Coffee and Secretary

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landshoes

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby landshoes » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:57 am

Bach-City wrote:
Nebby wrote:Well in that case my follow up is scooped by Ernie

ernie wrote:A grown adult would recognize the issue and correct, not say 'welp i guess that's how we were 'conditioned by society' so deal with my misogyny'


Not what I was saying. And I apologize for anyone who was upset. I should have been more explicit. I do try and correct these issues.

My post was supposed to say "Hey, I know you're getting jumped on right now for having these feelings, but I have them too. They're not a good thing, but you're not abnormal." But I communicated that in a manner that was insensitive.

I'll take my leave of this thread though, with an apology to everyone in here. A lot of people have visceral, intense reactions to patriarchal attitudes. Being open about those, even while trying to communicate my disapproval of my own attitudes, was highly likely to trigger/upset people.

I'm sorry, and I'm out.


yes, people were definitely "triggered"

you realize you are in a job where being careful with language is important, right? so why do you suck at it so bad?

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zhenders

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby zhenders » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:28 am

The only thing worse than blatant sexism is trying to pretend as though when people react badly to it, it's somehow their fault, or pretending as though any pushback is akin to a knee-jerk reaction. Also incase you were wondering, saying "sorry guys, I'm conditioned; can't help it" is the most knuckle dragging, idiotic excuse a thinking human being can make. Fix it. Take some god damned ownership of yourself.

Also, to the person who tried to smooth everything over by saying that the concept of secretaries is demeaning regardless of gender, fuck you too.

I hope each of you ends up working with a baller female partner twice as smart as you, and that you never make your secretaries feel as though you view their jobs as fundamentally demeaning. And, that if they happen to be female, you learn real quick not to be such a sexist prick.

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby sanzgo » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:54 am

zhenders wrote:The only thing worse than blatant sexism is trying to pretend as though when people react badly to it, it's somehow their fault, or pretending as though any pushback is akin to a knee-jerk reaction. Also incase you were wondering, saying "sorry guys, I'm conditioned; can't help it" is the most knuckle dragging, idiotic excuse a thinking human being can make. Fix it. Take some god damned ownership of yourself.

Also, to the person who tried to smooth everything over by saying that the concept of secretaries is demeaning regardless of gender, fuck you too.

I hope each of you ends up working with a baller female partner twice as smart as you, and that you never make your secretaries feel as though you view their jobs as fundamentally demeaning. And, that if they happen to be female, you learn real quick not to be such a sexist prick.


no, fuck YOU, putting words in my mouth and shit.

who said the concept of secretaries is demeaning? i said generally asking someone to bring coffee is demeaning except in some specific cases. and lol at you thinking i was trying to smooth things over. the OP was about asking a male secretary for coffee. my claim (that requesting someone to bring coffee is demeaning no matter the pay, position, or sex of the requestee except for few exceptions) was intended to cover the OP AND i commented the way in which some people in this thread are responding is sexist b/c they're adding a sexist/patriarchal dimension to an already demeaning problem. that's me calling them out, not trying to "smooth everything over" as if i'm insinuating a false equivalence.

i can't imagine you'd last long as a lawyer if your logic is poked with holes and vulnerable to wild emotion. i'm no anti-feminist but that is exactly what the anti-feminist crowd accuses feminists of so clearly you're representing your crowd well. good job.

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby Nebby » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:25 am

sanzgo wrote:
zhenders wrote:The only thing worse than blatant sexism is trying to pretend as though when people react badly to it, it's somehow their fault, or pretending as though any pushback is akin to a knee-jerk reaction. Also incase you were wondering, saying "sorry guys, I'm conditioned; can't help it" is the most knuckle dragging, idiotic excuse a thinking human being can make. Fix it. Take some god damned ownership of yourself.

Also, to the person who tried to smooth everything over by saying that the concept of secretaries is demeaning regardless of gender, fuck you too.

I hope each of you ends up working with a baller female partner twice as smart as you, and that you never make your secretaries feel as though you view their jobs as fundamentally demeaning. And, that if they happen to be female, you learn real quick not to be such a sexist prick.


no, fuck YOU, putting words in my mouth and shit.

who said the concept of secretaries is demeaning? i said generally asking someone to bring coffee is demeaning except in some specific cases. and lol at you thinking i was trying to smooth things over. the OP was about asking a male secretary for coffee. my claim (that requesting someone to bring coffee is demeaning no matter the pay, position, or sex of the requestee except for few exceptions) was intended to cover the OP AND i commented the way in which some people in this thread are responding is sexist b/c they're adding a sexist/patriarchal dimension to an already demeaning problem. that's me calling them out, not trying to "smooth everything over" as if i'm insinuating a false equivalence.

i can't imagine you'd last long as a lawyer if your logic is poked with holes and vulnerable to wild emotion. i'm no anti-feminist but that is exactly what the anti-feminist crowd accuses feminists of so clearly you're representing your crowd well. good job.

I think you're the one putting the words in your mouth. There's no indication that zhenders was even responding to you. It's readily apparent from context they're responding to Bach City

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:28 am

Anonymous User wrote:Should an associate ever ask his or her secretary to fetch him or her some coffee? I was busy with some work at the firm and just absentmindedly asked my secretary for coffee while also asking him to collate some documents for me. I didn't even think about it before it was out of my mouth. He gave me a strange look but did get it for me. Should I apologize? Is this ever appropriate?


I look forward to going to get my own coffee since it's a way to get off one's lazy ass and move around; I suggest you do it. People in my office also tend to ask their assistant if they wants a cup, b/c being nice and not a prick is typically a valuable trait.

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby rahulg91 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Should an associate ever ask his or her secretary to fetch him or her some coffee? I was busy with some work at the firm and just absentmindedly asked my secretary for coffee while also asking him to collate some documents for me. I didn't even think about it before it was out of my mouth. He gave me a strange look but did get it for me. Should I apologize? Is this ever appropriate?


I look forward to going to get my own coffee since it's a way to get off one's lazy ass and move around; I suggest you do it. People in my office also tend to ask their assistant if they wants a cup, b/c being nice and not a prick is typically a valuable trait.


Brave anon use. I guess I'm confused what's considered acceptable to ask a secretary (as opposed to a paralegal) for. It seems like most of the tasks listed can be more efficiently done by yourself anyways. Isn't the position largely superfluous?

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby Nebby » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:46 am

rahulg91 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Should an associate ever ask his or her secretary to fetch him or her some coffee? I was busy with some work at the firm and just absentmindedly asked my secretary for coffee while also asking him to collate some documents for me. I didn't even think about it before it was out of my mouth. He gave me a strange look but did get it for me. Should I apologize? Is this ever appropriate?


I look forward to going to get my own coffee since it's a way to get off one's lazy ass and move around; I suggest you do it. People in my office also tend to ask their assistant if they wants a cup, b/c being nice and not a prick is typically a valuable trait.


Brave anon use. I guess I'm confused what's considered acceptable to ask a secretary (as opposed to a paralegal) for. It seems like most of the tasks listed can be more efficiently done by yourself anyways. Isn't the position largely superfluous?

Do you practice and have a secretary?

There are some tasks that are more time efficient for a secretary to do. Most people don't know how to properly use their administrative help, so they end up thinking the position is largely superfluous when in reality it's because they do not know to effectively use administrative help.

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kalvano

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby kalvano » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:53 am

rahulg91 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Should an associate ever ask his or her secretary to fetch him or her some coffee? I was busy with some work at the firm and just absentmindedly asked my secretary for coffee while also asking him to collate some documents for me. I didn't even think about it before it was out of my mouth. He gave me a strange look but did get it for me. Should I apologize? Is this ever appropriate?


I look forward to going to get my own coffee since it's a way to get off one's lazy ass and move around; I suggest you do it. People in my office also tend to ask their assistant if they wants a cup, b/c being nice and not a prick is typically a valuable trait.


Brave anon use. I guess I'm confused what's considered acceptable to ask a secretary (as opposed to a paralegal) for. It seems like most of the tasks listed can be more efficiently done by yourself anyways. Isn't the position largely superfluous?



I can prepare documents for signature and send to clients. However, so can a secretary / legal assistant. A secretary can't review and revise indemnities, etc. It's much more time efficient for me to focus on things that I need to do and delegate other things to assistants. It's very difficult for me to get things done without having someone to delegate those tasks to, and that's their job. It's definitely not superfluous - it's incredibly helpful.
Last edited by kalvano on Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:54 am, edited 2 times in total.

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First Offense

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby First Offense » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:53 am

Nebby wrote:
rahulg91 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Should an associate ever ask his or her secretary to fetch him or her some coffee? I was busy with some work at the firm and just absentmindedly asked my secretary for coffee while also asking him to collate some documents for me. I didn't even think about it before it was out of my mouth. He gave me a strange look but did get it for me. Should I apologize? Is this ever appropriate?


I look forward to going to get my own coffee since it's a way to get off one's lazy ass and move around; I suggest you do it. People in my office also tend to ask their assistant if they wants a cup, b/c being nice and not a prick is typically a valuable trait.


Brave anon use. I guess I'm confused what's considered acceptable to ask a secretary (as opposed to a paralegal) for. It seems like most of the tasks listed can be more efficiently done by yourself anyways. Isn't the position largely superfluous?

Do you practice and have a secretary?

There are some tasks that are more time efficient for a secretary to do. Most people don't know how to properly use their administrative help, so they end up thinking the position is largely superfluous when in reality it's because they do not know to effectively use administrative help.

This. My assistants save my ass on a regular basis. I don't think it clicks until you reach that point where you have ten hours to do 20 hours worth of stuff, and start shedding some of the tasks to other people who are capable of doing them (be it paralegals, staff attorneys, secretaries, etc.).

Partners get far more use out of them in general, I would say (just by assisting with billing matters), but they are absolutely a value add.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:55 am

rahulg91 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Should an associate ever ask his or her secretary to fetch him or her some coffee? I was busy with some work at the firm and just absentmindedly asked my secretary for coffee while also asking him to collate some documents for me. I didn't even think about it before it was out of my mouth. He gave me a strange look but did get it for me. Should I apologize? Is this ever appropriate?


I look forward to going to get my own coffee since it's a way to get off one's lazy ass and move around; I suggest you do it. People in my office also tend to ask their assistant if they wants a cup, b/c being nice and not a prick is typically a valuable trait.


Brave anon use. I guess I'm confused what's considered acceptable to ask a secretary (as opposed to a paralegal) for. It seems like most of the tasks listed can be more efficiently done by yourself anyways. Isn't the position largely superfluous?

Lots of the logistics about filing and producing documents that look right and so on aren't actually more efficiently done by me, because I don't know how to do them, and have no desire to learn. Could I learn them? Sure. But since my legal assistant knows how to do them, there's no point and it saves me time.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:58 am

And in my office, paralegals do a lot with preparing disclosure, and are very busy, so I'd never want to ask them to do what my legal assistant does.

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby Graybrow » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:06 am

Still a law student, but I also imagine clients prefer attorneys to delegate to paralegals and secretaries. Clients don't want to pay outrageous rates for an associate to do something a well-trained legal secretary could do at more efficient cost.

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby runinthefront » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:26 am

Graybrow wrote:Still a law student, but I also imagine clients prefer attorneys to delegate to paralegals and secretaries. Clients don't want to pay outrageous rates for an associate to do something a well-trained legal secretary could do at more efficient cost.

The attorney could just not bill the client for the time it takes to run to Starbucks to get a coffee.
Last edited by runinthefront on Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby QContinuum » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:36 am

A few of the above posts have conflated secretaries and paralegals (or even secretaries, paralegals, and staff attorneys!). I don't think anyone ITT has questioned the value of delegating work to paralegals and staff attorneys; I know my efficiency would take a nosedive if I didn't have paralegal support. That said, there's been a bit more questioning about how much/what types of work can actually be delegated to a secretary, and the amount of value a secretary adds*. My understanding is that largely due to technological changes, junior lawyers use their secretaries a lot less than older lawyers - and as a result, many law firms have been trimming their secretarial ranks, sometimes quite dramatically.

*Another reason value added is less obvious in the case of a secretary is, paralegals and staff attorneys bill their time to the client, thus being net profit-makers for the firm, while secretaries don't, thus being an expense.

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:30 pm

rahulg91 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Should an associate ever ask his or her secretary to fetch him or her some coffee? I was busy with some work at the firm and just absentmindedly asked my secretary for coffee while also asking him to collate some documents for me. I didn't even think about it before it was out of my mouth. He gave me a strange look but did get it for me. Should I apologize? Is this ever appropriate?


I look forward to going to get my own coffee since it's a way to get off one's lazy ass and move around; I suggest you do it. People in my office also tend to ask their assistant if they wants a cup, b/c being nice and not a prick is typically a valuable trait.


Brave anon use. I guess I'm confused what's considered acceptable to ask a secretary (as opposed to a paralegal) for. It seems like most of the tasks listed can be more efficiently done by yourself anyways. Isn't the position largely superfluous?


My secretary (SA) told me as much. All the secretaries at my firm are incredibly pleasant, kind, sociable, and easy to talk to. I think when it comes to associates, a huge part of their job at this point is being not-assholes. It's actually really helpful for sanity and the general mood of the office.

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby BlueParrot » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:46 pm

A lot of partners will have their secretary do absolutely everything for them from getting coffee to handling a variety of personal tasks, but that doesn't mean I feel comfortable as an associate to ask my secretary to do these things for me.

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby rahulg91 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:56 pm

QContinuum wrote:A few of the above posts have conflated secretaries and paralegals (or even secretaries, paralegals, and staff attorneys!). I don't think anyone ITT has questioned the value of delegating work to paralegals and staff attorneys; I know my efficiency would take a nosedive if I didn't have paralegal support. That said, there's been a bit more questioning about how much/what types of work can actually be delegated to a secretary, and the amount of value a secretary adds*. My understanding is that largely due to technological changes, junior lawyers use their secretaries a lot less than older lawyers - and as a result, many law firms have been trimming their secretarial ranks, sometimes quite dramatically.

*Another reason value added is less obvious in the case of a secretary is, paralegals and staff attorneys bill their time to the client, thus being net profit-makers for the firm, while secretaries don't, thus being an expense.


This is what I was talking about. Obviously paralegals add value to a law firm. I just question if assistants/secretaries do so to the same extent.

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:56 pm

Yes, at my firm the secretaries get coffee for partner committee meetings. They also do things like call the partner's adult kid and tell them that their dad is not going to make their dinner plans. However, they've also known that kid since they were a literal kid...so yeah. Not someone I would want to piss off or disrespect.

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landshoes

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby landshoes » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:57 pm

Secretary
Legal assistant
Paralegal

At my firm these are three distinct jobs, is this not the case at others' firms?

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby bk1 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:03 pm

QContinuum wrote:A few of the above posts have conflated secretaries and paralegals (or even secretaries, paralegals, and staff attorneys!). I don't think anyone ITT has questioned the value of delegating work to paralegals and staff attorneys; I know my efficiency would take a nosedive if I didn't have paralegal support. That said, there's been a bit more questioning about how much/what types of work can actually be delegated to a secretary, and the amount of value a secretary adds*. My understanding is that largely due to technological changes, junior lawyers use their secretaries a lot less than older lawyers - and as a result, many law firms have been trimming their secretarial ranks, sometimes quite dramatically.

*Another reason value added is less obvious in the case of a secretary is, paralegals and staff attorneys bill their time to the client, thus being net profit-makers for the firm, while secretaries don't, thus being an expense.

Not universally true that secretaries don't bill.

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby bk1 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:05 pm

The simple answer is that your secretary is a human being so just fucking ask them what they can help you out with.

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:09 pm

landshoes wrote:Secretary
Legal assistant
Paralegal

At my firm these are three distinct jobs, is this not the case at others' firms?

Legal assistant is the official term for paralegals at the firm where I work.

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby kykiske » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:17 pm

It has never once crossed my mind to ask that my assistant get me coffee. That's just silly.

Though, on the other hand, I have always offered to grab my assistant coffee if I am out at Starbucks. Just part of building trust.

She further does not work for me, she works for the firm.

I think it's just unacceptable for anyone, much less a junior associate, to make such demands. Get your down damn coffee.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:18 pm

Ah, we have paralegals and legal assistants (who are secretaries). And yes, the legal assistants/secretaries *definitely* add value. Everyone would mutiny if we got rid of them.

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Re: Coffee and Secretary

Postby QContinuum » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:22 pm

kykiske wrote:It has never once crossed my mind to ask that my assistant get me coffee. That's just silly.

Though, on the other hand, I have always offered to grab my assistant coffee if I am out at Starbucks. Just part of building trust.

She further does not work for me, she works for the firm.

I think it's just unacceptable for anyone, much less a junior associate, to make such demands. Get your down damn coffee.


While I agree with the gist of the above, I disagree with the part about your assigned secretary not working for you but for the firm. Try telling your supervising partner you don't work for her, you work for the firm. See how well it goes over.



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