A Paralegal’s Memory Is Long


MEMO RE: My desk is not a trashcan
TO: Albert, The Arrogant Associate
FROM: Your Faithful Paralegal
SUBJ: Common courtesy

Trial preparation is a stressful time. I understand this. The weeks before a trial are critical. This is when you realize that all those billable hours we wasted writing motions didn’t accomplish squat and distracted us from what we’re actually supposed to be doing—winning the goddamn trial. Sure, busting the other side’s balls about document productions and writing angry letters is fun, but that doesn’t do me any good when I have to deal with all of you assholes running around like crazy people because you don’t seem to know what this case is actually about now that we have to, you know, try it.

These are daunting days. You’ll actually have to leave the confines of BigLaw, walk into court, and (gasp) do some real lawyer work. I know that the prospect of actually acting like a lawyer in court (or sitting next to a real lawyer for eight hours a day) can be terrifying, but it’s no reason to abandon common courtesy.

Allow me to sketch this out.

You: Working with/taking shit from the head partner in the conference room down the hall, talking about witness prep while eating lunch.

Me: Sitting at my makeshift desk in a conference room, eating my lunch and minding my own business.

Okay, Albert, here’s where the story gets complicated, so try to follow along. After an hour of swallowing the partner’s shit in between bites of your lunch, the partner tosses you his empty Chinese takeout container and tells you to throw it out.

But apparently grasping simple instructions is as challenging for you as figuring out how to serve an out-of-state corporation because your interpretation of his instructions were to walk down the hall (past a dozen trash cans) and put the partner’s discarded lunch on my “desk” as you muttered, “Paul needs this thrown away” under your breath.

I assume that your cognitive skills are advanced enough by now to tell the difference between a garbage receptacle and a desk. I make this assumption even though I’ve never seen your kindergarten diploma on your office wall hanging next to your degrees from law school, college, and yes, high school (seriously?).

Now, I understand that the way your lizard brain has evolved over time here has trained you to focus most of your mental capacity toward the many ways you can further delegate the tasks that have been given to you. And I know even better than you that shit rolls downhill here in BigLaw. But let me give you some simple advice: Don’t work so hard at being an ass. It comes naturally to you. When you walk by, count ‘em, 12 trash cans to order someone else to do your dirty work, you’re being an ass.

This doesn’t mean that I didn’t throw out the trash. I did. But being an ass for no good reason does have consequences. My power at this place may be small, but my memory is long. I can forgive, but I will not forget. And that’s bad news for you. Because tomorrow we’ll be going to court, and you’ll get that chance, the one you’ve been waiting years for, to finally cross-examine that witness. It’ll be your big moment, the chance to show everyone that you’re partner material, and I’ll be right behind you, binders at the ready. The partner, the one who told you to throw out his lunch, will have the right binder. The only question is: Will you?  Or did I accidently mix it up with lunch?

Going forward, I suggest that you do what you are told re: lunch disposal, and I’ll continue to prepare those nice trial binders for you.

You just got the memo.  From: Your Faithful Paralegal

Read more from Your Faithful Paralegal.

30 Comments

  1. lawlaw

    February 16, 2009 at 3:54 am

    tell the paralegals to stop posting on this site because this is getting ridiculous. we. dont. care. shut up already.

  2. Sallie Mae

    February 16, 2009 at 5:38 am

    I think the paralegal makes a good point.  Here, the associate is so afraid of making a decision that could be second guessed that he passes everything off to the paralegal.  Imagine if the Partner later asked where he put the Chinese food?  He then can ask the paralegal and blame the paralegal for throwing it out.  If he did it himself, he would have to face the music.  This may be an extreme example, but there are plenty of a-wipe in-house lawyers that will spend more time figuring out who else should be doing a simple assigment than merely doing it.  I knew one douche who worked in HR issues, that spent literally over 3 hours trying to fob off a 15 minute assignment on another department, even though the issue was his to handle.  Can you imagine what kind of a scumsac that is =>>and he has a wife that has to put up with him when he goes home!  Unbe-friggin-lieveable!  Is it any wonder that women like us are unattached!

  3. Anonymous

    February 16, 2009 at 5:48 am

    Threaten the associate by potentially fucking over the client.  Good one, idiot.

  4. Anon

    February 16, 2009 at 7:03 am

    Lawlaw: Afraid of the truth?

  5. Tax Wonk

    February 16, 2009 at 7:40 am

    If the paralegal were hungry, would this free meal be considered “income”?

  6. BL1Y

    February 16, 2009 at 9:40 am

    No way she’d do it.  It’d be obvious who screwed up the binders, and she doesn’t have the balls to pull off something like that anyways.

  7. Anonymous

    February 16, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Here, I verified it.  “You cruise in your Mercedes to and from your new condo in Santa Monica, while I chug back and forth in a Honda Civic from an apartment I share with three other dudes.” This Paralegal is therefore a dude (mle), though by living with 3 OTHER dudes, he may well be a fudgepacker.  This goes to show you that being male does not necessarily equate with being a man.

  8. Reality Check

    February 16, 2009 at 9:56 am

    BL1Y,
    For someone who comments on EVERYTHING on this site, you sure do miss a lot. Pretty sure the paralegal’s last post indicated that he was a MAN.
    Learn to read, BL1Y!

  9. Anonymous

    February 16, 2009 at 11:47 am

    It kinda makes you wonder what BL1Y’s “girlfriend” looks like!  If he can’t tell a male from a female, I’ll be willing to bet she’s no prize!

  10. Anonymous

    February 16, 2009 at 11:52 am

    BL1Y,
    Reading is fundamental.

  11. I said it

    February 16, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Lawyers are retarded…

  12. Haha...

    February 16, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Partners shit on attorneys working under them and attorneys shit on ‘staff’…incompetent attorneys have to make themselves feel better after they have been dumped on, cause at the end of the day, they really don’t have as much power as they think they do; they too are just ‘staff’

  13. BL1Y

    February 16, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    (1) Feminine pronouns may be used as the generic; (a) in my experience, the majority of paralegals are female; and (b) this post sounds more like an angry woman than an angry man; and (i) I’ve made a lot of women angry, so I would know.  (2) Only one line from Paralegal’s previous post provides any evidence that she is male; (a) she may have switched genders in writing to avoid being identified by other readers at her firm; or (b) may have used “dudes” in a gender neutral way; or (c) may have meant that the 3 others were dudes, without meaning to indicate her gender at all.  (3) Even if Paralegal is male, she clearly lacks the balls to stand up for herself, and thus may be referred to as if she were female regardless of genetic sex, because either way, she’s a whiny little girl.

  14. Anonymous

    February 16, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    BL1y ought to be a litigator, but he still hasn’t been able to disprove that his girlfriend is a DAWG!

  15. Anonymous

    February 16, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Or could BL1Y be a female HERSELF?  Oy vey!

  16. Reality Check

    February 16, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    BL1Y,
    WOW. You really are a tool.

  17. Al Dickman

    February 16, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Let’s go easy on BL1Y.  He’s only a first year and he’s entitled to voice his opinion.  I think all of the women are jumping on him because he’s vocal.  Go easy, ladies, will ya?

  18. SDL20

    February 16, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    BL1Y’s last post confirms that he is a douche

  19. Lydia H

    February 17, 2009 at 5:43 am

    I like BL1Y. If he dumps his girlfriend, I am available.

  20. Alex Hump

    February 17, 2009 at 6:06 am

    Face it, this column is annoying, but that’s not a reason to take it out on BL1Y.  He’s no more a tool than anyone else here.  Besides, there are some women on this site hot for him and willing to sit on his power “tool”, so how bad can he be?

  21. BL1Y

    February 17, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Furthermore, who does this paralegal think she is think we give a crap.  If you do want to get shat on by an associate, get a real education and a real job, Missy.

  22. Anonymous

    February 17, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Oh, you really told him, BL1Y, you insightful guy, you.  That’s right.  People take paralegal jobs because they loooooove to get shat on.  So if this paralegal doesn’t like to be treated second-rate, he should stuff it!

  23. BL1Y

    February 17, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Hey Anonymous,
    If you’re so tough you fudgcicle, reveal your identity.  Until then, shove it.

  24. Anonymous

    February 18, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Reveal your identity? Who are you kidding, BL1Y?
    May it please the court, I am BL1Y here on behalf of…
    Yeah right. Like there’s any difference between anon and a handle.

  25. BL1Y

    February 19, 2009 at 11:59 am

    My handle has created a following.  By claiming ownership to my views and comments I am putting myself out there.  Eat it.

  26. Anonymous

    February 22, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Yea, BL1Y has a handle.  His girlfriend grabs it every night!

  27. Chica

    September 28, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    When I read such ignorant and obviously insecure comments from a soon-to-be attorney about the profession that will save your ass every day when you’re a new lawyer, I cringe. If you want to make it in the legal world, you better straighten out that attitude.
    If “fudgepacker” is seriously a part of your vocabulary, you might what to rethink your own level of intellect and save us all from having to deal with such a jerk in the professional workforce.

  28. Sylvia

    November 2, 2011 at 9:10 am

    I LOVE this! As a paralegal for the last almost 10 years, this is awesome and I can relate. I just started law school and I feel like I’ve learned a lot about how to treat others in the future based on how I’ve been treated. Thank you for sharing this!!!

  29. paralegal certification

    December 15, 2011 at 1:40 am

    I am sure all paralegals will love it. Thanks for sharing this

  30. Jen

    December 30, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    I was a paralegal for 10 years prior to becoming a lawyer. One lawyer I worked for treated me like gold. Now that I am an attorney, I remember that and treat the staff with respect. In my opinion, this whole high school, college, law school, job thing does not work as it does not allow for new lawyers to gain real world experience before being thrown into the working world. I find a good majority of those people come out of law school arrogant and feeling entitled.

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