Joining In the Firm Gossip Sessions

by elizabethsfrank 15. May 2014 16:54

Dear Jane,

I am very excited to be a new member, and the only woman, on a client team for one of the most important partners in my practice group. At team meetings, part of the way we "bond" is by sharing firm gossip. The comments can get very vicious and make me feel uncomfortable. I really need to have the rest of the team feel like I "fit" in to get good assignments.

Sincerely,

Do I Need to Join In And Trash Other Attorneys At The Firm?

 

Dear Do I Need to Join In And Trash Other Attorneys At the Firm?

You've already stated that you are over your comfort line. While I always encourage women to take risks (which gets them outside their comfort zone), here the question is really one of the authenticity. Do you need to adopt a style that doesn't feel right for you? The answer is no. If you do not say anything during the gossip sessions, everyone else will assume you agree with what's being said. It is important for you to join in during the social bonding time - try to bridge to topics where you can be additive, i.e., sports scores, movies, books, vacations.

Jane DiRenzo Pigott is the managing director of R3 Group LLC, specializing in working with professional service organizations on leadership and change in connection with diversity and inclusion. Before founding R3 Group, she practiced law for more than two decades at large law firms where she chaired a practice group, served on the executive management and compensation committees, and founded and ran diversity initiatives and affinity groups.

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Dear Jane

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