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How To Tap The Hidden Power Of The Support Staff

published March 11, 2017

By Author - LawCrossing

( 163 votes, average: 4.5 out of 5)

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Updated: Nov. 18, 2022 

legal staff

If you’ve worked before, you know how valuable—and powerful—support staffers can be. If you haven’t, you may tell yourself, “Finally, I’m not the lowest person on the totem pole—I’ve got somebody I can boss around!” Don’t kid yourself. 
The support staff is the backbone of any company. They work hard to keep everything running smoothly, and often go unnoticed by everyone around them for their dedication in helping make sure that nothing falls through the cracks. The people on this list are just some examples who've made an impactful career as a behind-the scenes employee with no spotlight shine onto themselves--but don't be fooled: These strong ladies and gents know how important they really were and you can’t bully people and be arrogant and get your way!
Handling support staff well reflects on you in a whole bunch of ways: your ability to lead, accept responsibility, and deal with all different kinds of people (including clients). As lawyers at Goulston Storrs point out, “Treating support staffers with respect will get a summer clerk or new lawyer further than almost anything else besides good, competent lawyering.”

There Are Four Stages of An Attorney’s Relations with Support Staff:

Stage One: On your first day of work, people are predisposed to think well of you. They are prepared to like you, to help you, and to invest in your success.
Stage Two: You acted like a jerk. Whether you were rude to a support staff person or to a colleague, you can almost always repair the damage if you are sincere in your apologies, and laziness others, you are riding for a fall. The support staff, which can smooth the wrinkles in your appearance, cover for your small mistakes and chuckle at your eccentricities, will now take three steps back and watch you fall on your face. Real-life example: After an Associate General Counsel at a bank had been working for more than six months, staff began asking themselves questions like “Just how long should the learning curve be for remembering that each foreclosure needs a $75 filing fee check attached to it, and that the lead time for a request is 24 hours?” and “When will he stop blaming us for his mistakes?”
Stage Three: Singly and in groups they begin to approach their boss and your boss, saying “I can’t believe that he/she did/didn’t do (whatever).” This becomes a chorus, and everything that you’ve ever done that you weren’t supposed to do—or that you’ve never done that you were supposed to—becomes sheet music for this group.
Stage Four—The Piranha Stage: Not a pretty sight. Singly and in groups, they approach your boss and their boss and say “It’s him/her or us.” Now is the time to pack up your desk and sneak away into the night or stand on your desk and disembowel yourself with the Waterford letter opener you got as a graduation present. When weighing the value of a new summa cum laude graduate who quickly demonstrates an unerring ability to antagonize large numbers of valued employees against a group of irreplaceable experienced legal secretaries and paralegals, there is no choice. You’re out.
As the “Four Stages” illustrate, mistreating the staff can be detrimental to your professional health.

legal support staff

Let’s see what you have to do when it comes to dealing with support staff:


Remember that they can be helpful to you in a million subtle ways.

When you start out as a lawyer, there are a bunch of things you don’t know about practicing law. It’s fair to say that support staffers who’ve been with your employer for a while know more about being a lawyer than you do. Real estate paralegals, for instance, can handle closings themselves! The secretaries, receptionists, word processors, copy room staffers, office gophers and runners, the mailroom clerks—they can save your skin in a bunch of ways.

They can run interference for you.

“If your secretary likes you, and you tell them, ‘I have to buy a 30th anniversary gift for my parents’ or ‘I have to run out for a cake for my husband’s birthday party,’ they’ll often tell someone looking for you that you’re in a meeting,” says Denver’s Jennifer Loud Ungar.
If you’re working in a public interest job, if a secretary or intake worker likes you, they’ll field your calls. For instance, if it’s a Social Security matter, they can answer people’s questions. They know a lot of the answers. In the private world, if a client calls you, you have to return their call. They’re paying. In the public arena, secretaries and intake workers can field your calls. They can make you or break you.”

They can help you meet deadlines that you’d otherwise miss.

Lawyers at Goulston Storrs point out that “When you ask someone to stay late or deliver or copy something for you on a rush basis, your relationship with that person is likely going to be the one thing that determines whether that person will help you out. Lawyers with poor relationships with support staffers will suffer.” Another attorney in Detroit says, “If you’re respectful to the word processing staff, it pays dividends at 2 a.m., when your documents get pushed ahead of someone else’s.” One lawyer talked about having to get some important papers out to a client. He was certain that he’d missed the FedEx deadline. He went to the mailroom to check. The mailroom guy smiled, and said, “Come on. I’ll help you out.” He drove the lawyer to the airport, and took him to a secret entrance and got the FedEx off, even though the “technical” deadline had passed.
If you’re a new lawyer and you’re sharing a secretary with a bunch of other people, a Chicago attorney reminds you that “your work has the lowest priority. Some new lawyers have to share a secretary with four other people! You’re low person on the totem pole, and that means that if you aren’t nice to the secretary, you won’t get anything done”

They can save you from looking stupid.

When you’re a new lawyer, there are a lot of details that you don’t know—but support staffers do. A law school career services officer points out that you have to “Understand the difference between power and authority. Staff members can have a lot of power even if they don’t have much authority. If you’re comfortable talking to the boss’s secretary, she can tell you when it’s a good time or a bad time to talk to the boss. This can be very valuable information. You can also find out when (s)he will be out of the office and what their pet peeves are. Many an alum has told me that they asked for raises and scheduled their time off based on this ‘insider information.’ In addition, experienced support staffers will know the format documents should take, the number of copies required for different courts, and many other similarly critical details. A Milwaukee attorney points out that “If you’re nice to the mail room guys, they’ll look out for you. When you go to send something out, they’ll tell you, ‘Hey—you forget this on the envelope!”’ One lawyer talked about her experience working for a “very intimidating” litigation department head. “He told me, ‘I need this memo for the court from you. I only want two pages. Make it brief.’ I researched it and wrote it, but it came out four pages long. Instead of editing it, I thought I could just single space it to meet the two-page cutoff. When I took it to his secretary, she said, ‘Oh, no—pleadings have to be double-spaced. Go and redo it.’ If she hadn’t told me that, I would have been toast.”

They listen to the jungle drums.

If you want to know what’s going on at work, your secretary is your first line of offense. As Wendy Werner points out, “They’ll know before anybody which clients are coming and going, who are predominant business getters, what department generates the most revenue, who loses the most (and least) associates.”
New associate at a large New York firm. He gets to know the entire staff in the first two weeks he's at work. The other associates laugh at him, but through this network he finds out that the firm is thinking of adding an associate at its London office. He finds out who is doing the hiring, goes to them, and says, Take me." No other associate had even heard about the plum assignment. It pays off. He gets the job.

Support staffers can be powerful in ways you can’t imagine.

As one Palm Beach attorney says, “Don’t start with a hierarchy in mind, ‘Me lawyer—you secretary.’ Secretaries have a lot of power that new associates don’t appreciate.” An attorney in Kentucky echoes that, saying, “Don’t be deluded into thinking that just because your time is billable and theirs isn’t that you’re better than they are.” A Troy, Michigan attorney says that “your secretary was there before you, and she’ll be there when you leave. She can be a great resource, or your worst enemy.”

If you treat secretaries badly, your work will suddenly be on the bottom of the pile. If you’re rude to word processing people, “That brief you need? Suddenly they’ve got a project that’s more important than yours!” says the Troy attorney. Many runners are the children of partners or big clients doing a summer job. Attorneys shoot themselves in the foot when they treat runners badly. The kid goes home, and over dinner tells Daddy, ‘So-and-so is a jerk.

One recruiting coordinator commented that “The managing partner’s secretary is the most powerful person in our firm. He relies on her for the inside scoop on everything that goes on in the office. Attorneys on her bad side are toast. She has the managing partner’s ear. In some ways, he’s closer to her than he is to his wife!” At another firm, the secretary for the head of the litigation department had the same role. As an associate in the department tells it, “She’ll tell him things like, ‘I don’t like that associate. He’s sneaky.’ And that associate will have a black mark against him. And on the flipside of that, she controls the goodies. If the partner can’t make a basketball game, she decides who gets his season tickets. She’s a smart person to befriend.” A Santa Fe attorney points out that “The arrogant lawyer who forgets that secretaries are an essential part of the team is inevitably punished. At another firm, a senior associate was asked to leave because he lost two secretaries in a row.
Remember above all that secretaries talk. What they say about you helps develop your reputation, not just with other secretaries but with lawyers as well. If you treat the john as a reading room and spend a lot of time in there, your bathroom habits will soon get spread around the firm. At one firm, one partner was notorious for having lunch at his desk and putting his dirty wrappers and plates in his out box for his secretary to dispose of, rather than just dumping them in his wastebasket. That reputation followed him for years; every time his name came up, that’s what people would think of first.

The bottom line: mistreating the support staff can kill you. They really do have that much power.

Rainmaking partner in a large firm. He is renowned for treating support staffers badly, but because he's such a great source of business, his behavior is tolerated for a long time. One day, he is having a meeting in the firm's conference room at lunchtime with some clients. He tells his secretary, 'Order a sandwich platter from the deli. For my sandwich, you know what I like. Tell them no mayonnaise. Got it? No mayonnaise." Well, duh, yeah—she's not deaf. She orders the sandwiches, making a special point to the deli to leave the mayonnaise off of this partner's sandwich. When the sandwiches are delivered to the conference room, sure enough—his sandwich has mayonnaise on it. He gets on the intercom with his secretary and says—in front of the clients—"My sandwich has mayonnaise on it!" She apologizes profusely and explains that she did give the correct directions to the deli. She tells him, "I'll go down there and get you another sandwich." He snaps, "No you won't. You'll come in here and wipe off the mayonnaise yourself." There is stunned silence in the conference room, and she is in shock. What she thinks is, "You better hang on to that mayonnaise, because if you make me go in there, you're going to need all the lubrication you can get." What she does is to calmly pick up her purse and leave the office. It's the last straw. The other partners ask this partner to leave the firm.

help meet deadlines

Don’t force your superiors to choose sides between you and a support staffer.

As a Charlotte attorney warns, “Young associates will be out before the partner’s secretary leaves. Secretaries and office managers run the office!” Another attorney adds that “It’s a bad idea to get too big for your britches. It’s a lot easier to find good attorneys than it is to find good secretaries!” The same attorney adds “Learn your place in the pecking order. I used to joke in the hiring process that we should hire military veterans because they knew that you started at the bottom and earned your way up the ladder. Everyone at the office plays a different role and the value of those roles is not determined by title. If you’ve been at a firm for a few months and get into a situation where you force a partner to choose between supporting you or the secretary (s)he’s had for ten years and relies on in ways you can’t even imagine (until you've had a secretary you’ve relied on for ten years), I guarantee that a hundred percent of the time the partner will support the secretary. It’s a showdown you can’t win. Don’t try to force it.”
A summer clerk. His first day at his summer employer. He walks into the managing partner's office while the managing partner is talking with his secretary. The summer clerk interrupts, saying, "Hello, Sir. It's nice to meet you. It's my first day ..." The partner gives him a cold look and says, "I am in the middle of talking to my secretary, Miss Hathaway. She is more important than you will ever be."

Don’t think that your superiors will respect you for lording it over the support staff.

Don’t worry. Everybody at work assumes that you’re smart and capable. You don’t have to treat support staffers like dirt to burnish your position. And if you do, it’ll hurt you. Lawyers at Locke Lord point out that “No matter how smart someone is and how technically savvy they may be as a lawyer, if they treat the staff with disrespect, they won’t succeed.” A lawyer at Shook Hardy adds, “Nobody wants prima donnas.” A few instances of brow-beating a secretary, or berating an office messenger, can do permanent damage to your reputation at the office.

If the firm culture is to treat staff badly and/or make sexist comments around them—for gosh sakes ignore the firm culture!

Don’t take your behavioral cues from people who behave badly. Don’t pay attention to how senior partners treat their secretaries! Lots of people are short with staff, and sexist in a frat boy kind of way. It always comes back to bite you.”
Remember, if you see attorneys at work treating their staffers badly, it tells you something you really don’t want to know about them. And if you get into the good ol’ boy mentality when it comes to handling “the girls,” you’re not just being stupid—you’re opening up your employer to the threat of a sexual harassment suit, and I don’t have to tell you that that’s really bad news. Furthermore, if you flatter partners and then treat support staffers badly, it will expose you to everyone at the office as a phony. That’s a bad reputation to have.
So follow a simple rule: treat support staffers with respect no matter how anybody else treats them, and you can’t go wrong.

Remember that little things mean a lot.

Treat the support staff well from day one. The very first day at work, Introduce yourself to them immediately and be certain to learn each person’s name. At one firm, a new associate brought in a box of muffins on his first day for all of the support staffers. “Now he gets everything he wants immediately commented the firm’s hiring partner.
When you’re brand new, acknowledge to your secretary that you’ve got a lot to learn. Say to your secretary, ‘I’m gonna ask you a ton of dumb questions, and I hope that’s OK, because I’m trying to learn the ropes.’” At one firm, on her first day of work an associate walked up to her extremely experienced secretary and said, “Look, I know you’ve been doing this longer than I have. I know I probably can learn a thing or two about practicing law from you.” As a colleague of hers pointed out, “It set a tone of mutual respect from the outset.” At another firm, a new associate recalls that “I was warned that I’d been assigned a crotchety secretary who resented working for someone who was one-third her age. Knowing this, I took her flowers, and said, ‘I look forward to learning from you. I know that you know more about the practice of law and this firm than I do.’ After that, I had no trouble getting my work done. The fact is, when you’re dealing with your secretary you’ve got to put your inflated ego aside. You can’t assume you’ll win pissing contests with secretaries, because you won’t.”

If secretaries at your office are referred to as “assistants,” don’t ever call them secretaries; they hate it.

One Los Angeles attorney tells you, “Never forget Secretaries’ Day. It’s so important to them!” Similarly, remember your secretary’s birthday. If (s)he has a personal tragedy, send a condolence card and flowers.
Make a point of getting to know all of the support staffers, not just the secretaries. As another attorney says, “At my firm, our word processing department produced really long documents. Once in a while, instead of leaving things in the pick-up box, I’d walk my work down to them and spend a few minutes chatting. They obviously appreciated it. They were so used to having their contact with attorneys consist of people storming down to them and screaming ‘You screwed this up!”’

When your secretary—or any other support staffer—does something for you, don’t forget to say “thank you.”

And finally, be appreciative of their time and sensitive to their workload. Be willing to pitch in and help them out when the situation calls for it. A few minutes helping to arrange a file or sift through documents might pay off for you later, either in experience or familiarity with a case or problem.
Junior associate at a large firm with several offices. After a year at one of the firm's offices, he gets transferred to a different office. On his last day, he buys flowers for his secretary. As he says, "I'd never had a secretary before, and I'd been very happy with her work. So I put a note on the flowers that said 'Thanks for being so kind to me.' Later that week, we had a firm-wide event with all of the lawyers and support staff. All of the female lawyers from my old office ran up to me and said, 'Wow! What a nice guy! You made her day!' This secretary told everybody about those flowers. I've never had any problem working with a secretary since. I honestly did it just because she was nice to me, but to tell you the truth, that was sixty bucks well spent—the goodwill it generated was priceless!"

When you’re new, be friendly with support staffers, but be careful about having the shoulder your secretary cries on.

We’ve already stressed the importance of being friendly with support staffers, but “Be careful about being the one your assistant comes to talk about personal issues. You can’t afford to be in that role.”
The fact is, if your secretary comes to you and leans on you for advice about his/her personal life, it’s a minefield. Number one, it’ll take up your valuable office time. Number two, your attitude about your secretary will change. But because you’re human, you’re flattered when someone wants your advice. Watch out! You need to be humane but wary. Give your assistant the time to get help, saying something like, “I’d love to help out but I’m not a professional,” and refer them to a therapist. You can be understanding, but you can’t be a psychologist.
This sounds cold, but remember that I’m only talking about the situation where you’re a brand-new lawyer. After a while you’ll have a track record with your secretary such that you’re in a position to know that they’ll be professional when they get their professional life together, and you can be much more flexible. But when you’re starting out, you don’t know that, so you can’t take the chance. Think of trying to explain to your supervising attorney, “I’m sorry I’m going to miss your deadline, but my secretary has been crying on my shoulder about her divorce, so I didn’t get a chance to write the memo and she didn’t get a chance to type it.”

Figuring out exactly what the heck it is that secretaries do, when you’ve never had a secretary before.

As an attorney at Skadden Arps points out, “It’s hard to learn delegation. When you get out of law school, you’re used to being the delegatee.”
What secretaries actually do varies from employer to employer, and their duties have evolved over time. As an Akin Gump attorney says, “They do different things now than typing!” For instance, they’ll typically help you with your time sheets. They revise documents (although if you’ve only made small mistakes, it’s probably faster to jump onto the computer and make the changes yourself.

As the recruiting coordinator at a large Midwestern law firm points out, “Your secretary isn’t sitting there waiting for you to come up with work. Sometimes it’s easier to do it yourself.”). You can expect them to help out with distributions, putting one of each document into each packet. They can help draft, or edit if you dictate your documents. Eric Adams points out that “They’re great proofreaders because they aren’t lawyers. They’ll catch stuff that you’ll miss because you’re too familiar with your own work.” They also act as liaison with opposing counsel and they’ll help out with scheduling.
You should also remember that your secretary is your only line of defense when people are looking for you. Always tell your secretary where you are, whether it’s the library, a training session, the bathroom, anywhere.
An attorney from Nixon Peabody in Rochester, New York suggests that you “be prepared to do your own word processing to avoid relying on a secretary. Ask your secretary to teach you shortcuts and function keys to limit the amount of time your secretary will have to spend on your work. Your secretary will appreciate it.”
As a new lawyer you’re likely to be sharing a secretary (if you get one at all). The person (or people) you’re sharing with will be more senior than you. You have to be mindful of this for two reasons. Number one, as an attorney from Munger Tolles in San Francisco points out, “You need to be cautious not to step on the toes of the more senior person.” Be conscious of when, and how, the other lawyers use the secretary. Also remember that the secretary will have influence with the lawyers with whom you share him or her. As one lawyer points out, “When I was a new associate, I shared a secretary with a powerful partner. I gave her a Christmas present and made absolutely sure that she liked me, because she had the partner’s ear.”
Finally, don’t overlook perhaps the most valuable contribution your secretary can make: (S)he’ll probably be plugged into the employer’s grapevine, and can pass along to you valuable inside skinny. Especially if the news is bad—it concerns somebody’s negative opinion of you, for instance—be sure to say thank you and not betray any emotion. You need to know what’s being said, and if you punish your secretary for telling you, you’ll discourage her from telling you anything else.

Learn how long administrative functions take, and act accordingly.

In order to make your deadlines, you need to know how long it takes to do everything that you don’t do. Photocopying, faxing, word processing, envelope stuffing—they all take time. Ask people who regularly do these tasks for rules of thumb about how long they take. Once you know, you can build this information into your schedule so that you’re not constantly racing to support staffers with a frantic last-minute rush project. Most people don't bother with this, and if you do, the support staff will notice and appreciate it.
If you’re going to be giving support staffers work late at night, a partner from Jones Day in Cleveland suggests that you “Let staff people know about it as soon as you can. Copy room people, word processors—they appreciate being warned. If you don’t give them notice up front, you risk the possibility that nobody will be available to help you out.” Furthermore, if you’re going to need help after hours—typically after 5 p.m. or so—be very careful. Overtime work costs employers a lot of money, and it won’t reflect well on your competence if you’re routinely incurring overtime expenses.

Learn how to use office equipment, especially if you work for the government.

I know, I know—you’re thinking, when am I going to get to the point where I'm the one who doesn’t have to know how office machines work? The answer is: Not yet. When you’re new, learn the fax and the copy machine, and expect to pick up the phone. Your secretary can’t pick up every call, especially if (s)he works for other lawyers as well. Try to help out. Your secretary will appreciate it and your work will get done.
If you work for the government, your secretarial help is likely to be scant indeed. One government lawyer said that “I always do my own typing, copying, faxes, envelopes. Everybody here does. We have a secretary, but she works for us according to seniority, so when you’re new you can’t count on anything being done for you. But because everybody’s in the same boat, you don’t feel like a martyr.”

How to handle mistakes your secretary makes.

You’re probably thinking that you’re worried enough about your own competence; you don’t want to contemplate whether or not your secretary can do a good job! But the fact is, your secretary is human, too. (S)he’ll make mistakes. Don’t flame out over mistakes. Be constructive!” If you find that your secretary is routinely making mistakes, be careful how you handle it. Don’t point fingers. Instead, calmly say something like, “The last two briefs I wrote went out without the right attachments. Partner X really chewed me out. How can we make sure that it doesn’t happen again? Any suggestions for how we can change things?” Be careful about the changes you institute—if you’re too anal you’ll drive your secretary crazy. One attorney talked about a colleague at his firm who had been burned when his secretary put the wrong letters in envelopes and sent them out. After that, with every subsequent secretary he had, he made sure that before the secretary sealed any envelope, she’d have to bring it to him to see that she’d stuffed them correctly. His secretaries went nuts doing this. As the attorney pointed out, “You can be picky, but you have to be mindful of human nature.”
If the mistakes keep happening—in other words, your secretary is an idiot—again, don’t be blunt. As an attorney from Sidley & Austin in Chicago says, “Think hard before you complain—you don’t want to get a reputation as being difficult to work with, otherwise you’ll get bounced from secretary to secretary.” Go to the office manager (if there is one) or a supervising attorney and say something along the lines of, “I’m having trouble getting my secretary to do X. Can you give me some advice about how I ought to handle it?” The facts themselves will tell anybody exactly where the problem lies; you don’t need to editorialize. If you take this approach, you’ll solve the problem without seeming like a jerk yourself.
Incidentally, remember that when it comes to work that goes through your secretary, you’re responsible. It’s effectively your mistake. As an attorney with Venable says, “If you send a letter to ‘Dear David’ and Richard Smith is the addressee, the rest of what you say is irrelevant. It’s easy to blame your secretary. But the buck doesn’t even stop without—it stops with your boss.” One lawyer talked about an incident where her secretary accidentally sent a draft document to opposing counsel. “I looked stupid. I shouldn’t have allowed it to be sent, even though it was technically my secretary who did it.”

You’re a woman, your secretary’s a woman—you’ve got some special issues to confront.

When you’re the same gender as your secretary, you’ve got a whole added dynamic going on. Especially if you’re younger than your secretary, you’re likely to be faced with a real authority problem. I talked with many young female attorneys who bemoaned the fact that their secretaries just wouldn’t do their work. Unanswered phones. Messages not taken. Work put on the bottom of the pile.
How to handle it? You’ve got a fine line to walk. On the one hand, you can’t be too buddy-buddy. You can’t let them think that because you’re friends, they can walk all over you. As one female lawyer pointed out, “After the secretary throws you a baby shower, it’s hard to say, ‘I need this by 10 a.m.’” If you’ve shared the details of your personal life, your dating fiascos, your family problems with your secretary, it’s hard to assert authority. So you want to be friendly, but not friends.
On the other hand, you don’t want to be the queen bee. Be sensitive to the possibility that your secretary doesn’t view you as a “real boss.” She might balk at being asked or told to do things by you. If you detect this, the best advice I heard was to be calm and straightforward about it. Humor helps. One young woman associate told of arriving for her first day of work, and having her secretary boldly say: “I don’t like working with women attorneys.” The associate laughingly replied, “Well, I don’t really like working with women secretaries, but why don’t we just take this one day at a time and see how it goes?” They got along great after that!
An attorney with Baker Botts in Dallas recommends that you “Non-threateningly, and without anger, say, ‘It won’t serve either one of us if you don’t do my work. It’ll reflect on you. I know you’re used to male bosses. But my work needs to get done. I understand it, I’ve had these issues myself.’ Put it on the table!” A law school career services officer suggests, “Tell your secretary, ‘I know you’re really busy doing work for X, but I need my phone answered. How can we do that?’”
Recognize that what your secretary does is an area of expertise. You’re working with them as a team. Show deference to what you can learn from her. Ask, ‘Can you tell me how this is done?’ or ‘Do they send a courtesy copy of this to the judge?’ Instead of saying ‘Get this motion typed!’ try, ‘How does X like to start his motions?’ If you inconvenience them, apologize! Say, ‘I’m sorry, it took me too long to write this affidavit, can you handle it for me this afternoon? Are you working on anything else? I’ll talk to the attorney you’re doing work for right now... ‘ It’s really a matter of being polite and tactful.’
It may be that despite your best efforts, your secretary is dead set against working for a woman and there’s nothing you can do to change that. One female associate talked about being assigned a secretary who wouldn’t even acknowledge her existence. She tried being friendly, pleading, begging, cajoling—nothing. When the associate subtly brought up the matter to other associates, they breezily responded, “Oh, Diana hates working for women. She does that to every woman she’s assigned to.” The associate went straight to the secretarial supervisor and described the problem—it wasn’t a surprise. The associate pointed out, “I wanted to work with her, but she just wasn’t having it. Ultimately, the work’s got to get done, and if she wouldn’t do it—I needed somebody who would '”

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