My Life as a Law Firm Manager

Throughout my career, I have worked in a number of fields. In all of my endeavors and experiences over the years, it never crossed my mind that I would spend any amount of time working in the field of law. Once upon a time in St. Louis, Missouri, I worked for a lawyer briefly and it was not a pleasant experience to put it mildly. This guy jaded me so much that I vowed I would never work in a law firm again. Then, about seven years ago, I moved to Asheville, North Carolina.

Never Say Never
I had been doing independent research and consulting in St. Louis for quite a while, but decided to see what the local Asheville job market had to offer. My first interview landed me smack dab in the middle of a law firm as a title abstractor and potential office manager. The 90 day probationary period was as much for me as it was for the firm. I had to be sure these guys weren’t like the unethical so-and-so I worked for so long ago. They weren’t.

Attorneys are Demanding
Working in a law firm can be difficult. It is a demanding and stressful environment. Not every personality can make it in the legal industry. Deadlines loom constantly and mistakes are unforgivable. There is nothing soft and cuddly about working with attorneys.

Learn as You Grow
Entering the firm as a title abstractor prior to taking over as office manager allowed me to learn the inner dynamics of the office and the workflows. Knowing how a job is done makes managing people who do that job all the easier. It allowed me to grow into the position as manager. Successfully managing the office proved to be quite a challenge, but one that I met with vigor and usually with grace. I genuinely enjoyed the vast array of knowledge and skills I had to develop to do my job effectively and efficiently.

Always Maintain the Status Quo
There is a certain amount of monotony inherent in any office position and this is of course holds true in a law firm. Maintaining attention to detail and precision with all tasks is perhaps the toughest part of working in the legal industry. However, if you can maintain, and can tolerate the stress of the environment, a career in law can be rather fruitful. I was incredibly lucky to have the opportunity I had managing that office. The attorneys were truly good people and they did what they could to make the environment as stress-free as possibly while retaining an exceptional level of professionalism.

The End of My Life in a Law Firm
Five years after that fateful interview, I cried as I tendered my resignation. I had been made an offer I couldn’t refuse. In hindsight, as with many offers of that nature, perhaps I should have refused. Despite any downsides, my time spent as the manager of a law firm was full of good memories. Would I work in another law firm? Only if they are as cool as the last guys.

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