whose unemployment benefits have run out or are about to?

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AnnaMaria Andriotis in New York, New York

69 months ago

I’m a reporter at SmartMoney.com, and I'm looking to interview laid-off individuals whose unemployment benefits have expired. I’d like to find out what this experience has been like, what your thoughts and concerns are, and how you're making ends meet. If you or any of your friends meet this description, feel free to email me at aandriotis@smartmoney.com so we can arrange a brief interview. I look forward to hearing from you

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dh in Northern CA, California

69 months ago

AnnaMaria Andriotis in New York, New York said: I’m a reporter at SmartMoney.com, and I'm looking to interview laid-off individuals whose unemployment benefits have expired. I’d like to find out what this experience has been like, what your thoughts and concerns are, and how you're making ends meet. If you or any of your friends meet this description, feel free to email me at aandriotis@smartmoney.com so we can arrange a brief interview. I look forward to hearing from you

I wish some magazine reporters would start interviewing legal secretaries and paralegals: What their experiences are like, what their thoughts and concerns are, the type of environment in which they work, the nature of attorneys, the advancement opportunities (or lack thereof). More people need to be educated on what this field is really like. Too many are enrolling in paralegal and legal secretarial schools without doing the research. This forum isn't enough to disperse information about this field that should be common knowledge but isn't.

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Displaced LegSec in Richmond, Virginia

69 months ago

I agree!!

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KW in Detroit MI in Detroit, Michigan

69 months ago

When I returned to college to obtain my paralegal certificate (after being a legal secretary for many, many years, in our last class (ethics & internship) a poll was taken of the students as to what they were going to do with their education. The gal seated ahead of me stated she had never worked (was mid to late 20's) and was going to start working for law firms. I told her to be prepared to spend a lot of time crying in the ladies room. I did a ton of crying when I started in this business and refuse to do it anymore....no matter what they do to me. I honestly believe if budding legal secretaries were to read what life is really like inside the firms, they wouldn't sign up for that type of life, no matter the paycheck.

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dh in Northern CA, California

69 months ago

KW in Detroit MI in Detroit, Michigan said: When I returned to college to obtain my paralegal certificate (after being a legal secretary for many, many years, in our last class (ethics & internship) a poll was taken of the students as to what they were going to do with their education. The gal seated ahead of me stated she had never worked (was mid to late 20's) and was going to start working for law firms. I told her to be prepared to spend a lot of time crying in the ladies room. I did a ton of crying when I started in this business and refuse to do it anymore....no matter what they do to me. I honestly believe if budding legal secretaries were to read what life is really like inside the firms, they wouldn't sign up for that type of life, no matter the paycheck.

Outstanding post, especially the last sentence.

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Gerald R. Everett in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

69 months ago

I'm interested in applying for a job with working for you, as probably the most qualified having worked for legislators at the Pennsylvania House of Representatives [where laws are enacted]. I research and suggest the laws legislators introduce on the House floor. This unemployment if for the birds!

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Fired after 28 years in Osseo, Minnesota

68 months ago

AnnaMaria Andriotis in New York, New York said: I’m a reporter at SmartMoney.com, and I'm looking to interview laid-off individuals whose unemployment benefits have expired. I’d like to find out what this experience has been like, what your thoughts and concerns are, and how you're making ends meet. If you or any of your friends meet this description, feel free to email me at aandriotis@smartmoney.com so we can arrange a brief interview. I look forward to hearing from you

I am 63 so guess I will have to take SS early....

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Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

68 months ago

Fired after 28 years in Osseo, Minnesota said: I am 63 so guess I will have to take SS early....

Fired, you had the same job for 28 years?

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Fired after 28 years in Osseo, Minnesota

68 months ago

Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida said: Fired, you had the same job for 28 years?

My attorneys retired, I was having to float, having to please so many bosses (that includes the secretaries too who would complain if you moved something)....HR in law firms are chickens. Whatever the attorney says goes. One of them said he had been watching me. (Did they ask him too,) When I was assigned to him, I never had any work. Another attorney didn't know how to use his digital dictation device. He never gave me last names, he didn't know who to send or read emails, so he would say this is to Joe and Pete. Not knowing their last names, or if it was a letter or an email, I could only give him drafts. He told HR that nothing ever got done when I was there. HR didn't care to hear my side. I have so little respect for this firm and this HR group. Not to mention the managing partner who was no help to me. I had hoped to retire from there. I think it was my salary. I have to let it go as it drives me crazy. I don't understand how people can be so cruel and not want to listen. I hate law firms and most lawyers. I had so many good years there. I think the gossip factor played a part too. The women were very competitive and back stabbing, wearing provocative clothes, big flirts, etc. If they like you you can do no wrong. I looked good for many years, but I had gained weight, but then alot of the secretaries are overweight there. I just don't know what to think. I just dunno what to believe.

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dh in Northern CA, California

67 months ago

Fired after 28 years in Osseo, Minnesota said: My attorneys retired, I was having to float, having to please so many bosses (that includes the secretaries too who would complain if you moved something)....HR in law firms are chickens...

I had a former coworker and good friend get fired after 15+ years w/the same firm. She worked at this firm - "Lewis, etc." - then in early 90's, left to work at another firm. She was sexually harrassed by the managing partner at the other firm and returned to Lewis. Later, the previous firm where she was harrassed went "belly up," and the managing partner who harrassed her brought his practice to the Lewis firm. She was eventually assigned to that former managing partner, despite objecting to the office manager and explaining the situation to him. They eventually reassigned her, but when the Lewis firm changed managing partners, apparently the new managing partner saw her as a threat because he put her on probation right away, telling her that her work wasn't up to par, that she had three months to show improvement or they would be letting her go. They let her go after those three months. She later lost her mediation.

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Fired after 28 years in Osseo, Minnesota

67 months ago

B

dh in Northern CA, California said: I had a former coworker and good friend get fired after 15+ years w/the same firm. She worked at this firm - "Lewis, etc." - then in early 90's, left to work at another firm. She was sexually harrassed by the managing partner at the other firm and returned to Lewis. Later, the previous firm where she was harrassed went "belly up," and the managing partner who harrassed her brought his practice to the Lewis firm. She was eventually assigned to that former managing partner, despite objecting to the office manager and explaining the situation to him. They eventually reassigned her, but when the Lewis firm changed managing partners, apparently the new managing partner saw her as a threat because he put her on probation right away, telling her that her work wasn't up to par, that she had three months to show improvement or they would be letting her go. They let her go after those three months. She later lost her mediation.

"Brother" is all I can come up with. It is so blatant.

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cad in Dallas, Texas

66 months ago

I have worked as a legal secretary, legal assistant and office manager for attorneys and law offices for 32 years. I had worked at a firm for 3 years. I requested FMLA leave in February because both of my parents were terminally ill with cancer. I was told by HR that I could take it 1 day or week, however I needed the 3 months off. My mother was very bad and I took a Friday and Monday off in March, I received a letter from the firm Monday evening terminating my employment after "careful consideration." My mom died 8 days later and I then took care of my dad, who died in May. The firm even lied to Workforce Commission and said I messed up on a court document to try and stop my unemployment. There are very few good firms to work at, and heaven forbid, if you have someone ill in your family.

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Unemployed legal secretary in Macomb, Michigan

62 months ago

I have worked in the legal field for approximately 25 years. I have seen it all! Unfortunately, I have worked at more than a few firms over the years. What a nightmare of an atmosphere in the legal field. More women need to know what this field is like before they enter it. Don't do it. It is such an awful field and a cut-throat field -- because many women are insecure and jealous - especially if someone is nice looking and takes care of themselve, such as I. I have never been recognized by an employer because other women get jealous and run to the boss and tell lies. I have always gone to my place of employment, stayed out the "gossip" and still ended up on the wrong side of the stick - laid off or fired -- for doing a great day's work. I am an over-achiever but never recognized in this field for my hard work and dedication. That is why I want this to be a message for other women - don't become a legal secretary or a paralegal -- it is not a good way to make a living -- way too much stress and not enough gratitude. If you can work with other women -- God bless you! If you are average looking you will make it - they will leave you alone. Unfortunately, I was recently dismissed from an employer because my supervisor was jealous of me because I had 25 years of experience and could help her out -- too much. Again, jealous and insecure. But now, at my age of 50, what else can I do? I am stuck in this awful field and diligently looking for a new job. I live in Michigan - worst unemployment in the union. I have been off now for only five weeks, but very depressed. I believe I will need to go back to school to have a chance at improving my life - not easy, but I don't have a choice. Remember, good looking women out there -- choose another career.

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Dissatisfied Too in Troy, Michigan

61 months ago

Unemployed legal secretary in Macomb, Michigan said: I have worked in the legal field for approximately 25 years. I have seen it all! Unfortunately, I have worked at more than a few firms over the years. What a nightmare of an atmosphere in the legal field. More women need to know what this field is like before they enter it. Don't do it. It is such an awful field and a cut-throat field -- because many women are insecure and jealous - especially if someone is nice looking and takes care of themselve, such as I. I have never been recognized by an employer because other women get jealous and run to the boss and tell lies. I have always gone to my place of employment, stayed out the "gossip" and still ended up on the wrong side of the stick - laid off or fired -- for doing a great day's work. I am an over-achiever but never recognized in this field for my hard work and dedication. That is why I want this to be a message for other women - don't become a legal secretary or a paralegal -- it is not a good way to make a living -- way too much stress and not enough gratitude. If you can work with other women -- God bless you! If you are average looking you will make it - they will leave you alone. Unfortunately, I was recently dismissed from an employer because my supervisor was jealous of me because I had 25 years of experience and could help her out -- too much. Again, jealous and insecure. But now, at my age of 50, what else can I do? I am stuck in this awful field and diligently looking for a new job. I live in Michigan - worst unemployment in the union. I have been off now for only five weeks, but very depressed. I believe I will need to go back to school to have a chance at improving my life - not easy, but I don't have a choice. Remember, good looking women out there -- choose another career.

Pauline, is this you? I totally agree with everything you said as I am in the exact same position. There are just no decent legal jobs in Michigan!!! So sad

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unemployed legal secretary in Pinole, California

35 months ago

I worked for a large educational instituion making good money for 10 years as a "senior legal secretary." Before that, I worked as a litigation secretary for over 10 years. Got laid off due to downsizing along with 8 other secretaries two years ago. I have been unable to get a job despite all of my legal experience and having a two year degree in paralegal studies. The SF Bay Area legal job market is brutal. I'm on my third unemployment extension and scared that it's going to run out. My advice to anyone considering a legal career other than an attorney, DON'T DO IT. Get a four-year degree (at least) and get a job that you can do in your older years because in the legal field, once you get in your fifties they discard you like an old shoe. Things are just not what they used to be. There is no integrity in the legal profession anymore. They will use you up and throw you away once you get middle-aged.

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mary in Tampa, Florida

35 months ago

-- because in the legal field, once you get in your fifties they discard you like an old shoe. Things are just not what they used to be. There is no integrity in the legal profession anymore. They will use you up and throw you away once you get middle-aged.

Very true. Unless you are in the "in group", your comment is true.

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Well Meaning Stranger in New York, New York

34 months ago

Fired after 28 years in Osseo, Minnesota said: I am 63 so guess I will have to take SS early....

I'm 62 and will start getting Soc. Sec. when Unemployment runs out. I am DONE! already bought a tee-shirt that says "I don't want to. I don't have to. And you can't make me. I'm retired." You can get them at cafepress.com.

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C Lee in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

33 months ago

And a friend wants me to work for him part-time when I retire...in his law office....maybe I should reconsider.

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Well Meaning Stranger in New York, New York

33 months ago

C Lee in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania said: And a friend wants me to work for him part-time when I retire...in his law office....maybe I should reconsider.

Dear C. Lee - okay this is just my opinion, but: nahhh, don't DO it! If I can live in Manhattan and "get by" - most happily, I might add! - you can too! And working for a friend doesn't necessarily work out.

Something similar happened to me: an fellow artist friend wants to "job share" with me - she already told the senior partner that I'm as quirky as she is, have "visible tattoos' and do NOT like suckin' up to "The Man." I also happen to be a crackerjack legal secretary. He wants to meet me anyway, but I thanked my friend and told her I simply cannot and WILL not ever do that work again, EV-uhhhhh! Seriously? I'd rather me homeless and starving than work in ANY law firm again... even this place, which has lots of artists on their staff. I'm sure it's better than my last place, ROPES & GRAY, but I'm so damaged from my experience at Ropes that I can't even bring myself to GO to a firm that is supposedly "better, laid-back, not your typical law firm, lots of other creative people work here for a day job."

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Well Meaning Stranger in New York, New York

33 months ago

Oops! I hate typos! I meant, of course, "a fellow artist"!

I wish I'd been more honest about Ropes & Gray while I was there, thus saving others from grief. Ropes is opening offices all over the world. PLEASE! I beg you all, support staff AND professional staff: DON'T go there! Don't think for a minute "But it's such a prestige lawfirm with a global reputation, blah blah blah." - NO! It's a DEATH TRAP. They even fire PARTNERS who don't fit into their conservative image. All while perpetrating the worst abuse on all employees at the same time they claim to be "inclusive" - having gay attorneys etc. Just for starters, age discrimination is alive and well at Ropes & Gray. But they know how to stay within a hair of the law & cover their butts, so none of us could prove it. Just saying.

ROPES & GRAY: Bad! Save yourself! Do NOT go there! The worst place I've ever worked in my life!
Ropes & Gray: Die! Go out of business!

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Relieved in Saint Paul, Minnesota

33 months ago

dh in Northern CA, California said: I wish some magazine reporters would start interviewing legal secretaries and paralegals: What their experiences are like, what their thoughts and concerns are, the type of environment in which they work, the nature of attorneys, the advancement opportunities (or lack thereof). More people need to be educated on what this field is really like. Too many are enrolling in paralegal and legal secretarial schools without doing the research. This forum isn't enough to disperse information about this field that should be common knowledge but isn't.

Very true. In my 20+ years of experience working in several law firms, I have determined that attorneys and law firm culture is abusive and demeaning. It's akin to battered wife syndrome. I only realize that now since I have been removed from the abuse for almost 2 years due to being let go from my last law firm. I am now looking for work anywhere but a law firm. Apparently, it is very difficult to transition yourself out of a law firm. Other businesses don't want to hire you even though working in a law firm prepares you for ANYTHING.

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Relieved in Saint Paul, Minnesota

33 months ago

hoapres in San Francisco, California said: The trend is for lawyers to start doing paralegal work. We have such a huge glut of unemployed lawyers that many lawyers are doing paralegal work. Newly admitted members to the bar are taking paralegal jobs. The legal profession is NOT a good place to be right now. Lots of individuals are taking matters into their own hands by representing themselves in court since they can't afford to hire an attorney.

That makes sense and it also explains why paralegals are now doing more of the tasks legal secretaries used to do. It seems that the legal secretary as we have known it is being phased out. Law firms are now hiring "legal administrative assistants" who may be assigned to as many as seven or eight attorneys and paralegals. Attorneys have priced themselves out of clientele and great legal secretaries.

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C Lee in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

33 months ago

This is exactly why I am strongly discouraging my 38 year old niece from going to law school. She already has a BA degree and an MBA degree...why get over$100,000 in debt to do what she basically does without a law degree? She would be paying the debt back until she is eligible for Social Security! No way! She would have to resign her government job (with great benefits)......I don't think it is wise....and I am going to share this discussion with her.

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C Lee in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

33 months ago

She cannot be reimbursed for going to law school. Our state doesn't do that. She could go at night, but it would greatly interfere in her job duties.

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S. Chamberlain in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

29 months ago

I was laid off from a very prestigious law firm in Center City, Philadelphia, after 25 years of service to the Firm, as so many of us were. I watching everyday starting in 2009, when I was laid off, it seemed my friends were just be let go, what I found interesting was that most of the legal secretaries laid off were all at the firm over 20 years and in their early 50's. I started to see a pattern and my pattern is correct. Oh they are lawyers they know what they are doing so they laid off a few in their 30's and 40's but the bulk of the layoffs were women in their 50's and at the Firm for 20 years or more. I have not been able to find any work at all in the legal field of which I am highly qualified for but I am just getting tossed aside for younger women and that has to do with money, I worked very hard for 25 years to get to the salary I was making. I have had to down grade my salary to half and still cannot get hired. I have had to sell some of my very sentimental gold, I am selling my car, I was turned down for any relief and assistance from the Department of Welfare because my husband collects social security he is 10 years older then I and very sick on oxygen 24/7, he receives from Social Security $688.00 a month and because of that I was turned down for even food stamps, unless of course I was a migrant worker, or had children, I am appauled at this country, I have paid taxes for 37 years of working and I cannot get any assistance, my mortgage alone is $1,104.00 per month, but because we have an income of $688.00 we do not qualify. We have exhausted our savings, I have exhausted my 401k, and now I am selling my senitmental gifts to pay my mortgage and now I have to sell my car, I have been on so many interviews, part-time, temp work, receiptionist, anything, I have applied to be a file clerk just to earn a living. And this is how our government treats the millions of Americans who are loosing everything and my husband and I are loosing everything.

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S. Chamberlain in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

29 months ago

Sorry for my mistakes in my comments, but that is what happens when you type faster than think so I hope whoever reads this understands what exactly I was saying and as follow legal secretaries, I am sure you will.

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Joe Gagill in Sparrow Bush, New York

29 months ago

I'm terribly sorry for what your going through.

Job searching is truly a miserable experience.

My benefits are about to run out and now it's spin the wheel what crappy job do I take.

Companies today do not care one bit about their employees. Even the ones that work hard.

I think about the gentleman who shot and killed his boss in NYC this past friday. Was his benefits running out, was his savings going be soon depleted? Did his boss treat him poorly?

You have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting a job today.

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S Chamberlain in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

29 months ago

dh in Northern CA, California said: I wish some magazine reporters would start interviewing legal secretaries and paralegals: What their experiences are like, what their thoughts and concerns are, the type of environment in which they work, the nature of attorneys, the advancement opportunities (or lack thereof). More people need to be educated on what this field is really like. Too many are enrolling in paralegal and legal secretarial schools without doing the research. This forum isn't enough to disperse information about this field that should be common knowledge but isn't.

I agree with you completely working for lawyers for 30 years, I can't believe I am not in prison. My question to you is and to everyone reading this comment is, "when are we all going to come together and start a union of legal secretaries and paralegals, I think the time has come that we DO!

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tmf1977 in Yonkers, New York

28 months ago

@S.Chamberlain: My sympathies. Please know you are not the only one going throw this right now. It seems over the past fo years, the legal field has been imploding. The sad thing is that many of us in the field (paralegals, clerks, legal secretaries, etc.) were caught off guard. None of this was predicted, so please don't blame yourself for spending so much time in this field--no one really predicted this five-ten years ago.

On another note, I concur with dh. After my last two positions in supporting female attorneys (yes...I am a woman), I decided to try to market myself in the insurance industry as I have ten years combined experience working in insurance defense. I'm hoping to hear back from one company I had interviewed with (four interviews). Although I don't have that many years under my belt as you do, I have noticed this field taking on a very toxic tone. Not sure if its a generational thing, or whatever, but it's not worth working in law anymore. The money is not there, and neither are the opportunities for growth--for anyone in that matter. Even the career path for attorneys is a long and difficult one now.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know you are not alone. I hope that things have improved for you since you typed your original post.

-TMF

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