“Nepotism is a natural part of human endowment.” – Robert Jones, professor of Industrial Organisational Psychology (Missisouri University)
A deed of bestowing opportunities to a relative or a friend is termed as nepotism. Nepotism is a human behaviour. The reason for calling it a human behaviour is that it has a history. The best example of which is feudalism. And it runs worldwide. There isn’t a single profession or system in the world that is completely exempt of nepotism.
Nepotism And The Legal Profession
Like all other work places, legal profession exhibits nepotism too. From small independent firms to large corporate businesses, nepotism finds its place almost every where. Some legal practices also take pride in being ‘family business’. And it is a very general rule, that the son of a solicitor would likely become a solicitor and work for his father rather than any other place. Similarly, it is not very uncommon for partners to both be lawyers or paralegals etc. So, it is very likely that they work together and start their own firm or if one already has a firm, they will want their partner to join.
Nepotism And Favouritism
Often alternately used, nepotism and favouritism may or may not be same. For example, A solicitor may promote an associate or a paralegal based on favouritism because their progress is impressive. They work hard or may be they are good with legal technology. It gets complicated if that particular competent employee is related to the solicitor. Similarly, an employee might be favourite because they are related to the employer. So, that might look like favouritism due to abilities but it is clearly nepotism.
Coping With Nepotism
It can be very hard. Perhaps, it may lead you wanting to quit the job. But that’s not a smart move.
These are some of the ways that can help you if you’re facing nepotism in your legal practice.
The last thing you need is not to be taken seriously if you jump the gun and scream ‘nepotism’ against your employer on the basis of some technicality. Because, it may very well be a co-incidental occurence that the competent person chosen for the opportunity is related to the employer.
Casebook is the technology that can help you achieve that. It will make you more efficient in meeting deadlines. More organised in keeping records. And agile in time-saving.
Instead of keeping a record of the mistakes and irresponsible behaviour of the person who benefitted from nepotism, focus on documenting your achievements. Organise your documentation using Casebook. So , when you claim for a promotion or maybe a pay raise, you speak with evidence.
Don’t risk your position by gossiping with colleagues which may backfire. The Human Resource Department is the wrong choice. If you have to choose someone within the workplace, choose someone who ranks higher than you but isn’t an ally in the game.
Keep doing the activities that help you keeping yourself happy and release your stress. It may be anything from exercise to talking to a therapist, remember to continue the activities that bring you relief. Remember, people may not realise their partial behaviour, perhaps, you will do the same if you were in their shoes. Always take things as ‘something you noticed’ rather than ‘something done to you’.
Pros And Cons Of Nepotism
You might not agree, especially if you’re on the shorter end of the stick, but nepotism has pros. It saves money and time to interview in order to hire someone. It prospects better performance by the employee who has been hired through nepotism. They care about the reputation of the family business more than an ordinary employee. It also puts a sense of responsibility on the employer, so they are more attentive when training. Having that said, Nepotism has very well-known cons. The top of the list should be that it promotes corruption. Corruption is the abuse of power for personal interest which can be a result of not being held answerable, which can only be rooted by nepotism. Nepotism may risk the overall performance of legal practice as it eliminates the competition and innovation within the work force. Nepotism may also result in normalising bribery. Bribery is to ask for a favour in exchange of money or a return favour. For example the friends of friends try to bribe their relatives for promotions or to get internships etc.