In general, HHR was a typical law firm. On individual bases, you would get praise or more critical feedback - and they had regular social events on Friday afternoons, as well as other social things to do. The emphasis in the summer was on the "summer associates" - law students interning, but extra tickets were often available to staff.
Support from management
Law firms are typically hierarchical - HHR is no exception. However, as a seasoned person, the attorneys I worked with always listened and took my comments under advisement - much appreciated.
Yes, I was working on a specific large case and we had a good all around team, from partners to secretaries. As a point person and coordinator, I enjoyed working with each member of the team.
Freedom to work independently
As a paralegal you are generally responsible for your work product and, depending on experience, you are granted a fair amount of autonomy, which I was. I never felt I was under a microscope, but I was also aware when I should have my attorneys look at my work.
Yes - I always knew where I stood and it wasn't just left to a year-end review. Great communication (which isn't always the case in law firms).
Attitude towards older colleagues
I doubt an attorney 45+ would be hired as a first year associate! But that is just a fact of life (and I could honestly be wrong about that - certainly it would never be a stated prejudice, just a real one.) However, as a staff person and in my early 50s at the time I worked there, I felt no discrimination against me at all. In fact, my age and experience were always in my favor. But I wasn't alone in my age range as to staff, which ranged from 20s to 60s. And of course, the experienced lawyers were mostly over 40. In fact, probably in the Los Angeles office the youngest people were the associate lawyers.
I was not looking for this at all as I was tapering off working as a paralegal. I worked as a contractor and was offered to become an employee and declined.
Overall compensation for your work
As far as I could determine, HHR paid market wages for paralegals. I worked as a contractor and my wage was fine but paid through the agency. Full complement of benefits which are usually good at law firms and as a large firm, there was never a problem with getting paid on time.
Office / Work Environment
All good - working in a downtown high rise with up-to-date equipment, an IT person on staff even though it was a satellite office.
HHR is a premiere law firm based out of New York. The Los Angeles office was relatively small, but within the law community if you said you were working at HHR, this meant something. Outside the community and in the LA area, perhaps not too much, but prestigious law firms usually have either well known clients or work on well known deals or cases - no exception at HHR.
I was there for one specific case and when this ended, I left. However, there were rumblings of business lost and possible layoffs. Unfortunately, this happens in firms, and was one of the reasons I chose not to become an employee.
Yes, even as a contractor, I went through all workplace trainings, etc. and the workplace complied with OSHA. Basically, these are good working conditions by any measure.
Yes, I was always proud of my work product and felt this - as to the intellectual quality of my work, as a paralegal a lot of the work is more administrative in nature. Attorneys tend towards the real intellectual challenge, although I was given some research assignments here and there.
Inclusive / Diverse
Diversity of thought, yes. Otherwise, like most law firms, especially high end ones, they are always looking for diversity in hiring.
Suggestions for improvement
- I think as mentioned above, they struck a good balance of making sure the work got done and clients were made happy (most important) as well as keeping employees and in my case, contractors happy too.
What I like about the company
Honestly, they were great. I worked as a contractor, but I was there for a long time - somewhat over two years, maybe even closer to three. I was offered to come aboard as an employee, but I was tapering off working as a paralegal and didn't need a benefit package, so I opted to work this way to provide a bit more flexibility, although the case I worked on was intense at times with plenty of overtime on occasion. I liked the attorneys, the other staff, the facilities, the work itself, the way I was treated with respect and some deference even (as the seasoned pro!), and it was a great way to end a long career.
What I dislike about the company
Actually nothing. As far as I am concerned, they struck a good balance, but admittedly as a regular employee I might have felt a bit differently.