Honesty and the Professional Paralegal
Last June 4th Kim Walker posted on Paralegal Pie regarding an Honesty Test. She noted,
The questions are hard. For instance some of the questions pertain to stealing from your employer. If you answer no, well you are a big fat liar. I am willing to bet that everyone who works in an office has stolen a pen, a legal pad, a paper clip. So you do in fact steal from your employer.
There does seem to be some “gray area” in the concept of honesty in the workplace. There is no doubt that honesty is essential for the professional paralegal. Every employer, including attorneys, expects it of their employees – except when they don’t. Sometimes you will be asked to be just a bit not-so-honest such as when you are asked to tell a client the attorney has just left for the courthouse when she is still in the office. The rightness and wrongness of such “white lies” is a matter that cannot be treated fully here. Personally I believe that the best policy is to be as honest as possible with the people with whom both the lawyer and the paralegal deal whether it be clients, co-workers, court personnel, etc.
Regardless of how situations like this are resolved, you should strive for an honest relationship with your attorney. This does not mean you have to be the one to point out he has put on twenty pounds and needs to exercise more. But be honest about yourself.
- Avoid dishonesty when you have made a mistake. Don’t try to cover it up. No one is perfect. Honesty can initiate steps to help you avoid making the same mistake again.
- Avoid dishonesty in explaining why you are late for work, taking time off and the like.
- Avoid dishonesty when stating what you can and cannot do. Be frank about your own limitations both in terms of time and competence. Ask for assistance and training.