Female lawyer at global giant’s Qatar office missed her own grandmother’s funeral due to work demands
A disgruntled lawyer, who until recently worked for international law firm Squire Patton Boggs, has lifted the lid on life at the outfit’s Qatar office, revealing what she describes as “blatant” gender discrimination and sexual harassment.
Kristen Jarvis Johnson — who quit her £270k a year associate role earlier this year — has produced an explosive thread on social media site Reddit, about her time at the Cleveland-headquartered giant.
According to Johnson’s post, which went live yesterday afternoon, she spent that last two and half years based in Qatar’s capital Doha. Refusing to hold back, she blasts her former employer claiming:
I encountered blatant gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and a very clear glass ceiling.
Johnson, who spent nine years at Squire Patton Boggs specialising in international arbitration, said having a family is a strict no-no for female lawyers, continuing:
Having a baby apparently makes you worth less as a lawyer.
The mother of two says that she became disgusted with the luxurious lifestyle led by many lawyers “who would give anything and everything to make millions”.
Telling Reddit users that she has now moved back to her mother’s house for the first time since she was 17, Johnson was keen to prove that her story was genuine.
Attaching a photograph of her holding a piece of paper containing details of the thread, Johnson even attached links to her various social media pages including her LinkedIn.
A quick scan of her professional profile reveals that she joined the international giant in 2007 and is co-founder and director of Pretrial Rights International, an organisation that provides support to Americans “unjustly detained” abroad.
Johnson also addresses the horrendous working culture within corporate law firms, revealing that she regularly clocked up in excess of 300 hours a month. At one point her workload became so intense she was unable to attend her grandmother’s funeral. She said:
Also my grandmother died in November. I found out two hours before I was heading to the airport to work at a hearing for three weeks. I couldn’t even take the time to mourn. It was horrible. I missed her funeral the next month because of another hearing. My grandmother was my role model, and I asked myself whether she would approve of my life’s path and how I was spending my time. She wouldn’t.
The Q&A, which has attracted almost 1,300 responses, reveals that Johnson has since quit law to set up her own business with her sister. The company — called Boy Story — produces “action dolls” specifically for boys.
— Kristen MJ Johnson (@kristenmj) April 26, 2016
Admitting that it still feels a “bit surreal” having quit her well-paid job, she warns those thinking of a career in corporate law to “think very carefully”. Johnson tells Reddit users:
Lawyers can do a lot of good. They can also be somewhat crazy people to work with, money driven, stressed out, and all the bad things people associate with lawyers. I actually love being a lawyer (don’t know what that says about me), but I only loved being a lawyer about 30 hours per week. After that, I missed my family and my life, and I often wondered where it was all going.
Squire Patton Boggs did not respond to Legal Cheek‘s request for comment.