Berry Appleman & Leiden Jobs

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12 days ago

Immigration Assistant

Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP San Francisco, CA

(under the supervision of an Attorney, Practice Manager, or Team Manager): • Prepare immigration applications/petitions: draft forms and supporting… Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP


5 days ago

Immigration Assistant / Paralegal

Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP San Francisco, CA

(under the supervision of an Attorney, Practice Manager, or Team Manager): • Prepare immigration applications/petitions: draft forms and supporting… Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP


19 days ago

Paralegal (Business Immigration)

Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP San Francisco, CA

•Prepare immigration cases as assigned by manager for submittal to the appropriate government agency; begin to achieve a mastery of case types from… Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP


14 days ago

Client Immigration Specialist (onsite)

Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP San Francisco, CA

•Work independently in the support of client’s global mobility program and provide guidance to other on-site team members letters who work on… Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP


30+ days ago

Immigration Assistant / Paralegal

Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP Dallas, TX

•Prepare immigration cases as assigned by manager for submittal to the appropriate government agency; begin to achieve a mastery of case types from… Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP


Berry Appleman & Leiden Reviews

2.7
Rating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Jeremy Fudge
2 Ratings
  • Firm Culture

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Dallas, TX
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Dallas, TX

    I worked at Berry Appleman & Leiden full-time (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Nice office location, decent facilities, free food. The firm could be an option while looking for other work, but see below.

    Cons

    The firm has an issue with culture, specifically the culture surrounding their law clerk/temp program. At most other companies, having a bad culture surrounding temporary workers would not be an issue worth caring about, but BAL actually depends on their clerks to do work that is important to the proper functioning of the firm and, at the same time, has expectations for clerks that aren't congruent with what the firm is offering. So the program's culture is worth mentioning. First of all, BAL insists on hiring recently graduated/barred attorneys to be temporary law clerks at the firm. They then place them all on one side of a conference room and have them report to paralegals. The work consists mostly of clerical tasks and sometimes involves correcting simple grammatical errors of paralegals. This structure alone is enough to irk a lot of the law clerks. Many of the clerks do not like having to report to paralegals (who are either not from any law background or are currently in law school) and really do not like having paralegals hand files to them just to change one typo or add a period. The way they structure the paralegal and clerk programs is just how they choose to do business and is something that clerks should know about when they get hired. The structure has inherent downsides and, unsurprisingly, results in morale issues right off the bat; but the fact that they have attorneys reporting to law clerks shouldn't be an issue by itself. The paralegals obviously know more than temporary law clerks about immigration law and about how things work at the firm. The issue lies with how the structure functions. One example, among others, is how paralegals will often hand files to law clerks to just change one typo or add a period, when it would be easier and faster for everyone if the paralegal just did it themselves. Scenarios like this haven't just happened once or a few times, it has happened countless times. It's scenarios like these that really bother and degrade the clerks. Problems with culture also serve to exacerbate the issues mentioned above. There were a number of times that permanent employees or attorneys would make some comment implying how unimportant the clerks are, either directly to the clerks themselves or within earshot of the clerks. Also, the firm will often hold meetings about the firm's OneBAL culture and about how the firm takes care of its employees. These meetings are held in the same conference room that the clerks work in, but clerks are generally excluded from the presentations. This is already kind of awkward, since most of the time the initiatives simply don't apply to temps. But what makes it worse is that permanent employees will sometimes drop comments to the temps about how the presentation doesn't apply to them. The employees are obviously joking, but this turns an already awkward situation into an unpleasant one. There are a few more examples of issues like the ones mentioned above (like how attorneys and employees don't even bother learning the names of clerks), but I think the examples mentioned are enough to illustrate the point. It's the general lack of awareness (or outright indifference) of how temps are being treated that causes morale issues. Second, BAL doesn't offer any form of incentive for clerks to work hard. The nature of the work is inherently unrewarding to most people already, but the firm doesn't bother to provide any sort of incentive for clerks to care about working harder. A clerk can exceed what is expected of them and do five times more work than another clerk and no one will notice or care (this isn't hyperbole, there is close to no supervision). The lack of acknowledgement is coupled with a low wage and a lack of financial incentives. What results is a general lack of motivation on the part of clerks. This might be fine for temps normally, but there are examples of attorneys calling out temps for bad attitudes, so it seems that the firm isn't aware or doesn't care about the work environment its created for clerks. Additionally, another lack of incentive example is that the firm very rarely hires attorneys from within; so clerks, paralegals, and other employees have little opportunity for advancement. There are examples of employees, who are well-qualified and have been there for many years, who have been passed over time and time again for outside hires. The firm will occasionally offer permanent law clerk positions or paralegal positions to temporary law clerks, but this doesn't affect the firms hiring practice for attorneys. These are all business decisions by the firm, but again, the culture and morale is not great as a result. To wrap things up, the firm's culture is kind of terrible. Whether the partners and attorneys are aware of the work environment they've created or not is unknown. At worst, the firm has purposely set up a work structure to churn and take advantage of recent law grads looking for work. At best, the firm has unknowingly created a bad work environment. Either way, it definitely needs improvement.

    Advice to Management

    Improvements to the law clerk/temp program would go a long way. I think providing some form of incentive for law clerks would make their work at least somewhat rewarding and therefore would improve their attitude/morale. Also, being more conscious of the way clerks are talked to or treated would be something that wouldn't be difficult to do, but would improve morale considerably. And if the work culture can't be changed for whatever reason, be forthright about the position and the work to eliminate contradictory expectations. If the position is a job for law grads while they look for other work, be honest about both the firm and employee's expectations. This way, temps know exactly what they're getting into and are less likely to have bad attitudes about the work.


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