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What If Your Attorney Got Down in the Trenches with the Staff for a Week?

What If Your Attorney Got Down in the Trenches with the Staff for a Week?

Mark A. Cohen, attorney and editor-in-chief of Minnesota Lawyer, poses an interesting hypothetical in this week’s commentary for Finance & Commerce, “What if your boss spent a week back on the bottom rung?” After viewing the first episode of “Undercover Boss,” the latest reality offering from CBS, Cohen wonders what would happen if a managing partner tried to sneak in among the rank and file.

In any case, the show got me wondering what would happen if we could apply the “Undercover Boss” concept to local law firms. It would, of course, never work in real life because even the biggest firms are small enough where the managing partner would be recognized by the rank and file. But what if it could be done?

Can you imagine the managing partner of a big, buttoned-down firm taking on the role of an anonymous entry-level associate? A paralegal? A legal secretary?

What would the managing partner learn about how these people are treated within the culture of the firm?

I’d tune in to see that.

I’d tune in to see that, too. What do you think the managing partner would learn?

And more important, even if you recognized the managing partner posing as the mail room clerk, would you share half of your peanut butter and jelly sandwich with him in the lunch room?

Source: Finance & Commerce

4 Responses to What If Your Attorney Got Down in the Trenches with the Staff for a Week?

  1. Well I have trouble sharing my sandwiches with anyone, lol, but I'd probably think about it! I'd love to see managing partners who tried being the receptionist for a day or so too – the "lower" level jobs aren't always the easiest are they? We all have our challenges!

  2. Does the phrase "run screaming from the room" mean anything? I don't think it would go very well, but that's just me. My boss still thinks when he's done with a document, it's done. I can never get him to realize it's only done when it's sent out, which can take a long time AFTER he's done with it.

    And I'd love to see some of these guys have to answer the phone by saying all SIX partners names each time, for even one day, much less every day.

  3. Samantha, your comment reminded me that years ago when our receptionist had to say four last names to answer the phone, we had a temp who kept mispronouncing one partner's name – differently – each time she answered the phone. I was making copies and was in stitches when I heard her call the partner "Giblet" and "Gremlin". But the partner wasn't. Needless to say, that temp lasted one day 😛

  4. Laurie, I'm with you on the sandwich-sharing thang, but I do like my current supervising attorney very much, and if he was slumming as a lowly courier who'd forgotten his lunch, I'd give him half my sandwich and one of my cookies! 🙂 But not the chips 😛

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Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

Owner & Virtual Paralegal, DeVenny Paralegal Services

Email: lynne.devenny[at]

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Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

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