I get more and more irritated and bummed when I hear about another instance of “drama” within a litigation support department. It doesn't have to be that way.
The structure of litigation support teams can look like these examples:
1. The department is divided into teams within the same location. There could be a team of project managers and a team of analysts.
2. The department could be divided into teams by responsibility or expertise. The processing team, the hosting team, the consultants, the project managers and the forensics team.
3. There could be a main office and then one or more satellite offices.
4. There might be a data center location and then office space at a different location.
5. The department could be spread out across geographic offices of a law firm or a national service provider.
6. There could be an acquisition or a merger that adds additional teams and additional offices.
7. Let's not forget about the sales team at a service provider.
8. One last example is the team consisting of the law firm litigation support and the service provider litigation support. To me, they should be considered one team.
In my mind, even though the teams are divided by skill-set or location, EVERYONE IS ON THE SAME TEAM. Everyone across the teams works for the same employer and is servicing their employer's clients. These teams should be working together towards providing an excellent experience for their clients.
The drama scenario I am referring to has to do with someone on one of the teams treating someone on another team with total disrespect. This causes their interaction to be stressful, negative and defensive.
1. This jerk speaks to the other team in a condescending manner.
2. This jerk is confrontational.
3. This jerk will throw the other team under the bus in a hot second just to make themselves feel good or look good.
4. This jerk acts like they are somehow more important, smarter, more experienced or better than everyone on the other team.
5. This jerk “demands” instead of “requests”.
6. This jerk tries to put unnecessary pressure on the other team simply because they are on a power trip.
7. This jerk will criticize, belittle and complain.
8. This jerk will pace outside the room or call every 10 minutes asking for a status update.
9. This jerk will send an email to the client publicly blaming another team.
I think you get the idea. I hear about this all the time and it really bothers me. I wish these jerks would stop for one second to think about how they would prefer to be treated if the roles were reversed.
I personally think that a manager should rein this jerk in as soon as they are made aware of it. However, I see many instances where managers let these scenarios go on week after week. Why? These scenarios can bring down the morale of the entire department. A good manager will deal with it promptly.
I hope you do not have to endure scenarios like these in your litigation support department. It really sucks.