I was struck by a recent report that a large global firm had cut its support staff to achieve a 4-to-1 attorney-secretary ratio. The usual reasons were cited: technology had taken over many administrative and clerical tasks traditionally performed by secretaries, which made possible layoffs to improve the firm's efficiency and bottom line.
I'm not enamored of this short-sighted view of secretaries (the preferred term, in my view, to the anemic "administrative assistant"). Firms that cut back on secretaries overlook or ignore perhaps the most vital service these professionals perform: the day-to-day management of their lawyers.
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