Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Five - Paralegal Pet Peeves

I recently have added a few blogs written by paralegals all over the nation to my ever-growing list of blogs that I follow.  It made me realize that I have yet to reveal that I am a paralegal to my mass of followers (insert snort here). 

Well, I am a paralegal in a small family law office in Orange County.  Oh, and we represent mostly fathers.  The office in which I work is made up of 1 senior attorney, an associate attorney (who is just a few years older than myself), myself (the only paralegal), and a secretary.  Well my boss's daughter also works a few days a week doing mostly billing and collections.  We carry a caseload of approximately 70-100 cases on any given day. 

As a paralegal I cannot give legal advice, but I work with the client's to prepare their forms, declarations and prepare them for any hearings or Trial.  I also have get to sort through financial records and assist in Trial preparation by completing discovery and determining all assets and debts which will become issues at the time of Trial. 

I do enjoy my job overall as it is an adventure each day.  No two days are alike and I get to remember that this is not my drama, but theirs.  It is not my life, but theirs.  There are, however, some aspects of my job that I don't like and some things I just need to get off my chest.  Here we go.

1) I am not your therapist.  I don't know how else to say this. I don't mean for this to sound cruel.  I do empathize with you and the problems you are having, but I am not paid to listen to your problems.  I have work to be doing.  In fact, some of the work is on your case and I cannot do it while I am holding your hand while you have a meltdown.  That is what friends, or therapists, are for!

2) It is not my fault.  Again, I empathize with the problems you are having, but I did not sleep with the person and father or mother a child, you did.  Chances are if she is bat shit crazy now, she was probably bat shit crazy then, yet you decided to move forward with your relationship with said person.  Unfortunately you must live with the decision to do so.  I am here to assist in working out an agreement between you and that person, but it is not my fault you are having to do so, so don't take it out on me!

3) I don't care why you split up unless it will have a direct impact on your case.  Things that don't matter - who cheated on who and why.  Things that do matter - she got arrested for child abuse, she's had 3 DUI's and lost her license and therefore cannot drive the minor children, etc.  Stop telling me all about your sex life, or lack thereof, as it doesn't matter and frankly I don't care.  I do not care if she may or may not be a lesbian now.  It's not even that I wouldn't love to hear this info, because to be honest these stories are the best, it's that the Judge doesn't care and will not read it.  Therefore, we will not be including it so save your breath (and your money). 

4) I cannot predict the future.  My biggest pet peeve is when people call me and ask, "What do you think is going to happen tomorrow at Court?"  More often than not I have left my glass ball at home and cannot answer this.  I may try to distract you by pointing out the positive aspects of your case and what we hope the Judge will do, but I cannot tell you what the Judge will do because guess what..... I'm not the Judge!

5) Don't shoot the messenger.  Literally don't shoot me, but also, don't get upset with me when I am merely calling to relay information to you regarding your case (please refer back to #2).  When I call you to tell you that after taking the matter under submission the Judge has determined you have an anger management problem and orders you to attend a 52 week anger management program, don't scream at me that you don't have an anger management problem.  a) Because it is less convincing when you yell it.  b) Because it was not my decision and clearly the Judge may have seen something...... like maybe a glimmer of your current behavior during this lovely phone call.  Instead let's work on a plan to handle whatever the situation is in an efficient manner so as to save you time and money. 

Don't get me wrong, I do like my job.  I care immensely about all of my cases and put everything I have into them.  I care about the outcome of each case and am excited when the outcome is favorable for you and upset when it is not.  But please remember the above tips, be respectful of me and my time.

** Yes, all of the aforementioned have happened.


Purple Paralegal said...

Oh My! I've found my paralegal "sister!" Someone who shares some of my interests and a paralegal to boot. :-)

I completely agree with your Friday Five, and I too have had all of the above happen to me in some shape, form or fashion.

Congratulations on your blog! It looks amazing and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

Elizabeth said...

Haha thank you! My mother called me and asked if I was angry while I was posting this. I said, "no, why?" So glad you understand! I'm not crazy after all :)