Social Structure of a Law Office Essay

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Social Structure of a Law Office

Social structure is a part of every organization, whether formal or informal. A very defined social structure is often evident in the workplace. In my workplace, a Law Firm, the social structure is very concrete. There are many perspectives from which the social structure can be viewed. It can best be discussed in terms of statuses, roles, interactions, formal and informal organization, how members are socialized, norms, and how compliance with the norms is assured. A brief description of the setup of the office is helpful. There are three lawyers in the office. The actual office is owned by Dan, the elderly male lawyer. The two female lawyers rent their office space from Dan. In addition to
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He also has the role of paying the employees. The other two lawyers hold the roles as secondary authoritarians. Ed and I have roles as production workers. This means all work that needs to be done or documents that need to be produced occurs through us. I also have other roles which constitute a role set. In addition to a production work role, I have the role of accountant and file clerk as well. All three attorneys often find themselves in a situation of role strain. Since the practice of choice in this firm is family law, many of the cases involve messy and emotional divorces and adoptions. On one hand, the attorneys are supposed to be caring and help their clients through the case. On the other hand, the attorneys have to be ruthless in the collection of fees for their work. This can entail suing clients who have been extremely delinquent in the payment of their bills. However, more often than not, the attorneys find themselves caught in a humanitarian role and allow the delinquent client to trade a service, such as office cleaning, for the payment of the fees (Zanden). Interactions are another part of the social structure in this workplace. Dan keeps his interactions with Ed formal. This is due to the fact that Ed is new to the firm. With time his interactions will become more informal. All other interactions in the office are informal. Often, interactions are done in writing and notes are left on chairs and desks. One

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