.

        • Ha, I love how this sounds like an extreme aversion to being mistaken for a lawyer ;)

          • No no… I have the highest respect for lawyers. I just don’t want to give bad advice or misrepresent myself (albeit on an anonymous comment on a blog).

          • Oh, I certainly realize that! Hence why it’s funny :)

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      If they are allowing you to resign (rather than be fired) I think I would say something like, “Big Law wasn’t right for me, so I’ve left that position. I’m eager to move onto another challenging opportunity, and I’m confident This Job will be a great fit because X, Y and Z.” I don’t know that you HAVE to disclose that they were the ones who decided it wasn’t right for you, not you.

      • Yes, they did allow me to resign, and have also assured me they’ll give me good references, etc. They were kind enough to tell me that the issue was basically my hours, rather than frame it as a performance issue. I almost wonder, though, if making it sound like I voluntarily left a job in this economy without having something lined up makes me sound crazy/ flighty? Is it better to be laid off?

        • Diana Barry :

          If you were let go bc of lack of work, that is fine – you can tell interviewing firm that there is/was not enough work for you in the biglaw job. “Not enough work” is a GREAT line – I used it in many interviews when I got stealth-laid-off from biglaw (they told me it was performance but couldn’t point to any specifics, plus they gave me a bonus while simultaneously laying me off – wtf?), and that line always got a nod and an “OK”.

        • may i ask – on what day did you first post? i’d like to go back and read your original post. thanks!

          • anon, I believe it was May 1, 2012, on a post about networking to find a job. I was feeling very sorry for myself and the wonderful posters here made me feel much much better :)

        • Could you phrase it as a voluntary redundancy? As in: BigFirm had to make some cuts to head count and I saw it as an opportunity for me to find a better fit/ do more type work/whatever fits here. As you can see from my application 4 months ago this is something I’ve been thinking about seriously for a while now

        • Oh, if you were allowed to resign, then that is better. I agree with Diana Barry that it will be completely understood if you mention the lack of hours at your firm.

          • Thanks all! So do you all think it’s reasonable to say something like “I actually recently left that position – I was not getting enough work” or something to that effect – and move on?

          • Say “they didn’t have enough work for you” so it sounds like their problem. If you say “I wasn’t getting enough work” it sounds like you didn’t ask, or people were avoiding giving you work. None of which is true, I’m sure.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Could you ask former job to consider you an inactive employee or something through your interview? My prior job used to lay people off and leave them on the website appearing employed for months. They had some agreement that these people could tell new potential employers they were still employed – – even though they weren’t getting paid. It was a bit shady but it worked out well for the involved employees.

      • I’ve heard this suggestion before and it sounds like a good one, but I am honestly a bit terrified of making such a suggestion – if they feel that I am asking for something unethical/ shady, I’d be worried about losing their recommendation or something – i.e. worried that the worst outcome isn’t just that they’d say no.

        By the way, if anyone else is going through anything similar – here’s one piece of advice I can give based on my experience: as tempting as it is (and I gave in to this temptation) *do not* keep something like this entirely to yourself, hope you can take care of it yourself and not ask anyone for help, etc. If I had the past few months to do over, there are a lot of people I would have reached out to immediately, but I was so embarassed and hoped I could find something without ever having to tell anyone the reason for my move. Now I’m awkwardly having to break the news to family members, co-workers, etc. In retrospect, it was extremely silly and everyone I have reached out to has been nothing but sympathetic and helpful.

  27. PSA – I just found out that ASOS has bathing suit tops for the large of chest. I am so super excited. They have a DD+ swimsuit section, and the tops are like $35 and under. Best news I’ve gotten all week.

    • Awesome! I keep hearing rumors that Christina Hendricks is creating a line of bathing suits for bigger “ladies” too. I hope so! We need more selection!

  28. Styling question :

    I bought the Gap ponte knit blazer that a few people were chatting about last week… the black with the white trim (link to follow). Mine came, and it’s cute, but I feel kinda stumped about how to wear it. Definitely more of something I’d wear with jeans, but beyond that, just not sure. Any help is most appreciated!

    • Styling question :

      • hellskitchen :

        I like to match fitted blazers with flowy skirts or dresses, esp this season’s pleated skirts. Since this is a ponte knit, I’d pair with a skirt in silk or similar flowy fabric to make the outfit a bit more casual. If you wear wide legged pants, this blazer could look good on top of those too.

  29. TJ: I am a young associate and just had the most inappropriate/awkward conversation with a legal secretary. Legal secretary in question works for my section head, to whom I primarily report. We received extensive discovery, which I was alerted to a few weeks ago. I’ve been out of the loop on this case (primarily by the partner’s accidental doing) and I’ve been very busy on other cases, but yesterday afternoon reviewed the discovery and file. I sent an e-mail last night to the partner alerting him to the discovery deadline, which I already have an extension on, and asking to set up a meeting so that I can get looped back in. We spoke today and he had no idea about the discovery. The new deadline is a few weeks out, so that is fine, although he would like an additional extension.

    He was wondering how he missed this deadline and was not alerted to it. I just assumed it was lost in his e-mail and it is not a big deal. His legal assistant, who is a notorious trouble maker, came into my office a few minutes ago and accused me of “throwing her under the bus” with respect to the discovery. I had no idea there was even an ISSUE, given that the partner is now aware of the discovery and we have several weeks to answer. I told her just that, and asked if the partner was upset and I just wasn’t aware. She said no, he was not upset, but she thought I “threw her under the bus.” Again, I really do not see the issue and I certainly didn’t mean to throw anyone under the bus (I didn’t even know there WAS a bus!). The whole exchange was very accusatory and I can tell she’s really angry with me.

    Any thoughts on what to do? I felt like she was really disrespectful and, again, accusatory, and frankly I don’t know why. I’m so uncomfortable.

    • By legal assistant I take it you mean secretary? (In firms I’ve worked in, legal assistants were junior paralegals so just want to make sure we’re talking about one person and not a secretary and a paralegl.) I think it was her responsibility to make sure the partner saw the information, she failed to do this and she thinks you should have realized it was her mistake, talked with her about it, and then let her bring it up to the partner. At least, that’s the only way it makes sense to me. I don’t agree with her, btw, you were just doing your job.

    • The hell with her! You were smart to alert the lawyer because this assistant did not. If that’s throwing her under the bus it is better than missing a discovery deadline. She sounds like a beeotch to me and needs a good Georgia
      a tongue lashing.

    • After she has a chance to cool off a bit, call her into your office. Tell her that you consider everyone in the department to be a member of the same team. If she noticed that you were about to miss a deadline on something, you’d expect her to point it out to you. That’s the great thing about being part of a firm. Tell her that if you ever point out to anyone else that they’re about to miss a deadline, you’re not trying to throw anyone under the bus. You’re trying to prevent the firm from commiting malpractice. You’re all on the same side. That’s what it means to be a team.

    • If she’s a notorious troublemaker, she’s probably doing this intentionally to try to intimidate you into accepting responsibility for the partner not knowing about the date (which isn’t your resopnsibility). I’d either e-mail the partner an inquisitive – Here’s the conversation I just had with your secretary, not sure what she’s talking about but figured you may want to address it – or with HR (who probably already know she’s a troublemaker and won’t do anything but at least it’s off your plate). I have seen so many secretaries do this kind of thing, particularly to young, female associates, and it pisses me off.

      • I wouldn’t do this. You catch more flies with honey, and Assistant already thinks OP threw her under the bus. This would be like throwing Assistant under the oncoming train. I’d go with AG’s approach.

    • MaggieLizer :

      The relationship between staff and junior associates is really tricky. The more senior staff have a tendency to look at us as their inferiors because we’re younger and less experienced. You have to be firm enough that they respect you as a professional, but kind enough that they still want to do good work for you and help you out when you need it (because you will need it). The secretaries who work for the partners that you work for can also really scr*w you over if they decide they don’t like you.

      It sounds like you’ve said all you need to say – you did not throw her under the bus and you were just doing your job – so I think I’d drop it for now. In the future try to be a little more firm (as in, don’t apologize if something you do makes her look bad) but also make a point to be appreciative of her efforts. Positive reinforcement can be a really powerful management tool.

      • TX lawyer :

        Thanks for the replies, everyone. She is a legal secretary (it seems that can be a taboo word, so I tried to phrase it in a PC way!). I definitely fall in the category of young associates who try to play too nice, and therefore I don’t receive much respect from staff and they tend to take advantage of me. I fully realize that senior staff members have much more experience than I do and try to be very deferential, I was just in shock at how angry/accusatory she was to me, particularly when I wasn’t even aware of a major problem.

        I really appreciate the support and advice!

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Actually it sounds like he may have told her to put it on your calendar or loop you in, and then when you didn’t know anything…….

      I have asked my admin put something on one of the jr attorneys calendar as an fyi or with a “remind diva details about x,y,z for a meeting on 1/1/1111.” If the prep meeting came and jr was unaware, I’d be ticked off, and I’d definitely have a conversation with my admin.

      • TX lawyer :

        I was taken aback and surprised because in my conversations with section head/senior partner, it never came up that he was upset or mad – secretary’s name was never even mentioned. He was just very puzzled about how he didn’t even know this discovery existed. In any case, it sounds like there is way more going on than I am privy to.. I am just very uncomfortable having her so upset with me.

  30. To quote the esteemed Godzilla: RAWR!

    I have been having the most frustrating interactions with my boss recently! They typically go something like this:

    Coalea: [Reasonable, clearly articulated question]
    Boss: [Snarky response that does not address my question]

    Due to scheduling issues, we keep in touch primarily via email, so it’s exhausting to go back and forth trying to explain myself (“Thanks for the information. Actually, what I was wondering was…”) So. Over. It.

    • Seriously, there should be a spell-check like function for emails that checks whether you successfully addressed the questions posed in the email. It would do wonders for office productivity.

    • Can we come up with a rawr emoticon?

      Moving on, try using less words in your email. And ask questions one at time, two max. Literally. Use no adjectives, no fillers, nothing. Blunt blunt blunt allllll the way.

    • emcsquared :

      I hate (hatehatehate) calling people on the phone, but I would use the phone for communicating with this boss. If he’s being snarky because he thinks it’s funny, he’ll get a different story from your tone of voice. If he’s being snarky because he’s an a$$hat and wants to play power games, he probably doesn’t have the cajones to do it in a live phone call.

      I’ve also learned that sometimes when I don’t get the responses I expect, it’s due to me not understanding the other person’s communication style. I would look back at his e-mail requests and try to phrase my requests the same way he does. Maybe he is more direct than you, or less direct; next time you draft an e-mail to him, just channel his voice in your e-mail.

    • Agreed. Unfortunately, sometimes email just is a bad way of communicating. It sure is easy, though.

  31. Stressed & Anxious :

    Have any of you ladies went through periods in your life when you can’t relax, at all, even when you’re trying? When I’m at home, trying to relax, I get heart palpitations and this nervous, fluttery feeling in my stomach. It’s awful. I am a stress ball and really need not to be, but my usual go-to escape activities (reading, watching TV) are doing nothing for me. The only thing that really seems to help is doing chores like a madwoman. And then I worry that I’m turning into my mother, burying my problems by keeping busy. ;)

    I have a vacation day schedule for tomorrow and am almost dreading it because I’m afraid I won’t be able to relax enough to enjoy it. Or I’ll waste the day running errands and doing chores because it’s the only thing that makes me feel better.

    FYI: I have struggled with anxiety issues in the past and am likely going through a spell again. I’ve been off medication for almost a year because I’ve been trying to get pregnant. Which, by the way, is a huge source of my stress because

    • MaggieLizer :

      If keeping busy helps you, then keep busy doing something relaxing. Exercise until you can’t anymore, do something crafty or artistic, and then maybe you’ll be worn out enough to watch TV or read like you usually do. Combining a bunch of things to keep your mind active might help too – walk on the treadmill at a high incline, listen to music, and read a book at the same time. Doing a new, challenging exercise video accomplishes basically the same thing because you have to focus on following instructions, watching what the actors are doing, and doing it yourself all at the same time. There have been some good threads lately about anxiety, I think, so you may want to check them out. Good luck!

    • I sympathize, I have anxiety issues as well and I also get all worked up about things that I’m supposed to relax and enjoy, like massages. I’ve come to the realization that I’m actually better at relaxing while active than at rest, so now when I get that jittery feeling I go for a run rather than doing something “relaxing”. If doing errands and chores takes the edge off, then do that! Putting pressure on yourself to relax in the one best way is almost certainly going to backfire.

    • No advice really, but commiseration.

      I’ve been anxious my whole life. I self medicate with yoga or wine, depending on my mood. I used to take cymbalta, which helped, but weaned off it after feeling better for a while. Then I stopped feeling better but haven’t gotten around to making a doctor’s appointment. Meh. It’s terrible on one hand, but on the other hand, I’m pretty used to it by now. My husband and my therapist both think that the only thing that can cure me is meditation, which I hate doing, so…. yoga and wine and being uncomfortable, it is. For now.

      So… yoga?

    • Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

      Here is what I do:
      *Meditation. I downloaded some stuff from Natural Stress Relief, but I imagine that most meditation programs would do the trick to quiet your mind and relieve some anxiety.
      *Escapism. For me, this means video games and novels. Losing myself in another world for awhile really helps.
      *Venting. Calling up certain friends always makes me feel good.
      *Grounding. I also like to give myself perspective by identifying the root of my anxiety and working out why it isn’t necessary to be that stressed out about things. Most of the things that are stressing me out are really not as important as I make them out to be: work (I like it, but I could muddle through if I lost my job); money (I have a roof over my head and food to eat, the rest is gravy, right?); etc.

    • Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

      Here is what I do:

      *Meditation. I downloaded some stuff from Natural Stress Relief, but I imagine that most meditation programs would do the trick to quiet your mind and relieve some anxiety.
      *Escapism. For me, this means video games and novels. Losing myself in another world for awhile really helps.
      *Venting. Calling up certain friends always makes me feel good.
      *Grounding. I also like to give myself perspective by identifying the root of my anxiety and working out why it isn’t necessary to be that stressed out about things. Most of the things that are stressing me out are really not as important as I make them out to be: work (I like it, but I could muddle through if I lost my job); money (I have a roof over my head and food to eat, the rest is gravy, right?); etc.

      Yoga sounds good too.

    • emcsquared :

      *hugs* Anxiety is a really hard illness to manage. I hope you’re getting talk therapy and have discussed the medication issue with your doctor. Could you at least get a rescue medication so you can chill out over the weekend? Many of the rescue meds clear your system within days.

      Also, you might need to redefine what “relaxing” means to you. My dad is a very busy extrovert and “relaxing” to him means checking errands off his to-do list. It took me a long time to realize that that wasn’t the *only* definition of relaxing (my introvert definition includes naps and HGTV). Maybe you’re more like my dad, and busy work is relaxing to you – embracing it could be a big step toward forgiving yourself for not doing what you’re “supposed” to do when you relax.

      When I do have days I just need to be busy but am “relaxing,” I like to have repetitive, mindless chores, like polishing wine glasses/silverware or reorganizing books on bookshelves (alphabetizing books = happy!). I set one goal for the day, put on some good tunes or a movie, and just work until the job is done.

    • Can you use your free day to do something really indulgent that would only happen on a real vacation? Maybe a nice lunch out, visiting a landmark in your city, etc? Or maybe you could get a pedicure or even a massage? I find my day to day worries creep into my down time, but perhaps you can trick your brain into thinking you’re in such a different environment that it’s too stimulated to resume daily worries.

    • Thank you for the suggestions, everyone. I really appreciate being able to talk about this here; I just don’t feel comfortable talking about it in real life because part of me believes anxiety is a weakness. Rationally, I know that’s not true, but it feels that way sometimes.

    • To Stressed and anxious- I find that the only thing that prevents me from excess anxiety is breathing exercises. I tried mediation but my mind wanders and the only way to keep it from wandering is to chant in my head. Sounds strange but I use it to put myself to sleep too and with practice it becomes an automatice relaxation response.

      Breathe in through your nose – count 1-4. Hold while silently counting 1-4 (feel the air fill your lungs). Push the air out of your lungs through pursed lips to a silent count of 1-8 (or as much as you can). Hold for count 1-4. Repeat by breathing in through your nose. You’ll note that the tightness in your chest goes away when you hold the position after the in-flow or outflow.

      I think these are modified yogic breaths but I find I can do them even with other people, assuming I don’t hiss too much on the out-breath. I find that this prevents or releases anxiety for me.

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