Squire PB associate claims sexism and crazy hours led her to quit $400k job
29 April 2016
A Squire Patton Boggs associate has revealed how self-loathing, long hours and alleged sexism led her to quit the firm after nine years. The firm has told RollOnFriday it "strongly disagrees
" with her comments.
Using the 'Ask Me Anything' format on Reddit, Kristen Johnson explained that after being posted in the firm's Doha office for two and a half years she resigned because she was "disgusted
" by the "luxury lifestyle and lawyers who would give anything and everything to make millions
| Johnson, after walking out
rose to the top of the front page of the site as readers left over 3,000 comments and questions for the lawyer, who worked in Squire Patton Boggs' international arbitration practice.
Under the heading, "IamA burned out international lawyer just returned from Qatar making almost $400k per year, feeling jet lagged and slightly insane at having just quit it all to get my life back, get back in shape, actually see my 2 young boys, and start a toy company, AMA!"
Johnson gave intimate details of her alleged working life at Squire Patton Boggs. She said that her annual target was 2,500 hours including non-billable hours and that she billed about 2,200 hours a year. But she claimed that billing less during the years she took maternity leave "massively impacted"
her bonus, partner, and payrise eligibility.
Johnson said she encountered "blatant"
gender discrimination, sexual harassment "and a very clear glass ceiling
" at the firm, adding, "having a baby apparently makes you worth less as a lawyer
|Johnson, and the proof she flashed to Reddit users
The ex-associate told Reddit users she felt pressure to “either keep working (increasingly) insane hours or resign
”. She said that she "couldn't even take the time to mourn
" when her grandmother died last November because she had to attend a hearing for three weeks, and work commitments meant she also had to miss the funeral.
Johnson bemoaned that there is a "reward mentality that if you sacrifice everything, you'll ultimately win the prize",
but that the prize is probably "like winning more pie at a pie eating contest".
She complained that putting in 60 to 70 hours a week at work meant she gained a lot of weight and "ached all the time from computers and sitting
". However she "loved not having to worry about money
", and said she earned enough before she walked to provide college funds for her two children, buy two houses and enjoy a lifestyle where she and her husband "could travel and splurge and it didn't matter
But living around people "who worked 24/7 and didn't see their kids"
made her "stop and think about what on earth I was doing
". In March she quit SPB and is now back in the US where she plans to start a boy doll company with her sister. Johnson explained, "I became inspired to start a company making boy dolls after I couldn't find any cool ones for my own sons
A spokesman for SPB told RollOnFriday, "We were disappointed to see the comments made by Ms. Johnson and strongly disagree with these comments, particularly with her assessment of the firm’s policies towards women. We are committed to a firm culture that promotes full and equal participation, advancement and retention of women
”. He added that the firm’s Doha office was founded in 2003 by a female partner “who was the first non-Qatari attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Qatar and supported Ms. Johnson’s move to the office