Thursday’s TPS Report: Aubergine Button Cardigan

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

Aubergine button cardiganDay-um — there are some nice deep discounts at Charles Tyrwhitt.  The store, primarily known for men’s shirts, has a limited but classic women’s selection — think Brooks Brothers or Thomas Pink — now marked as low as $25.  I’m liking this simple merino button cardigan in aubergine.  It was $200, but is now marked to $60. (Tip: don’t just look through the Sale–> Womenswear section; for some reason there are sale items in the regular “Womenswear” section.) Aubergine button cardigan

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  1. Does anyone have any experience with this line, particularly the sizing of their shirts?
    I see the size chart online but would love any anecdotal evidence. Thanks.

    • I believe I tried some of their stuff on once, and the fit was pretty similar to Brooks Brothers.

      Didn’t end up buying at that point because of the price…but these sales are tempting. My husband owns an overcoat by them and a couple shirts and the quality is quite good.

      • Diana Barry :

        I like this a lot. Will have to check them out when I am back to normal sizes!

        I was looking at Boden’s sale yesterday and put one thing in my cart ($9 or something) and then went to check out and shipping was something ridiculous like $12. WTF??

        • Probably because it all ships from England? But generally I agree — its why I still have only one Boden item in my wardrobe.

        • Try code AF29 for free shipping + returns. This worked for me on 2 sale items I bought from Boden this morning.

    • They definitely go by more of a British sizing system – very closely fitted, and not at all boxy. I’d look closely at the size charts before buying – I have a size 6 stretch button down from them that fits like a size 2 jcrew button down. Ditto their pants – their US size 6 is what I’d consider a ‘true’ size 6, ie, more like a size 2 at Banana or JCrew.

      • Ok, I’m depressed that my current U.S. size 6 is a ‘true’ size 12….Who are these “true” gods, and can I hunt them down and stomp on their Jimmy Choos? Fo’Real?! ;-D

    • SF Bay Associate :

      This info is a few years old but, I have an awesome CT cashmere sweater that is holding up beautifully – I’m a true XS, and my CT sweater is also a true XS. I also have several button ups from there. The fit is great, though both the shirts and sweater seem to run a bit short – definitely something to wear with your at-waist or just-below-waist bottoms if you have a long torso like I do. Great customer service as well.

    • hellskitchen :

      I have experience with their suits – they are UK sized so even a 10 was small for me (i usually wear a 4 or 6). If you are ordering online, try to get a few sizes

  2. I like it.

    So, I just watched The Ides of March on Netflix, and it said on the DVD sleeve that it was based on Howard Dean’s campaign. Um, what? Does anyone know anything about that? I’ve done a little Wikipedia-ing and Googling and haven’t found anything.

    • Why on earth would someone want to make a movie about Howard Dean’s campaign? I can’t imagine how that would make sense, from the perspective of drama, comedy, tragedy, suspense, anything. :)

      • I know, right? The only thing I can think about when I think of his campaign is that scream that so oddly got all of that attention. But the crazy thing is that the movie is about a candidate sleeping with an intern and getting her pregnant, and then she gets an a bort ion. So did Howard Dean do that? Surely not.

        • Maybe its a combination of Howard Dean and John Edwards with some creative hollywood license?

    • Wasn’t it good? I had no idea what it was going to be about (aside from politics, and Ryan Gosling), but I loved it.
      That said, hadn’t heard the Howard Dean connection.

    • a passion for fashion :

      here is the connection:

      • Wow, that’s barely a connection at all. I think it’s a little unfair to send around this movie with a description saying it is based on the Howard Dean campaign. You could say “written by someone who served on the HD campaign” or something like that, but the implication is definitely more than that.

      • excellent google-fu

    • so anonymous :

      I had actually heard that it was based on George Clooney’s dad’s failed campaign for Congress.

      • so anonymous :

        not the pregnancy part, but the challenges a candidate faces regarding endorsements and secret dealings, etc.

  3. Following-up on yesterday’s brief discussion about bone marrow donation.

    If you do it, insist that they give you a light sedation during the procedure!! My mom had two bone marrow extractions–one at a Dallas hospital and one at Mayo Clinic. She had to fight with the docs in Dallas to get them to do a light sedation (which they finally did); Mayo Clinic always uses sedation (because it hurts a lot otherwise). Apparently the only reason most places don’t sedate is because it costs more. Well, when the procedure is that painful without anesthesia, then sedation shouldn’t be optional–it’s necessary. With sedation, both of my mom’s extractions went just fine and, while she was sore afterward, the procedure didn’t hurt.

    • it’ll probably be done through IV, not through the hip, so no sedation I don’t think, but good to know in case that changes! I don’t know the patient so I don’t know how severe his/her medical issues are to know whether there will be more than one donation, but I go to DC for testing tonight and, if everything checks out, I’ll donate in a couple of weeks!

      • Nothing to say, other than yay for you!

      • Missed the discussion yesterday. I’ve donated bone marrow. This was almost a decade ago, and today my recipient is alive and well! We’ve never met, but we’re FB friends now and occasionally I follow her through that site.

        Anyway, it sounds like you’d be donating peripheral blood stem cells which are collected via apheresis (like an IV but more elaborate). I don’t know anything about that process but I will tell you about my experience donating bone marrow. Bone marrow is harvested (surgically removed) from the pelvic bone. They definitely sedate for that – it’s not a super quick process, they take approx. 2 liters. I had general and I assume they give everyone general absent a specific need on the part of the donor for local. I opted for the bone marrow harvest over apheresis because I was told that given my recipient’s specific condition, bone marrow was more likely to be successful than peripheral blood stem cells. My experience was not pleasant, but I felt it was a very small price to pay for potentially saving someone’s life. In some ways, I’m more proud of having donated bone marrow than I am of any of my other accomplishments… if something I did while unconscious can be considered an “accomplishment.”

      • Good for you!! I too am on the registry–but haven’t been called upon to donate.

        If you’re donating through apheresis (spelling?), I suggest you take something to do that doesn’t involve using your hands (audio books, maybe?). My mom also did apheresis and (at least for her) she had needles in both arms (I think one side was pulling the blood out and the other side was giving most of it back to her). The process took all day and she really couldn’t move her arms at all. She listened to a book on CD the whole time (yeah, that was before iPods).

        Hope it goes really well. You’re doing a great service.

    • I just got on the registry, thanks in part to yesterday’s discussion!

      Also I want to share an awesome story about my mom, which is the main reason I just got on the registry. She had an accident a couple of years ago that left her severely disabled, and her functioning is now quite limited. She’s remarkably upbeat about the situation normally and doesn’t feel too sorry for herself, but there was one time that it really got her down: when the bone marrow registry contacted her to tell her she was a match to someone, and she couldn’t donate because of her current condition.

      I’d love to have her selfless attitude.

  4. snail mail threadjack :

    I am sending wedding invitations, which include an RSVP card that I intend to put a stamp on, at least for US guests. However, a few of the people we’re inviting live outside the US. For their RSVP cards, do I put on a stamp? I assume I would need to acquire stamps from their countries’ postal systems…I guess I buy those online? I am totally lost, seeking guidance. Sorry for the unexciting manners-y threadjack.

    • If it were me, especially if you know said people well, I’d just include a hand written note in theirs saying “Sorry I couldn’t get a stamp! You can RSVP by e-mail at xxx if you like.” Or something like that.

      I really don’t think you can be expected to get stamps from a bunch of different countries to put on RSVP cards. Thats above and beyond.

    • You can go to the post office and get an international reply coupon. It’s something like $2.50, and you enclose it with the RSVP, and the recipient can take it to their post office, exchange it for appropriate postage, and mail it back.

      The coupon thing sounds like a giant PITA, and given that international mail can take longer, I would just let the recipient know that they can just email you their RSVP (maybe send an email after you send out the invite to tell the it’s on the way, and you enclosed an RSVP card, but are totally fine if they just want to RSVP by phone or email).

    • You do not need to provide them with their own stamp.

      • Salit-a-gator :

        I don’t even know how you would go about buying a postage stamp for a different country’s mail service. I sent my international RSVP’s last year without stamps. I think people understand the situtation and if they’re really coming they’ll RSVP by email anyway.

      • Research, Not Law :

        Yep. Agree with anon below that most won’t reply by maol anyway.

    • recently married anon :

      Nope, send without a stamp. Some will send back by mail, otherwise will just call/email/FB.

    • I live abroad and have gotten a couple of wedding invitations from the US. None of the RSVPs had stamps, and I didn’t/wouldn’t expect them to. You’re very considerate to think of it, but absolutely no need.

  5. Just looked at some of the stuff on the site, and was considering buying until I saw that the sizes seem to run *huge*; 29.5 inch waist for an XS?! 36.6 bust measurement in a size 4 (the smallest size available) for button-down shirts?? Am I missing something here – are they measuring at a different place than I’m used too, or is this really terrible vanity sizing?

    • That’s odd – I have a few blouses and a jacket from there and they tend to use British sizing in my experience (ie – a UK 8/US 6 is more like a US 2). Maybe give them a call? They do stock women’s clothing at the NYC stores.

    • I believe my actual measurements are around 36″ bust and 28.5″ waist and I wear size 2/4 at brooks brothers, but I don’t know this brand. According to most size charts my bust and waist are like a size 8, but all my suit jackets (BR, BB, Anne Klien, express) are size 2 or 4 (mostly 4s).

  6. The model looks so happy. Makes me feel like I would be that happy if I had an aubergine cardigan.

    • AnonInfinity :

      No kidding! My first thought when I saw the pic was, “I want to look like her and be happy like that.”

  7. Can anyone recommend a home coloring kit without ammonia that lasts at least a few weeks? I am currently coloring my hair with Naturint, which is gentle, but my grays pop back up in less than a week. Ideas?

    • Do they still make natural instincts? I know someone who’s used it with success in the past.
      Also depending on what color your hair is, consider henna. It’s not just for redheads and it’s so great for your hair.

    • Naturcolor is the best. I get it at Whole Foods.

      • Is that the same as Naturtint? That’s what I get from Whole Foods too, but it doesn’t have a lot of lasting power.

        AIMS – tried Natural Instincts, I think it has ammonia though. It burned my scalp.

        • Just googled and their website says ammonia free … but if it burnt your scalp, it burnt your scalp, so stay away from it.

        • Naturcolor is different from Naturtint. I’ve been using Naturcolor for years, and find that it has great staying power.

    • Barrister in the Bayou :

      How about a henna hair dye?

    • I use Garnier Herbashine (which is ammonia free), and it works well for me. I dye every 4-6 weeks. I’m not using it for grey coverage, though, just to brighten up my color.

  8. Barrister in the Bayou :

    I think I’m losing my mind. I posted a reply yesterday to the short thread about long nails and now I can’t seem to find the thread. I used some strong language in my response, but it was deliberate and not meant to be offensive. Does anyone know if the site pulls comments after they’re published?

    • I went back and searched. It’s there, and thoughtful and good. It’s in the earlier of the two threads from yesterday, if that helps.

    • I was curious so I went back and read it — and agreed 100% But then again — I like french manicures — so who’s going to listen to me anyway?? :-P

    • Tired Squared :

      It’s there–I read it yesterday and thought you made several good points.

    • I agreed with your post as well. Just because something isn’t to your taste doesn’t make it the most evil thing ever.

      • It actually makes me giggle the things on here people will call “trashy” or “sl*tty” or god forbid something a “pro” would wear — because seriously they must live in a world with the most demure prostitutes ever.

        • Ha! Now I’m picturing “pros” with French manicures, walking the streets. Hey, everyone likes to have pretty nails, right?

        • Or maybe they assume all the women on the street showing their bare shoulders and toe cleavage are prostitutes. “Honey! I can’t believe you were talking to that prostitute!!!!” “Who? The grocery store cashier?”

        • On some level, I’m glad you can giggle about it. It just makes me sad and disappointed (the judgmental discourse, not your point of view).

          Back my Corporette Slut Walk planning.

          • If I didn’t giggle about stuff like that — I’d be mad a lot of the time. So I choose to re-frame.

            But don’t worry, I’ll attend the walk.

            Also…I’m all over this thread today, can anyone else tell I’m so so so bored at work???

    • Barrister in the Bayou :

      Alright then, this just proves what I’ve been thinking since first thing Monday morning: this week needs to end already. I can’t seem to get anything right and I am counting the minutes to the end of the day on Friday.

      That being said, I appreciate that all of you looked back and considered the comment. I stand by my comment and ask that we try to be more thoughtful and choose words that really convey what we are trying to say and not use hurtful generalizations as a lazy and easy way out.

      • I read it yesterday and wanted to say kudos to you! Very thoughtful post and summed up a lot of what I have been thinking. I have been shocked by some of the negative and judgmental posts I read here, but not enough to make me go away!

    • I missed your comment yesterday, so I went back and re-read it, and THANK YOU.

      • Anon nom nom :

        it’s late and probably no one is reading this thread anymore. But can I just say thanks for the belly laughs. it’s been a tough 24 hrs. and i need that. peplum blouses. hearts of gold. toe cleavage. i needed that.

  9. Heartmycloset on Etsy :

    I am drooling over some of these Etsy dresses by this designer. Anyone buy a dress from this designer? If so, thoughts on quality of the fabric? She has tons of positive reviews.

    • Gosh, those are gorgeous. Unfortunately, I have no experience, but I’ll be watching to see if anyone else does.

    • Her stuff is great! And so are the reviews. I’m tempted…

    • Beautiful, good price, and custom made? This is definitely going on my “the instant I have a job” list.

    • Salit-a-gator :

      I’m really tempted by that bow dress….really really tempted.

      • Heartmycloset on Etsy :

        That’s the one that I love the best too! Her designs are fabulous, I just hesitate because I’m picky and I like the comfort of knowing I can return something if I need to.

      • The bow dress has prompted me to open all of my bank and credit card accounts, and glare at them as if that alone will be enough to enable me to afford it. I’m thinking burgundy or teal.

        • If only that worked. And then if I glared at my loan balances, they would go down magically as well.

    • canadian anon :

      Ohhhh my goodness gracious me. Gorgeous. Time to stare at dresses. Lovely.

    • OK, I am supposed to be on a shopping diet, but this stuff is Right.Up.My.Alley and I think I am done for.

    • a passion for fashion :

      im wild about these. they are fairly inexpensive, so it just may be worth trying.

    • Anastasia :

      Beautiful! I particularly love the brown “Katy” design and the one inspired by Duchess Kate’s dress, and the headmistress dress, and … and… they’re all great… back to work before I order ALL THE DRESSES!

    • SF Bay Associate :

      These are so pretty. I don’t know that this style works on my pear shape though… my bust always seems too small to pull it off, so I end up looking really imbalanced even if I get the tailoring to take it in at the bust. What do you ladies think – can pears rock this retro style?

      • I am a shortwaisted pear (is that actually an 8?), and I rock it frequently. In fact, am doing so today. :-)

        The nice thing about these dresses is that they are made to measure, so hopefully it would fit you “off the rack” and may be worth a try for $100.

        My question is whether the dresses are fully lined. I am thinking of e-mailing the shop owner to find out.

      • As a fellow pear, these dresses are great! Is the size difference between your top and bottom halves moderate or large? I prefer boat-neck, off the shoulder, sleeves, or some other way to visually balance it out. Also, there is something to be said for wearing what you like that is appropriate for the occasion, despite the narrow rules set by some stylists.

    • Wow – those dresses are stunning. I will be taking my measurements as soon as I get home from work. I think Cynthia L. may be swamped with orders soon. Thanks so much for passing this along!

      • Maybe she IS Cynthia L. and this was all brilliant guerilla marketing. :-)

        • I swear that I’m not Cynthia! :) Just a fervent admirer. Although I will say, I hope that Cynthia decides to give us Corporetters a discount if she gets flooded with orders!

          SF Bay – I’m a pear too and certain sheaths look very flattering on me. And the fact that this will be custom made leads me to believe that she can fit our body type. I skimmed through some of the reviews and a few people wrote that they were pears, and that they loved their dresses.

          If anyone buys from her, PLEASE report back!

          • I have ordered from her and she’s very prompt and friendly. However, I need to note that it’s extremely hard to take measurements yourself (and I really tried to be as accurate as possible) and the dress I got ended up needing major alterations at a local tailor. That cost almost as much as the dress itself. I can’t remember exactly but I think she offered to pay for the cost of alterations, but when I realized that it would cost so much to alter, I just paid for it myself and did not ask her to pay. If I had to do it again, I’d get myself professionally measured at a tailor.

    • MeliaraofTlanth :

      Those are wonderful. Since I assume someone will be ordering soon, please report back!

    • I read some of the customer feedback from the site and it looks great. One thing – I got the impression that all the dresses are made in Vietnam. I don’t have a problem with this, but realize that some corporettes may. (Certainly, the shop website makes it look like a one-woman company.)

    • If anyone is interested, I just emailed the seller to ask whether the dresses were lined. She responded that they were not, but for a small price (about 8 for a dress, 6 for a jacket) a liner could be added.

  10. HappyHappyJoyJoy :

    I just paid off my student loans – it wasn’t the amazing feat it is for several of my fellow attorneys, since I had less than $65K in debt, but I’m feeling so freeeeeee!

    Now I just need to figure out the best place to save money for the short-term (i.e. 2-3 years for the possibility of buying a place), seems like it’s too long of a time period for an ING savings account, but too short term to make Vanguard/Index Funds a good idea.

    • CONGRATULATIONS!!! That’s awesome. It’s amazing to pay off that much debt.

    • Salit-a-gator :

      Congratulations!!!! Very awesome achievement and you should be very proud! I just got my student loans (college and law school) under $100K and feel pretty pumped about hitting that milestone. Looking forward to being freeeeeeeeeeee too!

    • MissJackson :

      Congratulations! I cannot wait to join this club (my husband and I are roughly half way there)!

      For savings – normally I would have suggested CDs, but the rates are so terrible right now. How about I-Bonds? You absolutely may not touch the money for 1 year after purchase, but at least it will get you ~3% interest rate (changes every 6 months). You forfeit 3 months interest if you withdraw before 5 years, but that still works out to a much better rate than you’ll find in an ING savings account. I believe that you can buy up to 10k a year now (I think they just changed this? someone correct me if I’m wrong) per person online at treasureydirect dot com.

      Anyway, I’m not a financial expert, but it’s worth looking into if you want a short term, safe option.

    • I have almost exactly that same amount of debt. Do you mind sharing how long it took and what strategies you used? I know it’s a lot less than most of my friends, but those $600-$700 payments still look huge to me.

      • I posted this yesterday, but I have paid off ~$125K over the last 3.5 years, heavily weighted towards over the last 2 years (for the first year, I paid close to the minimum due, both because I didn’t want to face the actual number and because I was terrified of getting fired and not having enough emergency savings… ah, the beauty of starting in fall 2008). I’m hoping to be HappyHappyJoyJoy myself at this time next year, with just under $50K left to go. (Congrats, BTW! That’s awesome!)

        I actually like my job in BigLaw, and it makes it much, much easier to blast away at the loans without hurting QOL too much (um, that is, the QOL I get to have given my schedule :) ). Approx. 30% of my take-home each month goes to the loans, no question (actually slightly more than our mortgage + condo fee), and all but $500 of each of my bonuses. I make each payment shortly after the direct deposit clears so I don’t have time to “miss” the cash — although hitting submit on the bonus amounts does sting a little.

        As far as money-saving tips to make the monthly payments possible… my husband and I are actively trying to avoid the “golden handcuffs” and don’t spend a ton of money on conveniences even though we could technically afford them (no maid, rarely get takeout – instead we eat a lot of soup when we’re too tired to prepare anything else, have a nice dinner out about once a month but otherwise cook a more complicated meal together on weekends, and go about 1.5 yrs in between “real” vacations (i.e., not wedding weekends)).

      • HappyHappyJoyJoy :

        Well, working in Big Law certainly helped — there was no way I could have done it that quickly on a ‘normal’ salary. Also, I didn’t really change my lifestyle that much from being a law student — which was still a very comfortable one. I could have gotten a bigger apartment, new car, etc., but kept my still nice 1-bedroom and perfectly serviceable 9 year old car. I did spend more on clothes and shoes (no thanks to this site!), going out, and smaller ticket items.

        So I paid down about twice as much as I needed to each month — focusing on the two smaller loans. Bonuses went to loans (mentally), as did some money I received from my Grandfather after he passed away.

        Given all of my circumstances, it was a lot easier for me to pay it off than most people. I feel weird even talking about it on here, because I know I have a lot of friends from my year who are underemployed with 2-3x as much debt as I had.

        • Thanks for the responses. I’m currently underemployed, but my husband and I are realizing that we need to accept that and not just ignore the debt until I have a full time job (even though its currently in deferred).

    • if you qualify, use a ROTH IRA from Vanguard, every expert I’ve met plus the tv ones (Suze Orman, Dave Ramsay, etc.) recommend them

      • Not sure if a Roth IRA is suitable in this case. For a Roth, you pay the income tax on the money now and not when you withdraw it (after retirement). The assumption is that your tax rate will be higher when you are retired, but this may not be true for someone working in Big Law.

      • Seattleite :

        Actually, Dave Ramsey doesn’t recommend Roth IRAs as short-term savings vehicles. He is very specific that down payments, etc. should just be piled up in a savings or money market account.

    • Tired Squared :


      How about a Money Market Savings account? It has a higher interest rate than regular savings account, and is more flexible than a CD because you can withdraw/deposit money at will, without penalty. The only requirement is that you have to maintain a certain balance–but at least in my credit union, if I fall below the balance, I just earn a “regular savings rate” for those days instead of the MM rate.

      • Littlest Attorney :

        Yay! Congratulations HappyHappyJoyJoy!

        I’m also agressively paying off my loans and its a wonderful feeling when you pass a milestone. So congratualations to everyone who has passed a milestone or is about to pass a milestone. I started with around $190K and at the end of my first year in biglaw got the balance below $150K. It is much slower going now because I’m clerking, but I’m trying to be excited about getting below $140K (a made up milestone to keep me motivated!), which should happen soon. I originally planned to pay mine off in 3-4 years, but now think it will take closer to 5 years with the clerkship and decision to buy a condo.

        Anyone have any advice on how to manage paying off student loans, saving for a condo / paying the mortgage down once you have the condo / and the need to save for retirement? Seems like after you fully fund your 401K you’re best off throwing the extra money at the highest debt (which for me is student loans at approx 7% as a weighted average of them all). But I wonder if in the early years of a mortgage when you are still paying a comparatively large amount of interest (as opposed to principle) it would be better to throw extra money at the mortgage and get a bigger tax deduction (possibly if you pay more on your mortgage it doesn’t go to interest, but instead goes primarily if not entirely to prinicple?). But maybe I’m missing something…

        • I think it would make the most sense to pay down the debt with the highest interest rate first.

        • MissJackson :

          If you have a fixed interest rate mortgage, I don’t think that you pay any extra interest by making extra payments to your mortgage — it will all be principle — so you will not get a bigger tax deduction.

          It’s hard to do everything at once. Get yourself a snowball calculator and make a realistic judgment about how much you could contribute to your student loans (without saving for a condo). See how long it would take you to be completely debt free. Then you can make an educated decision about whether you need to balance your goals, or whether you should go “all in” on one thing or another.

          I will say this: it’s not for everyone, but I took 1 year where I stopped maxing out my 401(k). I did not stop contributing — I put in roughly half of the maximum allowance. I used every penny of that additional money and put it to my student loan debt. Basically, for one year, I assumed that I would make (“save”) more by paying off my 8.5%/6.8% loans than I would on the stockmarket. That year made a huge difference. I put myself on a timetable, and went back to a full 401(k) contribution the following year. This method takes a little self-restraint — I had an automatic extra payment sent to Access Group out of each paycheck so that I could never see that “extra” money.

          • Littlest Attorney :

            Yeah the more I think about it, the more it seems that paying down the mortgage faster won’t help me. So back to throwing extra money at student loans.

            I sort of already did the snowball calculator (with pen and paper – could never find a calculator I liked online). Throwing everything I have and not fully funding my 401K was how I was going to pay off student loans in 3 years. I felt the same way you did – that for a limited amount of time getting my loan balance down (especially the 8.5% debt) was more important than saving for retirement. But then I got a clerkship and things were forced to change. And finally the reality of being nearly 30 set in and I realized I had to ramp up my retirement savings.

            Buying a condo makes financial sense in light of the relatively depressed prices in DC and the ridiculous rents going on at the moment. For a 2 bedroom my breakeven point is between 2 years and 2 years and 6 months according to the NY Times calculator. Also, I plan to stay in DC for pretty much the rest of my adult life (I’m from DC originally).

            So while I agree with you its very hard to do everything at once, I’m pretty committed to that option.

    • Different Anon :

      Woo-hoo! What a great feeling and a great accomplishment!

  11. For all of the Canadian corporettes out there- where do you online shop for clothes that has reasonable shipping to Canada?
    I am a big fan of Banana/Gap and HBC for their free shipping over the $40/50 mark, and I can deal with J Crew’s $10 shipping (but having to pay for shipping to return items is a hard pill to swallow). Are there any other sites I am missing?

    • viclawstudent :

      Related question (I guess more of a confirmation, based on what you just said) – if I order a suit from JCrew to up here in Canada, and it doesn’t fit, I can send it back for a refund as long as I pay to ship back? How much is that, usually? I’m super tempted by the Super 120s navy pinstripe (got mentioned in yesterday’s suiting thread) because I’ve been looking for a navy pinstripe full set with that type of fit, but I’m waffling between two sizes.

      I don’t have any answers to your question, though. I mostly just do mental calculations on whether or not the clothing is worth what I’m paying when the shipping’s calculated in.

      • BTW, viclawstudent, have you heard that a J. Crew is coming to Pacific Centre this spring? I’m not sure of the timing, but the renovations have been going on for at least a month already, so I am hopeful that it will be opening soon. You may want to hold off on ordering anything online for now and wait for a trip to the Big City instead. Alternatively, if you are looking for suits, have you checked out Femme de Carriere locally? I’ve had good luck with them.

        • viclawstudent :

          Yeah, I got my current interview suit at Femme de Carriere, and I like it; I just have this specific bee in my bonnet right now about getting a navy pinstripe suit where I can get a (sleeved) dress, blazer, pants, and skirt that all come from the same line.

          But that’s good news about Pacific Centre – I should probably head over to the big city and do some shopping there rather than guessing about sizes on the Internet, anyhow. Probably save $ by avoiding the shipping costs anyhow.

      • I have done a return to J. Crew- it was about $20 for a box that fit two blouses

      • You can definitely send it back. It’ll probably be about $25, and from what I understand it’s a pain to try and get the duties back, so you might decide to just take a loss with those, too. If you’ve never bought clothes online from the states before, be aware that unless they’re made in the states, there will be duties on them that are often up to 1/3 of the price of the item.

    • canadian anon :

      I’ve ordered from HauteLook (return shipping is included, I think) and BR. I haven’t ordered from JCrew yet because of that return shipping fee. Although I suppose I could order and then return to the new store in Yorkdale (although I truly madly deeply hate being at Yorkdale with all the crowds).

      • Last time I was at Yorkdale- I asked if you can return online purchases in store and they said NO!

    • I’ve actually had much better experience ordering from the UK than from the US. Stuff ordered from the US tends to get hung up in Customs *forever*, but bizarrely, stuff from the UK seems to get through faster. My good experiences from the UK have included Brora, Hobbs and What Katie Did (underthings).

      The two exceptions to the US shipping travesty appear to be Nordstrom and Land’s End. Whenever I’ve ordered anything from Nordstrom, it has arrived very speedily and I haven’t had to pay any duty on arrival. It’s fabulous. I think Land’s End works out well because they actually ship to Canadian customers from a warehouse in Canada, which is very handy. I’ve also ordered from Anthropologie, which is touch and go.

      However, I’ve never tried to return anything I’ve ordered online, since I am very picky about why I buy online, and I’ve never ordered anything from J Crew simply because I am worried about weird sizing and possible returns.

    • I haven’t found a good source for work clothes, but I haven’t tried Nordstrom yet. For casual clothes, I buy clothes from Ruche (the quality is a bit low many aren’t really my style, but occasionally they have cute stuff) and ASOS, and occasionally Lands End, Karmaloop, Need Supply, and LL Bean. Shoes I get from Gravity Pope, Endless or Solestruck.

      • I had a not-great experience ordering from Ruche and don’t plan to do so again. Do you order from the Gravity Pope website or have you tried ordering straight from their store in Vancouver (I don’t know if they allow it, but it may be worth trying)?

        • I’ve never tried ordering from the store, only from the site. I don’t live in Van, sadly :(

          What bad experience did you have from Ruche? I haven’t had any negatives yet, but I’ve only ordered a handful of times and I don’t think I’ve tried to return anything yet.

          Oh, and if anyone is into those sales sites, Prive has terrible, terrible customer service. I ordered a dress then figured I’d throw in a pair of earrings to make the most of the shipping. It turns out they oversold the dress so they just sent me the earrings. I ended up with $12 earrings with $15 worth of shipping on them and a $10 gift certificate. Also, returns are for store credit only, which I don’t believe they specify on the site.

  12. In case you ladies hadn’t seen this: PSA on Susan G. Komen’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood and its mammogram screenings and other preventive healthcare for poor women. Link to follow.


      • I am tempted to write SGK a letter to say I am defunding them in return. Instead, I sent a check to PP. It just sucks because SGK is such a good organization and has really done so much for women’s health. What a shame to see them take this turn.

        • agreed on all counts… I hope PP gets a ton of backlash money coming in, it certainly needs it! Also, the Avon walk is pro-PP so feel free to donate there if you have a specific desire to donate to a breast cancer charity

          • Backlash money is rolling in! $650,000 in 24 hours, according to the WaPo. Apparently this is almost enough to replace SGK’s money for the upcoming year. I won’t link to stay out of moderation, but it’s a banner story on the front page of washingtonpost dot com.

            And I will be following AIMS’ lead to donate to PP myself. Hopefully others will as well.

        • I can’t stand them. I hate the whole cutesy pink thing, I hate that they have bullied other cancer groups about using the “Race for the Cure” slogan, I hate the disproportionate amount of attention and funding breast cancer gets compared to other cancers. Prostate cancer affects just about as many men, and true, the death rate is lower but the surgery and side effects can be devastating, and it gets nowhere near the publicity. The survival rate for pancreatic cancer hasn’t budged in decades.
          and when was the last time you saw a Race for the Pancreas?

          I also hate the aspects of the survivorship ethos that seem to imply that if you only fight hard enough and stay positive enough, you’ll survive. All the fighting and positive thoughts in the world aren’t going to save you if you have a really bad cancer, so I hate the implication that if you die, you just didn’t fight hard enough.

          Sorry, having a bad day, but on any day I do not much care for SGK. If you want to donate money to help out with cancer, give to the American Cancer Society. I think they probably have lower overhead than SGK, too, although not as many pink Kitchen Aid mixers.

          • Ditto, to all of that.

          • beat sarcoma (sarcoma being a more rare but usually deadly form of soft-tissue cancer) is also a worthy organization and cause that badly needs funding but, alas, does not have a marketing budget of SGK.

          • I agree with everything you said, especially the bullying of other cancer and health related groups. I am a trademark attorney, so I’ve followed their efforts, and what they’ve done is not befitting a group that purports to be for the greater good.

          • I’ve “lurked only” for so long and learned so much. THIS. I had to chime in to say how much I appreciate and agree with your candid opinion on SGK. Will keep an eye out for “Race for the Pancreas…” teehee

          • You guys can race for Gastrointestinal tracts with Team Challenge!!!

          • Purple Stride is essentially “race for the pancreas.” Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has events nationwide that don’t get nearly enough attention. I lost my Mom, and Aunt, and an Uncle to pancreatic cancer, and had a heck of a time finding a charity dedicated to research.

          • soulfusion :

            I’m a (very recent) breast cancer survivor and I have mixed feelings about SGK. I’m disappointed in the decision to pull funding from PP and I definitely got tired of all the pink things everyone gave me last year . . . BUT from my first mammogram to prepping for chemo, surgery and radiation the SGK website has provided the best information I could find on what to expect and how to prepare myself. I participated in the Race for the Cure during chemo and it was an overwhelming event that gave me the boost I needed to push to the end of my treatment. Plus, SGK is an organization that supports cancer research and has directly impacted the progress made in treatment options for breast cancer patients. Yes, there should also be a similar movement to support pancreatic cancer (my grandfather died of this) and other cancers but does that mean breast cancer should be ignored or supported any less?

            There are also other, smaller organizations I am also supporting that are not focused on one particular cancer or another (and sometimes because of the pink campaign you almost feel an eye roll when you disclose yours is “just” breast cancer). Specifically, I’m supporting an organization called First Descents for young adult cancer fighter/survivors in their 20s and 30s – they have a program they call outdoor adventure therapy that brings young adults together for one week camps to learn rock climbing or kayaking. Young adults with cancer have the lowest survival rates and generally higher recurrence rates. They also face emotional, financial, educational, career and fertility challenges not experienced by older cancer patients. I highly recommend supporting them.

            And finally, avoid the Livestrong organization. They stopped supporting cancer research (for testicular or any form of cancer) several years ago and the bulk of the millions of dollars they raise goes to “awareness” just like the pink ribbon campaign but without offering the actual educational support to the newly diagnosed or the money to fund cancer research.

            Sorry this is so long but this is something I feel strongly about and while I think SGK made a very poor decision to pull their funding for PP and has other issues just like any large organization, I know I have personally benefited from the organization so I don’t see it as quite so black and white.

          • @soulfusion–congratulations on your recovery, I’m glad to hear it. I disagree with the decision the SGK foundation made regarding Planned Parenthood, but I am sure they do a lot of important work and provide a lot of good resources. Glad they could provide some support for you.

        • Just heard on NPR that in the last 24 hours, PP has garnered $650K in donations, mostly from small donors (although one couple in Dallas gave $250K). SGK’s grant was $680K/year so it looks like PP will be OK this year (actually, they will do MUCH better given the outrage this story is generating) but support for PP must occur in the long term to fill the hole.

        • I did/will do both. I called SGK and spoke with someone in their donations group. She transferred me to their main office (I think because she agreed with me — otherwise, I presume she would have thanked me for my feedback and hung up), where I left a message stating that I would no longer be donating to SGK. For good measure, I also sent them an email (subject, from their drop-down list: report improper conduct) articulating my disappointment, and I mentioned that two of my aunts, both of them breast cancer survivors, feel the same. (We haven’t discussed this, but I am 100% sure they are disgusted.) In all three communications, I made clear that I won’t be donating to SGK. My mom, a physician who has been donating to SGK for years, is planning to contact SGK in basically the same manner.

          And I was going to donate to PP later this year anyway (I am on a donating schedule, and PP is scheduled for the end of February), but now my check is going to be larger, and on the memo line, I can write, “fcuk SGK.” Or maybe by then I will be less impetuous.

    • Read about it earlier this morning and I’m pretty outraged.

      Evidently this happened first:

      My bff put it best in a reply email earlier this morning:
      Lifeway and SGK are obviously doing the right thing. Jesus clearly states in the New Testament that you should avoid helping one group of people because they have ties with another group of people you disagree with. It’s right next to the paragraph about women being whores worthy of a public stoning if they fornicate with men, 2 pages after he says that all gays will rot in hell forever, and that we should all be on the lookout for messages from Pat Robertson about the prescribed consequences for our nation due to the acceptance of such heathens.

      • I don’t think that’s putting it best at all. If you believe that abortion is killing a baby, then why would you give money to support that group? There are lots of other groups that need your money. Comparing that decision to stoning a woman for fornicating with a man is pretty inflamatory.

        • By the way, I see that there are two sides to this discussion and many people are obviously upset by Komen’s decision, which is fine. I just think that when you say things like this about Christianity, it’s not true and doesn’t help anything.

        • I apologize – I think that was too broad for the purposes of this discussion. Our issue was really with Lifeway, because the funds from the bibles were traceable and kept in a separate fund that only paid for breast cancer screenings. My apologies.

        • I’m not religious but agree with this. The broad brushstroke caricature doesn’t really do any good for anybody.

      • Do you think that an email like that is in any way going to convince, or even make anyone even consider reconsidering, anything? I don’t.

    • I’m done with them. Early detection of breast cancer is not a political issue. It is a necessity.

      I find it disgusting that this has happened and they can now be guaranteed 1 less runner for their 5Ks. There are too many wonderful organizations that aren’t political ploys and truly put women and their health above politics to continue giving any support to SGK in my opinion.

      • They just picked up one more runner with me. I have refused to run their races for years (including Rock ‘n Roll events that benefit SGK) because they fund PP. Now I will happily sign up and participate.

    • Why does the pro-abortion crowd insist on using this site as a forum for their politics? Do you just blithely assume everyone agrees with you, or are you trying to spark a fight? Can’t you discuss this on Jezebel or on the thousands of other sites dedicated to your political views?

      • Yeah, I sort of agree with this. Posting news articles that are of interest to women is great, but then assuming that everyone agrees about it (especially for issues like this one, where there are very impassioned opinions on both sides of the issue) makes this forum feel less welcoming, and I really don’t want us to feel limited and scared of judgment on this site!

        • To be clear, I don’t agree with calling people “pro-abortion” – just agreed that we should be careful when discussing inflammatory/political stuff, since not everyone shares the same view.

      • No one is “pro abortion.” To say otherwise is ridiculous. That’s all I’m going to say b/c I don’t feel the need to discuss my personal views on here. Just thought you needed correcting there.

        • If you don’t think there are people who are pro-abortion, you are just naive or willfully blind. These quotes from Margaret Sanger clearly indicate a pro-abortion mind-set, and she continues to have many admirers and followers. Why do you think 1/2 of African American pregnancies end in abortion, and the abortion rate for black women is almost five times that for white women? Eugenics is alive and well in this country.

          “We are failing to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying . . . a dead weight of human waste . . .an ever-increasing spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.”

          “Organized charity itself is the symptom of a malignant social disease. Those vast, complex, interrelated organizations aiming to control and to diminish the spread of misery and destitution and all the menacing evils that spring out of this sinisterly fertile soil, are the surest sign that our civilization has bred, is breeding and perpetuating constantly increasing numbers of defectives, delinquents and dependents…….to breed out of the race the scourges of transmissible disease, mental defect, poverty, lawlessness, crime … since these classes would be decreasing in number instead of breeding like weeds….such a plan would … reduce the birthrate among the diseased, the sickly, the poverty stricken and anti-social classes, elements unable to provide for themselves, and the burden of which we are all forced to carry”

          Margaret Sanger (American Founder of the birth control movement in the United States and an international leader in the field. 1879-1966)

          • Different Anon :

            You’re conflating a disturbing trend in the African-American population in the U.S. with abortion.

            Even if it’s truly a eugenics program, as in– people abusing abortion rights, just because some people abuse it doesn’t mean that others don’t use those rights in a non-abusive manner.

            Insurance companies have statistics to show that young men are more prone to car accidents. While that may be a disturbing trend in itself, it is too far of a stretch to try to say that nobody should therefore be allowed to drive.

            In fact, I suspect you bring up eugenics to try to distract from the issue. The issue is the sovereignty of a woman’s body vs. the rights of a fetus. This issue is difficult enough without the red herring of eugenics. It does not add to the conversation.

      • Thanks, couldn’t have said it better.

      • Tired Squared :

        1) I won’t speak for anyone else, but I am not pro-abortion. I’m pro-choice.

        2) I don’t think this is a fight-sparking issue in the way you’re implying. No matter your views on abortion, this move to take away funding–from mostly non-abortion matters–really hurts Komen’s mission to aid women. Now, a lot more women won’t get the services they need to save their lives.

        • I’m sorry, but I disagree. Planned Parenthood has a lot of problems, and Komen’s decision not to provide further funding to them is well-grounded, imo. And that’s all I will say about it.

      • Really – is ANYONE “pro-abortion”?

      • Equity's Darling :

        I don’t think anyone is “pro-abortion”, so much as “pro-choice”, but whatevs.

      • What does “pro-abortion” mean? I’ve never met anyone who is “pro-abortion,” although I’ve met a lot of women who think the decision to have one should be between women and their doctors, and not up to lawmakers influenced by one interpretation of Christianity. Women who advocate for choice are seeking to DE-politicize the issue and keep it the private medical and moral choice it should be.

        • The idea that a fetus is a baby worthy of protection is not limited to one interpretation of Christianity. In fact, even some atheists are pro-life, although I’m sure you will find that difficult to believe.

          • Different Anon :

            Yeah, but this “protecting the fetus” type of talk is conveniently disingenuous. You make it sound like the fetus is sealed up in some little plastic container, minding its own business, not affecting anybody when that’s completely the opposite of the situation.

            The fetus is inside a woman’s body, effectively using up her nutrients, and it will possibly damage her health (google pre-eclampsia as well as uterine prolapse and gestational diabetes.) Women risk their lives to give birth, sometimes, they bleed to death in the process, or have fatal heart attacks despite being told they were healthy, and despite the best medical care available.

            So, it sounds very nice to write on paper (or screen) that the fetus’ life is equal to the woman’s, but given the PHYSICAL REALITY of pregnancy and childbirth, if you force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term and give birth, you are effectively saying that her life is worth less, because she must always sublimate her rights for someone else’s.

            We don’t force people to jump into rivers and risk their lives or physical health to save someone who’s drowning. We leave it as a choice. Otherwise, we create a slave class of people (women, in this case) whose health and life can always be thrown aside in favor of another class of people (babies, in this case.) And that is a truly dangerous precedent.

            Additionally, we confer greater and greater rights to humans as they become older. Do we let 5 yrs olds vote and drive cars? No. We allow parents to have a high degree of control over their lives. Similarly, if a fetus is not old enough to be viable outside of the womb, does it really deserve to have as many if not more rights than a fully fledged woman? These are all things that get glossed over in the “pro-life” /”anti-choice” rhetoric.

          • Oooh, very well said.

      • I’m not sure that anyone here is “pro” abortion. There are just people who think that there are instances in which abortion is a reasonable choice to make. These are people who probably don’t think that a fetus is equivalent to a human, at least up to a certain point in development. And these are people who think that it is important for a pregnant woman to be able to make the decision whether to terminate her pregnancy.

        Then, there are people who are “anti” choice — who believe that from the instant the egg is fertilized, the life of the fetus is equal in value to the life of the mother (or perhaps even more valuable, because a fetus cannot sin), and so every woman who is impregnated must carry that fetus to term. It doesn’t matter whether that woman is too young, old, mentally or physically ill, or poor; whether she has been raped; whether the baby that will be born will need care that she cannot provide…she should have that baby, and if she can’t raise it for whatever reason, then she should put it up for adoption, ideally by “Christian” parents who will raise that child “right.” And by the way (says Rick Santorum), if you can’t have a child, you shouldn’t be having sex, and if you were raped, then this is a way to turn that rape into a positive event.

        And by the way, Planned Parenthood isn’t some nationwide abortion chain that does a little mammogramming on the side. It provides a range of health services to women — most importantly, to women who couldn’t afford such services otherwise — in a nonjudgmental manner. Abortions constitute only a small fraction of the work it does, and of that small fraction, only teeny-tiny fraction are late-term abortions — which are almost always induced because the mother’s health is in grave danger.

        • Alanna of Trebond :

          If you are going to criticize the poster for calling you by a name that you don’t associate with — “pro-abortion,” you should hesitate before calling her “anti-choice”. Pro-life advocates still offer women choices, including adoption.

          • How generous of them to permit people to put their children up for adoption! Also, I guess women can choose which obgyn to see, whether or not to circumcise a son, when to induce, even the name of any of their offspring…so yes, I am wrong to call them anti-choice. Really, they are pro- all but a few choices.

            Although if I were pregnant and not ready to carry the child to term, I might wish that there were one additional choice left on the table.

            Also, especially if breast cancer ran in my family, I might wish that I could get screened at the same place I went for my gyno exam and my BC refills, as I had been doing in prior years. Especially if I were low-income, didn’t have much free time, and/or didn’t have a lot of transportation options. I might also wonder why it was the noisiest breast-cancer foundation in the nation that had made it so much more inconvenient for me to get screened (and therefore less likely to get screened).

          • Barf, you are using the most inflammatory language on this thread. Even your chosen screen name is rude. And seriously, PP is not going to have to close their doors after this decision. People will still be able to get screened where they have their annuals, etc., they just won’t be using Komen’s money to do so.

            These discussions just get so extreme.

          • I think that was kind of the point.

            But actually, I agree with anti-choice. Being “anti-abortion” or “pro-life” MEANS being anti-choice for the woman whose body is being impacted. And neither the government, or you or anyone else in the world has the right to tell someone what to do with their own bodies. It is a sad and terrible thing to end the potential of having a baby and everyone I know who has made that choice KNEW it was a sad and terrible thing and didn’t have any other options.

            These pro-life folks act like we’re all running around going “yay, abortion!” No, we’re running around going “yay, personal freedom!”

          • CA-Atty, I am also pro-choice but you are being very disrespectful. If you are going to be so one sided you can’t take offense when someone calls you pro-abortion. Its two people on opposite sides refusing to see how any one could think differently than they do. I really wish we would leave these disscussions off of here.

          • If you (general you) are what we think of as pro-life, then you do not think abortion should be a choice available to women. While anti-choice is not the preferred term, and maybe pro-(less)choice or anti-(the relevant)choice would be more accurate, it’s not as far-fetched as calling someone who believes women should be able to choose to have an abortion “pro-abortion.” Would I ever have an abortion? No. Would I want you to be legally unable to choose to have an abortion? No.

          • If pro-life and pro-choice are the preferred terms, then people throwing around anti-choice need to accept the name anti-life for themselves. If we want to keep the discussion respectful, don’t call the otherside pro-abortion or anti-life, and that side don’t call the other side anti-choice. And when someone asks you not to call them the other name, don’t defend why they really are anti-choice, or they really are anti-life. Just use the preferred terms. play may now resume

          • Well said, cfm.

          • cfm, please tell me how I was “very disrespectful?” By agreeing with the term “anti-choice?” Which, you’ll notice, was not brought up until someone decided that pro-choice is also pro-abortion, and even then was not brought up by me. If you cannot read a simply explanation without getting offended, then any discussion about something inflammatory, especially on the internet, is not for you. Maybe you should not read the comments if you’re going to be so thin-skinned.

            Also, this:

            “the people who see both sides won’t comment. (besides me, who will take a snarky shot at both sides in this comment)”

            Is ridiculous and off-putting. The fact is we all know both sides of this argument, we can all see both sides. We just disagree. The interesting part of the discussion is the edges of the disagreement. And I know I’m not the only who has seen comments of people changing their minds about certain subjects on here. But for example, above, many commenters brought up other worthy causes, some stated they did or did not like SGK before this, etc…these are interesting and throughout provoking opinions. Again, if you’re going to be so thin-skinned, then maybe commenting is just not for you.

          • Well that was a joke, intended to inject some levity into a subject that is obviously quickly detoriating into name calling. I called out the person using the term pro-abortion as well. You used the term those people. And defended using the term anti-choice while in the same breathe calling out the person using the term pro-abortion. I was just trying to explain that if you want to have an actual disscusion, and actually hear each other on both sides, listen, reflect and then give your opinion, you can’t do it while calling the other person names.

          • I absolutely did not use the term “those people.”

            However, I’m not going to squabble over minor issues on an essentially anonymous comment board.

        • “these folks” You are right, slightly different. I thought the disdain was clear but I did mischaracterize your words.

          • Different Anon :

            Well, those who are pro-life mostly care about the life of the fetus, not the woman. So they are legitimately pro-life, it’s just that the term doesn’t tell you which life they care about. And no, saying you want good medical care for the woman who’s forced to carry a pregnancy to term and forced to give birth isn’t caring about the woman. Because she’s only seen as a useful vessel and delivery mechanism for the fetus, so that care is for the fetus’ well-being, ultimately.

      • No one is trying to start a fight by posting a large news story, just like the Pfizer story yesterday. Certainly I think most pro-choice women are aware that not everyone is of our mindset (try getting called baby-killer a few times because you’re a 20 something woman who has to walk by PP).
        Also, if you’re concerned about judgment, you should start using the right terms – pro-choice, not pro-abortion. There is actually a difference and recognizing that enables people with different opinions to have respectful conversations about this topic. You don’t like PP, fine! They do more than abortions, but yes, they do that too.

        I think what upsets me (and maybe other people who are pro-choice) is that folks who say they value all life above anything else, would be willing to support a move that clearly limits access to life-saving treatments. And for an organization who is “dedicated” to ending breast cancer, the move seems to be counter-intuitive.

        • Thanks, L. When I opened this thread again, it was with the intent to write basically that post.

        • I understand the folks who prefer to keep this site free of anything that could be a contentious topic. However, I really appreciate those who have provided thoughtful commentary all around. L, your point sums up exactly why I find it the news story interesting and relevant: “that folks who say they value all life above anything else, would be willing to support a move that clearly limits access to life-saving treatments. And for an organization who is ‘dedicated’ to ending breast cancer, the move seems to be counter-intuitive.” I value life, all life, not just the lives of unborn children — including mothers and women at risk for breast cancer.

      • long time lurker :

        PP provides low cost birth control services to low income women thus hopefully reducing the number of abortions.
        signed, pro-choice lurker

        • I put myself through college, worked 2-3 jobs for 4 years and didn’t have money for ANYthing. But I had a pp nearby and thank GOODNESS did not procreate with my college boyfriend, horrors! PP was fabulous for me and the dozens of other women I saw in the waiting room. And they never pushed me to have an abortion. Though that was probably because the birth control they provided me at a price I could afford worked!!

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        Yes, I agree with this. It makes it less fun when this becomes a political forum. Also, I don’t think the “pro-X” titles help anyone–it just makes it easier to paint a certain group of people with a broad brush. Also, I think the original poster could have linked the news from a different source than Jezebel, which obviously has a certain viewpoint on the issue.

      • Yes. In general this seems to be a site where people can go for support and camaraderie. Assuming everyone here shares the same views on controversial issues, like abortion, takes away from that.

        Given that on the internet it’s easy to be snarkier than one intends, or to interpret words as snarkiness when they weren’t intended that way, I think it’s probably best if we stay away from discussions like this. However, if other people want to wade into them, it at least will facilitate understanding and patience not to assume everyone agrees.

        • Thanks for putting it like this!

        • I think it’s just kind of sad that a discussion about women’s healthcare is off the table in a forum where we discuss all other sorts of issues–from work outfits to IVF to relationships with parents, etc. I think the tone should be respectful, but I think that there’s a huge problem when the mere mention of abortion (even tangentially) is totally off-limits because of the controversy that surrounds it. It’s too important of an issue to be perpetually seen as an untouchable lightning rod.

          • Seconded

          • If people could handle it, it wouldn’t have to be off limits. But people are just going to internet shout at each other, one side screaming that the other side is murderous godless heathens, the other side screaming that the opposition is off their rocker bible thumpers oppressing and willing to kill women. the people who see both sides won’t comment. (besides me, who will take a snarky shot at both sides in this comment)

          • See, but I don’t think that’s happened here. I think we’re all capable of having a real discussion of the issue without it turning into a shouting match. Why would this be any different than the tone we use with any of our other topics?

          • well someone has said “fcuk sgk” called pro choicers “pro abortion” called pro-lifers “anti-choicers” putting scare quotes around the word christian, wrote a sarcastic email about Jesus, and a general air of sarcasm throughout the comments

          • I think that’s relatively mild. Not so harsh that we can’t have an adult discussion of the issues. I think it’d be kind of awesome if this were the type of place where that was possible–and I think it could be if people on both sides weren’t defensive.

          • I agree with cfm. People have already said some pretty offensive things on this thread. If, for starters, we could all agree to call those who disagree with us by whatever name they want to be called, it would be a step towards a civil discussion, but even that small agreement hasn’t happened yet.

          • Well, to be fair, they’re politically-charged terms. I think it’s fairly neutral to say “people who support abortion rights” and “people who oppose abortion rights”–pro-life and pro-abortion are very one-sided terms.

          • Also, I agree it’s good to discuss such important issues, and I do discuss them with friends I disagree with. When I do that, though, we all know each other, so we’re more likely to be respectful. We also talk in person or via e-mail, so no one else has to read/listen to our controversial discussion when maybe they just came to talk about a shirt or how they spilled coffee on themselves today. Talking anonymously on the internet introduces a whole different (I think negative) dynamic.

          • I think the terms you suggested are closer, but still not neutral in their connotation. For people who are pro-choice, the issue is one of choice, or rights, so that’s how they see themselves and how they frame the discussion. For people who are pro-life, the issue is one of life and death, so they see that as the subject of the debate. Telling pro-life people that they “oppose abortion rights” rather than “support life” misses the subject of their argument.

          • @Eleanor: I can see how it’s not your cup of tea and I respect that. But there are loads of times where I think certain threads are boring or insulting and I just scroll past them. I think that people like this online community of sorts because we can have intelligent, thoughtful discussions about serious issues OR discussions about guys or coffee spills or outfits. I also think it’s interesting to hear other people’s perspectives–there’s something nice about stepping out of your normal comfort zone from time to time.

          • PP has my everlasting gratitude. They helped me during a very low point in my life where I didn’t have many places to turn. I would not be where I am today without their services. And as others have already mentioned, they provide an array of crucial services to low income women, not just the hot topic everyone gets so angry about.

          • @Batgirl – I think we agree on some of this. Like I said a couple of posts above this, I think it’s good to have these kinds of discussions with people who disagree with you. And you’re right that people can just scroll past all this if they’re not interested, or if they get offended. Additionally, I have really benefitted from some of the more serious discussions that have taken place here.

            My actual points were 1.) Internet discussions about controverisal topics are dangerous because people can offend/get offended really easily, and 2.) If you do choose to start such a discussion, don’t throw it out there as though everyone agrees with you, because that breaks down the welcoming feel of the site.

            You’re right; these discussions aren’t my cup of tea, and I’m being very careful to stay out of any actual abortion discussion. I realize this has now turned into a discussion about the discussion, which is a bit silly (although fun if you like to debate small points, which I sometimes do). At any rate, I’m glad we have been able to remain civil on our sub-sub-thread over here, probably just in time for everyone to migrate to the afternoon threads. Ah, well. Back to work for now.

          • Completely agree.

        • This is ridiculous :

          Why is it that the people who support the defunding of PP by SK also think that those that disagree with that move shouldn’t be able to discuss it? If you don’t want to discuss the issue, just scroll down. Enough trying to control the actions of others.

    • Personally, my problem with SGK isn’t that they don’t want to donate money to PP because of the political views of certain board members. They are a private organization and it is certainly their right to give or not give money as they see fit, consistent with their mission. People can vote with their donation dollars.

      However, I don’t like that they committed to the funding and then pulled out of that commitment due to political pressure surrounding an issue that is, at best, tangentially related to the stated mission of SGK. It’s just poor management. There were a lot of other ways they could have handled it better. For instance issuing a statement that all of their PP funding is bookmarked for breast health exclusively and does not in any way support abortion services, an issue that is outside the scope of SGK. Or, if they felt they absolutely had to pull it, at least honoring their commitment for the next X number of years, to give PP some time to secure alternate funding. From what I understand, they just yanked it.

      For that reason, along with the intellectual property issues and the pink perkiness overzealously forced on breast cancer patients, I’m no longer supporting SGK. I think they do a lot of good, and can offer a good support network for cancer patients who find their cancer fighting mantras appealing. But I think it’s a poorly run organization that does not efficiently target donation funds to fulfilling its organizational mission.

      I won’t even weigh in on the legalization of abortion, but I don’t see anything wrong with having a debate about an important and controversial topic affecting women on a forum for professional, intelligent women. It seems entirely appropriate. If you aren’t interested in participating, don’t.

      • Well said, KK! I personally think that regardless of how you feel about the legality of abortion, it’s ridiculous that SGK would make a decision to stop funding PP clinics with breast cancer screenings. I think it’s poor management on the part of SGK because they are going to dramatically reduce the number of actual patients who get screenings by this action–at the end of the day, this is what they should be concerned about, in my opinion.

        • I agree entirely with KK, but Batgirl, I don’t know about your post. I am having trouble thinking of a perfect analogy, but I would not donate to an org that provided food and shelter to the homeless if they also proselytized. Granted, it may be easier for me to find an org that more lines up with what I am comfortable with and provides the same services in that example, whereas I’m not sure that you could find a replacement for PP, but I think people/orgs should be free to make that choice. KK’s comment about committing funds and then yanking them is a separate issue, though.

          • Well, I think that they can do whatever they want. I just think that they’re choosing the option that will result in fewer patients getting the screenings they need. My guess would be that the money that SGK gives to PP clinics isn’t even enough to cover the cost of the breast cancer services PP provides, let alone enough to go so far as to cover abortion services. Especially when there are SO many rules in place and billing procedures/codes to ensure that the services are kept separate. I know it’s an oft-cited statistic, but only 3% of PP’s services are abortion services. It just seems like SGK is cutting off its nose to spite its face, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s not in line with their mission.

            I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that this is happening in a very charged, anti-PP political climate. PP has been providing abortion for YEARS and SGK funded some of its breast cancer screening services. Why the change now? Seems like they’re just bowing to political pressure, and I’d expect more from a charity working on women’s health.

          • Batgirl, I would agree with your guess that the money SGK gives to PP doesn’t cover the cost of breast cancer services. I’m actually pretty surprised that the amount SGK gives is so low. $680k I think is the reported amount? Really?? What does happen to all the money SGK rakes in?

        • FWIW, to me the original point of the post was simply that one women’s health organization decided to defund another women’s health organization for political reasons. Whether you are pro choice or not, that should not be a particularly controversial topic and we should be able to discuss this like adult women – after all, breast cancer doesn’t care whether you think abortion should be a woman’s choice or if it is just outright murder.

          The thing that seems to get lost in almost any PP discussion is that only 3 % of PP services – total – are abortion services. That’s a ridiculously small number. The SGK money was not going to abortions. Most of the money PP receives and spends doesn’t go to abortions. In fact, a lot of the money PP receives goes towards preventing abortion through birth control and sex education. That’s something we should all agree is a good thing. It’s really sad that some people just cannot discuss the facts and will talk past each other whenever the A-word comes up. But I do hope it does not deter other *reasonable* discussions from occuring.

          • This is the problem with the A word discussion, people start throwing out things and saying “I think we can all agree that is a good thing.” No, some people do not believe in birth control or sex education (only abstaining). You would be upset if the other side said “i think we can all agree that murdering babies is wrong.” You can’t ask people to support PP because it is a ridiculous small amount of money that goes towards abortions services. If I told you only 3% of a donation to a good thing went to a bag thing, you’d think that was too much.

            And I’m actually pro-choice, I disagree with sgk pulling the funding. But this discussion is useless because people think they are so right and its just talking over one another.

          • Cfm, I didn’t say that we can all agree that BC & sex ed are a good thing, only that we should be able to acknowledge that preventing abortion is a laudable goal. I am well aware that some people believe only in abstaining, and frankly those people are wrong because that is unrealistic and is statistically proven to lead to stds and unwanted pregnancies. There are also people who believe using condoms or BC is the same thing as having an abortion, and they are also wrong. I am all for everyone being entitled to their opinions but I am not going to shy away from saying that something is impractical, if not downright illogical.

            The whole thing is a moot point – we are all free to support or not support both PP and KGC. But I think it’s good to at least try to have rational measured discussions about these things b/c there is a lot of ‘everyone go back to their own corner and only hear things they agree with’ in our society today. I am all too happy to have someone challenge my beliefs, so I was just making the point that I hope we don’t just limit our discussions to nail colors and shoe choices.

          • AIMS I am going have to disagree. Abstaining cannot possible be proven to lead to stds and unwanted pregnancies. If you mean abstainence only education, now your confusing being successful with being right. (as in just because something is not successful or not working, doesn’t mean its not right) Also who are you to say someone’s personal belief that they won’t use BC or condoms is wrong? Then they can just come back at you and say “well abortion is wrong. Sorry I am all for everyone being entitled to their opinions but I am not going to shy away from saying that something is morally wrong and crime.” Now we have two people saying wrong. wrong. wrong wrong wrong wrong. How is that a rational measured discussion? You just said nope other side is illogical. So if the two sides are just going to stand on opposite sides of the river and not attempt to start building one side of a bridge, what is the point of even having the discussion. We should just limit it to nail color discussion, because people arent so firmly entrenched in that discussion that they ignore the other side.

          • MeliaraofTlanth :

            Oh, I think we can (probably) all agreeing that murdering babies is wrong. The problem is we can’t agree on what qualifies as a baby, which is why it’s so fundamentally hard to get opposite sides to have any reasonable discussion about abortion. And that’s all I’m saying on that.

          • @MeliaraofTruth. I was also going to make that point. I think cfm otherwise makes some good points (as does AIMS), but that was a poor example that misunderstands the issue. It is fairly universal that murdering babies is bad. For instance, I live near DC. Recently, a 2 week old baby was found dead on the street, having been left there overnight with little clothing and essentially frozen to death. I’m pretty sure no one, no matter how staunchly pro-choice (or, hell, even pro-abortion!) would approve of that. It’s the definitions of “murder” and “babies” that are hotly contested, not the morality of murdering babies.

            And, please, even when this discussion borders on annoying and disrespectful, it is still far above most political discourse in this country. Have you seen the presidential debates? Sure, no one truly offends anyone, but no one says what they really think either. It’s a joint press conference where everyone reads their talking points and soundbites, not a debate. I prefer this.

          • I did mean abstinence only education, not abstinence itself. Abstinence only education — which preaches abstinence itself has been proven to be ineffective and I don’t think its confusing being right with success to point it out and advocate planning for contingencies.

            I can certainly see where you are coming from, and I recognize the danger of just yelling past each other, and I really am not trying to do that. Certainly there are more diplomatic ways to say what I said about condoms and BC — but while everyone is entitled to their personal beliefs about BC/condoms, I think there needs to be an adult conversation about what those people think is more important: not using condoms or preventing unwanted pregnancies. I think heroin is a terrible thing and we should do what we can to prevent people from using the drug but I also think we should provide needle exchanges for those who are going to do it. Why can we have normal debates about that but not about abortion? Why can’t we challenge zero sum thinking? And why can’t we ask people who want to impose their personal beliefs on others to defend those beliefs?

          • @cfm: I would just take issue with one thing you say “Also who are you to say someone’s personal belief that they won’t use BC or condoms is wrong?” Putting aside whatever AIMS said that you disagreed with, I think that this is kind of at the heart of the abortion debate. I believe we should all be able to decide for ourselves, for whatever reasons we choose, whether sex in a particular context (e.g. out of marriage), birth control pills, condoms, or abortion are morally acceptable or not. If you don’t believe in the use of birth control or abortion, then don’t use them or have one. But I won’t have someone else impose their morals or beliefs on me or my body. Especially when there is such widespread disagreement about where we all draw the line.

          • Batgirl- I agree and phrased it that way on purpose. I was turning the argument around. I don’t actually disagree with AIMS at all, I disagree with the way she argued it.

    • *eyeroll*

      Those of you who think one thing can stand on one side of the room. Those of you who think the opposite can stand on the other side of the room.

  13. first year :

    I am a recent grad and fairly new (<6 months) biglaw associate. In general I have received ok feedback on the projects law school prepares you for (e.g. do legal research on some issue and write a memo) but my feedback on other assignments (e.g. write a business letter, various discovery tasks, fact memos) has been pretty bad. I've also received very negative feedback on my business/project management skills in general (e.g. responsiveness to emails, :cc-ing the right people on emails, setting deadlines and moving projects along, etc). We're not talking just feedback about ways to improve, which I would expect at my level, but actual conversations where I've been told certain things are very unsatisfactory and if these things are not fixed I will have a very short future with the firm. I do feel like I've improved some things that have been mentioned (for example, I always confirm receipt of emails now), but some things are hard to fix overnight and it seems like I get worse feedback every day. So far the feedback is coming from mid-senior level associates I work with very closely…nothing really bad from partners yet, but the associate comments have been phrased as "Partner X is too nice to tell you this but…"

    I know I am smart enough to do this job and I'm working hard and trying to improve. I went straight from undergrad to law school, am young (25) and this is my first professional job. Its a huge adjustment and I feel like some learning curve is normal, but it seems like I'm way behind the normal first year. I'm also working very long hours and not getting enough sleep which contributes to the problem. I need more sleep than normal and always averaged 8-9 hours per night even in law school. Now I'm getting much less and I know I've made mistakes/ not done as well as I could have on things because I'm so tired. The constant negative comments are so demoralizing that I basically go home every night and cry (I've managed to avoid crying at work so far). Fortunately I have a wonderful BF who is incredibly supportive & the only thing keeping me sane.

    Is this kind of first year experience normal? Should I start sending out resumes ASAP? Where can I even go with six months experience? Thanks in advance for any advice.

    • That’s horrible. They expect you to confirm receipt of emails? People at my biglaw firm would be super irritated about that. And saying you might be fired for cc-ing the wrong people? That is insane.

      I wouldn’t believe it when they say this is actually coming from the partner. It sounds like some power tripper who feels important by saying he has an inside track with the partner.

      • By the way, I want to encourage you and others like you who hate their lawyerly jobs: I was at a biglaw firm prior to the one where I currently work. I hated it. I thought I would have to leave firm life for good because of all of the passive aggressive workaholics who didn’t know their kids and didn’t have a grasp on reality. Since then, I moved to another biglaw firm, and I LOVE IT. Yesterday I was thinking I might actually want to stay on and try to make partner, which I haven’t thought since I graduated law school. So it can be better. Just because you had one bad experience doesn’t mean they’re all bad.

        • first year :

          Thank you! That’s very encouraging that you love your biglaw job now. Gives me hope for the future :)

          • b23, I completely agree. I *hated* my first law firm job. After two and a half years, I was daydreaming of becoming a barista – anything to keep me from crying all the time on Sunday nights when I realized I had to go back to work the next day. I lateraled over to another BigLaw firm (a MUCH bigger one, in fact) and it has been like night and day. Today is actually my one-year anniversary at my firm and I am also thinking I want to make partner here and stay here the rest of my career. There are good law firms to work for, I promise.

            To first year: It sounds like there’s a problem with the office culture and you, not a problem with how smart you are or how well you substantively do your job. This may be something you can change to fit into, or it may be something that you ultimately realize is a deal-breaker. Hang in there for now, and see if you can seek out work from other offices perhaps, or other mid-level associates. Good luck!

      • Oh, and I totally agree with b23 on the power-trippy mid-level associate. That person has no power to fire you. And I highly doubt that the person has secret, insider knowledge of what the partners think, unless you are working at a very unprofessional place. “Yes” that person to death and then ignore what they say.

        • I had to deal with a situation like this a few years ago. I started a new job and worked closely with a senior person in my same position; that person would come tearing into my office, tie askew, out of breath and frantic, saying “[partner] is VERY CONCERNED about your work on this project!” I would of course freak out and get myself all worked up about it, even though I was perfectly on track with the project. Later, as I developed a working relationship with the partner, I learned that he was never concerned about my work and that the tie-askew guy was just like that all the time. So consider the source.

        • agree. i met lots of power trippy midlevels (and juniors about to become midlevels) when i first started, i consider it a lesson learned and now i dont work with them and would do everything in my power to avoid them. i like my job (at the same biglaw office) much better now.

      • Yeah, the Partner X is “too nice” to tell her when she makes a mistake, but not too nice to fire her over it? That doesn’t make any sense. At the very least, this person is exaggerating.

    • Being a first year in Biglaw sucks. It just plain sucks. The learning curve is so steep, and there are all of these little tiny things that you need to learn how to do that you don’t even KNOW you need to learn how to do until it’s too late and you’ve messed it up. Such as responding to every damn email with “will do!” Where do they teach you to do that? No where. How do you learn how to do it? Through incessant negative feedback on every tiny thing that breaks your spirit until you feel like you suck at everything, including making life choices like the one that led you to this place.

      Upside? It gets better. Once you get a handle on all the little, detailed tasks that you have to accomplish, your life gets much smoother and you won’t be as stressed. If the feedback is just coming from mid-level associates, take the substantive feedback (“will do!”) but try to set aside the unhelpful feedback (“If you don’t shape up you’re going to get fired RAAR!”). I used to say to myself all the time, “this job would be a lot less stressful if I were better at it.” And you will get better and it will get less stressful. (And then you can jump ship and go work somewhere that makes you happier, but that’s for another day.)

      • first year :

        Thanks! This is exactly what I wanted, reassurance that other first years feel the same way. I’m in a small satellite office of my big firm and am the only first year so I have no one to compare experiences with/commiserate with.

    • Okay — it is really hard to give advice on the specifics of this e-mail because every office varies so dramatically (but let me say, if I confirmed receipt of every e-mail my big law partners I worked with sent me, they might have killed me). I usually only replied with affirmative questions or letting them know when I’d get them what they needed.

      Part of me wants to say it sounds like you’ve been paired with an awful mid-level associate who’s just torturing you because he/she can. BUT, it also sounds like you’ve gotten input like this from several sources and you are very, very worried. So I’d say maybe you need to take two approaches.

      (1) Are there any mid-level associates you’ve developed good relationships with? Offer to take them out to lunch and just pick their mind about office politics and how best to manage the administrative tasks. And maybe ask them whenever you get a new assignment from a new partner, since every partner is different.

      (2) Do you have a formal mentor? Maybe talk to whomever is the Associate relations person in your office about getting one. It sounds like you really need someone to bounce things off of (as in, is this them or me).

      Finally — I think the most important thing in Big Law is managing Partner and Associate expectations and communicating. So find out as soon as you get an assignment when they want it by, how long they think it should take, and if there are any billing restrictions (like the client doesn’t want you using too much Lexis or something). Also ask how they want the project presented. Then, communicate your progress and check in often on big projects so they know you haven’t disappeared. I think as long as they feel like you are keeping them on your front burner (even if they aren’t really) they’ll be happy.

      • first year :

        Thank you for the advice. The feedback is primarily from two associates, but they’re BFF, so I’m not sure its that different than once source. As I said above, I’m in a satellite office of a big firm, so no other first years and no mid-levels in my group outside those two. Unfortunately, one of the two is my mentor. But I agree that reaching out to other people and trying to get to know them is a good idea. My firm is fairly big on travel, so I may get to make some trips to other offices and get to know people there.

        Also FYI, since I think some people were confused – the “confirm receipt of email” meant an email asking me to do something, not every single email, which would be ridiculous. It just wasn’t obvious to me to respond with “will do!” to every email asking me to do something, especially if it had also been discussed on the phone. But now I know.

        • not biglaw :

          Can’t tell if you are serious–don’t start responding with “will do” when you get an email asking you to do something. Ask if there’s any time sensitivity and let the sender know when you will be able to get to it.

          • Former MidLevel :

            Actually, this is a real thing – but it depends on the partner. Some partners do just want a “will do” response within a a few minutes so they know you got the email. From the OP’s comment above, it seems like she is working for that kind of partner (or firm).

          • first year :

            Yes, serious. Not in response to email about a big new project, which would be discussed in person/phone. But an email saying something like “please schedule a call with X, Y, and Z this afternoon.”. Before I would have not responded and jut scheduled the call within, say an hour. Now I respond “will do” within 5 minutes and then schedule the call within the hour.

        • MeliaraofTlanth :

          Do you have a secretary that’s been there a while? Ask them if the two associates are known for doing this sort of thing to terrorize the junior associates just for a power trip(except not that obviously, of course. “Hi, secretary, evil associates have told me I’m doing really poorly on x,y,z. Have you noticed my work is of poor quality compared to the other junior attorneys you’ve worked with? Have the partners mentioned anything?”). Secretaries know all the gossip, at least in my firm.

        • Littlest Attorney :

          Second all of TCFKAG’s advice. It’s excellent advice.

          It does sound like you have been paired with a less than wonderful mid-level associate. This happens. It also sounds like the mid-level might not be so good at managing people. This happens a lot at law firms. Just like learning to be a good lawyer in terms of the legal side of lawyering takes time, learning to be a good manager of people takes time. My advice is to listen to the feedback you get, but take it with a grain (possibly several tablespoons) of salt.

          If the feedback you’re getting relates to responsiveness, an option is to write back to e-mails once you’re initially looked into a matter to tell the assigning attorney how you plan to accomplish the assignment and when you’ll have it done. Sometimes people just want to know you’re working on the problem and understood what was asked of you. Also, and I doubt this will happen, if something comes up later down the road in a performance evaluation you’ll be able to point to the e-mails and that will show you were trying to be responsive.

          If the feedback is about the practical tasks that litigators do that you learn’t nothing in law school about, look for samples. Either ask the mid-level for a sample or look in the document management program. Also, if your firm has professional development staff they sometimes keep samples from past training programs.

          About the ccing thing. My guess is you get dropped into the middle of a project and are part of a larger group, but no one tells you upfront. Its ok to ask. This sounds pretty neurotic, but for my first few months I worked off a checklist for new assignments. I made sure I knew the task, the work product wanted (memo, e-mail memo, letter, phone call, highlighted cases in a binder, etc)., was a sample available or had someone done something similar recently (often the answer was yes!), the billing number, billing preferences (how to write the billing entries, such as what abbreviations were allowed, whether block billing was allowed, etc), billing restrictions (like the client prefers Westlaw over Lexis or no paralegal time), who else was working on the project / team, and the deadline (including if someone else needed my work to do their piece of the project).

          Finally, remember you are smart and capable and it will get better. In the meantime try not to get too down on yourself.

        • You won’t have to send the “will do” emails forever. You’re new. You’re still in the trust building stage of your career. In the example you gave about a partner asking you to set up a conference call, I would set up the conference call first and then respond, “Done.” Something that would take a little longer would get a “will do.” Partners and senior associates have so much on their plates — they want associates who take things off their plates. If a partner sends you an email asking you to do something and you don’t confirm that you’ll do it, you’ve now added another thing on their plate: following up with you to make sure you’re going to do the thing they assigned you to do.

          The trust-building stage of your career wanes fast if you’re always showing that you’re competent and eager to help. I don’t have to send “will do” emails anymore. I’ve built a strong reputation around my firm for being incredibly organized, detail-oriented, and a great writer. Everyone here knows that when they ask me to do something, it’ll get done and get done right. You’ll get there too, don’t worry.

          • Yes, the will do is mainly so they don’t assign it to someone else. Like AG, I don’t send will do emails anymore, and a lot of times I just take care of things my boss sends me w/o copying him on later correspondence, but I’ve been working for him for about 5 years, and I know he already gets way too many emails.

        • girl in the stix :

          I have an uneasy relationship with my boss of bosses, so I make a point of answering e-mail requests, when possible, with ‘Done.’ (of course after completing requested task . . .)

    • Listen to the feedback, and try to conform as quickly as possible. I have now worked at 4 big law firms, and some of them are toxic places with toxic people. I know from experience that it is difficult not to start to crack under the extreme negative attitudes.

      Also, what is acceptable at one firm may not be acceptable at another firm. For example, at my current firm, if you turn in an assignment without justifying the text, it is unacceptable. When I learned this, I apologized for my error, and I indicated that I was not aware that justification of text is standard protocol.

      My suggestions are to: (1) try to work with a different group of people; (2) hang in there for at least a year or two; and (3) start networking. Finally, if there is someone you trust and would have the appropriate knowledge, ask them what the mid-level associate’s reputation is amongst senior and junior people at the firm. Sometimes you will realize that you are working with a jerk, and everyone knows that he or she is a jerk.

    • If this was only coming from 1 mid-level, I would brush it off, but if you are getting these comments from multiple upper level associates, I think it is genuine cause for concern.

      Yes, the lack of sleep thing is one of the worst things for certain people in biglaw (including me). I am barely functional if I get less than 8 hours of sleep at night, so when I had to go multi-days on 2-4 hours of sleep, the quality of my work suffered enormously. I had to change departments to a group that had work that was less fire-drill (I went from transactional to regulatory) which meant fewer all-nighters. The work was less interesting, but the switch saved my sanity.

      In terms of what this means for your time at the firm, I think it depends on how your firm is doing. Is there enough work to go around? Are you personally getting enough work? I know what happened in my old firm is that the worst performing junior associates got staffed on fewer and fewer deals over time, and so they were the first to be let go when there were layoffs. And yes, several of those who were laid off had been at the firm for one year or less. If your firm is not tightly staffed right now, I would absolutely start sending feelers out, EVEN with only 6 months experience. It’s still easier to get a job when you have a job.

    • Whoa. Those people sound like pretty harsh associates. Can you talk to any other slightly more senior associates (2nd-3rd years) who’ve worked with them to see if they’re known for being harsh? I’ve supervised juniors who have issues, but I’ve never said anything like “partner X won’t tell you this, but if you continue to forget to cc party Y on emails, you will have a very short career.” That’s just unnecessarily harsh.

      I would also try to talk to more senior associates who have worked for these partners. Does partner X really get upset when party Y is not cc’ed? Does partner X even NOTICE that? Unless your firm is different than mine, these associates have little to no say in your reviews.

      • springtime :

        I’m a newbie- in terms of replying to all emails- this is something that’s expected at my firm. Even just a “yup on it!” is appreciated. I’ve even had a few email convos with someone lightly debating the issues in a case- shows you’re interested beyond just what you have been asked to do. Or even a “i found this and thought it was helpful, I’m passing it along” is also good.

        I found law school training not to be helpful for the more “business management” tasks that you are struggling with. Whenever I’m asked to do those, I think about just how I would write a professional letter and not all of the legal jargon. Same with fact memos- do those without inserting legalities into them. Maybe that’s hard to understand (and I feel like I’m explaining this poorly), but I used to get a lot of corrections on letters, and stuff like that, and now, nothing (maybe a one-word insertion). I just go with my gut and don’t get caught up in the legal wording mess.

        Hope that helps.

    • Former MidLevel :

      For what it’s worth, bigger firms/offices often have new associate training sessions where they talk about these sorts of firms norms. It sounds like you have to learn all of the unspoken rules by yourself, which is always difficult. But these thing are definitely learn-able, and I don’t think partners really expect you to come in the first day knowing all these things anyway. If, in six months from now, you still don’t know any of the ropes, that might be problematic. But it sounds like you’re on your way, and have some great advice here about how to learn the remaining ropes. Hang in there!

    • Some advice :

      Sounds like they are being harsh, and the transition from school to work can be hard. Of course, I don’t know what you’re doing/not doing, or what their beefs are… but here are some hopefully helpful pointers.
      1. Value add (see Above the Law’s “you are not a potted plant” article). E.g., don’t just forward stuff on. Instead, summarize it briefly, etc.
      2. Be proactive, particularly when receiving assignments. Set internal deadlines for yourself, give status updates (within reason), etc. Try to manage up, once you understand the personalities
      3. Don’t be too needy. Try to answer the question yourself before asking for help (with reason). Neediness is very annoying, particularly in busy workplaces.
      4. Be available and volunteer (someone is working late, needs help, etc.). Similarly, don’t underestimate the value of face time!
      5. Be organized and familiar with everything you’re working on. You never know when someone will drop by/call asking for info.
      6. Above all, know that your job is to make your supervising attorneys, including midlevels, look good and ease their workload. The point is so that they trust you to do a good job and so that they can offload more.
      7. Be very aware of politics. Make friends with the secretaries and junior associates. If you do 6. well, you can start to get the inside scoop.
      8. Be enthusiastic. About everything, even if it is scut work.

      • This is excellent advice. I’d also add to read the Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law.

    • I don’t want to completely dismiss what they are saying because it may be to your benefit to be more aware of the office culture and expectations, but it sounds like they are ganging up on you. Don’t let them play mind games with you. It sounds like you need someone in your corner to talk to. Can you pair up with someone in one of the other locations, either a peer or a mentor, just to chat with from time to time. Can you find a mentor through a women’s bar association or the like. Also, can you speak directly to the partner in a nonchalant way and just say that if s/he has any feedback on your performance, you’d love to hear it. It is challenging to figure out all of the expectations as a first year.

  14. Etiquette question. My husband’s nearly-18-year-old step-sister just dyed her hair (at home, by herself) to a truly horrific shade of blonde for her complexion. Usually I am in the live-and-let-live camp when it comes to teenagers’ hair choices, but this is really terrible looking.

    Her birthday is conveniently in between now and prom. Is it too backhandedly rude if I get her a gift certificate for a cut and color at a nice salon where they might be able to mitigate the damage?

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Yes, that would be rude, even if your intentions are good. Leave it alone. Who cares if she looks terrible for a few weeks or months while it grows out? Don’t you kinda want to keep the boys away from her anyway ;)? Give her something fun and nice for her birthday which makes her feel good. Keep the lines of communication open – she may end up asking you for a salon recommendation at some point, but until then, mum’s the word.

    • I wouldn’t give her that without asking her first. But I’d ask gently – “Jane, your birthday is coming up! I was thinking of getting you a gift card at my favorite hair salon X, what do you think?” or something along those lines.

    • Regardless of your intention behind the gift, that’s a really sweet and generous present. Give it to her. I wish someone would give me such a nice gift, whether my hair looks like [email protected] or not!

      • She doesn’t have to use it now either. If she likes her hair the way it is, she can use it in a few months when it grows out. If she hates her hair, but doesn’t know how to fix it, it would be a godsend.

    • Tired Squared :

      Has she made it clear that she also hates the color? She might love it, and in that case your gift might not be very appreciated.

      On the other hand, if she also hates the color and is talking about how terrible it looks, then yes, I think your gift idea sounds wonderful. And maybe it could be an *early* birthday present so she can be happier with her hair sooner.

    • Baby weight :

      Just get her a GC to a nice full service salon spa. She can decide whether to spend it on a massage, nails or (hopefully!) hair. I wouldn’t reference the hair. Just say this way she can have some pampering before prom.

      • Oh, would absolutely not reference the hair at all. I’d phrase it as a “get all done up for your birthday/prom/whenever”. I am not completely without tact. Just a little bit.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          Ok, then I change my vote. A GC to a full service salon which offers massage, nails, and also coincidentally, hair, is a fantastic gift for a teen who is into beauty stuff.

          My apologies for implying a lack of tact, R. I was just flashing back to rough teen years, and projecting onto your stepsister. My experiments led to bad hair, and I knew it looked bad. Still, I was hoping, hoping, that maybe no one else noticed that it didn’t look good, so a gift certificate to a hair salon would just point out that Everyone Knows My Hair Looks Awful and my already delicate self esteem would be crushed. It’s harder to ignore something once it’s actually said, you know? It sounds so pathetic looking back on it now, but man, teen years were not easy.

        • Research, Not Law :

          Definitely do it! When I was in high school, I dyed my hair on a whim to a color that in retrospect was not so flattering. I didn’t necessarily regret it at the time (and honestly, I don’t regret it now either – it was fun), but I would have very much appreciated the opportunity to at least get rid of the roots.

          And as you and pp have mentioned, she doesn’t have to use it for that purpose or at that time. I think it’s a great idea.

      • phillygirlruns :

        i like this idea. when i was 18, i had awful taste. i dyed my hair basically maroon and wore a lot of leopard print and cheap, ill-fitting clothes i bought at joyce leslie and deb shop. you should have seen my prom makeup. i survived and turned out just fine.

    • Does she like it? I dyed my hair a lot as a teenager, and in retrospect it looked awful, but I was happy with it at the time. If she’s happy, no need to make her feel bad about her appearance by implying she looks like sh!t when she thought she looked pretty.

      OTOH, once I dyed my hair a color I truly hated, and my dad was kind enough to give me the cash to get it professionally fixed. I really appreciated it.

      • This is something I need to figure out. I have seen pictures but haven’t had a chance to talk to her about it yet.

        Thanks for the sanity check, all. I’ll only go with the gift certificate if she wants to fix it, in which case I’ll do it pronto. And I’ll be very delicate in finding out her feelings.

        • I got updos for both proms I went to, so I think it would be a great gift even if it weren’t for the bad dyeing job. In fact, unless you’ve already mentioned it, there’s no reason she has to know that you don’t like it.

        • I saw your comment above where you mentioned you’d just give her the gift card without mentioning the hair – I think that is a lovely and thoughtful birthday/prom gift, and she can use it for a different service if she thinks her hair is fine as-is.

      • This. My sister was a NUT with her hair. Shaving, mohawks, reverse mohawks, tri-hawks, purple, green, blue, pink, I can’t even tell you how horrible she looked pretty much from 13-17. She’s got some frightful pictures, too! But we look back at those now and laugh, she was doing what she wanted and she liked it at the time, and we have some great memories.

    • If it really looks terrible, she will probably come to her senses in a few weeks and is just doing this as a form of rebellion/control right now.

    • You should get her a GC to a salon so she can get an updo for her prom — but make sure its a salon with really honest hairdressers. Maybe call them in advance and by like — she’s 18 — she needs an intervention!


    • Accountress :

      If you decide to do that, try getting (1) a gift cert in an amount that would cover a cut and color, but doesn’t specifically say it, and (2) a spa gift cert. Tell her you were really thinking she could use it as a “pre-prom pamper weekend”, because you remember how nice it was to not think so close to prom, finals, etc.

  15. The JC Penny Worthington line has been mentioned a bunch in the past few days, and some of the office-wear items (and prices!!) look really tempting! Sorry if this has already been asked, but what’s the sizing like? If I’m a 14 at Gap, should I go L or XL? Thanks so much!

    • I’m normally a small at gap for tops and both of my blouses from the Worthington line are petite small and fit great. So I’d guess it runs a tiny bit large.

      I don’t have any bottoms from the line, sorry!

    • Probably too late in the thread, but I’ve found their items tend to run a little large. Some of their dresses run a touch tight across the hips, so if you’re well-endowed on your bottom half, you might want to go normal size or one size up. The blouses tend to run big, and I’ve gone true to size or one size down on the skirts.

  16. I’m the poster from yesterday who asked about suggestions for healthy, semi-vegetarian, kid-friendly meals. I didn’t get a chance to check back in until late last night, and when I did I was blown away that so many of you took the time to write and offer such thoughtful suggestions. I just wanted to say a heartfelt thank you! This is such a wonderfully supportive community. Kat, you have built a good thing here!

  17. Does anyone have any wisdom to share about selecting a writing sample to submit for an attorney position? I am applying for two writing-intensive positions; one asks for a “short sample of legal writing” and the other just has a generic request for a writing sample.

    My two best writing samples are:

    (1) an 8-page excerpt from an appellate brief I drafted a few years ago that has a lot of in-depth analysis of one case and discusses the evidence in our client’s situation (but our case settled so we never submitted the brief); and

    (2) a 1-1/2 page excerpt from a opposition to motion to dismiss I wrote a few months ago that is short but snappy and (I think) persuasive; it did indeed persuade the judge to decide in our favor even before we appeared for oral argument.

    I would really appreciate any input/advice. Thank you!

    • Anonymous :

      I would go with option 2. Short and snappy and persuasive are highly valued in my firm. If you are asked about it, you’ll be able to say it led to an early win.

    • Unless the job posting specified “no calls” or something similar, it’s acceptable to ask if there is a page limit or preference.

    • I would do option 1. I think 1-1.5 pages is too short to tell the reader anything.

    • Anonymous :

      Just a question – before you submit your writing sample, are you going to check with your firm to see if it’s ok to distribute that? Even assuming that it is now in the public record and/or contains your redactions? What’s the protocol on using one firm’s work product when job hunting? Thanks!

    • Can you submit both? Do others think that is a big no-no?

    • Former MidLevel :

      I would use the second, but include the whole motion–or at least more of it (with appropriate reactions). I would interpret a “short sample” as 5-10 pages. But if you’re not sure what “short” means in this context, is there a contact person you could call to ask?

      • Former MidLevel :

        That is, assuming you wrote the whole motion. (That’s how I originally read your comment, but upon re-reading I realized you might have been saying you wrote 1-1/2 pages in the motion…)

  18. I am in need of a DC-area physician who specializes in asthma and breathing issues. Any recommendations?

    • YES! I see Dr. Van Lancker at GW Medical Faculty Associates’s Allergy and Sinus Center. She specializes in asthma and allergies – I have serious asthma and a food allergy. She is fantastic. She’s been out on maternity leave (I think she’s back this month) and during her absence I saw Dr. Nichols, who was also good, but not as great as she is. But both doctors are extremely accessible, willing to squeeze you in at short notice if needed, and very good about consulting you rather than telling you what to do. I couldn’t be happier with their practice. They take most major insurance – I have BCBS. The practice also has been extremely helpful with insurance issues.

  19. AccountingNerd :

    Would love some vacation advice! Me and my husband want to do something fun before we start trying to get pregnant. The requirements are: 1) A beach (for me). 2) Active/outdoorsy stuff (for the husband). We want to spend less than $4,000, so it’d be cheaper if we didn’t leave the country (we don’t even have passports!) We are in Florida and are used to the sugar white sand of the gulf of mexico, so I’d prefer to stay away from the pacific or atlantic. Are there any fun, resort-type places around texas? Any other places you would recommend? I am clueless!

    • Doesn’t completely meet your requirements — but I’d consider the Big Island, Maui, or Kuai in Hawaii, if you can swing it on your budget. The beaches there are absolutely beautiful and the sand is a lot whiter then you’d think.

      If you want to keep things cheaper — look at the USVI or Aruba — there are lots of fun outdoorsy things to do both on the water (boating, snorkeling, etc) and off (horseback riding, atving, hiking).

      • Oh wait, Aruba is out of the country. So strike that. But still, the USVI are nice.

        • i can’t remember, but i think you do need a passport for USVI (but obviously it’s not international)

      • AccountingNerd :

        Maui sounds great, but it’s a little over budget ($900 each) and it would be a long day of traveling (around 12 hours) to get there. Any suggestions on hotels in Maui?

        • We rented a condo near Kaanapali through VRBO, which helped us keep budget under control because we also could cook. If you do a search on this site I think there has been discussion of places to stay on the various islands before.

    • You can’t beat Hawaii, assuming the price is OK.
      Otherwise, USVI, Puerto Rico .. I’ve heard South Padre Island (TX) is quite lively …

      • Along the lines of this thread – does anyone have recommendations for a Puerto Rico, USVI or FL trip (ie – domestic destinations)? A group of friends and I are hoping to take a vacation for after graduation this year. We are on a limited budget since we are just finishing school. Any recs would be appreciated!

        • No advice, but I’m interested in this too!!

        • MeliaraofTlanth :

          Vieques! It’s an island off the coast of Puerto Rico. I recommend it every time this question comes up, and I think a couple of other people around here have, too. It’s a little hard to get to, but I highly, highly recommend it. I went for spring break 2L year of law school, and I think I managed to keep the entire trip for under $750 per person, including plane tickets (though we didn’t stay an entire week–3 or 4 days?). It was relatively unknown, so you could get a super cheap place to stay, but it’s become more popular in the past year or two, so I’m not sure if it’s still as cheap (The New York Times started writing articles on it, an a W Hotel opened).

          We basically spent the entire time on the beaches (which are gorgeous. The navy used to own much of the island, and when they left, most of it was turned into a wildlife refuge, so they’re pretty pristine), but for other outdoorsy things (besides the obvious beach-related), you could certainly hike, bike ride, or go horseback riding. Also not to be missed is kayaking in the Bioluminescent Bay.

          There’s also another island nearby, Culebra, which is supposed to be just as nice. I think Puerto Rico in general is a good no-passport-needed and still fairly cheap option.

        • My family goes to the USVI often – used to stay on St. Thomas, now stay on St. John. They absolutely love it. Gorgeous beaches! On St. John there is a lot of hiking, and on all the islands there is great scuba diving and snorkeling. There are some good restaurants, and while it’s pricier than stateside it’s still going to be cheaper than Aruba/ other islands that are not US-owned. St. Thomas has some cheaper resorts and hotels, but is more commercial-feeling than St. John (most of St. John is a National Park). It would be very fun for a group of friends, I think.

    • It’s international, but check out the Riviera Maya area or Cancun. I grew up in the Clearwater FL area and consider myself a “beach snob” and those are the prettiest beaches with the whitest sand that I’ve ever been to. The flight from Texas to Cancun is 1.5 hours, so it probably won’t be too far from anywhere in Florida.

      Don’t waste your time on Texas beaches (I live in Texas now), if you’re looking for fluffy white sand and clear water.

      • Agreed. I’m very pro-Texas (What native Texan isn’t?), but even I won’t say our beaches are that nice.

    • What about Puerto Rico? El Yunque National Forest is really fun for outdoorsy stuff, and there are nice (by my northeast standards) beaches.

      • Puerto Rico absolutely gets my vote. Beaches, rainforests, cave exploration, and great food!

    • I would not suggest Texas. Texas beaches are not like FL beaches at all. And South Padre, as someone suggests below, is for college kids.

      I’d personally suggest something in the Caribbean. For the US Territories – Puerto Rico or USVI, all you need is a valid ID card – see

      • Salit-a-gator :

        This. I would not recommend Texas beaches. They are nice if within driving distance, but not worth flying from Florida (which has much much better beaches!).

    • Well, if you were open to leaving the country (I know you said it’d be cheaper, but just a thought), you could go to Italy for a week. I think you could do that for under $4K. If it were me and I’d never left the country, had $4K to spend, and was about to start a family (which will obviously limit your ability to travel for a bit), then I’d do something like that. Go to Rome! You’re near the beach all the time! My hotel when I was there was about $250US a night.

      • Haha, me & the SO are actually planning a trip to Italy right now because we would like to start a family sometime in the next few years and want an awesome trip driving through the Italian countryside before we do…. We figured we can travel domestically with a baby in tow easily enough so no US/Canada trips till after baby :)

    • Get yourselves passports and head to Club Med Turkoise on Turks and Caicos. White sand, turquoise water and tons of included active/outdoorsy stuff like kayaking, snorkeling, sailing, tennis, trapeze, volleyball, etc. They usually have deals which will get you a week (including airfare) for $1500-$1800 per person, so it’s within your budget.

  20. I’m probably way too late on this thread but I don’t want to start another abortion discussion on another thread. I just thought people interested in the SJK/PP issue would want to read about a bill that passed the House in NH and is pending in the Senate that would prohibit any medical facility in the state from receiving any state or federal funds (medicare/medicaid) if those same facilities also provided elective abortions.

    I am going to refrain from posting my opinion of this bill and how I believe it would affect women’s access to healthcare. I’m not posting it to start a debate. Just to make people aware. If you live in this state, consider contacting your senator if you want your opinion heard.

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