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Brief Reminiscence

October 29, 2014

I married the Ex in December of 1994, and about a week later moved with him to Birmingham, Alabama, where he was in law school.  I worked as a legal assistant first at a large multi-city firm (which has since grown to BigLaw proportions, from what I can tell), and then moved over to a small boutique litigation firm.*

In the smaller firm, I worked for an attorney who was as rare as they come in Alabama in 1995:  A woman partner.  She was around my mom’s age, and she had a reputation for being …. difficult.  Yet, she and I clicked.  For some reason – this is a strength of mine.  I work well with very difficult people.

Anyway, she frequently encouraged me to stop supporting the Ex and get my own butt in law school.  “Go to the University of Alabama, and then you and I can be partners!”  I think I was pregnant with E at the time, and while law school was still a long-term goal, it was not on my immediate horizon.

The office manager at that firm abhorred the attorney I worked for, and the feeling was mutual.  The office manager knew that I got along well with the attorney, and so she took out her issues on me as well as on the attorney.  One year, she chose not to give me a bonus, despite the fact that both attorneys I worked with thought I did fantastic work and we all worked well together.  When pressed, the office manager said it was because she based the bonuses on the number of “documents created”. This was the dawn of the Document Management System era.  Allowing her to count the number of documents each assistant created.  She didn’t really care that the way my team worked was for the partner to open a document and type a mishmash of craziness in, and then tell me to go in and prepare it for filing or sending or whatever.

The attorney I worked with was very apologetic that I was being treated this way, and wrote me a personal check for the amount of the bonus that the other legal assistants received.

I don’t know what made me think of that today.  But I do know that I just can’t imagine someone’s performance being measured by the number of documents he or she created.

How stupid.

*Kind of funny that my legal assistant career in Birmingham matches my legal career post-law school.

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