Lawyer Meme

I stumbled across a meme today that I found interesting. Now, you know how much I normally hate memes, but this one intrigued me because it was making it’s way around the law blogosphere, and I do happen to work at a law firm. Basically the idea was to complete the sentence “Lawyers appreciate….”

The interesting thing to me was that of the 20 blogs listed as having posted a response as of this writing, not one of them mentioned any appreciation for their staff. Not one mention of a legal secretary, paralegal or assistant, let alone an IT person.

Now, let’s get one thing straight, I’m not about to go bashing lawyers on here. I do, however, want to point out something that I do believe is true about law firms. This industry is not one to get into if you need constant praise. I work at a firm that prides itself on it’s collegiality, and it’s rare that the attorneys who work here go out of their way to praise you. There’s usually a thank you when you help them with something, (which is much more than you get in other firms from what I hear) but there’s also simply an expectation that when you help them, you’re doing what they pay you to do.

That’s not to say there’s never any appreciation shown to staff. It just tends to be more in a material sense. Good benefits, a nice Christmas party or summer party, small birthday gifts, etc. are all things I’ve enjoyed in my time here, and they all show me that the firm appreciates what I do, I just don’t tend to hear it from lawyers often. I’m not sure why that is, maybe there’s a certain mindset that it takes to get through law school, or the practice of law requires a focus or personality that is less likely to consider their staff first when they think of what helps them be successful. I don’t really know, but I accept it.

At the end of the day I’d rather work for lawyers who pay me well, look out for my benefits and offer me the little extras than ones who tell me how good I am at my job but never back it up.

Update: Andrew Flusche was kind enough to point out one late post that does, in fact mention staff. I’m glad to see it!

Tags: Lawfirm, lawyers, appreciation

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  1. Mike,

    I’m guilty as charged. I didn’t mention support staff at all in my post. It is quite a shame that 20+ lawyers (plus a law student – myself) didn’t mention appreciation for support staff.

    That is actually one reason I’m glad I won’t be working in a firm. Some lawyers do have a “mightier than thou” attitude. I experienced that some at my two summer firms. I treasured the help from secretaries and other support staff. I couldn’t even find my office by myself at first.

    I liked your post. I wish you a Happy New Year!

  2. Andrew,

    No worries, I do believe part of it is simple human nature. You rarely hear Oscar winners, or sports stars thanking their personal assistant,s or accountants, etc. even though they play a big role in what they do. On the other hand, I do wonder why it’s prevalent in the legal profession. Consider it a professional curiosity. 🙂

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