7 ways to deal with difficult colleagues

7 ways to deal with difficult colleagues

I remember my first day at work as a lawyer.

Soft of face and wet of ear, I was taken aback by the constant use of the term “fee-earner” to describe my new position. “But I thought I was a lawyer” my internal monologue protested: “a righter of wrongs and noble upholder of the law”.

Well, yes, that was still true but suddenly a new and unexpected ingredient was thrown into the legal mix: I was also to be an “earner of fees”.

Fair enough: a law firm is a business like any other. Law firms cannot exist on the power of goodwill alone.

However, the fact that I was a fee-earner meant a flurry of monthly spreadsheets would soon be produced on which progress towards my annual target would be measured, not unlike a Blue Peter appeal for grown-ups. Except that it was a bit less fun and involved the tacit threat of being shown the door if my failure to hit various targets was to rear its ugly head.

Which is probably why a small minority of, but by no means all, lawyers mutate from being keen-young-whippersnappers to over-caffeinated ne’er-do-wells in the time it takes you to say “why did you write all my time off”?

So how do you deal with Darwinian environment of a modern law firm?

Grow a beard and set sail for the Galapagos Islands?

No. Probably best not.

That said, you can check out some of my handy tips below on how to deal with difficult colleagues:

  • Accept that competition is part and parcel of a law firm. Don’t get bitter or take it personally when you are up against tricky colleagues. Low-level passive-aggressive beha

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About the author:
Paul Caddy is a highly experienced lawyer and legal writer specialising in commercial law and information law. He qualified in 2000 at Osborne Clarke and subsequently moved to Laytons where he undertook a broad spectrum of work in commercial law. His experience also includes large projects work where he helped to set up the North West Fund, the largest venture capital fund of its kind in the UK and one of the largest public sector funds of its kind in Europe.