There is a temptation, as junior lawyers become seasoned midlevel and senior associates, to forget some of the anxiety and uncertainty that can accompany the earliest years of practice and to treat junior lawyers with annoyance, indifference, disdain and even disrespect. Indeed, an attitude of superiority, bossiness (and in some extreme instances, cruelty) can creep into the increasingly-senior associate’s relationships with junior lawyers. Let’s examine some ways to improve such relationships (from the senior lawyer’s perspective).

Start with the root causes of the sometimes bad attitudes of senior associates toward their junior colleagues. For some, it is simply a matter of habit and imitation. They may have been mistreated themselves by senior lawyers, at earlier periods in their careers. They may seek to impress other senior lawyers today with their merciless pursuit of perfection. Or, they may simply be so hard-charging (and often hard on themselves) that they expect their subordinates to kowtow and follow all orders instantaneously and to the letter. Most often, they are ignorant of the adverse effects that their overbearing attitudes can have on their junior colleagues and unaware of specific steps they can take to avoid (or at least mitigate) such adverse effects.