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No lawyer is an island

Michael Siri//February 2, 2012

No lawyer is an island

By Michael Siri

//February 2, 2012

Between revisions for the Bowie & Jensen website, trying to organize a Team in Training team for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and debating the importance of a Pinterest account with staff members, I have been dealing with firm-related issues for the better part of the morning.

Most of these issues involve working with our staff. Like any other organization with lots of people, there is a hierarchy that exists. When I was a law clerk for Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdock, I assumed the hierarchy was either judge/legal assistant/law clerk or legal assistant/judge/law clerk. (Notice how the law clerk was always last.)

In a law firm, you have different groups, including partners, associates, paralegals and staff. Early in my career, I was provided with two pieces of sound advice: if you find a good secretary/legal assistant, never let him or her go; and always be nice to those you work with (and the court clerks).

Paralegals, legal assistants and interns can save you (and your case) when time is short and a deadline is near. Staying late, working through lunch and taking extra care with the task at hand comes easier when a mutual respect exists. Talking down to or poorly about your staff to others only builds resentment. And blaming others for something that is ultimately the attorney’s responsibility is merely trying to deflect responsibility from yourself. As a general rule, it is my responsibility to make sure that there are no mistakes in any document that has my signature on it.

As such, I want to take the time to thank the staff and paralegals I work with and assist me in the zealous representation of our clients. Thanks Tina, Erin, Laura, Brad, Colleen, Tina M., Lisa N., Lisa B., Jean and Nancy.

Do you have staff that you want to commend? Do so in the comments section.


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