Administrative Professionals Week is upon us — ignore it at your peril. While senior partners might be able to pass the week off with a slap on the bum for a job well done, the associates among you would be wise to throw some cash at those who make your office run.

The official day on which you need to make a financial display of appreciation is Wednesday, but people are supposed to be nice to their secretaries for the entire year week.

Given the recession and general market uncertainty, some lawyers might be tempted to cheap out on administrative professional recognition. But surely even the most hardened associate understands that the recession has been much tougher on administrative personnel than it has been on practicing attorneys. Right?

Even though the Biglaw layoff circus has (mostly) left town, the scars from firm after firm kicking employees out onto the street are still fresh. And make no mistake, the Biglaw layoffs of 2009 affected staff in much greater numbers than associates. A cursory glance at  layoff tracker on Law Shucks shows just how difficult it was for staff to hang onto their jobs in 2009.

Now, nobody is asking you to call up your former secretary and check in to see if he/she found a safe landing spot. In fact, if you did call up a former secretary that you were not independently friends with, it would just be creepy.

But the staff who survived the layoffs haven’t had it easy. The net result of all of these firm “reorganizations” aimed at “bringing staffing ratios more in-line with competitors” has been more work for the ones who still have jobs. You saw what happened to associate bonuses this year. Can you imagine how paltry the staff bonuses were?

So, take a moment for your secretary and the other law firm staffers that you interact with this week. Say hello, strike up a conversation, say thank you.

And, at the very least, put a Benjamin in a card. It’s just good manners.


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