“Here’s the key to the office”

The leader/follower relationships were almost nonexistent in my internship in the office setting until recently. My supervisor has his own business, and he is his only employee, until this summer. Technically since I am an intern, I am now my supervisor’s only employee. I have been surprised by the level of trust he has placed in me even after only three weeks of working here. He has given me a key to the office, a key to the mail box, as well as full autonomy over the writing legal of documents, speaking with witnesses, setting appointments, and speaking with clients over the phone.  I have full access to any legal document in the possession of the office, including past convictions of clients, medical records, and confidential copies of conversations and potentially incriminating evidence. However, all of this access is necessary to the completion of my tasks and our ability to effectively defend the clients. I am of course bound by a confidentiality agreement, but a certain level of trust is still required for that to have any meaning.

Outside of the office, Law firms act as almost interdependent units. They all share information between each other and work on many cases collaboratively in order to come up with either an agreement, so a trial is not necessary, or a deal that prevents the two sides from slugging it out in the court room preventing everyone from going home on time. There is, however, no leader/follower relationship between other law firms, it is all based off of who wants to be helpful or who doesn’t. No law firms can be forced into making a deal. Where a true difference in power can be seen is in the courtroom. In court the judge has almost absolute power. The attorney’s present are subject to the will of the judge. The final call for sentencing, agreements, custody, or any other issues brought to the court are all up to the judge. If an individual, even an attorney, acts out in court in a way that is unprofessional or disrespectful towards the judge, he or she has the power to put the person in jail.


One thought on ““Here’s the key to the office”

  • June 6, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    Interesting insight about the leader/follower dynamics within a firm as opposed to across firms. Outside of signing a confidentiality agreement and the obvious need for you to have access to certain information to complete your tasks, I would encourage you to consider why your supervisor has placed such trust in you (in such a short period of time). I would wager a guess it is not purely based on practicality (making sure you have access to that which you need to complete your work). Will be interesting to see if you garner any insights about whether trust plays a role in determining if firms will or will not cooperate with one another (based on past interactions/cases with one another, etc.). It’s a continuum really – no real leader/follower dynamics/expectations between firms, moderate leader/follower within your firm (so we’ll make a leap and say within firms in general), then maximum leader/follower within the court room.

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