Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Co-worker introduces me as “MY associate”

I started a new job less than a year ago. There are two othe fedup03/10/18
Next time you're at such a social outing, preemptively intro 3lol03/10/18
She thinks you are a caack, are you a caack? Because if no, triplesix03/10/18
We get along great! That’s why I was taken by surprise! Th fedup03/10/18
Introducing someone as "my associate" is generally acceptabl wolfman03/10/18
Good point. I didn’t think of it that way. It just struck fedup03/10/18
I usually introduce associates as “our associate.” Would jorgedeclaro03/10/18
I suppose "My colleague" might send a clearer message that y specv31303/10/18
Mountain molehill. But if it bothers you, you can append her genylawyer03/10/18
IMHO this is a massively stupid thing to be upset about. orgdonor03/10/18
Nah, I'm kind of on OP's side, if she's using the legal term therewillbeblood03/11/18
You know why this isn’t stupid for me? Our clients will gr fedup03/11/18
I think your plan to refer as your associate as well is a go therewillbeblood03/11/18
You just need to get them to differentiate between "associat bittersweet03/11/18
Interesting replies so far. I'm actually with OP here. "MY A shikes03/11/18
"my associate" also signals that the other person is someone blakesq03/12/18
If conversing with clients, I don't think they would read in jd4hire03/12/18
"fellow associate" Bingo. This is crystal clear what the dogdaypm03/12/18
I would try to politely address it with her. Introducing you flharfh03/12/18
I'd just let it go. I've definitely heard it used as a synon onehell03/14/18
ELAINE: (Gives Jerry a look) Do you know how embarrassing th shouldadonemeth03/14/18
I don’t buy the “clients won’t take you seriously” a genylawyer03/15/18
How bout ya get over it? Or actually tell this person how y anonattempt03/16/18
You should try sleeping with her. Ease the tension. sillydood03/18/18

fedup (Mar 10, 2018 - 3:02 pm)

I started a new job less than a year ago. There are two other associates on the team (one older female who has been there for 3 years and one younger male) we all report equally to the same two partners in our department who interviewed us. On two occasions now when we have met with clients at a social event the female associate introduces me as “this is MY associate” WTH does that mean??? It’s so demeaning to me! She has never referred to the male associate as such (I’ve asked him) Is she trying to make it look like I work FOR her?? Can someone explain the terminology for me please? Thank you!

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3lol (Mar 10, 2018 - 3:21 pm)

Next time you're at such a social outing, preemptively introduce her as your associate and see what happens.

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triplesix (Mar 10, 2018 - 3:35 pm)

She thinks you are a caack, are you a caack? Because if no, let her know she needs to stop. Or do what 3lol suggested if you wanna be passive aggressive, which works great for escalating the situation and putting other women in their place.

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fedup (Mar 10, 2018 - 3:59 pm)

We get along great! That’s why I was taken by surprise! They all tell me how I’ve made our department more fun and tolerable. I just don’t get it. I’m so sick of women putting each other down!

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wolfman (Mar 10, 2018 - 3:53 pm)

Introducing someone as "my associate" is generally acceptable in most business contexts; it implies you are of equal stature; if you were both partners, would introducing you as "my partner" be a problem? I understand that lawyers in private practice think of associates as someone who belongs to a partner in a master-slave-like relationship, but trust me: no one else does. Having said that, since you are all (I assume) lawyers in private practice, anything is possible, including the transmutation of normal introductions into some form of possessive insult...

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fedup (Mar 10, 2018 - 4:01 pm)

Good point. I didn’t think of it that way. It just struck me as odd that she never introduced our male co-worker the same way. She actually has introduced him as “another co-worker/associate” ha!

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jorgedeclaro (Mar 10, 2018 - 4:32 pm)

I usually introduce associates as “our associate.” Wouldn’t take offense to my associate though.

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specv313 (Mar 10, 2018 - 4:56 pm)

I suppose "My colleague" might send a clearer message that you and her are of equal statute, in the sense that a partner in your firm could also introduce you as "My associate". I don't think the latter phrase necessarily implies that she has seniority over you, however. I also can't comment on the extent that you being a female plays a part in her referring to you as her associate, but not doing so with the male associate. Maybe it's some subconscious gender thing.

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genylawyer (Mar 10, 2018 - 5:33 pm)

Mountain molehill. But if it bothers you, you can append her introduction with, “Yes, we work together and report to the same partner/boss.” But say it in a genuine sincere fashion without any hint of sarcasm. If your coworker intended no malice, your line will roll off her shoulders and be taken at face value. If she was trying to play some kind of power game, she should catch on and get the message to stop it. Or maybe you should just directly address it to her in a non threatening manner, “Call me pedantic, but it makes me uncomfortable when you introduce me as....”

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orgdonor (Mar 10, 2018 - 10:32 pm)

IMHO this is a massively stupid thing to be upset about.

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therewillbeblood (Mar 11, 2018 - 11:42 am)

Nah, I'm kind of on OP's side, if she's using the legal term associate, then it's disrespectful.

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fedup (Mar 11, 2018 - 6:03 pm)

You know why this isn’t stupid for me? Our clients will gravitate towards those with more seniority and tend to take younger associates less seriously. I am trying my best to build a relationship with our clients and I want them to come to me with problems or issues they are facing with our cases but now thanks to her comments they might completely bypass me.

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therewillbeblood (Mar 11, 2018 - 9:01 pm)

I think your plan to refer as your associate as well is a good one.

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bittersweet (Mar 11, 2018 - 6:41 pm)

You just need to get them to differentiate between "associate" and "Associate." It's a little tricky when it's not in writing.

Welcome to the the foibles of the English language.

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shikes (Mar 11, 2018 - 7:58 pm)

Interesting replies so far. I'm actually with OP here. "MY Associate" easily signals "Just so you know, I'm more senior and she is assigned to help me." At least that's how I would take it. I get the "my partner" analogy, but I just don't think those words are used the same way. I've had partners from my firm introduce me as "my associate" and I took it to mean its an associate that works for them or under them, but they were partners so it was true. If another associate introduced me as that it'd be pretty hard for me to not fire back on the spot.

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blakesq (Mar 12, 2018 - 10:35 am)

"my associate" also signals that the other person is someone you are associated with. Just like when Harry Zimm introduces his associate Chili Palmer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsKNaQuuL1g

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jd4hire (Mar 12, 2018 - 11:02 am)

If conversing with clients, I don't think they would read into this at all. If socializing with fellow attorneys, I think they would.

I always try and say "my colleague" or "fellow associate" when introducing my co-workers to others.

There is also a good possibility that the woman has no clue she's done anything.

I'd beat her to the punch at introducing her next time, or, if it bothers you that much, go speak with her the next time it happens. The utility of doing so may span the spectrum of good talk to making a non-existent situation become a weird situation.

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dogdaypm (Mar 12, 2018 - 12:17 pm)

"fellow associate"

Bingo. This is crystal clear what the relationship is.

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flharfh (Mar 12, 2018 - 11:35 am)

I would try to politely address it with her. Introducing you as her associate makes her sound like an idiot as well, because unless she's introducing herself as a partner it doesn't make sense for her to say that she has an associate.

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onehell (Mar 14, 2018 - 7:43 pm)

I'd just let it go. I've definitely heard it used as a synonym for "my colleague." And even if she does have some kind of intention to imply that you're of some lesser statute, well you kinda are if you are the least senior of the three.

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shouldadonemeth (Mar 14, 2018 - 9:45 pm)

ELAINE: (Gives Jerry a look) Do you know how embarrassing this is to someone in my position?

JERRY: (Confused) What's your position?

ELAINE: I am an ASSOCIATE.

GEORGE: Hey, me too.

(A waitress, passing their table, speaks up)

WAITRESS: Yeah, me too.

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genylawyer (Mar 15, 2018 - 9:06 pm)

I don’t buy the “clients won’t take you seriously” argument. When I work with outside counsel, I couldn’t care less if the lawyer is an associate, senior associate, of counsel, or partner. I value lawyers on their knowledge, skill, and ability to get the job done. I actually would prefer to be served by the most junior associate with the lowest bill, rate. Clients are more observant than you might think.

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anonattempt (Mar 16, 2018 - 6:52 pm)

How bout ya get over it? Or actually tell this person how you feel, yeesh. "My associate" is commonly used in a non possessive manner.

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sillydood (Mar 18, 2018 - 4:05 am)

You should try sleeping with her. Ease the tension.

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