Emotional Labor Among Paralegals

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Despite the invisibility of emotional labor among paralegals, this dimension of work has significant consequences for the reproduction of the labor process in the large bureaucratic firm and for the psychological well-being of paralegals. These legal workers function to support and maintain the emotional stability of the lawyers for whom they work through deferential treatment and caretaking. By affirming the status of lawyers, paralegals also reproduce gender relations in the law firm. Most attorneys who receive caretaking and support are men, and the majority of the legal assistants who provide these emotional services are women. In this way, the emotional labor required of paralegals serves to reproduce the sex-segregated structure of law firms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-142
Number of pages16
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999

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