This, blog friends, is a hard but necessary lesson. I know I have said this before but remember, law firm management and partners and other senior (and junior attys, for the most part), are NOT YOUR FRIENDS. When push comes to shove, they watch their own asses, not yours. I once worked for a partner, we will call him Larry. He could be charming, and he would even host summer events at his home, take summers out bowling, etc. To the casual observer, Larry was a cool guy. But was Larry really cool? NOOOO. Larry would be the first to blame another (usually junior attorney) for any mistakes/issues caused by Larry. Larry would bad mouth people behind their backs. And sure enough when times were slow, Larry would blame others and would be the first to cast off other attorneys to lay off world.
We think that based upon, in some cases, years of dedication and hard work, loyalty should follow. Heck, as a personal principle, I believe that it should I am loyal to those people who are part of my team or in my network. But overall, in firms, this is not the case. Do not look for emotional validation from your partners. Do not expect that they will take care of you in "good times and bad." Remember, during the bad times, their focus is on bringing home the bacon. Many of them have overextended themselves and have huge expenses. Many of them are single income families where they are the breadwinner. It is once again survival of the fittest, and they will jettison you in order to stay on the cruise boat. It is just reality. I am sorry it is depressing, gang, but just giving you the facts.
Now, what can my friend do? She is doing the right thing, not burning his bridges with Partner and hopefully getting out of him what she needs, a great reference. Friend may even stay in touch with Partner down the line, and if Partner is smart he will do the same and you never know where Friend will end up. But Friend's lesson is a good lesson for us all -- one I wish I knew long ago when I became disappointed that someone I worked with didn't seem to advocate for me. You are your own advocate - don't depend on others, especially BigLaw partners during 2009. Loyalty in Big Law is awfully hard to come by.