Posts Tagged ‘appreciation’

Paralegals, Day In and Day Out

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

I’m a fan of state paralegal days and weeks, and have posted regarding some of the declarations promulgated by governors designating these events. So I was pleased to see lawcrossing.com’s article on paralegal days. I especially like the Michigan statement of Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm website that “the Bench and Bar have been able to respond to the dramatic increase in court caseload in recent years as a result of the evolution of the paralegal profession” and “the citizens of Michigan are better able to afford quality legal services because of the evolution of the legal profession.”

As the article notes, “Although paralegal days differ from state to state, the theme of appreciation that inspires them is the same,” but this declartions acknowledges not only that “paralegals have made to the legal profession over the years by taking on a large amount of legal work previously done only by attorneys,” but that the paralegal profession is evolving. Recognition of that evolution is helpful towards further evolution of the profession and, I believe, the evolution of a solution to access to justice problems that goes beyond simply allowing “”the Bench and Bar have been able to respond to the dramatic increase in court caseload.”

When A Plaque isn’t Just a Plaque

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

I’m a big fan of national, regional, and organizational awards, but often the sweetes honors come from those with whom and for whom we work. Here’s an example:

Caryn S. White recently was presented a plaque in recognition of her 20 years of dedicated service to the Spencer Law Firm, according to a SWF press release.

White serves as office manager at the firm. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in management and human resource management from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro and was granted a paralegal certificate from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Of course, I’m assuming that this recognition is not just a way to make up for having failed to treat Caryn with respect on a daily basis. Given the fact that she’s been there 20 years. For a short period of time I worked in a firm where the office manger was given a party and very nice “bonus” to recognize her 25 years of service and then forced into “retirement” about a  year later. Given my experience at the firm, I suspect that the latter treatment was much more representative of her treatment over the course of her career than the party and bonus!

Having no information to the contrary I’ll stick with my assumption that this is a well-deserved formal recognition of Caryn’s contribution to the firm that is in addition to the  regular respect and appreciation  to which she is likely entitled. Congratulation, Caryn!

By the way, paralegals are not granted certificates from good educational programs. The certificates are earned by the paralegals.

The Price of Appreciation

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

There is little doubt that attorneys frequently under appreciate those who work with and for them. Witness, for example, posts here such as Paralegal Unhappy. There are good ways to handle the feeling of not being appreciated, which for paralegals often hinges. Some of those ways are discussed on other posts here and in The Empowered Paralegal: Effective, Efficient, and Professional. There are also many bad ways of handling it. Here’s a story from WHTM in Pennsylvania regarding one of the worst. It involves legal secretaries rather than paralegals:

Two legal secretaries in Cumberland County have been charged with ripping off their boss.

Tina Garlinger of Enola and Bethany Noss of Honey Grove, Juniata County, were arraigned Tuesday on theft, conspiracy and forgery charges. Police allege the woman stole $94,000 from Camp Hill attorney Patrick Lauer over the last two years by racking up false overtime and cashing forged checks from his office account. Lauer employed the pair as legal secretaries.

“They were just stealing checks, writing them to cash, forging my name, writing them to my own name and cashing them,” said Lauer. ABC 27 Talkback:
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Lauer said he caught on to the scheme in April when one of the women mailed a personal bill using a metered stamp from his office.

… Lauer said he was told by police they did it because they felt unappreciated.

There does seem to be something to the thought that it is OK to steal from unappreciative employers. See for example this from John Dierckx who, according to his website, assists employers in reducing the risk of employee theft:

While opportunity is most important, there may be other relevant factors. Low morale can lead employees not only to steal, but can also lower productivity. Feelings of being wronged or mistreated may ust offer that rationalization when the opportunity presents itself. The same applies to feelings of under-appreciation.
Lack of punitive measures in place or there is a lack of preventative and detection measures including but not limited to appropriate policies and procedures and control measures are similarly factors that could lead to an increased risk of employee theft and fraud.

However, one commentator who collects stories of employee theft mocks the idea and notes:

Hourly, salary, blue collar, white collar, rookie, or professional are all represented in the stories above. One individual was even a weekend pastor at a small church. At what point do people decide that taking things that do not belong to them is acceptable? Many will attempt in vain to justify inapt conduct with a Robin Hood justification thought process of taking from the “haves” by the “have nots” as being the way life is. Spend a little too much time surfing the net during work? Cheat on your taxes? Keep excess change that is not yours? Steal an identity? How would you answer the question “Are you honest”?

That question is, of course, important for everyone, but especially for professional paralegals. After all, professionalism is all about standards.