But spell and grammar checkers–software, human, or AI–are NOT going to catch issues like misreading/mis-stating evidence, no matter how good they are at flagging spelling and grammar errors. IMO, most folks aren’t programmed to feel like the other side is lying or to assume one would intentionally put red herrings in statements or to pay more attention to carefully cultivated phrasing. As for whether “There are many paths that aren’t a good fit for people with certain learning challenges,” that’s true also of people without disabilities needing accommodations in school. But you have to get good grades in college, get a good LSAT score, pass law school, and then pass the state bar. He got on the phone and we fixed the dates. But if the check list had not been followed, the man would have dies despite the heroics. OP is being really really kind here. The only other thing I can think of is that she struggles with reading comprehension, but I can’t imagine someone being able to pass the bar with low reading comprehension. (And we probably shouldn’t be doing it either.). A lot of people seem baffled by the fact she could pass law school and the bar and be struggling like this, but hey – practicing law is way different and requires different applications of skills. OP needs to give this employee the big picture of what she need to do – then fire her after the next mistake. Sometime error shaming works. The problem is that when you read it in your head, your mind fills in the blanks. However, if mistakes are being fixed in review, then it’s possible that the person feels like that is the process. It’s how they can build trust, show good judgment, etc. OH yikes OP – Allison’s advice is spot on. Some companies only take a written undertaking from the employee on confidentiality terms. 5. YES. I’ve been an attorney for 17 years, and I’m sorry, OP, but Jessie is not long for the profession. Many months into the job it was finally communicated to me, and I started looking for another job right away. This has lead to gradual improvement. How she’s not on a PIP or fired yet is baffling. Depending on the kind of cases OP’s firm does, a lot of the time you’re looking for internal consistency and making sure that everything adds up. 1) That’s different in the legal field, where the stakes are different, and 2) these aren’t “attention to detail” problems… as Alison suggested, they sound like comprehension problems, which is… very not good. software to review documents and locate key words, but you also need some inherent good judgment and attention to detail to identify things that might be important for your case. How did she get out of law school with this type of work? I’ve seen that too. I just got a new job at a very prominent organisation. Screwing up could cause thousands of dollars in fines, a lawsuit, or having to completely redo a plan or documentation. Now, almost all of the important details could be integrated into a process document or checklist of some kind, and we did have those available as customizeable tools (there were no safety issues involved, so the checklists were optional). The entire down payment (50% of the price) was my money. Does that mean I’m suited for law? That is not the focus of this advice website, nor is it what the writer came to ask about. So it’s not even going to be a guarantee that things actually have standard grammar or that you’re using the right word. This reminded me of that program that was advertised a lot a few years back? Along with it, I hope the client is not being charged for the over and above effort needed to review and coach this junior lawyer. OP is new at being Jessie’s supervisor, so she may be assuming that the firm’s processes for how to evaluate evidence and write documents have been explained to Jessie and when they haven’t. Because from what you are writing, there will be more mistakes. (& Other questions that lawyers know and I do not!). Bringing her attention to this could make an ENORMOUS difference in her life (and no harm done if she doesn’t or isn’t interested in listening.) Writing is a basic skill necessary for the law and evidence analysis is crucial. Am a not-horrible CPA and staff accountant, but know many people from my graduate program (Master of Accountancy) who are also now CPAs who I wouldn’t trust to file their own 1040EZ or balance their own checkbook. It sounds like she’s considered a pleasant person to work with, at least. It is torture. time. For me, at this point, I literally glance at a paragraph and get a warning alarm; sometimes it then takes ten minutes to drill through the language and find the thing that set it off–and I miss things too! I take care of all the other stuff that might interrupt me- snack, bathroom, silence my phone and close my email window so I don’t see new notification. he sends me emailed reports on the documents he reviews, then I go in and re-review the docs and give him notes. The hardest part is the thinking part, of course — not just, do I have evidence for this claim, but is this evidence pertinent, is it reliable, is it accurate, is it enough (do I need more evidence/different evidence) and so on. A person’s law school is often a signal of their SES, not of their professional competence. Because if she isn’t abjectly apologetic and sort of sick about it, I just don’t think she cares enough. However, if she knows that she is prone to these kind of errors, she can add them to her checklist: And how would a “checklist” correct mistakes, such as a person’s spelling? Its like, I hate talking on the phone. Maybe she could take one of the more reputable tests, that may indicate this is natural. Those probably require an even higher attention to detail. I work in law firm administration, and those sorts of errors would not be acceptable from associates or staff, so I assume this guy is bringing something that involved large dollars (large dollar client portfolio OR very nice subject-matter expertise) that allows for nonbillable personnel to have to be paid for to proof his every word. That’s what law school was for. I also benefit from asking other people to proof my work and have learned to never, ever let something leave the building without two sets of eyes on it. When you see a pattern developing, it is unacceptable to let the person continue to represent and destroy the company’s reputation. Maybe “do people with learning disabilities deserve accommodations” shouldn’t be a viable topic for debate? Asking the OP to ask her colleague about ADHD does not help the OP. If she’s not seeing the problem there’s nothing a checklist will do for her. She has to figure out for herself which way to go. You do not want to represent those lies as facts to a judge or investigator, particularly when the other side whips out documentation disproving your assertion. The worst is that Our Jessie thinks that not being a detail person is cute and “just isn’t me” (she wrinkles her nose like she smells something bad). After years, I have made no progress, and this person just doesn’t really care about shoddy work, misspent money, or the mission of the organization not being accomplished. Oh, nope, ran a search of your name and firefighter and this is your case from last year about firefighters of x race. I agree with Alison, though, that you’ve done what you could aside from really impressing upon her and she needs to find some workarounds so that these problems lessen and discontinue within (time period). Treatment could very well resolve all sorts of problems like the ones in the OP. (Not to say that a checklist is never useful, but it’s not foolproof). OR……. I agree. It may not be possible with her being a junior attorney but if she is a great potential attorney otherwise could you potentially pay her less and hire a paralegal or someone else to proof her work. In a general sense, I imagine that literally every attorney’s job boils down in some way or another to “knowing a lot of details and critically matching those details to situations.”. It sounds silly but I promise it really helps. If you graduated from law school, you can be expected to know that you have to appropriately assess a case, and that you have to proofread court documents. Even today, if my assignment were to find all documents related to x issue and put them in chronological order to, say, prepare for a deposition, I wouldn’t necessarily also flag documents contradicting the client’s statements, unless it was clear that’s always part of an assignment like that, or unless it was something subtle I thought the partner might miss. I work with someone similar to Jessie – she has NO attention to detail and has managed to mangle budgets to the point where my agency overpaid for work on a project that was never done. Ultimately, she has not done any of those things, and has continued to find a reason that each individual mistake was either not as important as everyone said it was or not her fault. There’s a good career field for a lawyer who isn’t great at law-politician! It can be hard to remember what is hard for a new employee and what is easy if you yourself is experienced, but you can probably predict what will be okay and what will be too demanding for her. Even if all it meant was that I could get on disability (because yes, I am that impaired, with blatantly obvious symptoms, and in hindsight am astonished I was able to survive on my own *at all*, let alone thrive in my own little way) and have a small but guaranteed income & health insurance, both of which would have done wonders for me when I was young. Lovely man. Jessie is one of the hardest types of bad employees to deal with – you can’t fire her for absenteeism or having a bad attitude or for not taking the job seriously. I am providing my own accommodation, and it’s what the kid needs to remember things – so frustrating! To what extent have you done that last item? When you hear someone is a lawyer–don’t be impressed unless they went to one of the top schools. So this sounds like my coordinator, except we’re not lawyers. Jessie might have ADHD. Being a lovely person is no substitute for being competent when you’re dealing with matters that need attention to detail. – Move old versions to a different folder so I don’t click the wrong one. I’m 43 now; I take meds, and it has been a life-changing — not only am I better at work and life, I no longer feel terrible about my flaws. She needs a PIP at the very least. The “I’m so cute and adorable” [wrinkle nose to demonstrate] “you can’t possibly be mad at me! Can she use her legal training in another area of law that isn’t litigation? It may be that she’s in too deep too fast. I’m almost wondering if she perhaps had a friend (possibly parent…) that proofread EVERYTHING for her and now the incapability is coming to light now that she can’t hide. You are correct – I haven’t made it clear that her job is on the line. – I don’t have hiring / firing power, and I had assumed the partners who mentioned the attention to detail issues with her made it clear it’s a serious problem. I don’t understand why Jessie hasn’t been fired yet. The other possibility is that he has a substantial book of business for which they can be the relationship manager while underlings with the appropriate skills do the detail work. If you can’t pay attention to details or think/read critically, you can’t do the job. I don’t think the OP should do this. I had a lawyer review the files and tell us exactly how to word the ownership (joint tenant or something like that). I don’t see this ending well for anyone, but I hope it does somehow. No attention to detail. It drove me crazy, but I learned to catch things as I wrote them. As a detail-obsessive person, I can testify that building relationships and people-focused activities are my idea of pure hell. when it really works better to pay attention to just a detail or two at a time. Really it’s a kindness to let her know she’s not doing okay. If that’s the case, then all the checklists in the world are not going to help her. Exactly. I am not sure how that could be tactfully and professionally arranged. (I’m still paying off this lawyer, btw, and it angers me so much when I get a bill from them every month with my name spelled wrong). I would be very unhappy to be paying a lawyer who needed that level of handholding. I am an attorney and have recently been promoted to the point where I am supervising junior attorneys’ work. I read all the comments, thinking; why are people armchair diagnosing, don’t they know we’re not supposed to armchair diagnose? But… these are all techniques that I developed to prevent me looking like an idiot in front of others. You owe them the best representation you can reasonably provide and if you’re keeping someone on who’s missing key points, that’s not happening. 0. Also, when something is a repeated error (in procedure), I send him the email exchange where it was corrected last time. 2. OP, I’ve worked with junior attorneys like Jessie. My professors were very demanding and did not tolerate ANY typos. It strikes me as waaayyy too much work on OP’s part to try to hand hold her junior colleague through whatever issues there are. Thank you for your reply, super helpful. I don’t know if the poster is still reading, but I strongly recommend that your employee be evaluated for learning disabilities. That may be true, but the way it works is that you need to learn to function. The counsel has to know enough to know who to call for IP, litigation, regulatory compliance, HR disputes, and whatever else. Someone upthread said ADHD meds aren’t an overnight fix, but they kind of are. Especially after spending so much money to become an attorney. It’s like a far superior spell check that also catches grammar issues. Is there any way to politely say “go see a doctor”, because my guess is no, but also yikes. It’s not that meds don’t work, it’s that you need to have the behavior tools to make use of the clearing of the brain fog. I agree fdsifyhwei’s wasn’t great, but it was in response to you being snarky. In the past I have been able to successfully train and coach co-workers and juniors, without resorting to this tactics. Things that have helped me: Maybe with coaching or a different environment or addressing a medical issue or whatever. Re: ADHD—We are asked not to diagnose. I have a hate/love relationship with them, but I cannot deny they have saved me more than a couple times. Currently, I do policy work (for a very well known agency, with other attorneys), requiring a high level of detail (e.g., remembering case party names, drafting memos, knowing the difference between charters and other legal instruments, and doing policy implementation from the ground up). There are apps and programs for almost everything even in the law field. And she hasn’t realized that maybe the job isn’t for her. So this student will have plenty of company!). My pilots used them too. Maybe it’s a money thing…? Nooope. Conscientousness is one of those Big Five personality traits. This. I had placed into the class, which was notoriously difficult, and the rule was that you only had one try to take it or you lost your placement– unless the department head gave special permission for extenuating circumstances. Maybe teaching 1Ls an introductory subject like torts? And if it’s just B12 or iron, those problems are relatively easy to take care of – she will need to keep track of her levels but that’s relatively easy. Proofreading is one thing (as long as she’s not, say, transposing numbers or using the wrong versions of homophones)–you could tell her to put spelling/grammar check on and manually click each error the document identifies so that the lines don’t go away until she fixes or reviews every mistake. My personal favorite worst: A character with diabetes was given insulin to treat low blood sugar. It’s a Very Big Deal. This is not even remotely accurate and it’s sad that you actually believe this. My favorite WW scene ever. Girls tend to manifest more with daydreaming, absent-mindedness, disorganization, time-management issues, lack of attention to detail, etc. This seems like stuff she should have learned in college/law school. It would include double-checking names and if they are with the correct side and adding up any numbers by hand/calculator (twice). I am an attorney and I have to agree that this kind of error level is a serious, serious problem. For example: could all her work flow through you? Checklists work best when the scope is narrow and the tasks are fairly consistent. Can you describe a time when you were able to produce quality work when under pressure? Jessie is bad enough that it could maybe be unethical to allow her to perform attorney duties for clients. For finance at least – a lot of compliance personnel are hired out of the legal world (this is starting to change, but it’s still a pretty common thing) and her JD would be an asset. I have worked with attorneys with disabilities before and the line is very clear. And word really does get around. Unless it’s to the level of LW’s supervisee’s evidence mistakes, imho a person should be judged on what they were hired to do, rather than their typing skill. We tried it them exhaustively, along with documentation, action plans, weekly check-ins, and feedback on each and every work item she produced. I used to work in a role that was extremely detail-oriented. 4) Process sheets/check-lists – Have I checked party A ties from file X to court doc B. And seriously, I worked in the medical field where we had internal regulatory oversight from a lot of JDs without a whole lot of critical thinking skills… It’s a capital-p Problem. Is it possible that in a quest to be kind, you’ve prioritized sounding supportive over making sure that she understands that these mistakes will prevent her from being successful in her job, and could (will?) The less “readerly” the checking process is the better it works, but ultimately you can end up always fighting the last war and adding process after process to get around the fact that no matter how carefully this person reads, they’re not seeing things they should be; it’s like the invisible gorilla problem. “give her no room to delude herself as to how bad this is”. But not checking the evidence and missing one or more major items goes WAAAY beyond “details”. Those kinds of metacognitive skill deficits are hard to spot in an educational setting. Some people become attorneys because they cannot do math. There are definitely many ways in which law schools fail to prepare students for real law careers (I could go on about that for a few hours…), but this isn’t one of those things. She ended up being terminated because she just could not do her job competently, and no amount of training or retraining fixed that. Same. So this seems like a job fit issue more than anything. I don’t know if that’s the case here or not, but just fyi, Fair point – she might not. 1. I’m the same way, and my boss is a nit-picker so it hurts my career (as in not getting raises). Another time, the solo had an appeal dismissed because she missed a deadline. the. That’s about as “life and death critical” as you can find. I am stunned Jessie is still in her post. Are you kidding?! I only have a BA in history and my profs would have ripped me apart if my evidence didn’t work with my conclusions. And that’s not fair to them. So just keep that in mind. Other than that they were paying us a significant amount of money to represent them, the fact that we were registering an application under a name different than their legal entity name was also a big, big problem. She is setting your firm up for (at best) complaints from clients about the firm’s professionalism and competence, and (at worst) a malpractice lawsuit, or sanctions by the court, or a complaint to the State Bar. I also think that most people would benefit from a few years in a non-attorney legal position to see what the lifestyle of law is really like before committing or even basic work experience before law school. If I’d made basic errors like that I wouldn’t have made it through school, let alone the past six years. Because a junior associate who can’t review documents or draft briefs is not going to have much to do. That is an unhelpful tangent. And I would have committed suicide if I had made even one error per page, never mind two or three. All? And that seems to be what is the most lacking in the junior attorney the OP describes. She graduated, but if I ever saw her in a health-care setting I would run in the opposite direction. Did she just not check the math? And more importantly, OP you have an obligation to look after your clients’ interests, and you’re not doing that properly if she’s making these kinds of big mistakes and you’re relying on her to work on cases. OP has no say on whether this person keeps her job. There’s more than one kind of law practice, too. There’s no money for extra staff and they just throw cases at you when you start without a lot of onboarding or training. I can easily seem someone new to the job thinking that, yes, they’re making mistakes but they’re trying and starting to figure it out and do better (even if the “doing better” isn’t visible to anyone outside of the junior attorney’s head), and thinking they have plenty of time to learn. If you’re not doing those things, there are two options: you either can’t, or you won’t. I’d be livid if a boss was like “Oh and have you ruled out celiac sprue and attention-deficit ADHD? That clients are human, and they sometimes make mistakes or are prone to exaggeration, and she needs to independently confirm that all the ducks are in a row? From your description, she is unable to meet the requirements of the job, even after feedback and with self-double-checks implemented. boss told me I need to wear makeup and jewelry, employee has terrible attitude, and more, weekend open thread – November 28-29, 2020, being put on a performance plan right after a glowing review, photos on resumes, and more, the Christmas tantrum, the dirty elf, and other tales of holidays at work, Thanksgiving free-for-all – November 26, 2020. how do I talk about my work when my work is depressing? Specifically, on June 9, 2008, you attempted to turn an auto scrubber around in a part of the hall that was to narrow. As a potential client of this or any law firm, I am not paying for Jessie to learn how to be a lawyer on the job. It can manifest in women as disorganization, trouble with attention to detail, and trouble comprehending dense material (mind wanders and you go “oops where was I” over and over). So if her checklist said, “check for spelling errors”, she’d mark that sucker off because she did check! ), and this gives me the heebie-jeebies! only got the diagnosis a few years ago. I agree that the dynamics of a manager asking an employee if they’ve been checked for ADHD are … tricky. Or policy (my first step after the “dear God I’m bad at representing clients” realization) or working for a legislature (my third step after that realization). Honestly, it’s your site and your rules, but people are being extremely assholish in this thread. should I tell my boss about my coworker’s temper tantrum? Prove each one. Go take a look. It sounds like you’re in a Commonwealth country, so I’m not sure if the standards or expectations are the same for junior attorneys as they are in the U.S. I myself am struggling with a business partner who delivers VERY POOR QUALITY work, and have tried all of your suggestions. Like, it didn’t tug her heart strings, sorry your dad is dying but meh? OP does say she knows she has a problem with attention to detail, but as others have pointed out, that’s a vague phrase that could mean anything from “the document has misspellings that make the office look bad” to “the document is worse than useless in court because the key points are inaccurate.”. They were just really bad fits for accounting and had to work 10x as hard as others to achieve the same results. I DISAGREE that the mere fact that she makes these mistakes is proof she can’t be a lawyer – but it certainly is true that if she can’t or won’t fix the mistakes and put routines in place to avoid them, she needs a different job. The job market for lawyers now is tough enough even if it is a good fit. I used to have typos and mistakes in documents because I wasn’t paying attention properly. You’re right that generally Jessie’s work gets supervised – and my frustration is more that I have to fix a lot more mistakes for her work than her contemporaries.

employee write up for lack of attention to detail

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