Being a lawyer is a weird job. In most jobs, if you are a jerk you get fired. But there are times when I literally have to be a jerk to be doing my job well (i.e., if people are pushing me, and by extension, my client, around, sometimes the only answer to get them to stop and get a fair deal is to push back).

A lawyer that is only a jerk is a bad lawyer. But if "jerk" is not one of the cards you can pull out of the deck as a lawyer, you are at a strategic disadvantage and not as effective.

It is what it is. It is a good job for people who are naturally aggressive / disagreeable I guess. I am not, but I've learned to adapt where I need to.

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@Columbkille is it easier to be a jerk when you are doing it on behalf of someone?

@neanderthalsnavel Yes, I think so. I think it also depends whether you feel you are "on offense" or "on defense." It's hard for me to just start being super aggressive out of the gate. It's way easier if I feel people are jerking my client around, taking advantage of them or playing dumb negotiating games.

It has taught me to be better at advocating for myself. I used to be dismal at that. But then one day I realized, well, if I can advocate for someone else, I can do it for myself. And vice-versa. If I let my coworkers walk all over me, then how will I have the skills and confidence to stop some powerful business person on the other side of a deal from doing it? So I realized I just needed to work on applying those skills across the board.

(Easiest example in terms of how legal relates to other business units. Sometimes a dumb form someone that needs to fill out is not a "legal" form that needs to be referred to "legal." Sometimes it's just a dumb form. And since my department doesn't have any paralegals, if it doesn't require a barred attorney to complete it, it shouldn't be referred to us. Because then I'll just be doing someone's dumb form and outsourcing the big contract at $500 per hour to someone else. That's a lose-lose for the company as a whole, but I need to push back on the project managers for the larger benefit for myself and the company.)

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