Five Types of Legal Assistants Gone Bad


If you work long enough in a large law office setting, you tend to notice certain types of legal assistants who make you crazy with their worthlessness. While we at Bitter Lawyer know a good legal assistant is worth her weight in gold—and that a paralegal’s memory is long—you sometimes end up with dead weight. Like these five types of “legal assistants” who bring little to the table other than occasionally answering the phone and putting the mail in your chair.

1The Surfer. This one is on the internet 18 out of 20 twenty times you walk by his cube (the other two times he is in the bathroom). I am guilty of peeking at the internet occasionally (a lot), but this one takes it to the HNL (‘hole ‘notha level). TMZ, eBay, Facebook, Zoosk, Craigslist and lately Pinterest; they hit them all, all day long. And they are always the first to shout out the latest breaking news of the world (“Oh my God, Michael Jackson Died!!”). Ironically, they are the last to shout out breaking news from any cases assigned to them.

2Snake-Skin Heels Lady. This one is always dressed inappropriately (tight black dress and 5-inch snake-skin heels on a Monday?), and she always says something inappropriate to clients when they call (“Yes, Mr. Dick, the attorney totally forgot to call you back because she had her annual gyno exam yesterday”). She wears way too much perfume and invariably has a raspy voice. Why do most overtly-sexual women have raspy voices?

3“Busy” Lady. This person is busy not being busy. She roams around the office telling
people how busy she is, but there is overdue discovery and two-week old mail sitting on her desk. She is always disheveled, and her cube is a mess. When you ask her why something is not done yet, she says she has been busy all-day “multi-tasking”; which is just slang for “simultaneous bits of screwing around.”

4The Slug. The slug comes in late every day and leaves early every day. God forbid the managing partner is out on a Friday—you’ll only see the slug between the hours of 9:45 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., then again from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. And when they are there, they do nothing. They just sit there, talking about how tired they are. They are always the first to catch “that bug that is going around” (what “bug”? And why does it get you once a week?). Further, a slug’s time card undoubtedly has perfectly precise times of clocking out at 5:00 p.m., since a slug stares at the clock and has things packed up and ready to go at 3:47 p.m. every day.

5Hungry Gal. The resident Paula Deen. She is constantly bringing in fattening cakes, 27-layer dip, and Krispy Kreme donuts to the office. Not because she wants to feed everyone, she just wants an excuse to get down on her favorite foods. She is always encouraging others to bring in food, and sends out mass-emails when any food is dropped off by sales reps: “Hey y’all, Zippy Court Reporting dropped off Panera paninis for lunch. I am writing this email from the kitchen, so hurry up before I eat them all. Feel free to take left overs, I already stuffed four paninis into my purse LOL”. She means well, but poor thing just likes to eat. I imagine she would actually get some work done if her thoughts were not consumed by delicious buttery treats.

Surely I have left off a few other stereotypes. Feel free to tell me about your encounters.

Post image from Shutterstock.com

Goo, Esq., is a low-level associate at a mid-size firm. He does not enjoy being a lawyer, but really enjoys lamenting about it. Follow Goo, Esq. on Twitter @lawyerproblems.

6 Comments

  1. Comrade Misfit

    March 7, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Why do most overtly-sexual women have raspy voices?

    Whiskey and cigarettes, mostly.

  2. Napper Tandy

    March 9, 2012 at 8:59 am

    There also is the prima donna assistant, who has been there forever and according to her has paid her dues so she is now a self-appointed of-counsel-assistant, free to take only assignments that are worthy of her. She has disenfranchised herself from all other assistants, who must yield to her authority. The managing attorneys are too cowardly to deal with her attitude, especially since she regularly reminds people of her willingness to file complaints with HR. Our prima donna routinely flexes her superiority by working in empty offices to set herself apart from the other assistants and to show her equality with the attorneys.

    • not bitter just tired

      March 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm

      nail on the head. we called this person the HBIC at my firm.

  3. not bitter just grumpy

    March 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Don’t forget the office spoon, who spends more time stirring up trouble among her co-workers than working. If you are the supervisor of this person, count on losing some serious billable hours keeping her tamped down. Also don’t forget the office know-it-all, who thinks she is much smarter than she actually is. This person will engage in loud legal arguments with you or any other lawyer around but shies away from actually doing substantive work. What work she does requires very careful review, as she will have invariably have taken it upon herself to make “improvements.”

  4. cl

    April 29, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    misogynist lawyers… how original

    • Guano Dubango

      April 30, 2012 at 6:46 am

      You are probably bitter because no man is sniffing anywhere near your privates.

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