Berry Appleman & Leiden Reviews | Glassdoor

Berry Appleman & Leiden Reviews

Updated June 14, 2017
113 reviews

Filter

Filter

Full-time Part-time

2.8
Star Star Star Star Star
Rating Trends Rating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Jeremy Fudge
41 Ratings

113 Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date

Pros
  • The pay is great, the benefits are great, and I have enjoyed my time there and can't wait to see what's ahead (in 9 reviews)

  • Competitive Pay; Varied responsibilities and tasks; Flexible work schedule (to a degree); casual work environment; great coworkers and support staff (in 7 reviews)

Cons
  • Work life balance is nonexistent (in 7 reviews)

  • High caseload, high turnover, can be stressful (in 9 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (8)

    "ONE BAL"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Immigration Assistant in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Immigration Assistant in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Berry Appleman & Leiden (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I have only been with BAL for about three months, but I've really enjoyed it this far. It's hard to find big firms with positions that are entry level as a recent college graduate. BAL provides this and so much more. I did not expect a corporate law firm to plan social events, have casual dress, and so on. They do a good job at competing with the benefits start ups offer nowadays, especially in SF. The pay is great, the benefits are great, and I have enjoyed my time there and can't wait to see what's ahead. I never thought I'd know this much about immigration in three months, but now I'd consider myself an expert (still learning though!).

    Cons

    Be prepared to work! This is probably BALs biggest complaint. However, the training they now offer (recently improved after lots of feedback) really prepares you. My team (one attorney and three paralegals) were/are never annoyed when I come to them with questions and honestly are still learning things themselves (Laws/rules constantly change in immigration law because of the numerous government agencies involved). As for the work load, yes it is heavy, but as a recent college graduate, it doesn't bother me a whole lot. Sometimes I get stressed when I have multiple projects due at once, but people are around that are more than happy to help. Compared to my recent college graduate friends, yes, I probably have more work to do than them. All in all, I'm learning to manage, and I know the firm has big plans for rearrangement to help distribute work, considering how high volume we are.

    Advice to Management

    Looking forward to the changes coming up this year!

    Berry Appleman & Leiden Response

    Aug 24, 2016 – The BAL Team

    We are absolutely thrilled that you’re enjoying your BAL experience, and we greatly appreciate your feedback! We are continuing our efforts and commitment to tackling workload, but it is so ... More


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Corporate Immigration"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Paralegal II in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Paralegal II in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Berry Appleman & Leiden full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Dependent on your manager/attorney, BAL will either be a rewarding experience or it will be the place where your passions come to rest.
    The work is routine, template, stressful, and boring. You will specialize in one type of petition/process, and for the remainder of your days at BAL, that will be the work you complete day in and day out. If your attorney cares about you, every once in a while you will get to learn a new process. But don't hold your breath, this IS a corporate immigration firm, and the high caseload will have you dodging new processes in order to stay on top of deadlines.
    Mid-year and end-of-year bonuses are nice, but honestly it's the least they could do seeing as our holiday schedule is extremely limited. BAL makes you take vacation time for Christmas Day, can you believe that?!

    Again, if your manager/attorney is understanding and supportive, the experience is do-able for 2-3 years, but I really don't understand how people can stick around for longer than that.

    Cons

    High caseload that's impossible to keep up with, limited holidays (9 per year), promotion to paralegal from immigration assistant is no longer 'automatic', which means you can be an immigration assistant for up to 2 years (WTF?!)

    Some attorney's have no clue how to build a healthy team dynamic, instead they treat paralegals as replaceable monkeys. No wonder the turnover rate is ridiculously high.

    Advice to Management

    Do more than give your paralegals bagels on Thursday. Don't make us use vacation time for Christmas Day! 9/80 should be implemented year round, if attorneys can work from home 1-2 days a week, why can't paralegals have 9/80 year round?

  3. "Underappreciated"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Berry Appleman & Leiden full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Flexible time, great teammates, team culture is spot-on.

    Cons

    Management unresponsive in the department, does not appreciate the work the team puts forward for the Partners.

    Advice to Management

    Encourage your department staff and supervisors, be a leader, not a boss. We're not asking you to be our friend, but rather guide the team to produce quality end product to make the entire team feel some worth and inspiration.


  4. "Immigration Assistant"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Immigration Assistant in Dallas, TX
    Current Employee - Immigration Assistant in Dallas, TX
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Berry Appleman & Leiden full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Flexible schedule and a solid teamwork environment. Great environment and friendly people. This is a great entry level position for someone fresh out of University. Everyone is understanding and helpful and always there for each other. Lots of employee appreciation with this company. Great place to work!

    Cons

    Some of the communication can seem unabridged, but that is simply because the job changes case by case. Excellent training is provided to remedy though!

    Advice to Management

    The training hub may need a more solidified training experience. Everything and every attorney is so different that it seems like the information is different with each one.


  5. Helpful (15)

    "A crippled oligarchy"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Global in Dallas, TX
    Former Employee - Global in Dallas, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    There is flexibility in the work schedule. Many of the mid and senior level leaders genuinely care about their people. I greatly enjoyed my team, though our comraderie was formed through mutual misery. The company desires (in word) to be a "top place to work"- crowing about it constantly. Pay for some positions is competitive. The company consistently rolls out policies intended to improve the work experience. It isn't as bad as their closest competitor. Bagel thursdays will be the highlight of your work week. Benefits seem competitive.

    Cons

    Projects move at a tectonic pace. Constant power struggles at the top blight corporate progress, even though the partners think frontline employees are oblivious to them. Layers of bureaucracy ensure that most decisions require constant rework, and are rarely made in accordance with best practices. The Managing Partner is unhinged and a miserable leader. Pay for many people seems to be unfair or uncompetitive. Office space is crowded and uncomfortable. Company seems to resist any expenditures. Changes in leadership are frequent, likely due to the general instability within the organization. Low level positions are a revolving door. Work life balance is nonexistent. Policies intended to be positive are so riddled with stipulations, most make life worse. Politics, not competence is your path to advancement. There is a cultural chasm between the "important people" and the peons.

    Advice to Management

    Find a new Managing Partner. Streamline decision making. Spend money to make money. Think further than five minutes in the future. Give your people the tools, training and support they need to succeed. Recognize high potential employees and help them plan a career. Manage the workload; it is unreasonable. Empower teams with autonomy.


  6. Helpful (7)

    "Immigration Assistant"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Immigration Assistant in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Immigration Assistant in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Berry Appleman & Leiden full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    On the job training regarding immigration procedures

    Cons

    As and IA, you get stuck in either non-immigrant visa or immigrant visa work, depending on which attorney you are assigned to. You can only do one type of work as long as you are with the company. It is very difficult to switch teams due to approvals from higher ups (attorneys, partners, clients). It would be nice to have the chance to learn about and work in both aspects of immigration

    Advice to Management

    Provide more employee benefits/perks to entice employees to stay, especially with the young age group that makes up the majority of immigration assistants/paralegals.


  7. Helpful (8)

    "Paralegal"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Paralegal in Houston, TX
    Current Employee - Paralegal in Houston, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Berry Appleman & Leiden full-time

    Pros

    CEO is a good person. Casual work environment flexible work schedule. I really cant think of anything else positive to say

    Cons

    New attorneys treat seasoned employees like crap. No respect , no direction, no communication. Too many cliques. Like being in high school. Partners have NO idea of how horrible the work environment and morale is. Always,

    Advice to Management

    Open your eyes. Someone is crying every single day

  8. Helpful (3)

    "The people are amazing but the pay and work is on a bare minimum level."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Client Service Representative in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Client Service Representative in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Berry Appleman & Leiden full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Laid back environment. Comfortable clothing welcomed. Great benefits. Welcoming team and employees. 6% employer match on 401k. Understanding when Late due to transportation.

    Cons

    No clear growth or path to become more involved and earn more money within the company. Below cities average salary for the position.

    Advice to Management

    To target the millennial in an competitive environment don't underpay by 10k. Make environment more lively, active, and targeted toward the future.


  9. Helpful (6)

    "Paralegals"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Paralegal in Dallas, TX
    Current Employee - Paralegal in Dallas, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Berry Appleman & Leiden full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good pay and benefits, casual

    Cons

    Heavy case load, reports due ASAP, too many e-mails to respond to. Seems the firm is restructuring and getting rid of higher paid Paralegals and hiring inexperienced Immigration Assistants they can pay less. Impossible to get caught up in your work and if you do, (by working extra hours off the clock) you get more work. It's all about saving them money, whatever it takes.

    Advice to Management

    Keep experienced Paralegals, respect them and pay them well. Stop running them off just to be cheap skates. Raise legal fees to afford all the experienced hard-working legal teams. Firm going downhill and losing respect by current & former employees.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "It's Okay."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Client Account Advisor in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Client Account Advisor in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Berry Appleman & Leiden full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    They're always hiring. If you're looking for something in law / immigration, it's pretty likely there's an open opportunity.
    Experience here really comes down to a few factors: your manager / attorney, your client, and your role. People who say this is an immigration 'sweatshop' have reason to say so as the volume of work is very high. Show me a law firm that isn't?
    Working at BAL will quickly sharpen your professional, communication and client service skills. The firm is growing more open to feedback from employees and trying to improve their own employee experience.
    Overall I am having a positive experience as I've built some good relationships and have enjoyed taking care of my client.

    Cons

    Lack of autonomy for non-attorney staff. Everything you say is read by management, understandably as many non-attorney staff work at the firm.
    Not having a law degree means there is limited growth, unless you are in operations.
    Some personalities here can be EXTREMELY challenging to work with.
    Benefits are really quite poor.

    Advice to Management

    Continue the GPTW initiatives. Slowly but surely there is some progress being made.
    Flexibility is essential for the new generation.
    Spend just a bit more money showing employee appreciation. Bagels aren't really enough. This is a young firm, do something that most of the staff will enjoy. i.e. happy hours, random pizza and beer at 4:00 on a Friday (not just because it's a Halloween costume party.) Make sure managers are taking their teams to the lunches that are in the budget.


Showing 113 of 126 reviews
Reset Filters