20 Law Prac. Mgmt. 46 (1994)
Dysfunction in the Law Office (Do You Recognize Anyone Here); Nefertari, Nomalanga

handle is hein.journals/lwpra20 and id is 254 raw text is: INTERNAL FIRM RELATIONS

DYSFUNCTION
in the
LAW OFFICE
(DO YOU RECOGNIZE
ANYONE HERE?)
By Nomalanga Nefertari
i     ts 11 a'm. on Monday. John Smith, a partner at a medium-sized law
firm, realizes he has a brief to file in two days which he has avoided.
Discovery in another case is due tomorrow, but he hasn't had time to
review the file. A response to a motion for summary judgment in his
biggest case is due shortly, and he is certain associates have bungled it.
His paralegal is out sick. His secretary, who can't type as fast as he
believes she should, arrived late because of a family emergency. To make
matters worse, the opening topic at the breakfast board meeting was
firm finances-in the red. Financial concerns were quickly diverted by
disgruntled comments about the receptionist who isn't answering calls
properly, and associates who aren't producing quality work.
Smith, already suffering a throbbing headache, proceeds to his secre-
tary's desk, blaming her for not reminding him sooner of discovery dead-
lines. When she complains that routine emergencies and long hours are
stressing her out, he responds rudely that she needs to pay more atten-
tion to details. He calls opposing counsel for an extension of time on his
discovery, blaming his secretary's shortsightedness for overlooking the
due date.
He then walks down the hall to the ojfice of an associate-who did
not return any of the half-dozen calls he made to his home over the
weekend. Smith hands him the discovery to finish, and in an intimidat-
ing manner tells him to drop everything, including his plans for an
upcoming three-day weekend.

46 Law Practice Management

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