Q for associates in boutique litigation firms: When you’ve drafted a complaint/motion/brief to be filed, do the partners allow you to actually sign the filing in your own name? For context, I’m a new associate at a class action firm where there’s ample opportunity to do substantive work & pursue your own case ideas from the get go. Today, I’m getting ready to file a complaint I drafted when a partner told me to remove my signature & insert his instead. Is this standard?

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Normal, especially in the beginning.

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Standard. You start your career in the trenches blocking so Tom Brady can hoist the trophy.

From a practical standpoint, no defense attorneys know who you are. When I get a new class action to defend the first thing I do is go look at the signature block.

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As a 5th year litigation associate with little to no oversight who signs my name to complaints all too often, I can verify that the pressure of being the primary signatory on the complaint is not always worth the hype...Especially if you’re still early on in your career and still learning day by day.

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When I started I never included my name on the signature block and was never asked to. I kind of assumed I was there to ghost write stuff. Over time partners began asking me to put my name on the signature block with theirs. I saw it as an acknowledgment of effort.

But if you did all the work in finding and retaining the client, investigating, and writing the complaint, I think it would be respectful for your partner to at least let you keep your name on it with theirs. Otherwise that sounds normal.

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If it makes you feel better I almost never am the signator. I have a few small value cases I handle independently but for anything involving real money, a partner is the signator.

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That was pretty standard for the first year or so, with no name in the caption for the first 6 months. Little by little, my name started creeping into signature blocks after I was observed to be competent to appear and hold my own. Even then, signing a demand letter isn't the same as signing an MSJ. After almost 4 years in the firm, some important work product that is 80% mine (plus 19% template/boilerplate and 1% a junior/paralegal) still gets signed by the partner because of client/OC expectations.

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Totally normal. If it was a brief you could ask to put your name under theres, but you’re probably not getting disrespected. They probably want to make sure the other side knows who to call once it gets served and they retain counsel. If you have more time under your belt and it still happens maybe say something but it’s pretty normal

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This is standard, at the beginning. Especially if the client came to the firm through that partner.

That may be a bit off a one off.

Also the client expectations likely is correct.

Standard.

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