At this time of the year we spend a lot of digital ink at Above the Law waxing on about how much money lawyers at Biglaw firms are making. Associate year end bonuses are an important part of the Biglaw ecosystem, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t also talk about the money lawyers are giving out this season.
It’s generally a tradition for lawyers at Biglaw to give gifts — usually cash — to the support staff that make their job smoother. But how much you should give to that essential paralegal is not always clear. Our network of tipsters has reported a wide spectrum of support staff gifts, from a measly $20 on the cheap end to an impressive $1000 on the generous side.
We know there are a variety of norms at different firms. For example, some places pool attorney cash contributions that scale based on seniority and hand those out to the whole support team while others have a laissez-faire attitude towards attorney generosity and associates are left without a benchmark for what they should give.
So we are taking the question to you, dear readers. Let’s delve into how much you’re giving to the paralegal/admin/support staffer in your professional life.
For the purpose of this first question, assume you’re a midlevel associate (and that amounts would scale up slightly as a senior or down as someone pretty junior). So how much are you giving to a support staffer that is absolutely essential to your ability to get your job done?
Now lets see how much you give to support staff that’s on your team, but not part of your day-to-day workflow (think floater secretary that covers your group or a paralegal you only work with occasionally).
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, and host of The Jabot podcast. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).
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