A partner at a large Chicago firm hit back at a fellow female attorney who had the audacity to comment that it doesn’t look like she “works very hard” on one of her personal videos.
Joanne Molinaro, better known as the Korean Vegan on social media, said she received the critical comment — which has since been deleted — after sharing a TikTok video centering around the day-to-day lifestyle of someone in her position amid quarantine.
“I recently posted what I thought would be a very fun video about a day in the life of a partner at a large law firm in Chicago and in response, a fellow lawyer responded with, ‘Hmm, it looks like you don’t work very hard,'” she said in a clip that has since been viewed over 575K times.
Molinaro did not hold back after that.
“I’m annualizing 2,800 hours this year at the firm,” she began. “I run 35 to 40 miles a week, and this is on a break year, as there are no marathons right now. I run a blog that has well over a hundred thousand followers and in this past year, I wrote my first book.”
“I work my real job from Monday through Saturday and the Korean Vegan is on Sunday,” Molinaro continued. “I don’t get days off, not even on my honeymoon. I get up at 4:15 to 5:00 a.m. to start my day and then get home past 6 p.m. and immediately cook dinner for me and my vegan husband.”
“I’m sorry, I wasn’t able to fit that into a 60-second video,” she added. “But what I’m even more sorry about is how this comment actively promotes the type of ‘let’s compete on who’s going to work themselves to death the fastest’ mentality that is endemic of an older generation that seems to hold those who value joy, generosity, and compassion over sweat, grit and capitalistic greed [in contempt].”
Molinaro’s clap-back garnered praise from her followers, who admired her dedication to not only her work, but her passions, hobbies, relationship and side hustle, too.
“Tell ‘em I’m sick of comments like this,” one wrote. “Life’s not a competition!”
“You don’t have to justify yourself …. tell this person to go meditate,” said another.
“The worst trait of lawyers is equating [being] overworked with [being] successful,” wrote a third. “You’re not a better person because you’re busy!”
It’s not exactly a secret that legal culture encourages overwork. A 2015 article from the Chicago Tribune, which was aptly titled “Why lawyers are miserable,” revealed that those employed by large corporate law firms, known collectively as Big Law, “constitute the least happy workers in the U.S.”
Molinaro, who is more than aware of the downfalls of her chosen occupation, said she posted her clap-back video in order to discourage others in her field from trying to “reinforce the toxicity of our industry.”
“Whether or not I work hard enough is a matter of interpretation,” she said. “But whether I should continue to make room for joy, love and laughter, that council is not up for debate.”
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