Thursday’s TPS Report: Piqué jacket

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

Piqué jacketWe’ll admit it: today’s TPS was inspired after we strolled through the “50 Most Beautiful People” slideshow at The Hill (hat tip to CapHillStyle) — there’s a picture of a woman wearing a yellow blazer who, we think, projects the “professional, smart, and conservative — yet I also have a personality” look that is oh so hard to nail. And coincidentally, Talbots has a fun yellow blazer that is marked down to $74 today.  We like the pop of color, the three-quarter sleeves, and the fact that it comes in regular, petites, woman’s, and woman’s petite sizes.  It’s $74 (was $150) at (web only). Piqué jacket

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  1. I have a similar yellow blazer from Talbots that my Mother in Law bought me last year. It is a fantastic piece, and I wear it more often than I thought I would originally.

  2. I like this jacket and, for once, it’s a Talbots piece that doesn’t look too boxy. I also LOVE yellow, but can’t wear most shades because it makes me look jaundiced. But you know, sometimes I wear it anyway because I like it so much – away from the face, mind you. ;)

    OK, question/threadjack:

    I have been with my firm for several years, and have my “own” files and my “own” clients, etc. The firm is now hiring an associate who has been out of the practice for the past 10 years; prior to that she practiced for about 16 years. So, while she has 16 years of experience, she hasn’t practiced for 10 years.

    At any rate, I am feeling really devalued by the firm’s treatment of her and me in the last few weeks. She got a corner office (because of her superior experience), they’ve placed her name above mine on the letterhead, and they gave her a parking spot in the “partner” area.

    Yet, at the same time, they have been telling me that they expect me to help her with research (because they have reservations about her ability to research after so long out of the practice), they expect me to send her assignments (even though I am not a partner), and they expect me to help her out in any way she needs help. Frankly, I am stymied: they are treating her like she is their next partner even though they have no idea how she will work out, but they expect me to help her like she’s a new associate.

    Any thoughts or advice? I am reluctant to even bring this up to them because of the fear that they will feel I am being “whiny.” But, ultimately, if something doesn’t change I will look for a new position. I really need to feel valued and appreciated (my own issues, I know), and lately this place is making me want to cry as soon as I walk in the door.

    • I do think that you have reason to be concerned given the blatant treatment (i.e. the letterhead/parking space, etc.). Are you aiming for your own partnership? Because if so, I would put together your own portfolio/brag book and sit them down and talk about how you are happy to take your own performance to the next level – and are already acting in that capacity any way – but you want to have the authority, etc. to do so. If she hasn’t started yet then this could be your chance to grab that office.

      That said, if she’s the sister/friend/girlfriend of a partner, I suggest you keep quiet and start sending out your resume.

    • This is not helpful advice, but jeez, out of practice for 10 years – of course she doesn’t know how to research. And if she was in practice 16 years before that, she probably never got the hang of online research. Did they even have Westlaw back then (I mean obviously they had the company but I’m talking about the research database)? The internet was booming but was Westlaw as huge as it is now? I assume in the days before computers/online Westlaw, people just made stuff up. Older corporettes, did you actually sit in a library with the Shepard’s book and look at every case? That to me is the legal equivalent of 15-miles-uphill-both-ways.

      • Anon for this one :

        Um yeah, there was a time – in this corporette’s legal career – when there was NO WESTLAW. All cases had to be manually shepardized in not ‘the’ Shepards, ALL of the Shepards. And, you are right – it s*cked, along with the mag card typewriters, WANG word processor and daisy wheel printers. Fortunately, Westlaw in pretty much the same functionality – albeit more limited databases – was in widespread use by the late, late 80’s. Which is to say that someone who hasn’t practiced since 2000 (10 years ago) really should be pretty facile with computerized legal research. And presumably she used a computer for like life during the last 10 years.

        This sounds weird and offensive. It kind of happened to me once about ten years ago, the biglaw firm I was with hired a new partner (who had already been a partner at another biglaw firm) – new partner was older than me, and somewhat senior, but I was a partner too, and I did not like the office downgrade, reserved parking place fiasco and being told that I had to ‘help’ new partner get assignments and then ‘help’ new partner do them, and also help new partner get to know key people in the firm/our practice group….ultimately, I left that firm, and not in small part because of all the ‘changes’ that came about after new partner showed up. Sometimes when I think about that whole scene, I can almost feel little knife marks in my back……

      • i'm nobody who are you :

        “I assume in the days before computers/online Westlaw, people just made stuff up.”

        Heeeey, you’re right, this is not helpful advice. In fact, it’s insulting. I graduated from law school ten years ago and learned (during law school) how to do legal research exclusively with books and then, once we’d mastered that, w/ Westlaw/Lexis. The internet has been around since 1969. Westlaw and Lexis were on CD ROM before they were web-based.

        I’m not going to give you the respect-your-elders-and-get-off-my-lawn speech, but I suggest you re-think before posting anything with the potential to be so unkind and alienating.

        • totally anon :

          I have to agree with this, that remark is insulting! I am glad I learned to research with books and journals. Not that I would go back to those days, but I learned how to be thorough.

          • Anonymous Today :

            I took it as a joke. I mean, do we really think that dee actually believes people made things up?

        • Exactly what was unkind and/or alienating: my attempt at a tongue-in-cheek joke or my assumption that you had a sense of humor? I wasn’t saying that you, personally, made stuff up, but that is exactly how you took it. I’m not going to give you the god-why-do-you-have-to-take-everything-so-seriously speech, but I suggest you lighten up when reading an anonymous comment on the internet.

    • OK, now for some actual advice: I would let some slights (the office, the parking spot) slide, but the fact that her name is higher than yours on the letterhead would really irk me. Is there someone at the firm you can talk to in confidence that would have some insight into the decision-making process? There could be some completely innocent explanations – maybe they order the names by year of law school graduation or something. Or there could be some annoying and politicky, but no bearing on your worth, explanations – maybe she’s the sister of an important client, which is frustrating but you can’t really complain. That they placed her name above yours, I think, is something that deserves an explanation, and if you ask someone you have a relationship with you’re less likely to sound whiny. You could also phrase it like “Hey, I noticed that _____’s name is above mine on the letterhead, is this something I should be concerned about?” That may make it seem less whiny and more professional, that you’re not upset about someone being placed above you so long as it’s not because of your quality of work.

      • I spoke with the office manager (with whom I’m friendly) and she indicated that the reason they put her name above mine and gave her the other perks was because she has so much more experience than me. I guess in a qualitative sense it’s correct – she’s been out of law school much longer, practiced for 16 years, etc. But in a quantitative sense, it’s absolutely incorrect – she hasn’t practiced for 10 years and, as you pointed out, she very likely does not know how to do online research.

        I am thinking about talking to one of the partners about it.

        And, just to make it clear, she is no one’s girlfriend, sister, or wife (or at least no one that has clout here). I think these guys just think that if they pay you a fair salary, they don’t need to be kind, give positive feedback, or otherwise show you that you are a valued employee at the firm.

        • “I think these guys just think that if they pay you a fair salary, they don’t need to be kind, give positive feedback, or otherwise show you that you are a valued employee at the firm.”

          So – why do you want to stay/make partner there ?

          • Anon, that is a good question, and one I’m asking myself right now. I don’t know the answer. The expectation is that they’ve been grooming me to take over their coverage practice in a few years and to become a partner. But this whole situation has left me with a bad taste in my mouth, and I can’t even legitimately say that they pay me what I consider a fair wage.

        • What has she done for the past ten years? It’s possible that the partners believe that her experience in those ten years will be valuable to the firm, through connections or otherwise, even if she hasn’t actually been practicing law.

          • Doubtful. She married a guy from outside the country and was running a business with him. They divorced, and she came back to our state with their kid.

          • Okay, back up.

            She hasn’t practiced in 10 years.

            She spent those 10 years running a business (nothing wrong with that but nothing to do with her current job and unlikely to provide substantive contacts for future clients).

            Now she’s possible ahead of you on partnership track?

            What, does she have naked pictures of the managing partner or something?

          • Did she work at your firm before? Or work with some of the partners at her previous firm? I’m at an admittedly quirky, public interest focused firm but there are several partners and senior of counsel here who left for varying periods of time to do something other than practice law and then were happily welcomed back with no real loss of seniority. Some places just have a culture where that is okay, weird as it seems to other people. Personally, it’s one of the things I really value about my firm, but I can see why it would seem non-merit based to others.

          • Anon for this one :

            OMG. Doubt that is gonna be much of a platform for rainmaking – and it doesn’t sound like she was getting experience relative to an industry that your firm would be serving (admiralty maybe? coverage for leisure sports or admiralty or something – both sound long shots for ‘collateral experience’ over the last ten years). But – and I know I am gonna get yelled at for this – the recent divorced thing may indicate a red flag. Is it possible that she’s ‘taken up’ with one of your superiors and this is going *that* way? If so, it’s just a no-win…..

        • Another anon :

          Oh, for Pete’s sake! I learned to do online research with Westlaw and Lexis when I was in law school more than 25 years ago. Did you really think your generation invented it?

    • I’m not a lawyer but my read is on this is that they have high hopes that she will be a rainmaker – hence the office, letterhead position, etc. Agree they have put you in an awkward position.

      • Kate, you may be right about that. I don’t know if that’s accurate because she’s not bringing any clients with her when she starts. But she might have some contacts from the “old days”.

        • anon - chi :

          Maybe I’m missing something, but doesn’t that seem unlikely? If she’s been completely out of the practice for ten years, I would guess that she hasn’t really kept in touch with many (or possibly any) old contacts, and probably a lot of the people she used to work with will no longer be in the same companies they were a decade ago.

        • This whole situation sounds like BS to me, big time. Contacts? From 10 years ago? No way. I agree that the recently-divorced thing is a red flag. I am not a lawyer and don’t know the politics of law firms, but this needs to be addressed through your supervisor, not HR. I would schedule a meeting and say, “since Princessa (new employee) came on board, I have noticed she has received A, B and C. While I think it’s great that she’s rebuilding her career, I don’t necessarily agree with some of these decisions, or think it is fair for X, Y and Z reasons. I would like to ask for a couple of things to be immediately remedied (the name on the letterhead first off, and also you being expected to “help” her by sending her assignments) and then talk about a plan for helping to train her on research, with a defined end-point where she will be self-sufficient and able to handle her own research.”
          What’s functionally happened here is that you’ve basically been shoved to a lower rung on the ladder to make room for this chick, for whatever reason. I would call BS on that right now, ASAP. And if they blow you off, tell you you’re “overreacting,”, it’s time to look for a new job, as painful as that may be. But don’t take this lying down; this is a situation that merits concern. Best of luck to you.

          • I’m not a lawyer either, and I agree this is my knee-jerk reaction. Demand respect. Throw down an ultimatum. Etc etc.
            That being said, this whole recommendation screams catfight to me. And a bit childish.
            I wouldn’t recommend bringing up that something is unfair. Yes, this does seem unfair but a) the OP may not be aware of certain aspects to the situation (beyond who she may or may not be rubbing shoulders/sleeping with) and b) the world isn’t fair. We get taught this at a young age. It seems whiny and childish no matter how calm the situation is approached. And asking the letterhead situation to be ‘remedied’ could come off as privileged.

            Definitely schedule a meeting to sit down and ask the reasoning behind it in the manner of approaching it from your career’s interest. Make sure this isn’t a reflection of how they view your work product. Bring up that these clients gave you these files personally, and you feel you have an obligation to see to them personally.

          • “b) the world isn’t fair. We get taught this at a young age.”
            Girls get taught this at a young age, and that’s generally why people do things like this to women and get away with it. The OP can use any words she wants in the meeting with her supervisor – I would have to know more about the supervisor, the firm, and the OP to be able to make specific suggestions about exactly what to say; I didn’t post those words as a gospel script but as a suggestion for one way to frame the conversation, there are many others. But in the interests of not looking “whiny” and “childish” a lot of women allow themselves to get railroaded and their careers suffer for it.
            “Make sure this isn’t a reflection of how they view your work product.”
            It isn’t – the OP asked them, and they didn’t say it was, so she can assume her performance is not an issue. Women find ways to blame themselves when someone does something bad to them. Men stand up for themselves. The new girl in the OP’s office obviously stood up for herself and got a lot to show for it – now it’s time for the OP to do the same. It’s all in “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office,” people.

          • I don’t think learning the world isn’t fair at a young age is a gender-specific thing, I can’t tell if that is what you were saying.
            You’re right, she shouldn’t get walked over or passed by, she should stand up for herself. But demanding is not the answer.

            And yes, the OP asked them if it was her work, and they didn’t say yes but from the sounds of it they didn’t say no either. I’m not saying she should blame herself in any of this, but approaching it this way can’t possibly come off as catty. Then from there she can start to delve into why this woman got the perks instead of asking for it all to be stopped.

            I know plenty of women who stand up for themselves, I also know plenty of men who don’t. It is an unfortunate standard that two women angling for the same thing can be viewed as catty, but I don’t think this should be made into a ‘women should act more like men’ dispute.

          • Oh, I also get that what you were saying was not a word-for-word diction of what she should say. I just would recommend if you do choose that approach to avoid saying it is unfair.
            I don’t want to come off as attacking you, Amy. I’m not, and I admire your conviction and self-confidence. It is just not my style.

        • anon3 for this one :

          Ariella, I agree with the suggestion that you ask a partner about her being above you on the letterhead and if it is something you should be concerned about.

          BUT be ready for an answer such as, you have x years experience, and she has 16 years, maturity, world life experience, a fabulous reputation, etc. Sixteen years is a long time to practice law, and pls. understand I do not mean to be insulting, but if you have only been practicing two or three or four years, that is a big difference. (Unsure how many “several” may be.)

          Granted, being out of the practice for ten years could be a negative, but if your partners knew her/litigated with/against her back “in the day,” they may have some personal professional experience with her that gives them a reason to expect her to bring alot to the firm, perhaps something different (not “better”) than you bring at this time.

          OTOH, this may be nothing more than politics, in the not nice way, and if that is the case, you might be prepared for a defensive response as well.

          I do hope this situation is explained to your satisfaction but, if not, it may tell you something about your future partners that is better realized now.

          And, for the younger group, believe it or not, you might be surprised at how much more you can find in the books than on Westlaw. Not easier, not faster, but sometimes more of exactly what you need.

    • I think it would be fine to discuss the expectation that you give her assignments – after all, if they’re setting her up as senior to you, that could get awkward quick. Really, anything substantive regarding your work that they’ve indicated would change because she’s there (is there any indication that she will be getting any of “your” files or clients?) seems like a good thing to clarify now. But I’d let the rest of it go. You’re not going to convince them that you’re worth more than her by haggling over letterhead placement.

      It sounds like you feel that the firm devalues you in general. If that’s true, then the issue goes beyond the fact that they hired someone you don’t think should be senior to you, and I’d focus on those things in speaking to them (or deciding to move on).

      • Completely agree, and you said it better than I did below :)

      • In fact, she is getting some of “my” files, and that worries me too. I have repeatedly asked if I did something wrong, if I need to change something – and no one has said anything to me.

        The justification for taking those two files from me was that I generally practice on the company side of things and those files were “merits” files. But yes, ultimately they have taken work away from me to “give” to her, and it rankles because the clients sent those files directly to me.

        • The fact that you got no response to your questions regarding the quality of your work on the files that were re-assigned should be setting off some alarm bells in your head. Did they ask you to have a meeting with the new person to bring her up to speed on those particular files?

          I think that you need to sit down with whom ever is managing you and have an honest discussion about where they see you going in the firm.

        • That would kill it for me. I’d be done. Period. End of story. It’s one thing for me to pass files to younger/newer associates. It’s another for someone senior to take my files.

          • mamiejane :

            Are your files the only ones they gave to her? or did she get a little something from everyone? I would lay low for at least a couple more weeks, and gather information about her situation and try to observe how she is treated by the rest of the office. It sounds like the word about what files to give her is being delivered in a top down way…not any discussion with you about what you would like to share. That’s a real cause for concern. In my experience, your only power and value in any firm comes from your clients. Once you get a good sense of the lay of the land…I would fight to keep any work that comes directly to you or at least fight to control how and when it’s delegated.

        • happyness :

          Just a question: Client sent YOU the files… What about taking your marbles away and starting your own practice? They’re your clients, you can do it. View never changes if you’re not the lead dog… :)

        • “I have repeatedly asked if I did something wrong, if I need to change something – and no one has said anything to me.”

          This would set alarm bells ringing in my head. Silence = means they think your work is an issue/she can do what you do, & better (whether or not it’s correct).

          Do you think she’s being groomed to take over ALL your work eventually? Which begs the question, what about you?

          I’d polish the resume NOW, if you haven’t done so already.

    • They have definitely put you in a very awkward position. I think you need to assert yourself and get whatever perks you think you deserve, independent of this woman. It sounds like she negotiated the hell out of them, and that’s why she got these perks. It also sounds like you need to negotiate yourself some more respect, and this is a great opportunity to do it. Don’t just quit and find another job (although that’s a good unspoken threat to have in there), use this as an opportunity to discuss your future at this firm, and to set up some metrics you can meet so that you can have partnership discussions.

      Also, is there any way that she can work with a younger associate to do her online research? That’s the part that’s a bit demeaning to you. I wouldn’t expect that you do all your own online research even if this was a small firm. Give her a 4th year. I would make it clear you’re not going to do what younger associates should do just because she’s arrived.

      By the way, am I the only one who’s bothered by the suggestions that this woman is someone’s sister/wife/girlfriend and that’s the way she got this job? There was nothing in the original post to indicate that.

      • Yes, all of the jumping to conclusions bothers me a bit, too. At least no one asked if she’d worn a short skirt and tight top to her interview!

        • Anonymous Today :

          +1 That suggestion bothered me as well. My automatic guess was that this woman negotiated a lot during the hiring process, not that she was somehow connected to someone at the top.

          • Or that the firm really did value her years of prior experience- not that they were right to do so, but that’s just how they operate.

          • anon - chi :

            I don’t think anyone made that assumption – just suggested that if that happens to be the case, the OP should modify her tactics with the partnership. I also don’t find the suggestion offensive given how long this woman has been out of practice. From what I’ve heard, it is often really really difficult to break back into private practice after such a long hiatus, and it’s strange to me that this woman was able to do so AND managed to get a corner office!!

          • OK, I just posted a long thing that got deleted b/c I was “posting too quickly” so here I go again. Brief overview of thoughts —

            1. Had a friend recently go through something very similar. Her firm moved offices, hired new guy, gave him nice office that was supposed to be hers, made her share office with someone jr. She met with one of the partners & they explained it had nothing to do w/her but just a matter of how it would look to have someone who has been practicing longer & appeared more sr., to not be given that office, etc.

            2. The OP should just ask for a meeting & frame it as an informal review. Say she wants to talk about what is expected of her, how she’s doing, etc. Be upfront and direct. Partners who don’t feel the need to make associated feel appreciated need to be talked to directly — no beating around the bush.

            3. Do be careful though that this doesn’t come across as a catfight. Any discord btwn 2 women usually does to most men, regardless of actual reality, so extra caution to not have this come off that way must be taken! It’s sad, but it’s true.

            4. Do think about whether this firm & its culture is the right fit. OP says she has her own issues w/needing to feel valued, and that’s fine, but if you’re in an environment that doesnt value that sort of thing, it may not be right for you. It’s like relationships — not every couple feels compelled to say “I love you” all the time, but if you’re the type of person who needs to hear that at least once a day, you can’t be with someone who doesn’t feel its necessary to say it more than once a year (at bonus time ;)).

        • Yes, I was taken aback at that too.

      • This bothered me too. One of my initial reactions was kudos to the firm for giving an opportunity for a woman to reenter the workforce. 16 years experience is pretty significant, even with the 10 year hiatus. Isn’t it possible that this woman is good at her job and the firm recognizes this and the potential value she can add?

        • I’m wondering the same thing. Yes, she helped run a small business for 10 years in between, but what’s wrong with giving someone with significant experience a chance to get back into the field? She left in 2000, not 1980, so she probably just needs a little brushup on how to do online research. I am sure she knows how to google and use other internet search options, so Westlaw shouldn’t be that big a stretch. Some of her connections from 2000 may still be around today even if she did run the business. Does she have specialized experience or other licenses that other people might not have?

          I don’t think it hurts to have a discussion with the partners to get some more information about the difference in treatment.

          • I don’t think anyone would fault the firm for having this woman come in, and I certainly respect anyone who has a life change and wants to restart her career. Where I think the problem lies is giving someone who has had substantial time out of the profession the kind of perks this woman got. She shouldn’t have to start over at the bottom, but it was impolitic of the firm managers to give her as much as she got. She should have at least come in on a lateral with the OP, if not a step below. And I think asking the OP to give this woman files/clients is way out of line, if the OP is expected to cultivate her own clients. The firm gave the new woman a lot of advantages that not only put her above others in the firm, but took food out of their mouths, so to speak. That’s not OK and it was a bad decision by the management to do so.

    • I really recommend that you read Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, if you haven’t already. It’s a great, great book and there’s no advice I could give you that isn’t stated better in there. It only took me a few hours to read and then I got started on a personal development plan – literally it was a career-changing book for me. Read it.

    • At my company, we are organized such that a group of 100 people may get a new boss from time to time. We are expected to support and value that person, no matter their perceived experience level or perceived competence.

      So from my perspective, making waves in this situation simply shows that you may not have the experience/perspective of the partners who made the decision. If you respect the partners you work for, accept their decision and be a team player. That spirit is more valuable than pointing out the injustice of the situation, IMO.

      • I think that translates to being a doormat, sorry. I highly recommend anyone who believes in this “I have to be a team player at all costs” philosophy read “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office.” Similar to Erin, I had a big epiphany as I was reading that book. Women get put into these positions where they’re stepped on because they allow it to happen. If you don’t stand up for yourself and ask for what you want, don’t expect anyone to hand it to you. People expect women to be nice, be compliant, and not rock the boat and when women do that, they get screwed. The OP is getting screwed and she needs to do something about it – not have a hissy fit or handle it inappropriately, but she does need to address it.

        • spacegeek :

          Sorry you feel that way. The higher I get in my organization, the more I see that there is often more to the situation than I had understood from my limited perspective. The politics involved are often extremely complex and multi-faceted, and upper managers are trying to balance issues of which I’m often not aware.

          • I totally understand what you mean, and I have been in that situation myself. I have also been in situations where, as a manager, I made a decision that I thought was balancing people’s interests and needs only to find out someone wanted/needed something that was important to them, but that they hadn’t communicated. As a manager, I make decisions with the information I have available to me, and using my own sense and instinct about the situation (as I’m sure you do). If someone has a problem or desire and they don’t tell me about it, I can’t fix it. I’m not a mind reader. If the OP doesn’t speak up, the managers may assume she doesn’t have a problem with what’s happening. Then, if she decides to leave, they’ll be blindsided and may be upset to lose a good employee over what (I’m sure) some would consider a minor personnel issue. I have had this happen to me – a very good, valued employee got another job and gave notice over a situation that was easily addressed and rectified, once we knew what the problem was (and then she withdrew her resignation). I try to stay in touch as much as possible with my employees and listen to them, but I’m not omnipresent and I’m not clairvoyant. I would much rather have an employee come to me and say “I have a problem with such-and-such” then come to me with a letter in their hand and say “I quit,” when the whole thing could have been remedied if he/she had spoken up.

            I totally agree that a lot of times upper managers know things or have insight into situations lower people don’t have, and when they act, they are trying to balance multiple priorities for the good of the employees and the company. However, from personal experience I also know that there are also upper managers who operate so that their lives are as easy as possible, or they get something they want, without regard to others. And generally the only way to check that behavior (or at least slow it down) is to speak up. (I have also seen situations where managers made decisions based on factors that they thought were important, but in reality were totally mis-prioritized, and someone had to correct them.)

            I don’t think in this day and age, we can sit back and have faith that Big Daddy Company has our best interests at heart, and will take care of us, and if they make a decision we don’t like, there’s a good reason. That kind of belief is infantalizing, and also somewhat naive. I think people who think that way are setting themselves up for a big shock and disappointment at some point in their careers. Not everyone is a good person, unfortunately.

          • If an issue affects you, upper managers should make you aware. If they act high-handedly without making you aware of why, then you have a right to an explanation. Ariella has gotten no explanation. To just lie back and and think of England while her career falls apart and this new associate advances is the epitome of being a doormat.

          • Agree with spacegeek. I find the way in which OP described situation almost petty/catfight-ish. The fact that someone does not know how to do legal research does not necessarily make them a bad lawyer. Experience and age can go a long way, which it seemed that OP did not have.

            Of course people should not act like doormats; being savvy is always important. That said, rainmaking skills are much harder to come by than legal research skills, and fact that this circumstance has happened to OP may suggest firm’s perception of her abilities and that of newcomer’s abilities.

            Fighting for treatment one deserves does not always mean aggression, nor does not being reactive necessarily mean being nice & complaint.

    • AnneCatherine :

      Can I ask how (A) long you’ve been at the firm (B) how long you’ve been practicing? I mean thease as honest questions, the answers to which may impact my advice, if any, and I do not mean them as insinuations, hints, implications, or innuendos in any way. I’m truly curious because it may play into what’s going on.

    • Anonymous :

      Is anyone else a bit concerned by all the details that Ariella is putting out there? Maybe I’m overly cautious (see the “Anonymous” heading), but I would be leery to put out too many identifying details about myself and the situation in tandem with such personal reflections. Sure, the odds are probably slim that someone at the firm is reading this blog, but it’s possible nonetheless. It may seem like a small site because the number of active commenters are relatively small, but I’d be surprised if the readership wasn’t much larger.

      What general guidelines do other posters try to follow? I’ve wondered about this same issue several times in the past few weeks, on a variety of posts, so sorry if this feels like I’m singling out Ariella (and for what it’s worth, I think that the quality of responses shows that it can be extremely helpful to post a question like this on Corporette, as long as one is careful).

      • Agreed. When she said what the woman did for work prior I cringed b/c it really identifies her if anyone knows the situation. For me, I use two different screen names (I won’t say what my other one is right now) based on what I am typing so that I give out a little bit about me under one and a little bit more under the other. It helps make it harder if someone I know is reading this to identify me. Also, I change minor details. If I wanted to talk about a friend trying to balance soccer and work I might say softball and work, etc. Part of me thinks we are meeting so many great people on here it would be nice to be “out” and have these friends as part of our network. But, it would make it difficult to ask for advice about a personal situation or to say things we wouldn’t want our coworkers to know.

      • anonymous :


        My thoughts on this topic were as follows (as I read it):

        1. Wow, that woman must have been pretty good during her 16 years/she negotiated one hell of a deal.
        2. I bet the OP hasn’t been practicing “that” long (compared to the 16 years experience)
        3. OP clearly has bad judgement. Being that specific with what the woman did. Even if she doesn’t read this site (which she could if she was looking for advice for new clothes to get back in the work force) one of her friends could and you spelled it out for anyone who knows her. If this is the type of judgement you exercise normally you don’t deserve to make partner or get the corner office.
        4. Wow, we all presume someone who took an alternative career path is now worthless? Should all women who take years off for kids start back out with the new associates or just the ones who do something different? Also, maybe she had a connection to that other job. Who are we to judge what people do in their spare time. I like to cook and sew, does that make me worthless as well?

        • I agree. But maybe she actually did change the details? Like it was a bagel shop and 13 years? Let’s hope.

        • This.

          I took a year off when my son was born and I wouldn’t trade that time for all the promotions in the world. When I came back to work, I lost maybe 6-8 mths of seniority compared to my peers and because I was a tad ahead of them, it mattered even less.

          I know 16 yrs is a lot, but honestly no one knows what contacts the new lawyer may have nurtured (even if she only ran a small business). I hope the OP changed details, because I am sure anyone at the firm reading this can identify HER easily now….

    • Anonymous :

      I would start by considering what value she does bring to the firm. There is obviously some reason why she was hired, be it political, rainmaking, skills, (previous) experience, etc. There is nothing to be gained by underestimating her or the partners who chose to bring her on. There must be another side to the story. That being said, it does seem unfair to you. Is there some reason you can’t talk to any of the partners and understand the strategy behind this, as well as express your views about being both demoted in a sense and being pulled away from your work to help her. I would talk to them about the consequences of being pulled away from valuable, billable client work to help her and ask whether the onboarding role could be shared by multiple people. My firm hired a number of lateral associates just ahead of me. At the time there was a large gap to fill and the headcount was definitely needed but then a couple of years later when everyone was up for partner within a span of a couple of years, things started to get ugly. I saw it coming and did end up leaving; several colleagues who stayed did not make partner because there simply weren’t enough slots.

      • Just a practical suggestion – Westlaw and Lexis will provide refresher training courses. It is one thing to help her find a case, but teaching her how to use the program is best left to the professionals.

  3. HotInTheCity :

    Love the blazer (in fact, love the model’s entire ensamble.) But I have to admit, I don’t like the 50 Most Beautiful list. It just rubs me the wrong way.

    • Agree – on both counts. Those lists (and I include all magazines’ Most Beautiful People lists in the category) just annoy me (and no, it’s not b/c I’m not on one)

    • I haven’t look at the list, but I heard there was much ado about Scott Brown (new senator from Mass) – he posed naked in Cosmo a while back – and how he refused to cooperate with the list. Is he on it?

    • NGO doesn't mean No Good Outfits :

      I just looked it over, and the bios of the people were kind of fun, but kind of dull at the same time.
      Also, they talked a lot about exercise and fitness regimes so maybe it was a fit-focus list or something, but I’m a bit disappointed by the lack of curvy women. I see so many women in DC on my way to work that are bigger than a size 6 that look amazing. Shame.

      • Hardly any curvy women and I didn’t notice ANY Hispanics at all (please correct me if I’m wrong). But really, out of 50 people in Washington they couldn’t find a Latina/o to highlight?

        • Anonymous Today :

          There is a Latina (Anina Caso). I actually think they did a better job this year with diversity than they did in the past. I agree that there should be more curvy women, but it’s nice to see a few.

        • You know, Latin is an ethnic identification, not a race. Therefore, we don’t all look the same with the same surnames.

      • Tara Setmayer is full figured/plus size. Isn’t that also considered curvy in some circles?

        • NGO doesn't mean No Good Outfits :

          Good point. She looks so great I hardly noticed. But then again maybe it is because they are very close in on her face and hardly show any of her torso, her body is turned, etc etc.

    • The thing that gets me the most is that they ask for marital status. Why? So the people who read it can decide if there is anyone there worth dating or if they are off the market?

      I used to work on the Hill and someone I knew was on it last year. She may have been pretty but certainly not a beautiful person. I do hope the list is a little tongue in cheek…

      • My ex dated a girl who was on this list, probably in 2004-2005 or so. Even taking the little bit that he told me w/ a grain of salt, she sounded bat sh-t crazy.

        • haha, my husband lived with and was engaged to a model before he met me, and told me the experience taught him life’s most critical lesson: the package may look great on the outside, but that doesn’t mean the box isn’t completely full of crazy. :)

          • How in the world do you all know so much about your s.o.’s exes?

          • Well Anon, in my case I don’t exactly crack mirrors. I think my ex had an inferiority complex, and was trying to establish that dating a pretty, smart, girl was normal for him…too bad it backfired, hence the ex status…

          • Um, if someone I am interested in marrying has been engaged to someone else before me, I think that’s relevant to my situation. I was also engaged before I met my husband, and he wanted to know why my engagement didn’t work out, the same way I wanted to know why his didn’t work out. We talked about it extensively before and after we got engaged. It was pretty critical to figuring out how to make our own relationship work, and it’s still working, for close to 15 years now.

            I have not dated in a long time, but if there’s some kind of new ethic out there about “don’t ask your SO about their past relationships,” I would advise strongly to ignore it. Knowing how someone you’re dating has handled their past relationships is pretty critical to understanding how he’s going to handle his relationship with you. I am sure everyone has read this advice in women’s magazines a million times, but it’s the truth: if you date a guy, and he either refuses to talk about his past relationships or reveals that every one of them ended badly, watch out. If I had asked my husband about his ex-fiancee and he’d refused to discuss it, that definitely would have sent up a lot of red flags. People don’t hide that kind of information for no reason, trust me.

      • i'm nobody who are you :

        American society/culture still, to an alarming degree, overemphasizes a woman’s marital status when evaluating her worth, status, and identity.

        • I agree with you but, this list contains both men and women and lists the marital status for both men and women.

    • I’m not sure how I would view agreeing to appear on a 50-most-beautiful list as a potential employer (since most google nowadays) – it seems so, well, shallow.

      Then again, I don’t have any social networking profiles/memberships either as I like to keep my life off-line.

    • I love the girl who inexplicably wore an Oscar de la Renta gown. WTH?

      • I_KNOW! What was she expecting, the red carpet? LOL

      • Agreed. Also love that they included that in the bio … whoever wrote them probably thought the girl was nuts too!

  4. LOVE this blazer. I think I’ve been loving anything yellow that you post lately. It really is one of my favorite colors to wear, and I will second what CSF said. I keep finding that I wear the yellow items I have (no blazer yet) more often than I initially expected because it looks surprisingly good with so many other colors.

  5. I love the blazer and love the color. This lemon yellow is exactly the only yellow that us winters can wear so close to the face.

    I’ve been considering ordering some stuff from Talbots but I hate to do it without a coupon, sadly, there don’t seem to be any working ones around, anyone have any?

    • anon for this :

      I haven’t had any luck finding Talbots coupons online for months. A while back there was one that was heavily posted and there was even a rumor on one coupon website that Talbots was onto the posting and was not filling orders anymore that used that code (I myself used it successfully multiple times and got 20% off full price, plus free shipping, but my last order all of a sudden “cancelled” and I got a notice that everything was “no longer available.”) Free shipping on orders over $100 crops up about every two weeks, but you don’t need a coupon for it. But, I’d recommend waiting for the next free shipping event (one just ended this past Monday).

    • Talbots has free shipping with $125 in purchases right now… go to the “Sale” page–the code is down at the bottom.

  6. Love the jacket. Love the entire ensemble. I just cannot wear yellow. It’s not my color.

    Thread hijack…For anyone looking for a job, this article is for you. I received it yesterday in my inbox, and this woman’s story is really inspirational. I’m not unemployed but I am starting my own firm which can feel very similar at times. ;-)

    • That’s an awesome inspirational story. Thanks for sharing it.

    • This brings up a question I’ve had. What do you say to someone (in this case, my best friend) who has been unemployed for over a year, after graduating with honors from a good school with an undergrad business degree? I know she’s applying non-stop, but she hasn’t gotten so much as a bite because she doesn’t have a lot of experience. During college she either worked in the food services industry (a paycheck is a paycheck) or a brief stop off as sort of an administrative assistant. She’s got what it takes to make a great employee; I just wish I could help her out.

      • Probably better not to say anything to her about her job situation itself. When I was between jobs a while ago, a couple friends occasionally took me out to dinner or bought drinks. They just said ‘I miss hanging out with you and so I’m paying as a favor to you, I’m paying so I can have fun spending time with you.’ It made me realize that my friends were far more important than money or job status. It’s really easy for an unemployed or broke person to end up excluded from her circle of friends because she can’t afford to go out, so your focus should be on keeping her as a friend and helping her do things that will lift her spirits.

      • A few pieces of advice.
        1) Tell her to target a handful of companies that she’s interested in. Start with a small number and expand as certain companies fall off the list or she discovers new and better companies. Reason: It can be overwhelming to just say I want to work at any company who will hire me. It creates a scattershot approach that doesn’t work so well. Focusing on a few can help you focus your efforts. Also, have her try to narrow down a field within business (HR, Sales, Marketing, etc.).

        2) Network like crazy!
        a.) She should join industry organizations and attend talks and networking events. I’m finding there is a wonderful women’s business network in my area. Everyone is so willing to help everyone else.
        b. ) She should contact alumni from her college that work for the companies she’s identified or in the field that she’s interested in, even if it’s just for “informational interviews”.
        c.) Look beyond Facebook to LinkedIn. I’ve been seeing a lot of requests on my LinkedIn College Alumni group from recent graduates looking to make connections.

        3. Try to set up an internship, even if it’s for no money, to build up experience. I just saw intern opportunities posted on my LinkedIn alumni group page.

      • came across this the other day – not the blogger/guest poster, just happened upon it. thought it was an interesting discussion.

        as someone who has been unemployed (although soon maybe not, fingers crossed for interview success), i really did appreciate it when my friends reached out to me. a few sent me links they got through alumni postings at their respective schools, some mentioned contacts they had, etc. do i want career advice every time i see them? absolutely not. but i do appreciate the efforts they have made to think of me.

      • Seth Godin, a highly regarded marketing guru, blogged about this a few months ago here:

        His ideas are somewhat unconventional but they could lead to some amazing opportunities:

        “- Volunteer to coach or assistant coach a kids sports team.
        – Start, run and grow an online community.
        – Give a speech a week to local organizations.
        – Write a regular newsletter or blog about an industry you care about.
        – Learn a foreign language fluently.
        – Write three detailed business plans for projects in the industry you care about.
        – Self-publish a book.
        – Run a marathon. “

  7. Dorothy Friedman :

    I love this jacket. The yellow was sold out in Petite so I’m trying the regular size 2. Also bought it in black. Seems like a perfect casual work or even weekend blazer!

  8. Cute! I am actually wearing an acid yellow blazer from Boden today – good for the rainy weather here. :)

  9. Brahmin Bag Lover :

    I figured I would report in… I purchased the red Brahmin bag featured on C last week, and I really like it. The red is more of a red than a maroon (my computer showed the bag in more of a maroon/burgundy), but the red looks great. The gold detailing is not, as some worried, flashy. The gold is muted and there isn’t a ton of it. It has that wonderful smell of new leather, and the light colored felt inside is very nice. There is a nice big (but barely noticeable) outside pocket where I will put my Office ID and metrocard to grab easily. And, it domes with a removable, and adjustable shoulder strap. All in all, I’m happy with the bag and the price.

  10. For the woman that was looking for a nice, professional, digital watch – I was at Walmart yesterday and they have a silver watch that looks just like a regular, fancy, lady like watch, with a digital faceplate instead of analog. Now the downside: it was $9 so probably cheap material and the one they had in stock had a pink faceplate. (Not pale, bright.) But, it looked like they also carried other colors that were sold out. Worth checking out if you still need one.

  11. Legally Brunette :

    I love this blazer, but I cannot see pairing it with anything in my closet right now. But I adore this happy, bright color.

    As for the top 50 list, I looked through it and everyone looks put together and attractive. I don’t see the huge harm in being featured on there, and if I were chosen, I would consider it a big compliment!

    • You probably have dark jeans and a white tee. It would go great with those. Especially if you add a bad or shoes in a bright contrasting color.

      Okay, I need to stop talking myself into buyin this blazar….

  12. Threadjack: I could use some advice from the Corporettes.

    I have an oral argument coming up in my state’s court of appeals. I work at a well-regarded small boutique firm, and our office is quite casual. I’m a senior associate. I hardly ever wear suits. I’m not naturally fashion-oriented, let’s just say, and I’ve learned a lot reading Corporette. I need to pick up a new ultra-conservative suit for the argument because I feel like none of my suits are conservative enough (when I purchased them, in law school, I didn’t want “boring” suits . . . and I was clueless).

    I’m planning on going with Navy, since I already have a black suit and a grey suit. Does anyone have any recommendations for something classic and reasonably priced? I don’t want to spend more than $500 and would rather stick to around $300. I’ve learned, from reading this site, that I should look for wool (I told you I’m clueless).

    As I type this, I’m thinking what I actually need is a personal shopper, because I’m not sure what qualifies as “classic” or “conservative” except no bows, rouching, ruffles, short sleeves, etc. Should I be looking for a certain type of lapel, a certain number of buttons, a certain length jacket, etc? If you’re reading this and thinking, “Clueless should by X suit at X store,” then please send me the link!

    Thanks in advance!

    P.S. I am sure this same question has been discussed ad nauseam on this site. And I’m sure someone has made this recommendation before, but hey Kat, how about some forums or an index of previous threads organized by topic so all of us can locate that good advice we heard weeks ago but can’t find now?

    • SF Bay Associate :

      You should look at J.Crew’s wool gabardine suit in navy. Two button jacket, favorite-fit pants (or depending on how conservative your court is, the skirt). The Super 120s line also comes in navy, I think, but the pants are unlined which I personally hate.

      • Thank you! I’ll take a look. I think I would prefer to buy pants and a skirt, and I’ll wear the skirt for the argument.

    • You should focus on how you look, feel, and can move in the suit. Different body types and shapes are better with 1, 2, or 3 buttons; same with jacket length, cut, etc.

      A classic suit is, IMHO, something that can be worn with 3 or more different shirts/tops, and can be accessorized with different necklaces or brooches. Sort of like a LBD.

      I think your budget is reasonable, and I would suggest Brooks Brothers:

      Take a look at those (not the cotton ones, obviously). And remember, wherever you go, make SURE that there is a seamstress on hand to tailor everything. Brooks Brothers has them, and you want to utilize them. Proper tailoring can make your $300 suit look like a $600 suit.

      PS – Don’t think you need a navy suit just because. Navy looks dreadful on some people. Make sure the color flatters you.

      • Thank you! I did not think of the coloring or body shape issues. I will ask someone with a clue how I look in navy. I am 5’7″, size 4, 36A, no real curves to speak of. Think 15 year-old boy shape.

        Also, I live near a major metropolitan area with access to most stores.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          Haven’t personally tried them, but it sounds like your build is the right build for Theory. One problem that my 34A, size 4 bottoms, 5’6″ self has with J.Crew is that the jackets are all too big in the bust. I’ve been afraid to try Theory because 1) unlined pants -ugh and 2) I’ve heard that Theory is for straight figures. I have my first appointment with a Nordstrom Personal Shopper on Saturday and she’s going to have me try on some Theory, but we’ll see how that goes.

          Anyway, Theory may be perfect for you, though probably will be more than you want to spend. Try it on anyway, but maybe get J.Crew and spend another $100 altering it.

        • You really need to make sure you get your suit tailored. I see a lot of slender women whose jackets hang off them like a sack. If you shop at Nordstrom or Brooks Brothers they have on-site tailors. Brooks Brothers is a better bet because their staff will understand exactly what kind of suit you need for an appellate argument. A Nordstrom store assistant might push something less than conservative.

          • SF Bay Associate :

            You’re right. I haven’t gotten them altered yet because I’m in the midst of a 2700+ pace year so I have no time, and I’m also (stupidly) afraid of the tailoring cost and (stupidly) indignant that my carefully gathered sale + additional % off is going to be much less of a bargain after I have to take the jacket apart. Of course, I should look at it as saved on jacket –> built in budget for tailoring. Now that I type it out, it is plainly ridiculous.

            Sorry to be talking so much – I’m on about 4 hours’ sleep for the second day in a row pushing through depo prep and am probably running on fumes at this point.

          • @ SFBay – I meant to reply to Clueless – rereading your comment I realized my comment made sense as a reply to yours too but sounded a bit harsh – “you NEED to get them tailored!” Sorry about that! (But you should get them tailored. No use having a great suit that doesn’t look great on you!)

    • You’re in luck! Both JCrew, Talbots and Ann Taylor currently have navy suits for your price range. Some you might have to order online and return if they don’t work out, but any of the wool suits in those websites would be great for court. I’d buy the pants and skirt for flexibility later.

    • Also, would pinstripes be okay?

      • A subtle (faint, thin lines) would be OK.

        If you are serious about this being a basic, go-to suit for you, I cannot stress enough the point about going to a store with a tailor. The saleshelp will also know, however…do not use a store where the help are all teenagers. They will not know. You need a grown-up for your grown-up suit. (Sorry if this sounds harsh.)

    • J. Crew and Banana Republic both have lines of conservative, classic wool suiting. At a slightly higher price point (and higher quality point), you can’t go wrong with Brooks Brothers.

    • J Crews look is very nice, however I’ve found that their silhouette doesn’t fit my body type (curvy with a generous bottom) at all. So while it looks great, it doesn’t work for me. Another tact would be to get a professional shopper (my preference is Nordstroms) and set your parameters and let them pull everything that’s appropriate and let you try everything on. That might be the most efficient, and they will pull stuff in your boundaries (they won’t try to sell you a $1000 suit if you don’t want).

      • Also, sorry to add, I often find it more efficient to shop in store for this kind of thing. I feel very demoralized when I order a suit online, it doesn’t fit right (or needs lots of tailoring) I have to figure out when I’m going to get my act together to mail it back, and then have to go through the process again. With in store, you show up, your personal shopper has pulled a bunch of stuff, you try it all on, pick one, the tailor comes, and you pay. Very satisfying.

      • Legally Brunette :

        Me too. Everyone raves about JCrew but none of their clothes look right on my curvy frame.

    • I just want to say that in Ohio courts of appeals, you would want to wear a suit, but you would not need an ultra-conservative suit. I’ve worn pants and colors other than navy, gray, and black. (I was also a staff attorney, so I saw a lot of lawyers.) It’s not at all like appearing in a federal court of appeals. Different states may vary, but you may not need your shopping.

      • AnneCatherine :

        Same with Florida; classic with a twist would be fine in state court of appeals. By-the-book classic, for Federal court of appeals.

        Talbots has a navy suit right now in their, I think it’s called, seasonless wool. It does have a little ruffle around the skirt I think but nothing blatantly girly (if that makes sense). Just depends if you’d feel like an eyesore in it; personally, I would wear it to state court of appeals in s solid grey, black, or navy, no hesitation.

    • Maybe it’s just because I’m a tall blonde, but I always feel like a flight attendant in a solid navy suit. I would go for a navy or gray pin stripe (very small, nothing too garish).

      • Anon for this one :

        I am also a tall blonde. True story: while wearing a navy suit and travelling thru a major int’l airport, I was mistaken for a flight attendant and waved through the crew line at security :). The black rollaboard may have contributed to the misperception….

        Notwithstanding the airport convenience, I kind of got away from the solid navy suit after that. Agree that muted pinstripe (or even a fine windowpane check) might be preferable. And if in state court, agree with RR, Anne Cath et al, that you have more options than in federal appeals – eg, I recently argued before state intermediate appellate argument in an ivory jacket/dress combo.

        Good luck on the argument!

    • Would thin pinstripes be okay for federal court? It’s not inconceivable that I’ll be arguing in federal court at some point, and I don’t want to have to go on another suit search then, since I wear them so infrequently.

      Thanks everyone for your very helpful responses.

  13. Ladies- Just got an email from LLBean Signature (LLBean’s new, more fitted line) about a sale they’re having on their cashmere tees. I have to say, I’m generally a bit perplexed about the niche cashmere tees are supposed to fill (if it’s cold enough to wear cashmere I want to be in long sleeves), but maybe others could put this to use?

    Here’s the link, and please let me know if anyone has something like this and loves it (and how you would wear it)!

    • I am frequently in Court and I wear these with suits in the summer. They help with a little bit of warmth with heavy AC and I do not melt in the heat of the summer when I step outside.

    • I have 2 very similar “cashmere tees” from Saks’ store brand and I do like them a lot! I wear them in lieu of tee shirts w/suits in winter. They’re also great in the interim weather — fall/spring in between cold/not — they look really nice with a simple skirt & no jacket. Maybe trench over the whole thing for the commute.
      Yes, you could wear a sweater instead but I bought my “short sleeved” sweaters when they were having a buy 1 get 1 free sale, and I havent regretted it!

    • I would layer it under a suit jacket or wear with jeans/cords on the weekend. For me winter is the inverse of the summer fashion dilemma – cold outside, often overheated inside. Short-sleeve, thinner weight sweaters help solve this problem nicely. Plus I am a sucker for cashmere! :-)

    • I layer them over a long-sleeved tee or turtleneck in the winter and fall – kind of like a nicer version of a vest. Love them.

    • Anonymous :

      Brilliant- super helpful responses. Thanks all!

  14. To buy a suit, you are going to have to try them on. We do not have the luxury of custom-tailoring that our male friends have. Pay particular attention to how it fits across the back of the shoulders. Buy a blouse or other top specifically to go with your suit. If you oral argument will be during the summer, wool is probably not your best best. There are many beatiful summer-weight suiting fabrics. Do not go for navy unless that is a becoming color for you. There is no rule that says you need one black, one gray, one navy. For summer, an off-white could look wonderful, with a navy shirt.

    • Another Sarah :

      Actually, there are companies that custom-make women’s suits. There definitely aren’t as many as for men, but if you google something like “custom suits women,” at least Tom James shows up. :-D

  15. AnneCatherine :

    I like this yellow jacket. I find Talbots dresses (and cardigans) to be at the top of their boxy-offender scale, and their jackets generally not to be boxy, for what it’s worth.

  16. Anonymous :

    Is this dress appropriate for work or is it too much pattern?

    I’m thinking of the dark grey ikat…

    • It’d be totally fine in my business casual office, but then again, so would any of those colors/patterns.

    • love that dress. if you’re worried about pattern, i really like the solid one myself. i’d probably stay away from the pink or gold bloom, but the others seem more subtle.

    • I think it’s really pretty! And totally fine for work. I actually have the purple and green one in my basket waiting for a sale. Probably not fine for work, but I love the colors.