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A good friend recently shared a paralegal post in which the author complained about ill-tempered clients. The author warned that, as a result, the clients’ work would remain at the bottom of the stack on her desk. I disagree.

I recall witnessing this behavior more than once as a legal secretary and paralegal toward clients, young lawyers, and legal interns. Law students were particularly vulnerable. I caution any legal support staff against behaving so unprofessionally.

If you find yourself tempted, let me remind you of this simple truth. Law students and young lawyers have a bad habit of becoming senior partners and your future employers. And, they have long memories.

Most people, as a rule, do not call an attorney’s office because they are having a good day. Before they became our clients, they realized they had a problem, tried to deal with it, were unsuccessful, stressed, and lost sleep. In short, we are not seeing them at their best.

Take good notes when your clients vent, rant, or repeat themselves. Because they are upset, they may be mistaken or confused. Let the client know that you are listening to them. Interrupt only when you need them to repeat something to make sure you get it right. Document the clients’ concerns, and tell your attorney they called and why.

Helping clients resolve their legal problem is our job. It is what we do, and it is why we are there. They deserve the best service we can give them. -CCE