Law Clerk, how bad is this?

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dixiecupdrinking

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:09 am

It can take some experience to understand the importance of getting sign off before going outside the firm with something. Lawyers may seem exceedingly anal about getting small details right. That's because small details can have huge implications, and they got hired to think about all those implications. Maybe you don't like the way a document is organized; but it may be organized that way for any number of reasons that you don't know. Lesson number one is realizing you don't know anything at all, and acting accordingly.

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:21 am

In case this is actually real:

Anonymous User wrote:Original OP here. Sorry, I didn't mean to come off as arrogant. I really thought it was fine to send the memo after the revisions because that draft was reviewed by the attorney once before. I did not think a second review was necessary because I thought the edits were pretty minor.


You're not there to determine whether a second review is necessary; you're there to learn skills. So don't make decisions that can affect the firm, without making absolutely sure you've done everything your supervisor asked of you. If you're wrong and another review was necessary/the edits were not actually minor, it's your supervisor's a** that's on the line; not yours.

When he was chewing me out, he brought up an incident that happened when I first started, which I thought we already resolved and moved past. Previously, I had sent a firm-created FAQ to a client. I noticed that some of the FAQ questions did not flow well in a easy-to-understand order (won't give an example because I don't want to be outed), but lets just say it was not easy to follow. I did not change any content, but I did re-arrange the FAQ questions before sending to the client. When the attorney found out, I had to have a meeting with him and the managing partner to discuss what happened. I honestly did not think this would have been a problem because I didn't change the content, only reorganize for flow. They said everything has to be reviewed by an attorney first, and I apologized and thought we moved on. I didn't think he would bring it up again.


Clearly he brought it up because you did the exact same thing he told you not to do with a managing partner present. That is a HUGE mistake on your part, and doubly so that even after a managing partner was there to chew you out, you made the exact same mistake. You are not these associates' colleague, you're their apprentice, and that means you don't do anything for them without asking first, and without being absolutely certain that you've done all you need to do before you pull the trigger.

Paralegals and secretaries are support staff, so I have always felt that Law Clerks outrank them. Law Clerks are in law school training to be associates and, at least at my mid-law firm, they have offices whereas the paras/secretaries sit in cubicles. Apparently that was the wrong assumption to make. Sorry.


You need to drop the elitism, because if you go into any firm post-graduation with this mentality ("But I went to an Ivy League! But they're just support staff! But I'm in an office!") you're going to find it's literally impossible to get anything done.

If you keep acting like you're better than the paras and the assistants (or really any support staff), they're not going to get your stuff done, or are otherwise going to have an easy time making your life miserable. Good luck making hours when you have to do all the non-billables your assistant would normally do, because your assistant keeps telling you "Sorry, can't do it; [partner's name] gave me too much to do today."

They also most definitely know more about the practical day-to-day practice of law than you do, despite your having gone to law school/even if they may not know the ins and out of the law itself. You're going to need people like that to help you figure out what you're supposed to do, and you're going to p*** off a lot more associates and partners if you're doing everything wrong because you offended all the support staff in the firm, and they won't tell you what forms you need for some project.

Set your ego down, and try to learn. Don't insist, at a firm where you want to be hired, that you're there to be a peer to the other associates, and not there to learn how to do really basic stuff that some of the paras could possibly do in their sleep. You will learn a lot more and get a lot more out of the process once you do that.

And if this is for real, I'm sorry to rake you over the coals like this, but this is all just egregiously bad. You run a real risk of getting fired from this and subsequent positions if you keep this up.

ClubberLang

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby ClubberLang » Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:21 am

I'm shocked that you haven't been fired, and would imagine one more like mistake will do it.

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:46 am

So even if OP is flame, there is so much good advice for juniors in this thread. A lot of people need to realize that as a law clerk, summer associate, or even a junior, you're not a lawyer and you have literally no experience with anything whatsoever (even if you think you do, you don't). You are just bumping around in the dark and the only thing keeping you from screwing up in a big way is the attention of senior people.

OP - I am a mid-level, and often when I get a brief or memo back and it's really bad, I'll review it quickly, ask the junior to make some cosmetic or small changes while I figure out what to do with the thing (so we don't lose any time). When you are asked to turn edits always send a redline back. I do this even when a partner gives me minor formatting or typo edits unless I am expressly told that the document is ok to send out or file.

The other thing you need to understand is that communication flows one way. There are a lot of senior associates/partners who are really bad at communicating what they want you to do, and success at a firm is not necessarily tied to being a good manager. Tough. If you have any doubt, it's on you to ask, not them, and if it seems annoying, that's 1000x better than not asking and making a big mistake you can't take back.

loh

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby loh » Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Original OP here. Sorry, I didn't mean to come off as arrogant. I really thought it was fine to send the memo after the revisions because that draft was reviewed by the attorney once before. I did not think a second review was necessary because I thought the edits were pretty minor. The supervising associate flipped, and said that I need to have everything checked first before communicating with a client directly. When he was chewing me out, he brought up an incident that happened when I first started, which I thought we already resolved and moved past. Previously, I had sent a firm-created FAQ to a client. I noticed that some of the FAQ questions did not flow well in a easy-to-understand order (won't give an example because I don't want to be outed), but lets just say it was not easy to follow. I did not change any content, but I did re-arrange the FAQ questions before sending to the client. When the attorney found out, I had to have a meeting with him and the managing partner to discuss what happened. I honestly did not think this would have been a problem because I didn't change the content, only reorganize for flow. They said everything has to be reviewed by an attorney first, and I apologized and thought we moved on. I didn't think he would bring it up again.

According to everyone here, apparently my actions came off as ballsy, and I may have overstepped. I'm going to avoid that associate for a while for things to cool down, then apologize and maybe get him a Starbucks gift card or something.

Paralegals and secretaries are support staff, so I have always felt that Law Clerks outrank them. Law Clerks are in law school training to be associates and, at least at my mid-law firm, they have offices whereas the paras/secretaries sit in cubicles. Apparently that was the wrong assumption to make. Sorry.

Starting the new practice group today, hope the bridges have not been burned. Thanks for the help -- I'm going to double check my work plus make sure the new supervisor signs off on everything moving forward.


HOW IS THIS NOT FLAME? DUDE GET A LIFE. MODS PLZ LOCK AND BAN

edit: accidental anon

loh

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby loh » Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:25 pm

BaiAilian2013 wrote:
And no Starbucks gift card. I can't articulate quite why, but no no no don't do that.


because it's condescending and trivializes to the point of being disrespectful and utterly self-unaware of the fuck up he made.

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smaug

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby smaug » Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:30 pm

I think people are freaking out more than necessary here. OP messed up but this seems inconsequential other than the pattern and fear he will do it for something that matters.

loh

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby loh » Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:38 pm

smaug wrote:I think people are freaking out more than necessary here. OP messed up but this seems inconsequential other than the pattern and fear he will do it for something that matters.


he sent out an incomplete memo to a client. that is consequential.

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mrs.miawallace

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby mrs.miawallace » Fri Jul 15, 2016 1:24 pm

reasonable_man wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Original OP here. Thank you for the advise. I am worried that I have ruined my reputation at the firm, and will not get an offer. All the associates talk to each other. It's midlaw not biglaw, so all the associates know each other from the different departments.

I thought that being a Law Clerk would be getting training to be a lawyer, and thought that I had the competence (from having a BA and a MA from an Ivy league) to make edits to a reviewed memo and then send it to the client. I honestly did not think that the attorney had to review it again. He already looked at the first draft and complimented that it was really good -- with only a few edits and points for further research. Otherwise, what is the point of my role? I would feel like a paralegal or secretary, and not actually a Law Clerk training to be an associate.



I was a law clerk for much of law school. You rank below a secretary and a paralegal in the order of importance. Your Ivy league undergrad and Masters degree (much like your time in law school) mean absolutely shit - 3 in the real world. The legal profession is driven by experience, of which you have very little. I sort of gave you the benefit of the doubt in my advice above. But your follow up statements make it obvious that you are arrogant to a fault. Sending out work product without checking before sending it out is arrogant. Thinking that your timeline is the correct timeline, as opposed to the timeline set by the associate is arrogant. Thinking that your Ivy League credentials mean anything in the scheme of working at your law firm is arrogant.

Your reputation at your firm is most likely that of an arrogant person that thinks he knows best. I'd work on fixing that fast or start looking for a new job.

Above all else - realize something very important. You don't know anything yet. Nothing. Not a damn thing. Check with someone before taking a piss from now on. Believe me - that's better than what you've done so far.



hahahahahahhaha pray the lord you still have a clerk gig. hahhahahahahaha

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby 3lptr » Fri Jul 15, 2016 7:25 pm

Many associates, especially when starting out, have very limited client interaction. Contacting a client directly (without being told to do so) as a law clerk shows a huge lack of judgement and inability to pick up on the obvious.

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby lavarman84 » Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Based on unanimous consensus, I can see that I may have overstepped.


No, you overstepped. Words like "may" make it seem like you think there is room for argument that you did the right thing. There is no room for argument. You fucked up. Accept it and don't make the mistake again.

Anonymous User wrote:According to everyone here, apparently my actions came off as ballsy, and I may have overstepped.


No, your actions did not come off as ballsy. Poor judgement would be a more accurate description.

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LaLiLuLeLo

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:54 pm

Law clerk discovers one weird trick to ensure client satisfaction. Lawyers hate him!

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:23 pm

OP here.

Just got home from work and figured I owed everyone an update. First off, I read through all the comments and I really appreciate the feedback. I can see now that I need to adjust my attitude if I want to stay at this firm.

A point of clarification, the attorney had previously said that I could email the memo to the client. This memo was based on an old memo that he wanted me to update based on new developments. I'm not trying to defend my actions, but just trying to give context. I know better than to randomly contact a client. I had permission to send the memo to the client once it was ready, I just thought it was ready to send whereas the attorney wanted to take another look at it after the revisions. Again, not justifying my actions, just giving context.

Also, sorry if my comments about Ivy leagues rubbed anyone the wrong way. It was intended to provide context that I am a reasonably competent person, not that I think I'm superior to anyone. I re-read the post, and can see how people may have interpreted my statements as arrogant.

Now to the update. The new team seems fine, it's not my top pick for practice group, but beggars can't be choosers. I'm assigned to a new supervising attorney, and she seems nice and normal enough. We went out for coffee and got along ok. She's kind of quite. I'm going to keep my head down and, hopefully, I can impress her with my work and get rid of any negative reputation I may have developed.

Thankfully, I did not see my old supervising attorney today. I was moved to a different floor to be with the new practice group, so I doubt we'll run into each other very often. I'm not going to reach out to him until things cool down a little more. However, is it strange that he has not contacted me? The case manager was the one who broke the news of the transfer to me. The supervising associate has not reached out, is that normal? I figured he would be courteous and say something to me in person.

dixiecupdrinking

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:53 pm

Seriously? The guy probably wants you fired. It's best for both of you that you just move on and don't talk to him about it.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:14 pm

What you would expect/want him to say to you in person? If you were him, what would you say to you?

Winter is Coming

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby Winter is Coming » Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:45 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:What you would expect/want him to say to you in person? If you were him, what would you say to you?


"I tried to get you fired, but I guess they are going to let you work with other people." I'm not trying to be mean, but this whole thing is one of the crazier things I've read on TLS.

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby GoneSouth » Sat Jul 16, 2016 11:05 am

Zero percent chance this is real

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p1921

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby p1921 » Sat Jul 16, 2016 11:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:
I figured he would be courteous and say something to me in person.


He probably figured you would be courteous and not potentially fuck up his reputation with a client.

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 16, 2016 6:59 pm

OP here.

I get it that I may have messed up on the old team. But the more I think about it, the more I'm annoyed that the senior associate didn't talk to me in person about the transfer either before or after it happened. I think he owed me that much. Yes, I may have f'ed up, but I did a lot of good work for him for 4 months.

Now it's just awkward because we never had a chance to talk about the situation in person, and I feel that I have to avoid him for the foreseeable future. Is he out of line?

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jul 16, 2016 7:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here.

I get it that I may have messed up on the old team. But the more I think about it, the more I'm annoyed that the senior associate didn't talk to me in person about the transfer either before or after it happened. I think he owed me that much. Yes, I may have f'ed up, but I did a lot of good work for him for 4 months.

Now it's just awkward because we never had a chance to talk about the situation in person, and I feel that I have to avoid him for the foreseeable future. Is he out of line?

No. He doesn't owe you anything.

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby Right2BearArms » Sat Jul 16, 2016 7:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here.

I get it that I may have messed up on the old team. But the more I think about it, the more I'm annoyed that the senior associate didn't talk to me in person about the transfer either before or after it happened. I think he owed me that much. Yes, I may have f'ed up, but I did a lot of good work for him for 4 months.

Now it's just awkward because we never had a chance to talk about the situation in person, and I feel that I have to avoid him for the foreseeable future. Is he out of line?


Either grow a pair and go apologize in person, or get over it and stop doing completely stupid things at work.

He owes you nothing and thinking he is out of line is pathetic. You are lucky to still have a job.

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 16, 2016 9:34 pm

Blatant trolling

ballouttacontrol

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby ballouttacontrol » Sat Jul 16, 2016 11:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here.

I get it that I may have messed up on the old team. But the more I think about it, the more I'm annoyed that the senior associate didn't talk to me in person about the transfer either before or after it happened. I think he owed me that much. Yes, I may have f'ed up, but I did a lot of good work for him for 4 months.

Now it's just awkward because we never had a chance to talk about the situation in person, and I feel that I have to avoid him for the foreseeable future. Is he out of line?


Get used to large firm attorneys being antisocial troglodytes. Very few that I have ever worked with have had the balls to tell u something negative to your face. Passive aggressiveness and social awkwardness are totally the norm, unfortunately

Winter is Coming

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby Winter is Coming » Sun Jul 17, 2016 12:52 am

ballouttacontrol wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here.

I get it that I may have messed up on the old team. But the more I think about it, the more I'm annoyed that the senior associate didn't talk to me in person about the transfer either before or after it happened. I think he owed me that much. Yes, I may have f'ed up, but I did a lot of good work for him for 4 months.

Now it's just awkward because we never had a chance to talk about the situation in person, and I feel that I have to avoid him for the foreseeable future. Is he out of line?


Get used to large firm attorneys being antisocial troglodytes. Very few that I have ever worked with have had the balls to tell u something negative to your face. Passive aggressiveness and social awkwardness are totally the norm, unfortunately


While this is true, I think in this case its more like "I don't wan't to talk to this person because I might kill them if I do." It is wild that OP still does not understand the seriousness of how bad this is.

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pancakes3

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Re: Law Clerk, how bad is this?

Postby pancakes3 » Sun Jul 17, 2016 8:03 am

Anonymous User wrote:I get it that I may have messed up on the old team. But the more I think about it, the more I'm annoyed that the senior associate didn't talk to me in person about the transfer either before or after it happened. I think he owed me that much. Yes, I may have f'ed up, but I did a lot of good work for him for 4 months.


Yeah, you don't sound arrogant or entitled at all.

Anonymous User wrote:She's kind of quite.


And your work product continues to be pristine.



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