I can remember my first paralegal. Her name was Rita. When I got out of law school she had been at her vocation for probably thirty years. Although I knew the theory of how to build a rocket, the truth was I never built rocket and certainly never launched a rocket. Rita on the other hand had built, launched and successfully rockets on the moon for years. She was awesome. This was a time when the personal computer was just going mainstream in small offices. Rita preferred to work on her IBM Selectric. She could make that IBM Selectric sing as she banged away on the keys with a lit Marlboro in her left hand. I’ll never forget her because, through her actions, she taught me the importance of paralegals and assistants to the success of any professional.
I learned there can be two types of lawyers, those that use and abuse their staff and those that appreciate their staff. I like to think that I fall in the latter category. A good paralegal or executive assistant can make life easy for any business person. That’s why when I read articles like the one recently published on a legal website (to read the article click here), I was disappointed to find that the top four problems paralegals say they face in the workplace are a failure to pay overtime, sexual harassment, family and medical leave issues and retaliation for whistle blowing. Once I reflected on the article, in light of several cases I recently concluded, a light came on. These are the same problems that are experienced by executive assistants every day in every part of this country. For those of you that are struggling with a company or boss that is not treating you properly, you have a remedy available to you. More importantly, you have a right to be treated fairly at work. For those of you that are mistreating your staff, stop it. If you don’t think you can, here’s some food for thought. A California appellate court just upheld a $2.4 million dollar verdict and a $750,000 attorney fee award against Vonn’s in a sexual harassment and retaliation claim. (Click here to read more.)
More on this topic in a later post,