Very mild auditory disability in biglaw. Is it okay to record conversations without disclosing?

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Very mild auditory disability in biglaw. Is it okay to record conversations without disclosing?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 18, 2016 9:50 pm

I have something called auditory processing disorder - essentially that means I have a bit of trouble processing spoken language. It's not an issue during normal conversations, but I do have problems understanding complex sets of instructions if they are verbally given.

It hasn't been much of an issue so far for me, but I'm worried it will be at a firm. If I want to keep a recording device on me so I can playback instructions, do I need to let someone know? I want to be as discreet as possible about this, mainly so people aren't weird around me because they know I'm recording shit.

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Re: Very mild auditory disability in biglaw. Is it okay to record conversations without disclosing?

Postby Pokemon » Sun Sep 18, 2016 9:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have something called auditory processing disorder - essentially that means I have a bit of trouble processing spoken language. It's not an issue during normal conversations, but I do have problems understanding complex sets of instructions if they are verbally given.

It hasn't been much of an issue so far for me, but I'm worried it will be at a firm. If I want to keep a recording device on me so I can playback instructions, do I need to let someone know? I want to be as discreet as possible about this, mainly so people aren't weird around me because they know I'm recording shit.


Keeping a recording device is a bad idea in my opinion. Fortunately, maybe it depends by practice, but I do not think most verbal instructions are particularly complex. Also, I am certain you know that you should keep notes when you receive instructions, but if this is helpful, and if you are uncertain email back your understanding of the project, or repeat it to the attorney.

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Re: Very mild auditory disability in biglaw. Is it okay to record conversations without disclosing?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 18, 2016 9:59 pm

Pokemon wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have something called auditory processing disorder - essentially that means I have a bit of trouble processing spoken language. It's not an issue during normal conversations, but I do have problems understanding complex sets of instructions if they are verbally given.

It hasn't been much of an issue so far for me, but I'm worried it will be at a firm. If I want to keep a recording device on me so I can playback instructions, do I need to let someone know? I want to be as discreet as possible about this, mainly so people aren't weird around me because they know I'm recording shit.


Keeping a recording device is a bad idea in my opinion. Fortunately, maybe it depends by practice, but I do not think most verbal instructions are particularly complex. Also, I am certain you know that you should keep notes when you receive instructions, but if this is helpful, and if you are uncertain email back your understanding of the project, or repeat it to the attorney.


The emailing back sounds like a good idea. What I'm mostly worried about aren't the instructions themselves, but rather the background info and general substantive issues they might try to explain along with the instructions. Notes wouldn't really help - the issue isn't memory, it's actually understanding what's being told to me.

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Re: Very mild auditory disability in biglaw. Is it okay to record conversations without disclosing?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 18, 2016 10:12 pm

I would be very careful recording people in a law firm without letting them know ahead of time. I'm pretty sure in some states it is illegal to record a conversation without consent.

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Re: Very mild auditory disability in biglaw. Is it okay to record conversations without disclosing?

Postby sublime » Sun Sep 18, 2016 10:14 pm

Don't secretly record conversations at work. That is a good way to get fired.

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Re: Very mild auditory disability in biglaw. Is it okay to record conversations without disclosing?

Postby rpupkin » Sun Sep 18, 2016 10:21 pm

If you have a medically diagnosed condition that requires you to record conversations in order to understand instructions, then you should let your law firm know about that condition after you're hired.

Under no circumstances should you record conversations without the knowledge of the person with whom you are speaking.

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Re: Very mild auditory disability in biglaw. Is it okay to record conversations without disclosing?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 18, 2016 10:27 pm

OP here. All right, I got it - do not record. It is a medically diagnosed thing, and I imagine the firm would allow me to use a recorder if I let them know, I guess the follow up here is do you guys think it'll significantly impact how people interact with me?

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Re: Very mild auditory disability in biglaw. Is it okay to record conversations without disclosing?

Postby NoBladesNoBows » Sun Sep 18, 2016 11:42 pm

I struggle with APD as well, although it sounds like yours might be a little worse than mine. While I haven't worked at a firm yet, I have professional corporate experience prior to law school and worked in-house as an intern. I'm not sure exactly how bad it is for you, but I'd really recommend trying to just take notes as much as possible and not being afraid to ask people to repeat themselves if necessary. I wouldn't take peoples' reactions at face value with this, because they might not be honest with you for fear of discrimination or something, idk. But I can't help but think that it would affect people, at least on a subconscious level. I worry about this myself :-/ good luck.

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Re: Very mild auditory disability in biglaw. Is it okay to record conversations without disclosing?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 19, 2016 12:20 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. All right, I got it - do not record. It is a medically diagnosed thing, and I imagine the firm would allow me to use a recorder if I let them know, I guess the follow up here is do you guys think it'll significantly impact how people interact with me?


Um, probably not? Can't see a firm partner willingly ask a client whether he can record his conversations for an associate with hearing issues.

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Re: Very mild auditory disability in biglaw. Is it okay to record conversations without disclosing?

Postby rpupkin » Mon Sep 19, 2016 12:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. All right, I got it - do not record. It is a medically diagnosed thing, and I imagine the firm would allow me to use a recorder if I let them know, I guess the follow up here is do you guys think it'll significantly impact how people interact with me?


Um, probably not? Can't see a firm partner willingly ask a client whether he can record his conversations for an associate with hearing issues.

Hey Anon (your post is anon abuse, by the way), what are you talking about? The OP didn't ask if he could record direct conversations with a client; he asked if he could record conversations with an attorney while that attorney was assigning him work.

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Re: Very mild auditory disability in biglaw. Is it okay to record conversations without disclosing?

Postby sublime » Mon Sep 19, 2016 12:47 am

I do think written directions or just dealing with it are more likely than a firm allowing recording though, but I've never really heard of either.

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Re: Very mild auditory disability in biglaw. Is it okay to record conversations without disclosing?

Postby rpupkin » Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:33 am

sublime wrote:I do think written directions or just dealing with it are more likely than a firm allowing recording though, but I've never really heard of either.

I really don't think that recording is as off-the-wall as some of you seem to think it is. A few older attorneys at my firm still dictate, and at least one does an audio "notes to self" thing.

As for the notion that the client will care about an associate recording instructions from a partner, I'm not sure it's that different than a partner putting instructions in an email. In general, a client isn't going to care about how senior attorneys communicate to junior attorneys.

Having said that, I think this will—to answer OP's earlier question—impact how attorneys interact with him. I think it's just human nature to be more circumspect when you know that you're being recorded. When I was a junior associate, I heard a lot of "between you and me, this client can be a real pain in the ass about X"; or "this partner will throw a fit if we do Y." Lawyers won't say stuff like that if they know they're being recorded.

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Re: Very mild auditory disability in biglaw. Is it okay to record conversations without disclosing?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon Sep 19, 2016 7:11 am

It would also make people very uncomfortable to have anyone, especially a brand new junior lawyer, carrying around recordings of privileged conversations. Maybe it depends on your practice area to some extent but in my experience, people are often highly averse to having certain conversations formally documented.

For what it's worth, if you'll be working in NYC, New York is a one-party consent state, so it's not illegal to record without permissions (just a very bad idea).

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Re: Very mild auditory disability in biglaw. Is it okay to record conversations without disclosing?

Postby What the f.supp? » Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:16 am

Hey OP, haven't read all the posts above but I don't see this recording idea working out well.

Aside from the optics of how bizarre it would be having someone record each of our discussions that may involve instruction, I think it would also lead to great inefficiency. Having to play back a tape to find particular things instead of just glancing at your notes. Law firm practice is not simply receive instruction -> complete discrete task. Projects are often complex; they evolve and develop as the matter progresses and you may find yourself trying to manage tons of tapes (unless you transcribe them seriatim, but then see inefficiency point above).

Recording conversations like this also seems impractical. Imagine the scenario when a client calls with an urgent problem or a colleague pops in unannounced and starts hurling ideas (happens all the time). There is simply no way you can tell them, hold on, I need to begin recording this conversation. Not at all trying to be impolite here, there have just been countless times when I was a more junior associate where a partner would invite me to a meeting or client call, probably solely to take notes.

I know nothing about the prognosis of this disability and sorry to hear about you struggling with it. Is there anything you can try therapy-wise to try and become more proficient with processing spoken information?

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Re: Very mild auditory disability in biglaw. Is it okay to record conversations without disclosing?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:38 am

rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. All right, I got it - do not record. It is a medically diagnosed thing, and I imagine the firm would allow me to use a recorder if I let them know, I guess the follow up here is do you guys think it'll significantly impact how people interact with me?


Um, probably not? Can't see a firm partner willingly ask a client whether he can record his conversations for an associate with hearing issues.

Hey Anon (your post is anon abuse, by the way), what are you talking about? The OP didn't ask if he could record direct conversations with a client; he asked if he could record conversations with an attorney while that attorney was assigning him work.


That wasn't me who posted anon but the OP also asking/needing to record a client conversation seems like a logical next step. Maybe the partner/senior associate will be able to shield OP from client contact as he or she becomes more senior, but having a client give an attorney a detailed fact pattern (where details mean everything) and ask for an answer or advice seems pretty common. Clients will be annoyed if you have to go back for clarifacation or, obviously, screw up the facts.



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