One concept our team members learn well is the duty an attorney has to her clients. Therefore, members must communicate effectively while maintaining this overarching mandate in mind. Our non-attorney staff members communicate only as conduits of information between attorneys and clients, our attorneys and other attorneys, and our attorneys and court personnel. On occasion however, senior members, again, as expected, assist clients in understanding the basic context surrounding their legal matters or assist in any way they can, except to engage in the practice of law without the supervision of an attorney.
We discuss with our team members about communication using this triad:
Relationship with Clients
The State Bar of California mandates that an attorney practice in a fiduciary capacity for their client. The meaning of this duty is clear: OUR ATTORNEYS SHALL HOLD OUR CLIENTS’ INTEREST ABOVE HIS OR HER OWN. Our employees understand this duty very well. The bar also mandates that an attorney-client privilege exists, which is the right of a client to refuse to disclose to others confidential communication with their lawyers or to allow their lawyers to disclose them. Our employees also understand this privilege well. Observation of this privilege by our employees is considerably more far-reaching than a layman may imagine. Confidential information exists everywhere in a law office: U.S. mail, e-mail, hard files, digital files and more. OUR EMPLOYEES WILL MAINTAIN CLIENT INFORMATION CONFIDENTIAL AT ALL TIMES.
Relationship With Each Other
We strongly promote teamwork. Developing trust amongst team members, managing conflict by not avoiding it in every case, ensuring accountability from each other, fostering commitment, and defining what we mean by “results” through the eyes of a responsible attorney are aspects of teamwork practiced at our office. We believe no attorney’s office, providing he or she has employees, can function without teamwork. Why? The reason is simple. Employees, in the larger sense, are there to assist the attorney maintain his or her fiduciary duty to her clients. Employees have no such direct duty to clients and cannot be functionally independent. It is through teamwork that effective, timely and responsible communication exists between team members. We expect you will agree.
Relationship With Their Employer
Our main goal is to become our employee’s employer-of-choice. You see, we regard our employees as internal clients and, just like our external clients, we intend to win them over. This is what fostering commitment and trust is all about. Furthermore, our employees are knowledge-based employees and what really motivates them is, well, more knowledge. While it is true that giving an employee everything he or she wants is irreconcilable with operating a for-profit business, we do the very best we can to ensure professional and personal growth, provide clarity from leadership and management and provide a fair salary and benefits to our employees.
The following individuals are members of Team Mentis:
Anthony Mendoza is our Office Manager, and has been with us for 20 years. He manages operations, increasing efficiency and resolving problems through teamwork and quality control. A law firm cannot run itself. It is Mr. Mendoza who ensures that all staff members assist in meeting our clients’ needs. Mr. Mendoza speaks Spanish.
Felicia Tifrea is our Paralegal, and has been with us for 13 years. She is highly esteemed by her co-workers and highly regarded by the attorney. Her intelligence and character bring a steady contribution to the Mentis Law Group, PLC and its clients. Ms. Tifrea speaks Romanian and Slovakian.
Yasmine Lepe is a Legal Assistant and has been with us over three years. This is her first law office position. Ms. Lepe brings a wide-eyed enthusiasm and commitment to her position, reminding veteran members of why we got into this business in the first place. We expect she will continue to do very well at the Mentis Law Group, PLC. Ms. Lepe speaks Spanish.
Jessica Wilson is a Legal Assistant and has been with us for over a year. Starting as an Assistant to the Manager, she has taken a lead role in the front office, communicating with potential clients, clients, court clerks and other attorneys. Ms. Wilson is very bright and learns very quickly. Ms. Wilson speak Portuguese.
Nicholas Mendoza is a Staff Assistant and has been with us for over a year. He assists management with various non-legal duties while in training to become a legal assistant.
Carla Castellanos, our newest staff member, is a legal assistant and has been with us for five month,s making this her second law office position. She is enthusiastic about her position and her previous experience has provided an appreciable advantage to the practice. Ms. Castellanos speaks Spanish.