MiaAttny

Gift Giving at the Office

Determining who in your office you should give a gift to and how much you should spend on that person can be a matter of office politics.  In some offices, there is a culture of giving and if you ask around people will tell you who you should give gifts to and how much is typically spent.  In other offices there is a set policy.  Unfortunately, in my office there is no identifiable culture or set policy. My first holiday season with my firm as a full time associate was in 2008, the economy had crashed, our salaries reduced, and we…

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Small Firm Life: Salary Negotiation Tips

This weekend I did a presentation on the Wage Gap with the American Association of University Women (AAUW).  There are many factors that contribute to the Wage Gap between men and women, however, the purpose of our presentation was to assist women with the salary negotiation process.  Although everyone prepares for an interview, many people do not prepare when negotiating their salary.  It is very exciting to receive a job offer, especially in this economy, however, it is important to remember that the hiring process can be equally time consuming and exhausting for the employer.  When you receive a job offer, even though…

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Small Firm Life: Does the Workhorse Get the Biggest Raise?

It's raise time for the attorneys at my firm and although we still don’t know our exact raises, after some gossiping we are pretty certain who is ranked at the bottom and at the top.  Knowing the rankings, I can assure you that the “workhorses” did not get the biggest raises.  The people who are ranked the highest are not the attorneys that work the longest hours or have the most legal knowledge, they are the attorneys who know how to “play the game” the best.  Unfortunately, for people who thought playing the game was only for law school, politics will…

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Small Firm Life: Why I do Toastmasters

One of my mentors recommended that I join Toastmasters when I first graduated law school.  At first I was skeptical, I was on moot court and I do not get nervous when speaking in public so I wasn’t sure how I could benefit from the organization.  However, I decided to try it out, if nothing else, for the opportunity to network with other professionals in my community.  What is Toastmasters?  For those of you who are unfamiliar with Toastmasters, it is an international non-profit organization where individuals develop their public speaking skills.  Toastmasters meetings are usually held on a weekly basis…

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Small Firm Life: Managing Up

When I read workplace success books and articles or receive career advice from mentors everyone always reminds me of the importance of “managing up.” The concept of managing up is to try and work with your boss to obtain the best results for both your boss and the company.  Rather than kissing up to your boss or trying to change him/her, the idea is to try and understand your boss and use these tools to your advantage.  I think it is a great concept on principle but I have always found it difficult to put into practice.  My boss is…

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Small Firm Life: Performance Reviews

This week I had my annual review at work.  In the days leading up to the review I was increasingly nervous about it, not because I thought it would be negative but because last year I had a very difficult time articulating my responses to the Managing Partner’s observations.  I felt so frustrated because as soon as I left the meeting I thought of a million things I could have said but did not.  I thought I was adequately prepared for the review because I had completed my Self Assessment and reviewed it before the meeting, but this was not…

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Small Firm Life: Jumping to Conclusions

Office politics can be scary and frustrating, especially when you may not have all of the information you need.  This week I was reminded just how important it is to remain calm and gather all information before jumping to conclusions.   I was at a managers meeting where I was informed that everyone else would be performing a new administrative function except me.  I immediately felt frustrated and I began to worry that by not performing this role there would be a perception around the office that I was not at the same level as the other managers.  To make matters…

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Small Firm Life - Office Friendships

My office has a total of 25 employees; only 4 of these employees are men. Since women tend to build relationships by connecting with each other, it’s hard to draw a line between friendships and professional relationships in my office. Although we have smaller cliques within the office, in general everyone is friendly with everyone else, except those women who refuse to develop friendships, even professional friendships, with the other women. Recently I have read several articles cautioning against friendships in the workplace, and while in theory I agree, I have witnessed the following occurrences when people have avoided friendships…

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Small Firm Life - The Micromanaging Managing Partner

One of the benefits of working in a small firm is that I have my own clients and cases. I enjoy being able to interact with the clients, making sure they are satisfied, and overseeing cases from start to finish. I have two major accounts that I work with and I am responsible for managing client expectations as well as the team that works on these accounts. This freedom also comes at a price – at least in my case.Before the Managing Partner decided to (or was forced by our corporate office) to expand our office, all of the clients…

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Small Firm Life: Office Humor

When I first started at my firm as a Summer Associate I was advised by one of the Senior Attorneys that the Managing Partner was concerned about hiring me because I was “too quiet”. I confronted him about this comment and he told me that did not feel that he could joke around with me. Being from the Northeast, I know am more reserved than many of my Miami counterparts, however, I was shocked when I realized that what I considered to be my professional demeanor was affecting my career. In contrast, some of the Associates in my office have…

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