Legal Assistant’s Corner: Be Nice to Your Attorney’s Legal Assistant

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been the brunt of a client’s anger or irritation just to hear that same client interact completely respectfully towards the attorney just one minute later. We understand that you are likely going by one of the most stressful and traumatic periods of your life; however, it doesn’t give you license to treat us poorly during the time of action.

When we are mistreated, we always inform our attorney about it. More often than not, the attorney will observe the poor treatment and insist on solely interacting with you in the future. If you don’t think that’s a “punishment”, then I suggest you study the differences between your attorney’s hourly rate and their legal assistant’s hourly rate. I’ve also witnessed attorneys firing clients over an interaction that was deemed particularly heinous. Assumably, if you didn’t want the attorney to keep your attorney then you’d have fired him instead of the other way around.

Legal assistants have long memories and more strength to influence your case than you may give us credit for. A few of the responsibilities we ordinarily manager in a client’s case are:

  • Keeping a case organized and moving along
  • Providing the client with updates on their case
  • Drafting many of the pleadings and related harmonies
  • Filing documents with the court
  • Disseminating information about the case to those who have a need to know

While the majority of legal assistants won’t allow a negative interaction with a client to seriously affect any future work on their case, it’s fairly shared for us to put “difficult” clients’ matters at the bottom of our to-do lists.

The Takeaway: Before you set afloat into an attack on your attorney’s legal assistant, you should first consider how important the above responsibilities are to you. Simply put: JUST BE NICE.

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