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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What Do Administrative Assistants Do?

It's summer and I have a new faculty assistant. I thought I would take the opportunity to inquire into the many things for which law faculty rely upon administrative assistance. My guess is that there is great variance in the responses to the above question: What do administrative assistants do?

Please share your ideas, systems, and effective ways to benefit from assistance in our daily and not-so-daily work as writers, researchers, editors, teachers, and administrators. For example, I am wondering how many law professors use their assistants to proof read their articles? Does your assistant manage your schedule? Does she help sort out your filing cabinets? Does she book your conference flights and hotels? How many ask for help with bluebook footnoting? Or is that more likely work that is done by research assistants?

[[which reminds me, I shall post in a bit a similar summer time blurb on "What do RAs Do"...]] 

Posted by Orly Lobel on June 27, 2007 at 05:53 PM in Life of Law Schools | Permalink


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kay and anon, yes, i was adopting as i almost always do in my blogging and other writing, as well as speech, the use of she as the third-person singular pronoun. I recognize however that the vast majority of admin assistants are indeed women. moreover, i have written about how the labor market has changed job titles without changing the substance, pay and discretions that come with the job, and i use this job title as a good example -- pink collar jobs moving from the name "secretary" to "admin assistants" without much change in what the job entails.

[see, for example, the article: agency and coercion in employment and labor relations.]

Posted by: Orly Lobel | Jun 28, 2007 3:43:36 PM

Exactly, anonymous. Even if the professor has adopted the convention of using "she" as the third-person singular pronoun in all cases, this post certainly reads as though she assumes that administrative support is "women's work."

Posted by: Kay | Jun 28, 2007 1:40:31 PM

"Faculty assistants?"

What are those?

-- A PoliSci prof who makes his own photocopies...

Posted by: Arts & Sciences Proletarian | Jun 28, 2007 10:22:09 AM


Posted by: anonymous | Jun 28, 2007 9:20:59 AM

The most important thing that a good faculty assistant will do is get you reimbursed from your school in a speedy fashion. This is worth gold. Beyond that, the usual, checking exam dates, scheduling classes for make-up classes or review sesions, helping you to set up your office, keeping you stocked with paper and ink, ordering pizza for clas, FedEx., etc. I think all the functions that you mentioned would best be handled by a research assistant. Although sending out reprints of your latest article is probably on my list, but not terribly high, especially if you are sharing with more senior faculty.

Posted by: younglawprof | Jun 27, 2007 11:06:53 PM

My assistant does none of the above. I share my assistant with 5 or 6 other professors, and she doesn't do much for me.

Posted by: lawprofG | Jun 27, 2007 10:31:10 PM

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