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Blast the Caste and Assert Your Rights!

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Blast the Caste and Assert Your Rights!
By Surajit Sharma


You are rarely alone if you think that law firms fail to appreciate the contributions of law firm staff and all the glory and the money goes
to lawyers. It really depends upon you to change the situation.


Most law firm staff themselves carry the idea of a caste-like            decisis , help with depositions, prepare affidavits and do
hierarchy or division within law firm premises where lawyers             almost everything that a lawyer does, except where a lawyer’s
stand at the top and the law firm staff are at the absolute              license is required. In many firms, paralegals or law firm staff
bottom of the pyramid. Sometimes, I feel, it is their own                prepare even most of the primary drafting of documents like
convictions that keep them at the bottom. If you are ready               contracts and mortgages. However, most of there work goes
to blast the caste and assert your rights for all the hard work          unrecognized, and it falls upon the law firm staff themselves
that you do behind the scene then read on.                               to change their lot. It does not require a revolution. But it
                                                                         does require clear establishment of goals and working towards
There are both highly paid and highly regarded legal staff as            them in a methodical manner.
well as hard working and poorly paid legal staff. The general
law staff is taken for granted in an office corner. While                It is your job to elevate yourself and your work to a position
lawyers, even novices are visible and earning high, law firm             where the law firm owners start viewing you as an internal
staff who do no less work than regular lawyers are paid a                strategic partner, and you will find your world changing. Every
pittance. But is it the lot of every paralegal, or desk clerk who        lawyer, working in a law firm is essentially a business partner.
works in a law firm? Definitely not.                                     If you want to elevate your status within a law firm hierarchy,
                                                                         without being a lawyer, then the first thing you must learn
Many experienced law staff are highly regarded throughout                is to think like a business partner. This is not possible if you
law firms, and both their work and advice respected. Law firm            continue with a fixed mindset and concentrate only on your
owners see these people more as internal strategic business              run-of-the-mill office tasks like maintaining records and
partners, even more important than the regular lawyer. And as            making phone calls etc.
a result, such law staff end up in being better paid and more
respected than their diminutive counterparts. So, what’s the             The secret is still the same as in all other fields. Do superlative
trick of the trade? There are none. But there are principles to          work. Help novices and senior lawyers alike. Apply your mind
learn the trade. The glass ceiling cannot be broken by tricks            and come up with innovative suggestions that find acceptance
of the trade but only if you know and practice the trade itself.         and appreciation. Do everything within a limit, and don’t be
For that you need to change a lot of things and need to start            pushy or overdo things where people start viewing you as
working and thinking in a new manner.                                    an irritant always at the door with unwelcome suggestions.
                                                                         Maintain your self esteem and dignity. Be punctual, and
Though only lawyers handle, or are allowed to handle, court              deliver. But also break out of the mindset that your only
pleadings, direct client interaction and legal consultation,             position is in a dark corner of the office. Many law firm staff
law firm staff do a great amount of work in preparing cases              are in the limelight as far as the internal workings of their
for trial. The research the case, arrange the facts, uncover             firms are concerned. That should be your goal. Other things
strengths and weaknesses of the case, find out relevant stare            like money, will sort out by themselves.



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