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Paralegal Cafe
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23rd-Jan-2008 09:19 am - Meet L. Biddy
Don't get me wrong. I love secretaries. (We have affectionately termed them "The Biddies.") They are sweet and make my life a whole lot easier. Unless they have simpering, conniving, ever-expanding lazy asses.

To set the stage, anyone in the legal industry will admit, there is a hierarchy. There just has to be. Those who bill v. those who don't. Those who are license to practice law v. those who can't. It's not that some people are better than others. Everyone has their own job description they were hired to do so that we all could run a business, make money, eat, live, and be merry.

Enter The Partner. The one with the name in the firm. The one that signs your paychecks. The Ivy League genius with a photographic memory. The one that says, "Jump," and you don't even ask "How high?"; you just start jumping up, down, turning around, and out the window and he chooses the way he likes best. That's just how it is.

Now, meet his secretary, Lazy Biddy. She is pleasant enough when you don't have to work with her. And she actually may have half a brain. But what makes the rest of the firm grind our teeth at night is her damn laziness. She just may be the laziest person in the legal industry. Even the associates under her cannot trust her to do more than a simple letter or schedule flight. Actually. Correction. I have actually had to make travel arrangements because Ms. Biddy could not handle calling a travel agent.

Lastly, I am blessed enough to have a file clerk. A smart one that even knows how to do billable work when we're shorthanded. God bless her. I had to fight long and hard for her. Had to go all the way up to The Partner.

The Partner: Ms. Biddy, here is a simple task I need done by the end of the day. Can you handle it?
Ms. Biddy: [accepts stack of documents] Of course, sir. [Exit The Partner]
Ms. Biddy: Oh wow. There are about 1000 sheets of paper here. So heavy. That's like two whole reams of paper. I'm going to put this on a rolling cart.
Ms. Biddy: [to herself] I don't feel like doing this. I think I'm going to disregard the fact that The Partner asked me to do this. Even though all my predecessors did this exact task.

Sweet file clerk: Oh. I'm frantically trying to do this billable task that the senior associate gave me by the end of the day.
Ms. Biddy: Oh but this is from The Partner. Even though it's non-billable and he asked me to do it, I think you should.
Sweet file clerk: Oh... okay...
Ms. Biddy: [waddles away]

Sweet file clerk: [starts running around like a headless chicken]
Atlparalegal: What's going on?
Sweet file clerk: [explains]
Atlparalegal: [Rage ensues. Sends Sweet File Clerk to stick up for herself and tell Ms. Biddy to do it.]

Sweet file clerk: This is a bit much. I don't know if I can finish all my priority projects by the end of the day.
Ms. Biddy: Oh, but I'm so busy.
Sweet file clerk: You are busy? On a Friday afternoon? When all your associates are gone for the weekend? [Crickets chirp]
Ms. Biddy: Oh yes. See? I'm typing. [Checks personal email.]

Atlparalegal: [Has a coronary and is sequestered in office so she doesn't commit murder.]

Next scene. Because we are a defense firm, clients get bills. That is how we make money. We are providing a service.  They are the customer. And because law firms are a dime a dozen, if you have a big client, you wax their mother's hairy toes if you have to. You certainly do not send out a bill with a mistake. Not just a typo in the cover letter (which is bad enough as it is), but an actual mistake in the asking for money part.

Atlparalegal: I know you just sealed the envelope, but I just found this correction that needs to be made.
Ms. Biddy: Oh, I can't be bothered. I would have to reopen the envelope, take out the bills, make new copies, and put it in another envelope. You can do it if you want.
Atlparalegal: !@#$%^&#!!!!!

But whatever. Everyone has their faults. Perhaps, lazy is her fault. I can work with that if she can eventually get her work done. I am happy with that. Her associates could live with that. But bloody hell. Where does she get the fucking audacity to pawn off her (non-billable) work onto all the paralegals in the office? Especially when it's something that the freaking PARTNER asked her to do?

UPDATE: Nosy Biddy just called Lazy Biddy a "whiny little invalid" to her FACE. You know it's bad when a fellow biddy turns on you. And that's a direct quote. Witnesses available upon request.
22nd-Jan-2008 05:31 pm - California Bar Exams Study Aids
I am looking for the California Bar Exam Study Aids, that contains books, course guidelines, synopsis, etc for those planning to the take the Bar. If you know anyone who might be willing to offload theirs for a fair price, please let me know.

I checked eBay but could only find one and it was overpriced. I haven't checked Craigslist, Amazon.com, etc. If I can find it there, please send me the link if possible.

Thanks so much.

xposted to Paralegals
Attention, attorneys. Just because you went to law school does not mean you are the shit. Just because you spent $100,000 to party for another three years does not make you smart. Especially since the only reason you went anyway is because you didn't know what you wanted to do with your life. Poor baby.

For instance.
We live in the information age where technology runs rampant. Imagine that. If the backwards Georgia court systems can figure out how to e-file documents, don't you think it's about time you learn how to scan a document? Calling me from the other side of the office when I'm already running around (trying to serve 15 subpoenas before the close of business because "it's an emergency") just to scan a document is not cool. You see that big machine? That says "Canon Scanner"? You know what? Yup. That's a scanner. Let me break it down for you.

1. Stand up and walk to the machine. (Yes, walking is good for you. It might even help with that tummy you have going there. Don't you miss seeing your toes?)

2. Check for staples. (Common sense. If the automatic feeder is going automatically scan documents page-by-page, how the fuck is it supposed to do it when everything is bound?)

2. Insert the paper into the feeder. (This may be the most challenging step, but never fear. Canon foresaw this and provided instructions right on the scanner. They were even nice enough to provide picture diagrams. Printed side up. NO STAPLES. See? Idiot-proof.)

3. Hit the green button. (Kind of like a traffic light. Green means go.)

4. When the scanner jams because you didn't take out the staples, do not hit the machine. Would you like it if someone hit you? (Actually. Don't tell me. There are some things I would rather not know.)

5. After you call me frantically because the scanner "doesn't work for some reason," and I fix it in a matter of seconds, do not say "Oh I don't know. They never taught me how to do that in law school." Because while I smile and fake laugh at your bad joke, I am secretly thinking," Wow. I went to elementary school and they taught me how to read. Arrogant bitch."

Thank goodness for happy hour. One more hour and my fellow paralegals and I will be normal people for a while. Although the forty year old virgin is supposed to come today. (Yes, we have a real live forty year old virgin in this office.) But that is a story for next time. I have to go bill now.

(Disclaimer: I actually do like my job and am good at it. It's just some people...)
11th-Oct-2007 01:15 pm - Hello
My name is Ashley, and I am a senior at the University of West Georgia. I have a 3.84 GPA in Political Science and Pre Law. I'll be graduating in May and I am looking for any tips from you paralegals out there from Georgia. I could really use some help, tips, or contacts that could help me in the pursuit for a job come May.  
The law firm “CA - project consulting” is specializing in legal support of the major investment projects, including projects based on the public-private partnership. Our firm's experts have the wide experience of judiciary practice that allows us to protect effectively the interests of the clients in court. We bring to your attention a selection of articles and research papers prepared by our lawyers on the basis of acquired experience on implementation of the public-private partnership projects.

We invite foreign clients and all interested persons to ours site and lj and we hope for productive cooperation!
7th-Jun-2007 04:54 pm - Don't Be Shocked
Mirriored from My Latest Entry on live journal.  Please tell me what you think and add any common horror story advice tips you have run into with your office.

Be it from looking in the phonebook, searching the vast darkness of the internet or trusting a recommendation from someone you know, you’ve gotten the number of an Attorney’s office.

You call.

A guide to what should happen after that:


1. KNOW WHAT YOU ARE CALLING ABOUT.

    Either KNOW that you want a divorce, custody of a child, support for that child or for yourself, that you wish to become the Guardian of (or simply Adopt) that lovely child…  OR Admit up front that you don’t know what you are talking about... and that you need help.  The Receptionist is there to assist you, to get you through this difficult time, but don’t act like you know anything when you clearly do not. Do not tell the Receptionist what needs to be done.  They know more about this than you do.  Ignorance is fine; They are there to help.


2. BE PREPARED:

    You called them, right?  Why would you not have a pen?

   If you have been served with divorce papers, why would you not have the papers in front of you?

    Please read through the papers before you call.  I am well aware that they are scary, ugly things.  You don’t have to understand what you are reading, just read them.  They will help you, but read them first.

3. NOT ALL AT ONCE:

    This is a trying time for you.  The Receptionist is polite.  The Receptionist is asking you questions.  But did the Receptionist ask you for your life story?  No. 

    Anyone who picks up the phone, is not in charge.  While they may be helpful and perhaps deep-voiced and soothing, they are not the person who needs EVERYTHING.  Save the EVERYTHING for the Attorney.  The consultation is free, I promise.


4. MEET THEM:

    The best way and the only way to know if you want to hire a particular Attorney is to meet with them.  Call, set up the appointment, ask a few questions, but decide after you come in, not before.


5. WE WORK HERE:

    On behalf of all firms everywhere, I assure you they only ask questions because they need to know the answer.  The Receptionist (or Paralegal or Attorney) is not asking you for ______ because he or she is in a curious mood.  They do this for a living.  They are asking you because they need to know.  And, honestly, you are not getting past the gate without giving them this information. 

Typical examples:

(yes, before your first appointment, before you know them from Adam):

Your name. 
Your phone number;
The name of the other person (Husband, Wife, Father, Mother);
What city you live in (residency requirements apply);
If anything has been filed with the court;
Which court that was (in which city);
If there is a court date;
The reason for the court date; and much more.

You do not have to memorize the questions, but do not question why they are being asked.  We work here.
work - no accomplishment(dilbert)
I work as the sole paralegal for the in house counsel and associate counsel at a real estate development company. I'm responsible for maintaining all filing, corporate docs, transactional docs (commercial/residential) including due diligence & closing binders, online filing system, housing court docs for one satellite office, collection files, incoming litigation paperwork, expense reporting and as the point person in my department for all other departments in the company. My responsibilities have increased in the last 6 months due to the departure of the other paralegal in our department. Both of my coworkers/attorneys have picked up a large portion of the former paralegal's workload, but I'm having difficulty balancing my workload and priorities and I was wondering if there is any processes/systems that I can put in place or work with (preferrably low/no cost) to make the general work flow a little smoother.

The topic that I'm having the most difficulty with is litigation. I'd like to find a way to track documents/files in the most efficient way possible. Our office receives all the files and uses outside counsel for most items, but our office still needs maintains our own copies of the files. I'm looking for suggestions on the best way to build a database and update it while keeping the files in some semblance of order, which is difficult because we have so many sub-entities. I also find tracking these files difficult because files can remain open for so long and don't work on as neatly a time line as transactional items. Should I be taking a class to learn new processes or do I just need to dig in and rebuild our existing and broken system of haphazardly labeled files?

I'd also welcome any suggestions on balancing all these responsibilities so that I don't lose track of an item that I am not currently working on. We tend to be a fast paced office with continuously changing priorities. I don't believe that we'll be getting a replacement paralegal, but would a part time assistant be an unreasonable expectation?

Thanks in advance!
(x-posted)
8th-May-2007 05:20 pm - Clutter, Esq.
I've worked for two firms and none of the attorneys can keep two pages in order.  Tell me your stories (and visit my journal - shameful plug).
Is there any specific website and/or resource which lists salary ranges for paralegals with 1 year experience? what is the best way to negotiate salary when an potential employer is discussing compensation? I am beginning to get offers and I have little experience with salary negotiation or knowing the proper compensation for my level of experience. Advice?
28th-Mar-2007 02:11 pm - Getting my feet wet.
normal.
Hello!

I have been a temp for a company and the girl i was replacing starts back on Monday. So my coworkers who love me- tried to find me another position (Currently I am an Executive Administrative Assistant) and what they found was a position upstairs in the Law Department.

I don't know what my exact title will be but I will be working with the lawyers, paralegals, and counsel with the software Examine (or Examen, I don't know.) My coworker explained to me what I would be helping with- back log of cases and putting them into Examine- filling in missing information in the files, etc. 

I guess Examine is the software they use to pay the legal fees?

I am pursuing my paralegal degree but have not taken any legal classes yet- just my gen. education.

So could anyone tell me more about this software- if you've heard of it? He said we will have about 500 cases and we can search through the cases/information by firm or by attorney or a mixture of both. 

I'm a little lost and would like to have all the information I can because right now, I wouldn't know what questions to ask the lawyers and law firms to get the information i need...

thanks!
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