Abusive Attorney Boss

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about angry boss: When I told him I do not know enough about that part of the law to begin, he became belligerent and started yelling and using profanity at me.

I am a first year law student in a part time program that allows students to maintain their day jobs. Despite the fact that I told him I took an oath of professionalism, he is trying to make me draft a legal disclaimer and warranty on behalf of the company. When I told him I do not know enough about that part of the law to begin, he became belligerent and started yelling and using profanity at me. By law and a code of ethics, I am not allowed to draft legal documents until I have a license to practice. Do I have recourse if he fires me because of this?

Signed,  Part Time Law

Dear Part Time Law:

Yours is a legal as well as a boss-bossed question. I assume your part time job is under the supervision of your law school or at least that your question is one for which you can seek legal advice from instructors there with expertise. Isn’t that possible? Moreover that is where you might also get counsel regarding how to cope with a boss who yells and swears at you. We provide communication, not legal, advice.

From here it seems to me, you are right both ethically and legally. You should not be assigned work which you are not legally entitled to do. Also from here, it is evident that either you have misinterpreted your attorney-boss’s yelling and swearing or you are learning the hard way how bad-bosses behave. There are far too many bad bosses.

You have and are learning how to stand up to them: First by thinking through what you are assigned and asking if it is right for you to do. You did that. Second, by speaking with your superior to register your concern. Third, by seeking outside advice. You’ve stated that by writing Ask the Workplace Doctors; however you overlook the resource of your law school. I predict you will do well as a law student and future attorney.

Please keep in touch. Our youngest daughter passed the bar last year, and I’m sure she will be interested in your question. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS; that is to say saving face and making all those with whom you deal look good is what you will want to do; but not overlooking bad behavior.

William Gorden