Legal Assistant's Corner: Please Respect Our Time
The average legal assistant works for two or three attorneys. Among other things, our job description includes drafting/editing/formatting/reviewing documents, obtaining records from various sources, disseminating documentation to all required parties, electronically filing documents with the court, knowing local/state/federal court rules, maintaining/organizing client files, scheduling appointments/hearings/depositions and interfacing with clients. In smaller firms, it's common that legal assistants wear additional hats such as receptionist, bookkeeper, office manager, marketing manager and countless more. Our days are spent constantly evaluating where in our priority list each new task ought to fall and accomplishing those tasks accordingly. To say we are crazy busy is a huge understatement.
Despite all of our duties, clients tend to take our time for granted in a variety of ways without realizing how disrespectful such an attitude can be. Following are my personal top five (in no particular order):
- Unnecessary Chatting
- Being Unresponsive
- Being Unprepared and/or Disorganized
- Complaining and/or Being Rude
- Unreasonable Expectations
Keep in mind that we don't like losing either - we will do our best for you. You have placed your trust in our law firm for a reason. Let us, and help us, do our job. Respect is a two-way street and a little common courtesy goes a long way. Some gratitude wouldn't hurt either.
Heather Carr is a Legal Assistant, Bookkeeper and Office/Marketing Manager with the law firm Hunt & Associates, PC in Portland, Oregon. She is experienced and proficient in the fields of civil litigation, contracts, business law, family law, elder law, probate, estate planning, personal injury, family law, real estate, and criminal defense. For additional information, please check out the company's website: [http://www.huntpc.com]