Berry Appleman & Leiden

  www.balglobal.com
  www.balglobal.com
Work in HR? Unlock Free Profile

Berry Appleman & Leiden Reviews

Updated September 16, 2014
Updated September 16, 2014
33 Reviews
2.7
33 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Jeff T. Appleman
20 Ratings

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Rewarding and Challenging Place to Work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Paralegal  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Paralegal in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Berry Appleman & Leiden full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    I'm surprised by the negative reviews here (and recognize a few disgruntled ex-coworkers). Yes, BAL is a very fast paced, deadline-driven place to work. I believe that can be said of many law firms. Immigration law isn't easy. It's a challenging field that requires intelligence, organization and a methodical approach to getting your work done. High volume doesn't equal "sweatshop." I don't know of any sweatshops that give mid-year and year-end bonuses to their staff every year. (And this summer we got iPad minis.) Benefits are great. When the firm does well, they always pass it on. If you are smart, industrious and have a good work ethic, BAL is a very rewarding and interesting place to work.

    Cons

    Business immigration can be stressful: managing the demands of corporate clients, high volume caseloads, dealing with (understandably) anxious international clients immigrating to the US or abroad. There are busy seasons where everyone works overtime, but that is not the norm. Turnover of paralegal staff can be painful. Many paralegals tend to stay for a couple of years, then move on to law school or other pursuits. I think that's just the nature of the beast. On the other hand, there are a lot of great "career paralegals" in varying positions at BAL. And several of those law school bound paralegals have returned to BAL as attorneys, which is awesome. The firm continues to grow and with that there can be growing pains, but overall it is a great place to work.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    I was a consulting senior accountant at Berry Appleman & Leiden (4 months)

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Accountant - Consultant  in  San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Accountant - Consultant in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Berry Appleman & Leiden part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Growing int'l immigration firm
    Int'l expansion - good attorneys
    New partners adding new life to firm

    Cons

    CFO is a mirco-manager, not pleasant to work for
    Finance department is a mess
    Stressful environment, long hours - OT required

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Managing partner, there is a lot of favoritism in this firm and moral is horrible. COO carries an iron whip and favors her boys.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Working for BAL is and has been a great learning experience in the area of Immagrations, and the people are wonderful.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Records Clerk/Facilities Assistant  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Records Clerk/Facilities Assistant in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Berry Appleman & Leiden full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    One of the best reason is everyone is so friendly, it feels like one big family. We laugh, give advice, a hug is always good to things will work out. You always have a good day, have a good weekend, how was your weekend and just all around kindness. We all appreciate each other, it's a team.

    Cons

    I can honestly say that I don't have many cons except that I am not doing what I was hire for and that is Records Clerk.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I beleive that some of the employees work load could be more structured and distributed evenly.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  4. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
  5.  

    pathetic

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Paralegal  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Paralegal in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Berry Appleman & Leiden full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    benefits, job stability, fast paced environment, good on your resume

    Cons

    poor salary, too much work, politics between attorneys.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you want to retain the staff then pay them well.

    Doesn't Recommend
  6.  

    It can be rough

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Immigration Paralegal  in  Houston, TX
    Current Employee - Immigration Paralegal in Houston, TX

    I have been working at Berry Appleman & Leiden full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Supportive team members and supervisors.

    Cons

    Substandard pay, unreasonable billing requirements, and trickle-down blame.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in your employees. Train them and allow them to outgrow their roles. Allow attorneys to have less work by creating more lead team members to filter out simple issues.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Micromanagement Galore

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Immigration Legal Assistant  in  San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Immigration Legal Assistant in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Berry Appleman & Leiden full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Co-workers helpful and nice. Great benefits. In middle of Financial district. Depending on who you end up working for, can have a supportive boss.

    Cons

    Severe lack of continuous training. Nobody can learn all systems in one week of training. Systems unorganized. Environment does not seem to foster learning. Seems that learning is done through fear and intimidation by superiors. Too much emphasis on billing. Unrealistic expectations on case work and volume. Too much emphasis on protocol and policy. Lack of appreciation towards staff. High turnover of staff.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop micromanaging the staff, and show more appreciation through bonuses and other awards. Teach more of the law...employees need to know of whole immigration cycle not just one portion. Set more realistic goals for casework and volume. More training and follow up.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Can Be a Great Place to Work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Legal Assistant  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Legal Assistant in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Berry Appleman & Leiden as a contractor for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Can be a great place to work as long as you work with the right attorney. Co-workers are nice. Benefits are great.

    Cons

    Need better training methods. Seem more like show them once and dump work attitude. Too much of a disjunct between management and staff. Information is not passed down well. Too much process driven. High turnover of people. Managing attorneys need to be trained to work with staff better.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Extend training to be more on continuous basis. Clarify better where to find things. Staff needs to be appreciated and awarded through retreats, monetary awards, time off. Need to spread the work around better.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Controlling and Micro-Managing, Managing Partner

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Human Resources  in  San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Human Resources in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Berry Appleman & Leiden full-time

    Pros

    The employees - back in the day, there were catered breakfasts, treats, etc. Benefits were OK. Salary structure was all over the place, but not too bad.

    Cons

    First level supervisor was wonderful - she was amazing. When she was moved to another part of the firm, I reported directly to the managing partner - a controlling, demanding, mean-spirited boss who enjoyed intimidating people. Used phrases with me like, "For fear of your job...". Though I was a department head in administration, you wouldn't think so. I think they partners were excellent at what they did, practicing immigration law - however, when it came to managing employees, they were dreadful. Mean. Hateful and fear-invoking. I would never recommend working at this place.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The managing partner should not be in charge of Admin, Ops and Legal - if he has not been dethroned from that position. Hire an administrative director for the department heads to report up to. Let your department heads be just that. Don't rule with an iron fist...you have for years, and look where it has gotten you?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    A waste of 2.5 years of my career

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Marketing  in  San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Marketing in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Berry Appleman & Leiden full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    If you're an attorney or on a track to become one, this may be a good stopping point on your journey. If you're not, skip it. I repeat: Working here is a waste of time if you are a) smart and b) not an attorney.

    Cons

    When I read reviews on Glassdoor, I try to take them with a grain of salt. But I will say that almost every person I met at this company was unhappy while working there. I frequently heard others mention the following issues, and I also experienced these things on a regular basis:

    1. Managers who were not educated in the technical aspects of their field.
    2. Promotions that just never came; no opportunity for growth.
    3. Inadequate software/resources to accomplish work tasks. (Company too cheap to spend on solid tools; instead chose to waste employee hours and money on initially cheaper tools that constantly broke.)

    The company culture was the worst I have experienced in the corporate world. Leadership encouraged a culture of "every man for himself." People passed blame to each other constantly, especially managers who blamed their direct reports for just about anything and berated them in front of others. People threw each other under the bus when things went wrong, and managers set their employees up for failure on high-visibility projects by not giving them time, tools, or realistic expectations. Managers piled on more work for the same or even less pay.

    Maybe all of this is typical for a law firm. Which is why I say - if you are on track to become an attorney, this may be a fitting place to stop for a few years. But if you are not an aspiring lawyer, do not waste your time. You will end up in a toxic environment with no potential for growth.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    After working here, I know how not to manage people and run a company.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    Highrise Sweatshop

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

    I worked at Berry Appleman & Leiden full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    You can dress comfortably to work.
    You will make at least one life long friend.

    Cons

    -In the SF office alone out of 300 employees there were 5 Black employees. After I made a comment abt it I noticed 3 more were hired (to replace the 4 they fired).
    -Lack of pay
    -If you are not an attorney you are beneath them and therefore your opinions and feelings about the firm doea not matter. Everything is about pleasing the attys/partners.
    -overwhelming amount of work with unrealistic turnaround times. They bill thousands if not millions of dollars but pay peanuts! Bonus checks are a complete joke.
    -They give you one day of "training" and then throw you out in the den expecting you to just figure it out or "ask questions" if you need to. But will chastise you for making any mistakes.
    -everything is unorganized
    -SUPER HIGH turnover rate which puts more work on others when one quits or is fired.
    -yes the will fire you if you been there too long because you are expensive that is true.
    -there is NO ROOM for growth at all, which I believe is purposely set up that way.
    -the overall morale of the SF office is that everyone hates being there, feel underpaid, under worked, and under appreciated. Everyone is there for a check and many are actively looking for work while working at BAL.
    -Attorneys/Management are extremely rude, disrespectful and condescending.

    Other than being able to dress a bit casual at work this is by far the WORSE place to work. If you want to grow this is not the place, if you are black/latino this is not the place. If you are looking to just be somewhere temporarily until u land a job u TRULY want...this is the place however, the Stress is NOT worth it at all.
    Run far far far away. The day I left was the 2nd happiest day of my life! And I have been stressfree and just truly happy since I've left. And so have the other former coworkers I am friends with.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    So how about you guys stop being cheap as hell and pay your employees what they deserve? Show appreciation! Have realistic caseloads! How about trying to KEEP your employees. The high turnover deeply affects the business. But I guess its all abt the $.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

Worked for Berry Appleman & Leiden? Contribute to the Community!

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.