A law office is an interesting place. Young associates scramble for position among the partnership elite, while the partners themselves try to maintain their foothold in the hope of one day seeing their name on the door. Through it all, there are a number of selfless, hard working individuals who never get to see their “name in lights” atop the law journals on in the headlines of the daily paper.
These are the unsung heroes of the legal world – and without them, a law firm would just be a series of cluttered offices and overflowing coffee machines.
The Legal Secretary
The legal secretary is heart and soul of any law office that wants to stay productive. Responsible for managing the attorney’s time (which is of course, all billable and therefore holds great value) and office “flow” the legal secretary is one of the few people in a law office whose time is not billed out to clients.
Paralegals handle a lot of the legal “grunt work” that forms the basis for court cases and important legal proceedings. Paralegals are either “lifers” who have devoted their career to this facet of the industry, or they are law students or aspiring attorneys who want to see the industry from the front lines. Regardless, they perform everything from legal research to filings and more – and are billed out to clients for their time (which makes them even MORE valuable).
The computer age has not spelled the end for the messenger. This is especially true in the legal industry, where official signed documents must still be filed with the court or delivered to all involved parties within a case. Messengers don’t generally make a great deal of money, but their trustworthiness and responsibility are relied upon every day by the attorneys the firm.
The Court Reporter
Although the court reporter is usually a “hired gun” that comes into the law office on an “as needed” basis, there is no denying their importance to the process. In addition to providing transcripts of trial proceedings, court reporters also work with depositions, meetings, audio and video transcription and more. A law office thrives on its official legal documents – and those documents wouldn’t be possible without the court reporting services of these individuals.
Keeping the calls flowing and the office humming is the direct responsibility of the receptionist. He or she is the first impression the company makes on visitors and sets the tone for how people will view the office. Receptionists are often able to glean a great deal from their surroundings – which might be the reason why some go on to become attorneys themselves. In a law firms, associates and partners are the public face of the organization. Their client-work obviously fuels the hours that pay the bills. But without the dedication of the individuals above, attorneys would hardly have time to tie their own shoes – let alone helping clients win their cases.