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A 11-word comment posted 1 year ago was not published.
If ever, I am caught thinking like this, I would give this person benefit of doubt and contemplate my role in this situation. What kind of a person have I become to think it is okay to call someone useless?
I don't think this person is as incompetent and useless as you think. Take a pause and see, maybe its just your frustration and stress making it worse?


Been in both shoes, had my then PA now partner not been patient and kind, I would not have been where I currently am and trust me, I kick ass!
It is a reflection on your capabilities. Step up the training. Change techniques
You still try to train them and you make them feel accountable for their work and make them feel what they do matters. No one is useless.
I love (/sarcasm) how all of the answers to this question seem to give the benefit of the doubt to the junior in question, without considering whether the senior in question might already have tried everything that he/she could do to get the junior to up his/her game.

While I agree with the response by "SA" to the extent that he/she advices against yelling, and concede that to a good extent, success may very well be contextual (in that a person who might flounder in one setup might succeed at another, where the environment is more conducive to his/her success), it is also very important to acknowledge that there might a legitimate problem with the junior in question that cannot be ignored or reflexively dismissed.

As a high performing mid-level at a Tier 1 setup, I have come to learn that the ability to succeed in a Tier 1 law firm (and I imagine this might be capable of extrapolation to other setups as well) is a function of two things, at minimum: (a) competence; and (b) the ability to build and maintain a functional professional equation with your colleagues (regardless of your personal like/dislike for them as individuals). Competence in turn is predicated on: (a) having more than a baseline level of intelligence; and (b) having the ability and willingness to work hard, even in the face of difficult deadlines and tedious tasks that come with territory.

Where a junior is either not smart enough (and this is the case often enough to be a problem -- though this has no bearing on the worth of said junior as a human being) or unable/unwilling to work hard, he/she is bound to struggle in a law firm setup. Of course, even a smart and hardworking junior might struggle in certain setups, but it is disingenuous to assume that the latter is the situation at play when it could be just as likely the former.

The bottom line is - not everyone is built to work in a law firm, and law firms by their very nature are organized in a manner that effectuates an up or out dynamic. Some people are simply not a good fit for law firms and this becomes apparent from their inabilities or attitude. On the one hand, I have had the privilege of working with juniors who are an absolute delight to work with: they go out of their way to understand the underlying issues and requirements of the task, seek guidance in a timely fashion, and pro-actively engage with the material available to them in the firm's internal records and legal databases before coming up with thoughtful work-product that reveals the effort that they've put. While the work-product of even such juniors is scarcely error-free, the errors are typically of a kind that takes a more experienced hand to detect and address, which is completely fine. These juniors are also incredibly receptive to feedback and mark-ups and tend to rise through the ranks quite quickly. I have also had the privilege of working with interns that have provided me with deliverables that have by far surpassed the output that A1s and A2s have managed to churn at times.

On the other hand, I have had the displeasure of working with juniors who have a pathological disregard for instructions, refuse to put in even the bare minimum effort before turning in their work (such as reading provisions of the relevant laws before drafting documents, or looking for precedents before putting pen to paper on aspects which require an examination of precedents), do not respond to messages on time (or at all, at times) and have to be followed up with numerous times only to get shoddy work product from them, are unreceptive to feedback and are more concerned about their ego and image, and are whiny. Such juniors are terrible to work with, and exhibit scant regard for the importance of the work assigned to them, and later whine about how their seniors are difficult to work with.

It is very much possible that the junior in question falls in the second basket and not the first. In such case, my advice to you is this: avoid working with them, and flag the issues you face while working with such juniors to your partner(s) for them, to action during appraisals. It is not worth getting your panties in a bunch over hopeless cases and as tedious as it might be, it's better (for the sake of your own sanity, first and foremost) to do even the more clerical aspects of your matters by yourself rather than assign them to a useless junior only to have him/her fuck it up, and then, having to clean it yourself (and waste hours that could be spent more profitably elsewhere).

However, if the junior is struggling because you have not trained him/her well, then, a part of the problem lies with you. The fact of the matter is, even if one is smart and pro-active about learning, one does not enter this profession well trained as law schools do an awful job of imparting the skillsets and core competencies that are required to function (leave aside succeed) in real-world practice. Most law school faculties even in elite institutes are the sorts who can't get placed in a firm even if they try, and don't know their knuckles from their ankles. While it is not strictly speaking, your job, to train your juniors, it is very much in your interest to do so, so that you end up not having to shoulder the burden of your matters on your own, especially as you become more senior. Having a well oiled machine with competent resources at all levels is of crucial importance for life at a law firm to be palatable.
This is quite honestly the best answer to any question I have seen on LI. Hat's off to you. This is a great attitude and if you manage to keep this attitude you will go very far in whatever you chose.
Wholly agree. I have had extremely difficult juniors (who i and others in the team i was in definitely did not want to work with for continued demonstrated lack of competence over several months) work with other teams and partners. In some cases, person fit better elsewhere. Some cases, they didnt and left the firm (rather asked to find a job in a time bound manner, and leave once they had found)
A 19-word comment posted 1 year ago was not published.
Juniors are useless and incompetent cause they don't fully understand their role and why what they are doing is important. I have found the following has helped me over the years in training:

1. Remind them that an Advocate is at the end of the day an independent professional irrespective of where they work. So just like you are liable to the Client, they are just as liable as you. This will make them step up and do the homework.

2. Ethics training. I cannot stress this enough. Make them understand the ethics of the profession. Ethics are not just about morals. They tell you the duty of care that is required and also tell you how to discharge that duty. Once a junior fully comprehends their ethical responsibilities towards the Client, they will step up.

3. Remind the junior that their entire job is is to become so good, that you become useless to them and the client. Your junior's goal should not just be to become "good enough" but the goal should be to "become better than you". Set that as the target. Then they will stop seeing you as a boss and finally start seeing you as the teacher and mentor that you are trying to be.

4. When you reprimand, make sure that you don't make it look like they have disappointed you. Your reprimands should be such that (1) The junior realises that they should do better (2) They realise that they have the skill to have done better (3) The junior is disappointed that they didn't. When reprimands are issued this way, mistakes don't repeat as it creates a sense of personal responsibility.

5. Be magnanimous. Let them know you're taking efforts to ensure they are able to deal with the other aspects of their lives as well. Remind them that if they do their job well, everyone gets to go home on time to attend to the other aspects of their lives.
Honestly try helping her. If that doesn't help, then don't work with her. Simple.