What I Wish That Attorneys Knew

1 Nov

The article by Paralegal Pie, “What Do Attorneys Wish that Their Paralegals Knew?”  got me to thinking, “Oh, there are so many things I wish my attorney knew.”  The list could be endless, but here’s some I have come up with for now:

1.  We cannot read minds.  I really wish I could, then I might actually know what’s coming up in this case, and figure out what you’re trying to tell me when you sent that vague email or the note you scrawled with such horrible penmanship that I will need a decoder ring to figure out what it says.  Sadly, I was not given such awesome psychic talent, or a functioning crystal ball, so you’ll have to forgive me and stop giving me that annoyed look when I dare show up in your office door and ask you a question.  I would have emailed you, but my chances of you actually responding are less than the chances that I might get a raise this year.   Pretty damn slim.

2.  Figure out how to change the toner in the printer and add paper to the printer.  Pretty please?  It’s really not that hard and would save both you and me, and any other staff member within earshot, a lot of time and spare us all the headache.   Mmmmkay?  It would also be super helpful if you figured out how the coffee maker worked, too, but I’m not going to push my luck.

3.  We know you’re super tense about the upcoming trial, but could you tone down the attitude just a notch?  Really, we are just as concerned about the case as you are, and working hard to make sure you are prepared and have everything you need.  We want you to win almost as much as you want to win.  We probably won’t get any recognition, and definitely not any of that nice big bonus you’ll get for winning, but we still work our asses off , just the same.  So if we need to enter the sanctum that is your “war room” and interrupt your intense trial prep, it’s probably in your best interest that we do so.

4.  Do not stand over our shoulder or ask us every 5 minutes if that super important rush job is done yet.  Having to answer you constantly or move you out of the way so that we can breathe only makes it go slower.  We will happily let you know when the task is complete.  Seriously, we’ll be happy when you’re off our back.  I know you have to leave for court in 30 minutes, so rest assured I’m not going to file my nails or spend 15 minutes drinking coffee in the break room until it’s done. 

5.  I don’t take my kid to the doctor every time he has a tiny fever.  I’m really not a hypochondriac, or whatever it is you call it when it’s someone else, when it comes to my son.  If I’m taking him to the doctor because he has a fever, it’s because the doctor told me to or the kid really needs to go.  It’s not a big ol’ hoot for me to leave in the middle of the day and sit in a germ-infested waiting room with a grumpy, fidgety kid who just pooped in the last diaper I had with me.  I also don’t want to fork over another co-pay just because Junior has a fever.   So, don’t laugh & call me a hypochondriac, okay?  Because if I hear it again, I might accidentally drop that poopy diaper in your briefcase.

6.  We cannot make  clerks or medical records custodians respond to us any faster or with the answer you want by bugging them.  Really.  Calling them 5 times in one day is not going to help.  Then they’re just going to think that I am a hugely annoying douche and put my request on the bottom of the pile.  So please stop asking what the status is or to verify what said clerk/custodian has already told us. 

7. If my door is shut, it’s not an invitation for you to knock on it and see what’s going on.   And if I seem a bit grumpy or annoyed when you barge in for the third time, it is your fault, so deal with it.  

I’m sure there are a ton more, but I think I’ve mentally blocked some things to save my sanity.  Seriously, I’m not saying my boss is like this all of the time, but these are things I have witnessed or had the “pleasure” of dealing with.   So what are some the most important things you wished your attorney (or any attorney) knew?

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20 Responses to “What I Wish That Attorneys Knew”

  1. Nikki Campos November 1, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    To please not re-word a document (after I have already made your revisions 3x’s) and you basically continue to say the thing, just in a different way. Seriously, do we really have time for this?

  2. Ronnie November 1, 2010 at 3:31 pm #

    Jesus Christ, this can also be things associates tell partners :D. Excellent list I must say.

    • Momalegal November 2, 2010 at 10:33 am #

      Oh absolutely! You guys have to put up with the same crap we do. Probably even more.

  3. Cher November 1, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

    I don’t even work with attorneys, and I think that’s brilliant! It fits ALL bosses/supervisors/managers, really.

    And, AMEN to all of them, but *especially* to #6! That’s exactly what MY boss does.

    C’s boss: “Why don’t you send them an email and tickle (his favorite word) them?”

    C: “I just sent an email yesterday about that.”

    C’s boss: “Well, go ahead and send another one and see what they say.”

    Can’t tell you how many times we’ve had *that* conversation. Honestly, half of the time I don’t send the email because I don’t want to be a pest to this other person for the exact reason you stated.

    I’ll add one of mine to the list. “If I send you an email and ask you a question, there is a REASON that I did that. I actually DO need an answer; I did not send it because I had nothing better to do. I also will not be your baby-sitter. I sent you the email, you need to answer it. If you don’t reply in a timely manner, that is *not* my problem, and I’m not going to send you 3 more emails about it.”

    • Momalegal November 2, 2010 at 10:30 am #

      I’ve always said my job was part paralegal, part nag.

  4. Practical Paralegalism November 2, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    I’m sorry you can’t see me now, but I am giving you a standing ovation 🙂 And sharing the link to this post everywhere.

    • Momalegal November 2, 2010 at 10:33 am #

      Why, thank you! C’mon, isn’t there something you want to add to the list?

  5. Another ParaLegal November 2, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    Let me add this one…okay, it turned into two…
    No, you are not a demi-god to be worshipped, catered to and general have me wipe your ass after each dump.

    Every time YOU find YOU have an emergency because YOU did not note the deadline(s) on YOUR calendar (the calendar you refuse to allow me to add entries into), it is NOT MY PROBLEM. I noted the deadline(s) in my calendar AND told you two weeks ago that it was due; and NOW you decide, when it is due this afternoon, that it is URGENT.

  6. cheryl November 2, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

    Attorneys like to rewrite things over and over because it runs up their billable hours. If you start complaining about their multiple edits, they’ll do it themselves and charge the client for it. Many prefer to make their own edits anyway so people don’t know what screw-ups they are. the more things they do themselves, the less they need you so that you become their toner and copy runner, and all kinds of petty administrative things.

  7. Dennyce Korb November 2, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

    Please stop setting depositions and trials out of town which you expect me to attend without asking me first if I have any personal commitments that cannot be changed during that time frame. If it’s that important to you that I be there with you, it should be important enough to schedule around MY conflicts as well as your own.

  8. Andrea November 2, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

    I have one: Please do not tell me to stop working on Assignment A to get Assignment B done and then get mad at me for not getting Assignment A completed during that same timeframe.

    Also, do not tell me to “make all your phone calls for scheduling in the afternoon and do all your typing in the morning” Yes, of course, what was I thinking? I mean after all, I’ve only been doing this for 20 years, what do I know?

    Great post, by the way.

  9. Andrea November 2, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    I have another one, this goes towards #5 above. If I have to take my child to the doctor, first of all do not give me a hard time about it, and also (you who have no children) don’t tell me that you understand what it is like because, after all, you have a dog. (And before you ask, yes, an attorney really did compare me having a sick child to his having to take care of his dog.)

    • Momalegal November 4, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

      All great points. Like you can leave your kid in the kennel all day and just throw some dry kibble on the floor. The only thing worse is a boss who has kids of his own, and SHOULD know, but doesn’t because his wife takes care of all of that. And then acts like he does understand.

  10. Lynn Benedict November 2, 2010 at 5:08 pm #

    1. Just because you think something you’ve asked me to do “shouldn’t be difficult” (which you feel obliged to tell me) does not mean it it can be done quickly. A lot of tasks are not “difficult” but they might take time to complete. If you’ve never done the task yourself you might not have a valid basis for estimating how long a project should take.
    2. If you read my emails you will know the answers to many of your questions before you ask me (and I won’t have to bill for telling you the same thing twice).
    3. If you want the job done well and efficiently, give me the right tools to work with. Buying the cheapest equipment, software etc. often means it takes longer to do the job – don’t get mad at me when it does.

    • Momalegal November 4, 2010 at 1:33 pm #

      Amen! Ewww, I hate the whole snarky “why wasn’t it done” thing. I’ve even gotten, “well, what HAVE you been doing?” Um, maybe the 50 gazillion other time consuming tasks that I’m obligated to do even if you didn’t tell me to do it.

  11. Law Momma November 9, 2010 at 4:17 pm #

    This made me laugh so hard! Just FYI? All of these things can also be listed on a What Associates wish Sr. Partners knew, or more broadly “What Female Lawyers wish Male Lawyers Knew.”

    You rock. Come be my paralegal! 🙂

    • Momalegal November 10, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

      Oh, don’t tempt me! 🙂 I’m pretty sure working for you would be awesome and I’m ready to declare mutiny today.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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