Leader/Follower Dynamic

I have observed many of the different types of meetings and hearings between plaintiffs and defendants throughout the stages of the legal process. The Leader/Follower dynamic when communicating with representatives for defendants is one entirely different from that between Devon and her clients. For instance, within the court room, the structure of this dynamic adjusts to include the judge, jury, and other significant actors who contribute to the outcome of a case on trial. Here, the judge holds the most powerful leadership and attorneys become their followers. Within a deposition, this Leader/Follower dynamic is structured differently. Here, the only actors involved are each side’s attorney, the reporter, and the individual being questioned. I have observed the leader/follower dynamic here to depend on who is defending the individual being questioned. Therefore, I have observed how context shifts the dynamic between leaders and followers within the legal realm. The individual with the leadership to make decisions and advance a case is thus also dependent on the specific stage along the case’s process. I have seen how this affects the daily tasks of an attorney, because after we complete our responsibilities to advance a case, we must wait for the other actors to do their parts. I observe how patience is crucial to the role of a defense attorney, as most of the process involves an extended and unpredictable timeline.

Because my internship takes place with a sole-practicing attorney, I have observed autonomy and self-direction. Devon has the freedom to choose her clientele and decide how she will approach her work. Therefore, my role as an intern is more of her right-hand. I have researched previous cases to support the angle of Devon’s argument, written the closing remarks of a case on trial, and drafted numerous summons, complaint, and bill of particular documentation. Although the process of documentation is the same, I have not observed a standardized procedure in my own tasks. However, I have observed the standardized procedure of the paperwork and process from first communicating with a new client to the settlement of their case. For example, I have read through files of potential clients to help determine if their case is substantial to take on, as well as attended a settlement of a client and an insurance company.  My experience within my internship thus far has provided both a micro and macro perspective of the legal system. I have observed the degree of empathy honed as a representative for clients who have faced injustices, and understood how systematically difficult it is for other individuals arrested on criminal charges to have a fair case and representation. The leader/follower dynamic between Devon and her clients is heavily relationship-oriented, which is also part of her mission statement of the firm. I can understand how significant it is for an attorney to have a strong relationship with a client, because together they must face the other actors of the courtroom, when the leader/follower dynamic changes, to achieve success with their case.

One thought on “Leader/Follower Dynamic

  • July 15, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Really thoughtful reflection; clearly – the context (in particular which stage a legal case is in) matters in regards to who plays which role (leader/follower) and who can exert influence. Really interesting. It sounds like you’ve been able to contribute in significant ways, which is great. I would imagine – within the legal system itself – that there are some a number of standard procedures in regards to paperwork that is required, how things are filed, move forward (procedurally), appealed, etc. Would be interesting to compare and contrast the experience with a self-employed attorney (like Devon) and a firm consisting of several attorneys; I imagine there would be some significant differences in regards to structure, decision making, trust, etc.

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