Posts Tagged ‘paralegals’

Law Firm Office Romances: Inevitable Or A Really Bad Idea?

February 24, 2010

Are law firm office romances inevitable or a really bad idea?  The answer is both.  While it is never the best idea to get romantically involved with coworkers for a plethora of reasons, it is often inevitable.

Starting a romance with coworkers while not illegal has a number of risks associated with it.  The first thing to do if you are contemplating having a romantic relationship with someone at the office is to check to see if the firm has rules regarding this.  If your law firm has enunciated a specific rule against office romances, the answer is simple if you and your romantic interest both want to continue working there.  If one of you is willing to leave and work elsewhere, that is a way around this rule.

It can be particularly problematic if you have a relationship with someone who reports to you.  When things go well with your relationship, others may complain that the person working for you gets the best assignments or received the highest raise, etc.  As with the law, you must avoid even the appearance of impropriety.  If the relationship ends, your prior romantic interest may claim sexual harassment.

Before embarking on an office romance, you must also think ahead to how you would feel if your relationship with the other person ended and you had to watch other suitors come to meet her or him at the office at the end of the work day.  Conversely, you should think ahead to how your romantic interest would cope with seeing you date others if the relationship ends.

Even with all of the problems listed above associated with romantic relationships in the office, they are inevitable at law firms.  People who work at law firms tend to work very hard and generally work longer hours than those in many other careers.   This is true right on down the line from partners and associates to recruiting managers to paralegals and legal secretaries.  Working such long hours makes it very hard to meet the love of your life outside of the office.  In addition, the effect of fox hole camaraderie is very strong.  When attorneys, paralegals and secretaries are working on a large deal and must stay at the office until 2:00 a.m. together with the stress of having to get the documents for the deal completed before the next day, a certain closeness develops.

In conclusion, if you are considering embarking on a romance with one of your coworkers, check the office manual to ascertain whether there are any rules against this.  In addition, think about how you and the other person will handle it if the relationship ends.  If after you consider all of the above and still fall in love with someone at your firm, be discreet and do not engage in much public affection at the office, and I wish you a long and happy future together.

Social Networking Sites Can Help or Hurt You When Seeking a Job

February 8, 2010

Social networking can be a great asset in searching for a job, if used correctly and prudently.  With so many people embracing and posting profiles on social networking sites such as Linkedin and Facebook, we are now able to reach out to hundreds of people with just a few clicks of the mouse.

The social networking site that we have found to be the most helpful for attorneys, paralegals and other professionals who are seeking a new position is Linkedin.  This website contains the profiles of many professionals and people in hiring positions at law firms and corporations.  It also contains the profiles of many people who are connected to individuals in hiring positions at law firms and corporations.  It is a great way to reconnect with old schoolmates, friends and colleagues whom you may have lost touch with.  If they agree to connect and open their connections to you, you will be able to see whom they know who might be able to assist you in your job search.  If one of their connections is someone whom you would like to meet, ask your old schoolmate, friend or colleague to make an introduction for you.  This is a particularly good way to get introduced to someone whom you would not otherwise meet.

As helpful as social networking can be in your job search if used properly, it can also prevent you from getting a job if not used prudently.  Please keep in mind that everything that you post on line or that your friends post on your profile is easily obtainable by your potential employer.

At SMR Legal Search, we place attorneys and paralegals at law firms and corporations in the greater Philadelphia area and throughout the rest of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Washington, D.C. and the rest of the Northeast.  I cannot begin to tell you how many law firms and corporations have been about to hire a partner, associate or paralegal and then checked their Facebook profile and changed their mind.  Seeing things such as a photo of you or one of your friends in a bikini or other suggestive photo is one of the more obvious reasons why your Facebook profile may kill the deal.   There are also more subtle things that employers look at on your Facebook profile that would really surprise you.  Many employers whom I work with check to see how many friends that you have on Facebook to judge how well you get along with people.  Others check which books you have listed on your profile as an indicator of how smart you are.    Employers also frequently check the profiles of all of your friends listed on your profile to see what type of people you associate with.    Another thing looked at by employers is the wall posts on your profile.  Any talk of alcohol or drugs will surely prevent you from being hired.

My advice to you is to take off any suggestive photos or words that are not squeaky clean on your social networking profiles right now.  The rule of thumb is to not have anything on your profile that you would not show to a potential employer. Then, when you start going for job interviews, take down your Facebook profile altogether.

Hopefully, this advice will help you to obtain the job of your dreams in 2010!

SMR Legal Search is a legal recruiting firm based in Philadelphia and New Jersey that places attorneys and paralegals in permanent positions throughout the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York, Washington, D.C. and the rest of the Northeast.   Their recruiters are former practicing attorneys and paralegals with extensive law firm and legal recruiting experience.