Legal staff and paralegals, even the best of them, are often overlooked and taken for granted. Even though their contributions may not be any way less than those who are earning close to ten or twenty times more by making “appearances,” paralegals remain unappreciated. On the other hand, there are those law firm staff and paralegals that are greatly respected and deferred to even by law firm partners. What sets those top paralegals apart, besides their obvious work quality and output, is that they have learned how to draw attention to their contributions so that they do not pass unnoticed.
If you do not wish to be taken for granted, then this article provides you with strategies that work to define your value to stakeholders without risking the appearance of a dissident or activist. Law firm partners and lawyers are usually lost in their own world with little thought to spare for invisible workers. The following strategies would help you to increase your visibility and find appreciation, when trying hard or doing your best is insufficient.
Insist upon clarity: While it seems obvious, and you may know the ins and outs of the work assigned, still it is helpful from many angles to reconfirm goals and establish clarity. Doing so, makes the work easier by having defined goals, time limits, and apportioned responsibility. Insisting on clarity not only helps to get the work done in a better fashion, it also helps to avoid misunderstandings, and forces your boss to rethink the extent of your contribution.
Identify and discuss the challenge: The work may not be challenging, but it is essential for your boss to understand and appreciate the challenge in the work. Otherwise he/she is never going to appreciate your contribution. You do not get this done by hankering for attention or by insisting that you are working more than you should. Discussing out the challenges in the given work and asking for guidance would also lead your boss to reassess the situation and understand the level of your contribution.
In workplaces, rewards are proportional to perceived levels of contribution. If your contribution remains invisible, rewards would remain inaccessible. By rewards we do not always indicate financial rewards or incentives – sometimes a little bit of respect and appreciation can also make the day, though an accompanying check can make it even better.
|L. Roger Boord, Recruiter at Law Firm Staff|
L. Roger Boord is a legal recruiter for Law Firm Staff. He specializes in recruiting patent agents for law firms across the United States. Prior to working for Law Firm Staff, Roger spent seven years as the senior Director of Partners, Groups & Mergers for the Chicago office of Mestel and Company. While worki ....
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Ask for feedback: Remember that it is not necessary to insist upon clarity or identify and discuss work challenges always in regular work. Usually, it is reserved for appropriate situations that are when work outside your ordinary routine comes in. However, it is helpful to seek feedback upon scheduled intervals, bi-weekly or monthly, listing the work and asking for guidance. The process helps management to recall your contribution at decision-making tables and think about what you are doing. It helps both to improve your work and establish great relationships. Never forget asking for feedbacks on periodic intervals.
Just maintaining the above strategy would help you to gain a place in the minds of your employers and management. It’s much better than stamping your feet and making demands. And awfully better than being relegated to the position of a non-entity who can be included in any layoff list made in the board room.