Advice column: my manager has been treating me badly since a client preferred my advice

Dear Ash

My manager seems to have been refusing to interact with me lately except by way of email, and even then his emails always seem to have a critical or angry tone with numerous exclamation marks and bold font. It seems to stem from a particular transaction when I dared to suggest another way of tackling a particular legal problem. I suspect his ego may have been bruised as my suggestion went down better with the client. Ever since then I have been getting blanked by him in the office: if I attempt to call him he won’t answer the phone and he does not follow through with our one-to-one meetings. I appreciate that he is more senior than me but he is acting like a spoilt child and I’m getting increasingly anxious by his emails and am feeling less confident in my ability.

Ash replies:

The behaviour you are describing is certainly unwarranted, but more importantly is a clear form of bullying. Repeated put-downs, whether done in person or in the form of email, are unacceptable, but his behaviour is particularly cowardly as he is hiding behind a computer in his attempts to pull you down. Like a cowardly online troll he is attempting to make you miserable and clearly does not have the guts to address any concerns directly with you in a calm and professional manner.

I suggest that you print off all the relevant emails and look to address this matter with another senior manager or indeed HR. Your self-esteem and anxiety levels are clearly being affected by this individual’s unacceptable behaviour and you need to address this before it affects you in the long term.

You have, as you highlighted, seemingly bruised his male ego but he needs to get over himself and realise that other people have valuable opinions too. You need to ensure the matter is sufficiently addressed by management and this may mean you being managed by someone else in the interim. I also suggest that you seek some advice on your legal position from an employment lawyer in order to allow you to feel more reassured about your options going forward.

Keep strong and find some solace in the fact that the client clearly appreciated your advice, and therefore you do know what you are talking about and this is why your manager is feeling insecure. 

Send your queries to Ash

“Ash” is a solicitor who is willing to answer work-related queries from solicitors and trainees, which can be put to her via the editor:, or mail to Suite 6b, 1 Carmichael Place, Edinburgh EH6 5PH. Confidence will be respected and any advice published will be anonymised.

Please note that letters to Ash are not received at the Law Society of Scotland. The Society offers a support service for trainees through its Education, Training & Qualifications team. For one-to-one advice contact Katie Wood, head of admissions on 0131 476 8162 or by email:

Share this article
Add To Favorites