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Sanford Heisler Sharp

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Sanford Heisler Sharp Reviews

Updated Jul 25, 2021

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Found 24 of over 24 reviews

3.7
77%
Recommend to a Friend
66%
Approve of CEO
Sanford Heisler Sharp Chairman  David Sanford (no image)
David Sanford
14 Ratings
  1. 5.0
    Current Employee, more than 1 year

    good company

    Mar 10, 2021 - Legal Assistant 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    people are passionate and kind well-meaning leadership opportunities for leadership

    Cons

    no salary adjustments based on where you live

    Continue reading
    1 person found this review helpful
  2. 1.0
    Former Employee, more than 1 year

    Steer clear

    Jul 25, 2021 - Program Assistant in New York, NY
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Some of the attorneys are lovely people. Hands-on experience with cases and the opportunity to learn a great deal about the law.

    Cons

    Anyone considering taking a legal assistant position at SHS must read Law360’s “Sanford Heisler’s Turbulent Summer.” SHS loves to tout its diversity, but that diversity disappears one looks further up the ranks. Many of the legal assistants are women and people of color - and these are the employees cleaning the kitchen, getting coffee, and arranging happy hours. Senior leadership is predominantly white and male. As described in the Law360 article, the firm has a serious problem with overt sexism and racism, including sexual harassment by senior partners towards legal assistants (which I experienced and notified HR about). Legal assistants - usually fresh out of college, high-achieving, and with social justice goals in mind - quickly learn that a daily aspect of their job is to turn away clients with strong claims who make less than 6 figures. I would advise potential legal assistants to look instead for roles with nonprofits or legal aid groups - the work will be more meaningful, and the salary likely won’t be much different.

    3 people found this review helpful
  3. 1.0
    Former Employee, more than 1 year

    Take the negative reviews seriously

    May 12, 2021 - Legal Assistant in San Francisco, CA
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    * You'll get plenty of work experience, especially attorney-level work (that you'll not be paid for, but will be expected to complete nonetheless). For example, if you're competent enough, you'll be tasked with writing letters, briefs, and complaints. * Good colleagues (Legal Assistants) who are all incredibly smart, caring, and hard-working people.

    Cons

    * I can't stress enough how seriously you should take the negative reviews on here. There's really one word to describe the culture at SHS: abusive. * Worst work-life balance. Again, if you're competent, you'll feel so overworked that you'll basically have no life outside of work. Assignments are pushed on you without so much asking if you have capacity to take them on. * It's an extremely hierarchical environment at SHS. You'll feel minimized in order to make those above you feel important. You'll handle some of the most important, money-making pieces of writing/doc review/client management, etc., but you won't be externally or individually organized. Your value is what work they can get out of you. *Not only will you handle attorney-level work, you'll also handle all kinds of administrative work. I've been asked to pick up dry cleaning, plan all of the office's happy hours (and holiday parties), wash the dishes in the kitchen, book plane tickets for attorneys, book hotel rooms for attorneys, pick up lunches for attorneys, pick out and send gifts to employees, and more. On the note of traveling with attorneys for work, you'll have to sleep in the same hotel room as your same-sex bosses (per the employee handbook). * On top of all of that, you'll also be asked to do some HR-related work, such as recruiting for Legal Assistants and keeping track of people's vacation/sick days. * As other reviews mentioned, SHS is notorious for only taking on clients who make a lot of money. This means that if you're interested in actual public-interest work, you'll find yourself extremely disillusioned at work. One example, it's ALSO the Legal Assistants' job to conduct intakes that flow through the firm. While doing that, you hear awful stories from people who suffered arguably greater harm than the rich people SHS ends up representing. But, just because they don't make a mid-high, six-figure salary, you'll be asked to turn them away. * SHS also takes on way too much work than the attorneys have time for, explaining why Legal Assistants end up handling legal work that they're not legally qualified to do. This means that the needs of the clients get pushed aside. Attorneys rarely have time to check-in with clients, and the firm is constantly running late -- all at the disservice of the clients. * Like the Legal Assistants, clients are only valuable to SHS insofar as they can generate money for the firm. High-earning clients (or clients with high prospective settlement values) will be prioritized over relatively low-earning clients (still 6 figures though). * Most importantly, SHS has a serious culture of unchallenged racism and sexism. See, e.g., Law 360, "Sanford Heisler Sharp's Turbulent Summer"; Law 360, "Heisler's Bias Probe Stirs Neutrality Concerns; Bloomberg", Bloomberg, "Heisler, After Pushing Discrimination Claims, Faces Them"; and Business Insider, Law Firms That Fight Discrimination Have a Diversity Problem.

    Continue reading
    7 people found this review helpful
  4. 4.0
    Current Employee, less than 1 year

    Good place for college grad interested in attending law school

    Dec 23, 2020 - Legal Assistant in New York, NY
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    - Be given a lot of responsibility (I would say even comparable to associates at Biglaw) - Gain a lot of knowledge about the whole process of litigation - Can explore different practice areas

    Cons

    - Usually only take high-income clients (but this seems to be the norm for private public interest firms?) - low salary vs long hours (but this is true for almost every paralegal job)

    1 person found this review helpful
  5. 4.0
    Current Employee

    Great colleagues, public-interest mission

    Nov 16, 2020 - Lawyer in Washington, DC
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Lawyers here tend to be kind, smart, and hardworking

    Cons

    No cons to speak of

    Be the first to find this review helpful
  6. 5.0
    Former Employee

    Substantive Experience for Students Interested in Law

    Aug 15, 2020 - Legal Assistant in New York, NY
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    The cohort of legal assistants are very supportive and have a lot of internal knowledge. You don’t find this sort of support as legal assistants at larger firms. The depth and breadth of experiences for an entry level job in this field is also staggering—if you can work hard you’ll be rewarded with a lot of experience for future work.

    Cons

    The hours can be brutal, but that’s the legal field for you. Can also seem cliquey depending on coworkers. The rent to income is also very tough but that seems true for all entry level NY jobs.

    1 person found this review helpful
  7. 4.0
    Current Employee, more than 1 year

    Great place to work, but has its problems

    Jul 28, 2020 - Associate in Washington, DC
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Good pay, nice work life, office is beautiful, very helpful paralegals

    Cons

    This place is very hierarchical

    Be the first to find this review helpful
  8. 5.0
    Current Employee

    SHS is a great place to work

    Oct 9, 2018 - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Attorneys and legal assistants are all passionate about the work they do, keeping a humble attitude in their approach to cases

    Cons

    unpredictable, sometimes long, working hours

    Be the first to find this review helpful
  9. 5.0
    Current Employee

    Great Opportunity for Recent Graduates

    Aug 25, 2018 - Senior Legal Assistant 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Legal assistants get great opportunities that you probably won't find at any other law firm. You are involved in every step of a case, and are tasked with a great deal of responsibility from the get-go. This includes conducting intakes with potential clients, acting as the primary client liaison, drafting mediation briefs, court filings, and settlement communications, attending mediations and court appearances, reviewing discovery, and filing court documents, to name a few. In my experience, I have found great mentors in the attorneys. They are passionate about what they do and are committed to protecting civil rights. Associates and partners alike will take the time out to answer questions, explain the law, and explain their case strategy. They place a lot of trust in their legal assistants, but also guide you and help improve skills like writing. On top of that, the attorneys actually want and listen to your opinion. You can vouch for potential clients and fight for the firm to take a case you feel strongly about. While the attorney/assistant dynamic is clear (for obvious reasons as we don't have a JD), it is one of mentor/mentee and does not feel hierarchical or belittling. Legal assistants frequently bond with each other and work together. We will contribute to cases that are not our own to help out an overwhelmed assistant. If you are interested in a specific case or type of case, your fellow legal assistants give you a heads up on incoming cases and will sometimes fight for you to be placed on those cases. Overall, you get a true look into the legal field, which is crucial for those considering law school.

    Cons

    - Long hours that can be unpredictable - Steep learning curve for legal assistants, but worth it

    1 person found this review helpful
  10. 2.0
    Former Employee

    Not worth it for Legal Assistants

    Aug 28, 2018 - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Most if not all attorneys truly care about helping people. Very substantial legal experience for future law students.

    Cons

    Sanford does not actually prioritize diversity or social justice. Firm leadership is mostly white and male. Legal assistants are expected to work long hours and essentially run the firm, performing work worth much more than their salaries. Management, when it exists, pays lip service to systemic workplace issues without making any actual change. These issues are so serious that legal assistants have been driven to tears. Partly due to a well-intentioned fee structure, potential clients who earn less than 6 figures are usually not considered. The irony of all this means college grads hoping to make a tangible difference will likely be disappointed here.

    10 people found this review helpful
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