I was told it wasn’t my job. She does better with things that are back and white, or are more of a routine type of task. A lot of newly graduated lawyers who live in oil and gas territory spend some time abstracting because it’s good experience and often good money (for as long as a particular project lasts). When I get them I get hyper, struggle to sleep, stumble and am clumsy, lose my ability to choose words, feel like I’m listening to someone talk from the end of a long hallway, and feel unsafe driving (it’s too much decision-making to process.). As a new employee it’s great to be trusted with everything, but it isn’t great when you then have to redo everything twice because it’s too hard for your level. We are all human. Some people need more treatment than expected and they often have to do a lot of the tests themselves before a doctor takes them seriously. You’re going to end up doubling all of her work to make sure it’s right (which is going to be a waste of resources), or continue to get things wrong. hi Dawn, what is your department or type of role called? Just an idea, my MIL (retired english teacher) works part time doing grammar and spelling checks. Think about your clients, and your obligation to them. This is not the right position for her and you’re hurting your firm and your clients by allowing her to stay on in her current capacity. I think everyone deserves the chance to find a job they are successful at. Per the OP, Jessie has a track record of not finding errors in reviewing her own work, and there’s absolutely nothing that prevents her from confusing or swapping the coded terms. And performance on the LSAT is primarily driven by whether you took test prep, with the result being that higher SES students often take those prep courses and get higher SES scores. Again, helped improve the quality of my work tremendously. If your comprehension of the existence of an error is the issue, though, the types of checklists you’re talking about aren’t gonna bridge the gap enough. No attention to detail. The evidence part is scary to me. You don’t stick through library work for the big bucks…. The place where I would recommend helping her if you have time is in reviewing this thought process with her. She is not cut out for this. Not her mentor, guru, parent, conscience, Jiminy Cricket, Fairy Godmother, guardian angel, or personal savior. I don’t know if Jessie’s problem is her newness or something more. Yes, what Not a Lawyer said. Well, if you read back up, my reference to ADHD was an example and Slow Gin Lizz suggested that this professional adult might have no idea that health issues in general could be causing her troubles at work. The OP clearly has a good rapport with Jessie and cares about her a lot. And I guess my question is….if Jessie needs all these laboriously constructed checklists to be minimally effective in the role, and needs to spend (billable) time working through them, and her peers do not need as much effort and time to do stuff because they’re more effective at automatically self-checking…..does that really change my conclusion that Jessie is not appropriate for this role? And whatever the diagnosis, this could take far longer than the organization can afford. That’s a reading comprehension issue, but I’m not sure how to help her fix it. The problem is that she doesn’t seem to be learning or improving. My very favorite law firm typo thus far is that Paul Manafort’s attorney mixed up cypress (the tree) and Cyprus (the country) throughout his entire bail application memo filed late last year. I don’t understand how no one is checking her work, and I don’t know that this is a fixable issue… but also can’t tell if anyone has even made Jessie aware how serious her errors are. They were incorrect – had the house in Primo’s name only. Absolutely. This is starting to inch over into malpractice territory, especially given the example you cited. There are a ton of vets and doctors with ADHD. Insurance and financial services companies are always hiring lawyers and people with law backgrounds into compliance and regulatory roles. Lovely man. You may not know what’s really setting off a student’s issues because they won’t tell you, and they won’t tell you because of how aggressively universities like to deny you basic human compassion when you do ask for help. Best to have a colleague do it for you and vice versa. I’m not as negative as that implies, but I do tend to spot problems and issues that others don’t – which in some situations makes me the rain on people’s parades. This is the type of checklist that would be appropriate to a middle school language arts class in essay writing, not for a lawyer. Even beyond that, I use ProWritingAid to assist in editing writing (it’s similar to Grammarly), and… you can’t just sling something in there and expect it to fix everything for you. I have only a limited idea of what goes on in law school, but reviewing and summarizing documents was certainly part of the curriculum when I got my paralegal certificate. My husband and I recently bought a new car and they guy filling out the paperwork kept getting my husband’s name wrong. 2. We would emphasize how important telling the truth is and still be lied to. I’m not saying she should be fired right this very second, but she should be told very clearly that she’s going to be if she keeps making these kinds of mistakes. However, these are the exact types of errors people with ADHD make. I ended up leaving it out so, hopefully, they wouldn't scrutinise it as closely. I wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD (and a number of other disorders & learning disabilities) til I was FORTY EIGHT, long after it might have made any real difference in my life. I am an excellent test taker. I fired a lawyer for this. I’m in banking and I’m in the Bank Secrecy Act department. It’s a learning disability, not a doing disability. One of my good friends is a former special-needs educator. Attorneys owe their clients a duty of competence, zealous representation,  confidentiality, and maybe a few others that fit into a general idea of “you have to put their interests first so long as they’re legal.” Her inability is rising to the level of incompetence,  if it hasn’t gone past it yet. So my checklist always includes a section to write down mistakes I do find so I can search the whole product for them. It sounds silly but I promise it really helps. Make a list of place names (etc) and check that each one in the document is spelled correctly. College is nothing, NOTHING like real life at all. I was taught it in clinic (your last year of school you can do some representation through a program) and, sure enough, almost all my clinic clients lied to me. Not trying to diagnose this employee in anyway, but thought I’d share my own experience. He’s still laughing but I’m getting a vibe he’s offended by that… and frankly I’m having a hard time keeping the “you’re a moron, off you fuck” look off my face when I deal with him now too :S. Onr item to check – maybe pop on unexpectedly amd watch her work? We develop checklists for standard processes, not for, “Are you sure that the evidence matches what the client says?” or for, “Are you sure you got the clients’ names right?”, Exactly. I have also attended continuing education describing lawyers’ work being reviewed by paralegals for typos and substance as a usual or even best practice. That said, she might run into problems with deadlines and billable hours. On the other hand that kind of thing speaks to a specific skill set toward reading accounting documents and bank statements. In the past, I’ve had trouble with trying to pay attention to ALL THE DETAILS AT ONCE. Mediation might be a good career path if Jessie is an empathetic “people person” but not as great at writing. What process did you use to clarify things? Make a list. might be a better fit for her. I have dealt with this with direct reports in accounting & contracts. You also don’t know what kind of transient things are going on with a student at any given time. It’s an essential skill for this job, and Jessie isn’t asking for any kind of accommodations. There’s only so much good advice, and hard work, and double-checking can do when a person is suffering from a basic lack of IQ points. “you can’t get a good LSAT without a high IQ”. As I enjoy tests, I do better at them, which helps me enjoy them more, which…happy test taking feedback loop! We develop checklists for astronauts and surgeons after all. Dragon or something? The problem with that is that I’ve also been improving, so he’s always lagging and can’t take on higher level projects without review- and due to the sporadic typos, most of the more basic stuff needs review. This might be a know yourself kind of thing. It took a LOT. If they can transition her into another position with the firm, one that she could excel in, that would be great. Now, it’s possible that the problem is that Jessie doesn’t know how to do those things. Even if ADD/ADHD is the case, or as Alison suggested possibly a issue with reading comprehension and/or critical thinking, it may be just too late to ‘fix’ this for this particular job/employer. It’s certainly true that you’re not paying Jessie to learn to proofread, but law firms are basically long apprenticeships where you learn to practice. There was. Someone upthread said ADHD meds aren’t an overnight fix, but they kind of are. The reasons can be the following: oor attendance of the employees; ViolPation of company policy; Ethical issues in … I do not think I’m more intelligent than people who don’t test well. coworker won’t stop consulting an ex-employee, my boss won’t wear a mask, and more, HR is giving me bad vibes, but I like the hiring manager. But there still “recognizing fact patterns” piece, which you absolutely should pick up going through law school and passing the bar. However, if she knows that she is prone to these kind of errors, she can add them to her checklist: Show them, verbal warning…etc. I’m not sure how she made it past her interview. You kind of hit my nail on the head. I’m 43 now; I take meds, and it has been a life-changing — not only am I better at work and life, I no longer feel terrible about my flaws. You’re managing staff. It should be expected that a new lawyer won’t understand every type of complex legal document placed in front of her. Did she just not know that the use of funds was relevant, so she didn’t look to confirm how it was used at all? A checklist isn’t going to help Jessie understand that what a document says is the opposite of what she thinks it says. Typos Just read docs and click a button whether they’re relevant or not. Go take a look. Is that the case here? —I don’t think OP (or anyone else at the company) should ask her if she has been, or suggest that she get evaluated. Can you describe a time when you were able to produce quality work when under pressure? I wouldn’t expect a properly educated paralegal to make those sorts of mistakes, let alone an attorney. She needs to find a niche that she’ll thrive in — this office doesn’t sound like the one. We took a lot of classes with the same faculty and classmates and formed close relationships with them–our main teachers were intimately familiar with each student’s work and goals, and (as working professionals rather than research academics) were able to give practical and considered career advice to us. To use the room cleaning example, if you apply the mucking out the stable list to a cleaning up the bedroom job, you’re going to have a problem. In addition, they are best for people who can do the work. Check for all occurrences of the Defendant’s name and make sure they are correct. “Does it make sense” is too vague. Sure, if she turns it around in a few days or a week, maybe. Ultimately, these are problems that get attorneys fired or disbarred. Had I not had those experiences, I would likely have taken my client’s word for it until proven otherwise. Things others handled with ease were inexplicably harder for me. Mistakes in legal documents can change people’s lives; if she’s throwing it off as “oh, I’ll get better” or “oops” – major problem. I totally agree with this. It is if you break it down into a series of fairly specific questions. I developed a little routine for when I’m getting ready to focus. I am not so sure about the typos either. You need a good LSAT score to get into a good school–and you can’t get a good LSAT without a high IQ. Heh, this was me with our mortgage. I prefer it because then I can tell myself that all of those will have been corrected by the time they print…whereas if I read a finished book rife with errors, I just want to throw it across the room and/or go find the production editor/copy editor/proofreader and tell them a thing or two. (I’m still paying off this lawyer, btw, and it angers me so much when I get a bill from them every month with my name spelled wrong). On the other, as my friend put it, you don’t get extended time to figure out what to do and go over, for example, numbers for dosing when someone rushes in to your ER with their dog who has just been hit by a car and is bleeding all over the place. That should be looked into/ruled out as well. If anything, you need reading/writing and critical thinking skills that are *far above average* to be a professor! I’m not sure I agree. How do I help someone’s performance improve? The word up-to-date means current, so this phrase means that the employee keeps his/her knowledge about the field (area of work or study) current. I have long, detailed checklists because if it was about paying attention, I wouldn’t have this problem. At the very least a more constant attention to detail since those roles are drafting heavy. Since she lacks the most basic skills/competencies, what does she bring to the table? The class was on understanding customers. Then, make sure that she fixes them herself. How did you go about that? Not the typos, that evidence issue. I said borderline malpractice but I realize this could just be straight up malpractice. “The question is if it is worth it to the firm to take the time that will likely be necessary to teach it.”. If she’d written in, these would be good tips. It’s also irrelevant to a discussion in which we are not supposed to be armchair diagnosing anyway. Not just her, the OP likely has duties as her supervising attorney. I had to find something else when I realized it wasn’t working out and happened to find an opportunity in a new career in the wealth management firld where I could use a legal background but there was a little more.. room for a learning curve, if that makes sense. Not every person has that set of skills. A high score on the LSAT tells us only 2 things – that the individual is literate, and that they are good at taking the LSAT. IQ is a terrible metric with terrible history and I don’t even know why it’s being brought up. It worked out well for him in the end, but the thought of going completely through both architecture and medical school makes my head hurt — they’re both so labor-intensive and expensive. This would be her last chance to ask for accommodations. But if she is missing these more nuanced details within the evidence, she’s never going to advance to a point where it’s worth expending extra manpower to proof her work. 0. But as we’re likely both common law countries, I suspect that our ethical norms (duty of candor, loyalty, confidentiality and the fiduciary duty) and the professional consequences for violating those duties are similar. Just about everyone gets a job in a government law office or firm or whatever in that time frame. Now you are negligently allowing someone to harm your firm’s clients moving forward. It’s one thing to have a typo or two in a document — not great, especially in legal documents, but usually fixable. But if they swear to these dates, have they considered the implications for child support? Night and day. Seconding Jen’s “clients lie” comment, and also whenever an attorney submits something to a court, they affirm that the information within is, to the best of their knowledge, true. There are certain things you need to do on each project of a given type. Employees Write-Up Templates. my own rheumatologist!) Pay close attention to the numbers and make sure to double check your work. People with high LSATs go to all sorts of schools. She asked me to read it, and I pointed out the discord there. Maybe you mean Grammarly? I blame sleep deprivation and I can keep it together at work for the most part. OH yikes OP – Allison’s advice is spot on. That one! It’s a type of writing you literally only use to graduate and pass the bar exam. Your kindness sets her up to fail and opens your firm up to a lot of liabilities. Went and got myself checked for attention deficit disorders and was found to have ADD, and prescribed meds. The one thing that Jessie struggles with is attention to detail. An attorney needs to be able to write coherent documents without requiring a 100% copy edit by a paralegal because there is not always time or personnel to do that, even in large law firms. A couple things that helped me – I created a list of things I had to check in each document – first, when I worked as a prosecutor, I turned my Microsoft word grammar and spelling check up to 11. In hindsight, my attention deficit issues were glaring from the time I entered school — ask any woman with ADD if she has that telltale first-grade report card that pegs her as a “daydreamer.”. That’s the crappiest thing about business I’ve ever dealt with in my career. It’s true that there are many non-rigorous and exploitative schools. software to review documents and locate key words, but you also need some inherent good judgment and attention to detail to identify things that might be important for your case. Then in real lawyer life the person who had to correct my mistakes was – surprise – not happy about it. But the trust would be so gone for me. Turned out he was on office IM all day stopping every few minutes to chat! (Not, of course, of the sort wherein there is a mismatch between alleged evidence and actual evidence; see above re: zero legal training. There are multiple reasons for this. The schools that do give students this practice should be rated much more highly. I wouldn’t have guessed what it was in a million years. The OP’s responsibility is to let Jessie know, if she didn’t already, that this problem is serious so she can take care of the other steps herself. If she were just not paying attention because she was overly cavalier about the work, that would still be pretty problematic. But it DOES make skilled people more effective when properly implemented. I know tons of people with JD’s who work in the Compliance department for major corporations doing a variety of roles. I agree with Alison — have you made sure that she understands just how serious this is? I’m bad at copy-editing/catching typos in a short period of time, but based on the letter, this isn’t just a copy-editing issue – it’s a she’s bad at her job issue. Don’t worry if you don’t have previous work experience. *check plaintiff Name Big law mid-/senior-level associate here, and this strikes a chord. With numbers I just always have to go back and create some checks for myself or I won’t catch problems (like, is the sum of this column bigger than total the award amount … okay clearly there’s a problem somewhere), with other fill in data it might be harder. For me, at this point, I literally glance at a paragraph and get a warning alarm; sometimes it then takes ten minutes to drill through the language and find the thing that set it off–and I miss things too! Literally all he had to do was go down a check list for each item he was working on and flag what was missing or wrong. I also have little patience for rigid gatekeeping- so often it has little to do with the reality of life and work after the program ends. – How do you know it? But I’ve met plenty of incompetent lawyers from top schools and plenty of stars from “lower ranked” schools. Things your colleague should do for every case (that do not require you to help her): Even law-adjacent jobs – I do environmental regulatory compliance work, and shining details is so very not a thing in this role. Hope the correct person got her invoice eventually…. he uses a lot of checklists and reminders (good for some situations but not all-if you miss things when reading, you’ll sometimes miss steps on a checklist too), I’ve seen that too. 1. Review her work and point out her mistakes. Jessie’s errors erode her credibility, and you can’t be effective in the sort of role you describe without it. This is a real question, not intended to be snark. I caught the bosses’ errors! I’ve never fainted at the sight of anything (I’ve never fainted period), but I’m still extremely squeamish and usually can’t look when there’s an operating scene on TV. Honestly, as a lawyer myself, Jessie is under-skilled to do this job. I came to law school from a fast-paced operational environment, where people could be hurt or killed if you didn’t react, and where reports came after. It’s part of this job. I know this sounds basic, but a lot of junior lawyers are never trained in how to read evidence or scaffold a case. I appreciate MBTI is not a hard fact based “science” for all, but it might give an indicator. I have a hard time keeping track of a lot of information in my head, the way you often have to do in college tests, and I have some maybe-dyscalculia difficulty with arithmetic. People seem to think that ‘If student/trainee is listening attentively I can just tell them how to Skill, and – voila!’. I wish. You may need to limit her responsibilities until she can handle and master her discrete assignments. Paralegals are also required to use critical thinking skills. Good luck. It does not matter why you are not providing diligent representation, if you can’t do so, you do not practice law. If you are running a company, employee write-ups are parts of your job. Because the need to communicate in a timely manner is more important to mine and others’ work than the need to ensure every internal email is perfect. If I’m going to freak out at irregularities other people wouldn’t notice, might as well get paid for it. Court deadlines can come up fast, and just getting a document written, approved by the client and partner, and formatted per court rules/specifications is often challenging. Also, write it down. But the people who couldn’t function at all without those tools were always scrambling a bit in the role, especially compared to the people who could get used to the rhythm and requirements of a project and just use the tools as a final checklist to make sure they hadn’t missed anything. The problem is they’re trusted by people who cannot fight their way out of a paper sack of financial records without a map, so they’re at the mercy of these bad accountants. I’m really good at reading interrogatively, but I hit a limit when I’m proofing an index. The only reason I would advise the OP to consider if something else is at play is if Jessie was a high performer and now isn’t. – What do you know? Make a detailed summary of every case (I believe this would be similar to case briefs and outlines that she probably did in law school for test prep) and review this information every time she works on the case. Those are really serious errors. And she hasn’t realized that maybe the job isn’t for her. It is really tough on a manager to have a talented employee you like, and who is clearly diligent and hard-working, and still lets too many mistakes slip through. Critical thinking skills can seem a more difficult issue to overcome, but they are taught to people every day. My friend accommodated this, but kept thinking, “architecture is ALL ABOUT following instructions!” Safety codes, zoning, client needs, etc—it’s at the nucleus of the job. But he didn’t have a suspicious or cynical bone in his body. I am right there with you. Sure, it can be the thing that makes all the difference, but she’s still going to need to unlearn a LOT of stuff. Yeah, this sounds like Rule 11-level misconduct to me, and it’s absolutely malpractice to make material misrepresentations about what the evidence says to the opposing party. That’s exactly what I was thinking. Yet, I feel like I keep making minor mistakes at my job that have the potential to wreak havoc on the way I … Looking back now, I think she was extremely lucky to get this warning before she even started college, so that she didn’t waste any of her time studying something she was not suited for. I’m not a lawyer, but I have worked with student populations that came from a lower SES, and at universities which largely served those populations. Finalize on the computer, print a hard copy and review for needed changes, make changes on the computer, then review another hard copy – repeat until it is 100% perfect. My heart really goes out to people in that situation. Except if it IS medical then she can receive the help she needs to succeed. Freaking AMEN! Then she asked the judge for coaching on how to handle a defense attorney that incompetent in the future. Lovely man. She can do the work, but she often misses obvious things and her attention to detail isn’t great. 1) That’s different in the legal field, where the stakes are different, and 2) these aren’t “attention to detail” problems… as Alison suggested, they sound like comprehension problems, which is… very not good. The academic setting is often the only setting in which you have a tight time constraint around such a thing. The time it takes to develop and implement them is just not likely to be acceptable to the firm or to clients. I have several friends who left the profession after paying off their educational debt, and they have never been happier. This is fantastic! I had NO legal training. Well, actually, let’s back up for a minute. Checklist could be: Intelligence can’t be boiled down into a single number. Maybe she had strategies there that she doesn’t realize she still needs to be using now. True, you check after. You’d be doing her a huge favor. I’ve worked with a lot of attorneys over decades. I have no idea, but it wasn’t a good school (ie, ranked at very bottom). First, I’m not the Jessie the LW is talking about. Since I assume I couldn’t practice medicine with my eyes closed, it’s not a good fit for me. Friends, that was a description of ME. It sounds like a thinking, comprehension, problem not a paying attention to the checklist problem. Does she have *time* to review everything thoroughly? Nope, not trying to armchair diagnose, but only speaking from my own experience and health issues – I am a licensed attorney with severe adult ADHD that didn’t get diagnosed until law school because I was having severe issues with my memory (and other things). You are assuming that the people asking for accommodations aren’t already aware of these issues. Until their client did or said something that they couldn’t prove because it wasn’t in the notes and not in the file. Get a full list of all the documents / exhibits The fact she is a lovely person is supportive of this theory. I was wondering this too. I’ve been in the legal field almost 12 years, and there isn’t any part of it that doesn’t require an attention to detail. A judge will view this as equivalent to a lie if you mischaracterized evidence. How did she get this far, though? I have a hate/love relationship with them, but I cannot deny they have saved me more than a couple times. Sure, meds don’t change who you are, but most of us know we’re not doing it right, and when meds give us the space to improve, we do. Unless it’s to the level of LW’s supervisee’s evidence mistakes, imho a person should be judged on what they were hired to do, rather than their typing skill. It’s not that only lawyers have time constraints. Attention to Detail is the capacity to achieve a thoroughness and accuracy when accomplishing a task. So this seems like a job fit issue more than anything. This. It sounds to me like there may also be a processing issue going on, if the missing funds issue was an egregious one where it did not require a forensic accountant or likewise, just someone noticing that numbers don’t add up. Am a not-horrible CPA and staff accountant, but know many people from my graduate program (Master of Accountancy) who are also now CPAs who I wouldn’t trust to file their own 1040EZ or balance their own checkbook. I’m not sure I totally agree with Alison here. I’ve had stellar students turn out to be difficult workers. That is an unhelpful tangent. Some of that is easy-checklist stuff (grammar, spelling), medium checklist stuff (essay structured well, paragraphs structured well, sentences structured well, and so on). Jessie is one of the hardest types of bad employees to deal with – you can’t fire her for absenteeism or having a bad attitude or for not taking the job seriously. It’s not normal for *attorneys* to need things broken down like that, though. Andrew rechecks works of every new employee to eliminate possible errors. Why do you use these tools/techniques? This is great, it shows what SHE should be thinking. Are there times you have had difficult experiences working with details at work? – check all font sizes and types Even as an undergraduate, I had to provide evidence for my statements, list accurate citations, and get names right in papers.
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