IT Employment

General discussion


I can't believe this really happened.

By Thumper1 ·
This might be an example of ?No good deed goes unpunished.?

I was hired as the Network Administrator for a local law firm in 1997. At the time they had around 45 users which included 19 Attorneys. I was working as a service tech for a reseller, replacing a guy who was moving out of the area. I handled upgrading to Windows 95 and adding another Netware file server. Later, we once again upgraded workstations to Windows 2000. I did all of the usual Law Office stuff, handled migration from WordPerfect to Word, (Three versions) Internet access from dial up accounts to a central shared modem server and ultimately to a high speed connection. Did day to day things that make a huge difference but can easily be taken for granted. I was pretty ruthless when it came to spending money, getting the best possible deals in hard and software. In the seven years I worked for them, total Network down time was about three hours. We were hit with numerous virus attacks, all of them being stopped cold. We suffered no major server crashes or data loss. I fixed printers and managed the phone and Email systems.

In October of 2003 two things happened that were to have a far reaching effect on my future employment. First, the managing partner attorney retired. He was the driving force behind the technology in the firm. He understood how much more efficient and profitable computers could make a law firm. We got along just fine. The new managing partner had no understanding or interest in technology. Second, five of the primary revenue generating Attorneys left the firm and started their own thing. This drastically reduced my work load. Not wanting to lose the person who has kept them running for the last six years we made a deal with another Law Firm to split my time. This worked out well for both places for the next six months. The second firm was larger but basically had, for lack of a better description, a hobbyist for a computer administrator. (They had a 50 user, peer-to-peer nightmare network). The first firm was moving into a new building and it was time for a major Network upgrade. (They wanted to get away from Netware?) The managing partner, as previously stated, had no knowledge or interest in computers so he turned management over to a junior partner. The office manager asked me how I would handle a network upgrade. (Novell to Windows 2003) I told them I was planning on bringing in a server specialist to insure a smooth transition to Exchange. That was eight months before the planned move and the last time I was asked anything about the network. Since I wasn?t consulted again, I figured that the network upgrade was on back burner status and would be revived after we were in our new office complex. I continued along, fat, dumb and happy.

I didn?t know it at the time, but I had somehow displeased the attorney who was now in charge of the network. She apparently had taken a personal dislike to me and made sure I was not included in the network planning. She went so far as to contact the server specialists I had planned on using and hired his company to handle the network upgrade. I found out about two months before the planned move. They made decisions that were very inefficient, extremely expensive and amateurish in their scope. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, I immediately approached the other firm I was splitting my time with about going to work for them full time. Since I had installed a server, straightened out their data problems, eliminated the constant virus attacks and generally made life quite a bit easier for them, they immediately hired me full time. The other firm still needed network administration, but since they had cut me out of everything, I felt it was no longer in my best interest to continue working for them. They planned on using me a couple of days per week but received an ugly surprise when they were informed by my present employer that I was no longer available to them.

The really hard thing to deal with was the fact that I did nothing wrong. The first managing partner had me adopt the attitude: ?You do your Lawyer stuff, worry about those billable hours, I will take care of the computer systems. You don?t need to know the details unless you want to know them.?

Everything worked out for me in the end. My new employer is happy, I received a substantial raise. Ultimately, the big loser here is the first firm. They went from immediate service to having to wait to have problems addressed and paying quite a bit more. I still have a number of friends, attorneys and secretaries, there. I feel sorry for what I now see happening to them. I guess we are all just a management change away from potentially having our world turned upside down.

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Comments

Collapse -

Wow..and I thought I had it bad as I too work for a law firm

by Why Me Worry? In reply to I can't believe this real ...

but the firm I work for is a huge international firm with 23 offices worldwide. Luckily for us, our IT dept is well shielded and protected from the yelling and psychotic partner attorneys who get pissed off at the stupidest things, usually by their own doings, such as accidental deletions or file overwrites or doing something really stupid like opening an email asking to verify personal banking info. You would think that as attorneys who close multimillion dollar corporate deals, they would be smarter than that, but no, they are blockheads who will fall for this crap and either have their own identity stolen or be responsible for bringing viruses and worms into our network.

Collapse -

It happens a lot

by Black Panther In reply to I can't believe this real ...

Lawyers, Accountants, Office Managers etc ( ie People with no IT knowledge ) do not think about anything but $$$$$.

What the first firm saw ( after the management change ) was hmmm... maybe we can bypass you and just pay this other consultant to do all the work.. get everything working and everything will be ok and we have saved money as we don't have to pay you anymore...

sad but true...

Collapse -

Moral of such thing as free lunch

by Why Me Worry? In reply to It happens a lot

and I'm glad that stupid law firm got ***-raped in the end and it ended up costing them more money in the long run

you don't go to a professional for help, be it IT, medicine, or law, and then shaft him/her by looking for a cheaper alternative

Collapse -

Still happens

by jmgarvin In reply to Moral of such t ...

The bean counters tend to only look at the small picuture...what can save us money NOW. The IT/IS department is one of the first on the chopping block.

We already have an IT infrastructure, why should we continue to support something that is already there? Plus, security never pays off because we'll never get hacked!

Ah, the joys of having to educate the managers on the importance of a strong IT infrastructure with decent support.

Collapse -

IT is never seen as a revenue generating part of the business

by Why Me Worry? In reply to Still happens

Direcly, no, because we are not closign multi-million dollar deals and negotiating new contracts and such, but indirectly, we are making money for them by enabling them to be more productive and efficient in their jobs via IT technology, which is an everchanging animal that needs to me constantly maintaned and kept up to date. IT is an enabling factor of any modern day business, as one poster clearly put it, and allows businesses to flourish in today's technology and automation based world. If they fail to see how it's better to archive legal documents into digital PDF files instead of keeping craploads of legal papers in cabinets, and to use email to communicate instead of sending out tons of paper mail or non stop phone calls, then there is very little hope for them as a company. I bet companies like them are still using rotary phones, have no concept of voicemail, and still use secretaries and receptionists to take messages. Simply pathetic! The best CEO is also the best CTO/CIO and CFO who understands that shortchanging the IT dept and stiffing them with a small to no budget for upgrades/enhancements will only bite the company in the rear, resulting in loss of data and loss of business.

Collapse -

You've been shafted.

by Hockeyist In reply to I can't believe this real ...

The quickest way to get a person to leave is to alienate and belittle them.
Sounds like they wanted to get rid of you before your long service entitlements kicked in (I don't know if this is the case at your location but employees in Australia receive benefits for staying more than 10 years).
Your lawyer employers, being driven by the dollar, did what they saw as being good for the entity called "the firm" and took steps to rid them of you; a cost.
Stupid people end up in all sorts of vocations, such as law. In this case a stupid person has caused you harm to your career.

Collapse -

More like the reverse

by jellybeenz In reply to You've been shafted.

Sounds to me like management shafted themselves in the end. Hard to feel sorry for them. Idiots.

Collapse -

The path to success is not a straight line

by In reply to I can't believe this real ...


"...I guess we are all just a management change away from potentially having our world turned upside down..."

Yes. This is very true. But, the change could be good or bad. The next change could easily be a new partner overseeing IT at your old law firm and they want you back! In that case you will be in a strong bargaining position.

You made friends and a good reputation with many people at the old firm. There will ALWAYS be someone like your former boss wherever you go. The cream really does always rise to the top, but not in a straight line.

Keeping a good attitude through all of it will keep you on top. But, you know this already.


Collapse -

Handwritting on the wall

by BHunsinger In reply to The path to success is no ...

Senior partner left, 5 other seniors jumped ship. That's the first clue, The assigned by a non IT person to junior management - second clue. Glad you had an out.

Collapse -

Yup..that was the first indication of the sh*t about to hit the fan

by Why Me Worry? In reply to Handwritting on the wall

When senior partners and managers start jumping ship, that usually means there is something seriosuly wrong with the company and its finances and they are bailing out before the sh*t really hits the fan and they lose any if not all of their investment in this blackhole of doom. Management will always know more than you about the company's financial status, which they will not share with you unless needed, but there are ways around this problem by asking subtle questions and piecing it all together. If the employee turnover rate is high and business has been on a rapid decline and managing senior partners are bailing out, you know that this company will be filing chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in no time if this crap goes on too long.

Related Discussions

Related Forums