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Bureaucrat Attorneys Don’t Always Have the Easy Job
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Summary: Bureaucratic attorneys may appear to have an easier job that producing attorneys but they are required to save face just as much.

There are producers and there are bureaucrats. Law firms are comprised of both individuals but the roles they serve are greatly different. Lawyers need to decide which role they want to be filling. Harrison Barnes explains the differences in Bureaucrat Attorney versus Producer Attorneys.


Producers are your partners and associates putting in lots of hours to make a profit for the law firm. They are responsible for the success of the law firm and any profit the law firm is able to make. The more hours they put in, the greater the profit the law firm can make since lawyers are on a set salary.

Bureaucratic attorneys follow a different set of guidelines. They are not interested in the typical billable hour structure that other attorneys worship. That structure requires them to be accountable for every moment of their workday, making their worth as an attorney reliant on how much they contribute to the day’s production of work. Bureaucrats are responsible for making sure the producers are able to work without problem instead of being the ones producing anything with a direct value. They are generally in in-house positions, working for the government, working in a law firm but not in a billing position, or doing other work.

Benefits of being a bureaucrat:

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  • Their value is harder to measure so there are more ways of showing their worth.
  • They don’t have to go looking for work and can get by with what is given to them.
  • As long as they look busy, they will be able to keep their job longer.
  • Those with connections to top producers and higher ranked bureaucrats will be able to stay employed longer.
  • They can rely on their qualifications to get them a job and help them keep the job.
  • They receive promotions because those above them leave or move to even higher positions in the organizations.
  • They can remain safe by following the rules and are even protected by the rules.
  • Those with social and political skills will be able to remain employed for a long time.
  • Those in a large organization that is growing will be able to survive longer with little effort.
  • They often do work for producers that don’t fully understand their work so they are able to keep their position even more secure.

Negatives of being a bureaucrat:

  • They are a cost not a profit for organizations.
  • Without political or social skills, they will not be able to keep their job for long.
  • The amount of work they put in does not always turn into an increase of income or position.
  • They are often controlled by rules and set behavior expectations, limiting the use of their own creativity and abilities.
  • Any job promotions are limited to the existence of people higher than them.
  • They must keep looking busy even when they are not, meaning they must make busy work for themselves that is unnecessary and not enjoyable.
  • If someone important does not like them, they can easily be held back from promotions or even lose their job.
  • They can lose their jobs just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • Working for small organizations can prove to be hard to survive in for long.

While working as a producer can seem like an exhausting job, the alternative of being a bureaucrat is filled with exhausting work of a different nature. They must keep looking busy even when their work is done. They can’t run out and find a new client whenever they need to. Their job is also more reliant on the political and social aspects of the organization so when they don’t excel at being able to get along well with others, they will find themselves on the out.

Do you think bureaucrat attorneys have it easier than producers? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

To learn more about being a producer attorney, read these articles:



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