Is this normal? At an AMLaw 100 and it seems like the staff rule the office. Legal assistants and paralegals push back often and negotiate the “ask” of a task. When I started I advocated for what I needed quite a bit. Well almost 3 years later and I feel like they’ve won: I’ve stopped advocating but I’m exhausted. I really feel like I can’t practice like this and feel like this alone warrants a search for a different firm. Am I being irrational in leaving for this reason? Ugh

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That does seem unusual. What is an example of pushing back?

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Staff support quality varies widely across firms and even within firms. Most firms are terrible about providing training, communicating clear standards, ensuring quality, and paying for good performance.

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The first biglaw firm I worked at was like that. After leaving and practicing a couple other places for the better part of a decade, and after talking with friends at other places about their experiences now and then (in general, sometimes stuff like this would come up), I am pretty confident that what you experienced isn’t normal. Of course, it also isn’t unheard of. Sometimes the staff really knows where their bread is buttered, and if the partners treat associates like crap (beyond what is biglaw-normal in terms of being highly demanding), staff will often pick up that attitude. In some places every problem is always the associates’ fault, and staff knows that if they are difficult for associates to work with (being consistently late with projects, refusing reasonable requests, half-asking everything, etc.), associates will just get blamed. Things like that happening are usually indicative of larger cultural rot at the firm and not a good sign for your long term prospects (career wise or happiness wise).

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Not normal. I'll normally ask some qs to get my head around what you are asking me to do but certainly won't negotiate the ask itself unless it's really unreasonable or I'm supporting another lawyer and have no time.

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Tbh, at the end of the day, legal assistants and admin mostly work for the partners. An associate should really do as much as he or she can alone. I still blackline my own documents and send calendar invites. I like my admin, but I also realize it’s unreasonable for her to do my tasks when partners are breathing down her neck. My admin has *9* attorneys (4 partners). It seems like I’m in the minority here, regarding opinions.

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Very much disagree. Especially in the ID world, associates’ time will be cut if they do paralegal or admin tasks. You have to assign that stuff out. My assistants at various firms have never had more than 4 attorneys. Usually 1-2 partners and 1-2 associates.

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Wow. This is definitely not normal.

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At least they’re no psychos. I’ve had psychos. Not fun.

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The staff at my old firm (AmLaw 200) were gold standard. Like, I cannot express enough how wonderful and on top of it even the “worst” of them were. The staff at my new firm (AmLaw 100) are as you describe. Push back constantly, forget to do tasks I ask for unless reminded a bunch of times, tell me they won’t do certain tasks, calendar/save/enter things wrong, screw up basic filings... Like you, I’m exhausted and have stopped bothering if it’s something I can do quickly. I do so much more admin/paralegal work than I used to.

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