Tag Archives: paralegals

Join us in Purgatory…

12 Apr

Paralegal Hell has created a message board for paralegals, legal assistants, attorneys, or anybody really to chat, vent and discuss our own personal hell.   Come join in the discussions!   Paralegal Hell Purgatory Panel

Frolicking on the Medicare website

15 Mar

Large amounts of sarcasm should be assumed with that title, by the way. 

So, for the first time in a million years, I had to obtain information on a plaintiff’s Medicare lien status.   Just let me say that the Medicare.gov website is about as helpful as a bikini in a snow storm.  (Actually, I guess a bikini top could double as ear warmers.)  It was also about as much fun as sticking your hand in a blender. 

We had sent the plaintiff discovery asking if Medicare had paid any claims, if so, how much, blah, blah, blah.  Instead of answering the questions, since they SHOULD know this since they have to inform Medicare of any liability or worker’s compensation claims, they sent me a signed Consent to Release form and basically said, “Have fun.”   Golly gee, thanks. 

My boss calls me up and asks if we sent them the Medicare discovery and if so, where is it.  Of course, it was in the notebook of discovery he had in front of him, and scanned in the computer.  As, dum-dum-dum, “Discovery!”   I’m a frickin’ genius, I tell you.  Then he asks me what we’re supposed to do with the release.  Good question.  I told him I was hoping he knew, and to my relief he laughed instead of sighing or scowling.  We must have had a good billing month in last month.

So I go upon my happy way thinking, “Tra-la-la, I should be able to hop on the Medicare website, find something dealing with liability claims or liens.”  Right?  Oh God, no.  That would have made too much sense.  I fall back on my old friend Google.  After looking at a website entitled something like “Medicare liens for Dummies”, which most assuredly meant me at that point, I learned nothing except plaintiffs have a lot of hoops to jump through now with Medicare liens. 

Finally I discover the MSPRC acronym and find out there’s a whole entity just for processing the claims dealing with liability insurance, no-fault insurance and worker’s compensation.  I was then introduced to the Medicare Secondary Payer Recovery Contractor.   Seriously?  You guys couldn’t have mentioned this on the Medicare website?  Google is my BFF.  Forever and ever. 

For some of you paralegals, I’m sure this is seriously old news.  You may be rolling your eyes and thinking, “Duh!”  I just hadn’t had the pleasure of dealing with it in so long.  And in case you are just as clueless, and feel as behind the times as I did today, the website is http://www.msprc.info.   Scroll to the bottom and there’s a section on Proof of Representation. 

Here’s the fun part:  If you click on the “Liability Insurance, No-Fault and Worker’s Compensation Recovery Process” link, it downloads a PDF page that says, “Refer to the Proof of Representation versus Consent to Release Power Point.”  Okay, again, really?  We have to download a one page PDF just to tell us to pull up a Power Point/PDF?   All I want is a frickin’ address to send the request for information!  This information isn’t so complicated that we need a bloody power point presentation!   

No wonder the government has no money.  Once again, life is pointlessly made more complicated.  I need a drink.

File from hell revisited (again)

4 Mar

Every time I think I get ahead or some kind of handle on this frickin’ file, I find something else that has to be done.  Or I just get buried by the sheer volume of it.  Seriously, it’s the largest case in terms of medical records, issues, experts, etc. that our office has handled.  The chronological medical summary set a new record for me and the firm.  Attorney B complained about how long it would take him to read the summary.  My response?  Imagine how long it took me to type it!  Suck on that. $20 says I still know a whole lot more about those records than he does.  Hell, probably the entire case.

My newest battle in this ongoing war with File from Hell (FFH) is the research.  I ran across an article that was on point authored by one of the physician witnesses.   I thought, hmm, let me make sure I don’t already have a copy of this.  And you  know what I found?  Not a damn thing.  How could I have had this case for so long and labored as much as I have over this case and NOT have any medical research?  What. The. Hell.  FFH landed a sucker punch on me. 

Surely this couldn’t be.  I looked over my notes and I had a few general internet research articles on some things.  But no “official” research from medical journals on the most important issues.   Holy crap balls.   So, here I am, a billion other things piling up and I’ve been researching on this case for about 2 days.  I haven’t even read most of the articles I’ve downloaded as I’m too busy digging up more research.  Seriously, this case has more issues going on than I’ve got gray hair.  Trust me, there’s plenty. 

And even though the Attorney hasn’t even thought to ask me about research in this case, he’ll probably have some smart remark about how I should have had research done sooner.  You’ll know when that happens because you’ll probably be able to see the mushroom cloud when I explode on his ass.

One of these days, as God (and you guys) as my witness, I will rule this damn file.  In the meantime, you’ll find me at my desk.  Behind the many, many, many piles of paper that is the ever-growing FFH. 

PS – On a related note, doing research means I’m not summarizing depos.  At least there’s a narrow silver lining here.

Hibernation and the New Year

17 Jan

As I alluded to in previous posts, I tend to want to hibernate in the winter and not do much.  Unfortunately, that’s also affected my blog.  I know I haven’t been blogging much lately, and what I have blogged hasn’t been the most fascinating stuff in the world.  Yeah, you can stop agreeing with me now. 

With the new year, I am renewing my commitment to blog more and to not suck at it.  Or at least try harder not to suck at it.  I have also let my husband talk me into trying a new diet and work out program which only verifies that I have, indeed, lost my mind.  But that’s going to have to be a post of its own.  Yikes.

I’m also changing my attitude about my relationship with some of my co-workers and the office dynamics around here, which is currently similar to one of the levels of purgatory.  As if dealing with some of the attorneys around here wasn’t enough, I’ve got co-workers who seem to revel in drama.  If there isn’t enough every day drama going on, they will just make up some.  I need a sign in my office that says, “Junior High called, they want their drama back.”  Because it’s really that ridiculous.   

Recently, the office gossip-monger, whom I have fallen out of favor with, caught wind of a misunderstanding between me and another paralegal.   Since we’re adults, the paralegal and I discussed it, cleared the air, and moved on.  Even remaining friends – shocking.  Once the gossip-monger realized the paralegal wasn’t going to gossip about our discussion, and dared to actually go to lunch with me, she started snubbing the new paralegal.  Seriously?

Yes, indeed, I have some mature colleagues around here.  It’s like being asked, “Who’s side are you on?” in a 7th grade “fight” that had nothing to do with you.  Did you ever get those notes or get asked that question in Junior High?  This is essentially the same thing, except with email.

If I had to offer advice to new paralegals or anyone entering into the office environment, besides take lots of notes and CYA, I’d tell them to stay out of the gossip, remain neutral and make up their own mind about who to trust and who not to trust.  Personally, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing:  focus on my work, be “office cordial”, and not give a damn what is or isn’t being said.

It’s a lot like Paralegal Hell, who works with female geese on the Death Star, except less Death Star.  And thankfully, I don’t have to share work assignments or cases with the geese in my office.  I can’t even imagine what that would be like. 

What would be your advice for dealing with those “special” co-workers, or how have you handled the “geese” in your life?

Another rant

29 Dec

I generally try not to get aggravated with a group of people based on their job description alone, but I’ve had it with medical records custodians today. 

I know that paralegals and law firms in general are not the favorite people of medical records custodians (MRC’s).  Honestly, the feeling is mutual.  Why, oh why, is it that I can get 2 copies of the same medical record, made at different times, and come up with 2 almost entirely different charts?  Is it not obvious that getting accurate copies of the records is important?   I mean, it’s just a lawsuit that people have probably agonized over filing in the first place (I hope), a good sum of money has been paid to even file the suit, lawyers have been obtained, probably experts, too, and let’s not forget that we are dealing with issues concerning the health of the plaintiff and also the profession of the defendant, in the case of medical malpractice.   I guess it’s just not inherently obvious to some people that they might actually need to pay attention to what it is that they are copying.  Are some pages 2 sided?  Do ya think somebody might be interested in what is written on the back side of that page?  Did an entire inch of information down the right side get cut off on the copy?  Maybe you might want to take that Post-it note off the page so we can read the progress note underneath it?

I’ve spent a large amount of time recently comparing a set of records that was received pursuant to an authorization with the copy previously produced by the plaintiff.  Mostly because it’s like looking at 2 different charts.  I guess nobody noticed the first time around that we were missing almost a year and half’s worth of office notes, labs, pathology reports and radiology.  The second copy, while more complete, is still missing pages compared to the first copy.  Needless to say, I don’t have a lot of confidence that we’ve gotten a copy of the entire chart even between these two sets of records. 

Let me back up for a minute and say that I know that not all MRC’s are slack.  There are some very good ones, and for them, I tip my hat.  Thank you for actually paying attention to my request for the records in the first place, since that seems to be half the battle with some.  I also thank you for calling me with any questions.  I have no problem answering any question you may have since I’m delighted that you took the time to read my letter and could find my name and phone number.  Some people have a hard time doing that, even though my name and phone number are usually printed TWICE between the body of the letter and the letterhead.  Also, thank you for being educated and informed regarding the HIPAA  regulations and the state statute concerning the release of records and fees.  It’s annoying as hell to argue with someone who may be only 2 years out of high school about whether a medical malpractice case is the same as a “personal injury” matter in regard to the statute.  I even copied the definition of “personal injury” and “medical malpractice” from the statute and sent it to this MRC.  To me, an MRC is worth their weight in gold when they understand that I would rather not harass them to send the records or call back asking for missing pages, and that I’m just doing my job as well.  I understand MRC’s probably get a kajillion requests and calls from antsy attorneys who have waited until their statute of limitations is almost expired before paying attention to their case.  I’m not going to stab you in the eye through the phone if you call me and tell me you will get to my request, but it might be a little while.  I’m not going to take your birthday day away if you ask me for more information or need a copy of the estate letters of administration that I forgot to attach with the authorization.  I’m really a nice person, who just wants the records so I can do my job, and I’m even polite.  Just please make an accurate copy, okay?

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?

My ramblings on trial prep

18 Oct

I have a love / hate relationship with trial prep. On one hand, it’s exciting. You have the anticipation of “doing battle” and Attorney B walks around saying things like, “I’m going to kick his ass!” and I’m all “Yeah! He’s full of shit!” (Because that sounds so much edgier than, “Yeah! I found an article that totally contradicts their expert’s testimony on the indications for the procedure!”) And I swear on my coffee mug that once I heard “Eye of the Tiger” coming from Attorney B’s laptop speakers. Honest, I couldn’t make this crap up.

Most of the time my job entails me slogging through medical records or depo summaries, while Attorney A and B are off working on other cases, or God knows what. I actually enjoy trial prep because it’s one of the few times that the attorney and I are both knee-deep in the same file, bouncing ideas off each other, and discussing the issues. We’re discussing the testimonies, and the opinions and the medical literature. We start talking about exhibits involving anatomy and timelines and, my favorite thing of all, Power Point. Yes, I am such a geek that I love to do Power Point presentations. Not those boring, bullet style only presentations. I mean the ones with highlighted testimony that jumps out at you, and pictures. Okay, it’s not all that sexy or cutting edge, but it’s way better than just a static blow up of a depo page. I get excited thinking about how we can educate the jury and help them understand the medical issues and the timeline of the events without falling asleep, or making up their grocery list in their head. Yep, total nerdfest.

Trial prep will invariably lead to MORE research and MORE background research on the experts. That can also be exciting because you may wind up with an awesome article that totally blows their expert’s opinion away or, even better, an old deposition where their expert contradicted himself. But that also leads to more stress. Usually, I’m in the middle of making sure we’ve got all the medical records subpoenaed for trial, or one of the other mundane tasks when Attorney flies into my office, or worse, calls me on speakerphone, and comes up with yet another research task or project that he’s just this second thought about. It seems that no matter how much I try to think ahead and do before crunch time, he always comes up with something else that must be done. Preferably NOW, or more accurately, yesterday. But, I may have mentioned before, I’m a masochist and I actually enjoy the chaoticness of it all. (Until I have to start thinking about how I’m going to get my kid picked up from daycare before 6 or what the hell I’m going to wear to trial without repeating outfits 4 times. Then I start panicking a bit.)

What I don’t enjoy is when Attorney starts freaking out because he hasn’t focused on the trial until 2 or 3 weeks before he’s supposed to be picking a jury. Then he starts saying things like, “We need to get focused on this,” (duh, I’ve been working on it for the past month, where have you been?) or “There needs to be a sense of urgency about this.” Again, duh! He usually makes that last statement when I am calm and collected, whereas he is freaking out. Then I have to assure him that yes, I did subpoena everyone and their brother; yes, all the depos are summarized; and yes, there are 5 billion copies of everything you might need and more.

I really wish I could tell you what needs to happen to keep all of this from happening. But there just isn’t anything. It seems that all attorneys get stressed and neurotic before trial. You either work for an attorney who is calm and on top of things, or more accurately, trusts that YOU are calm and on top of things, or you work for an attorney like mine that flips out and you have to talk him down, but don’t appear TOO CALM or he may think you don’t have the appropriate sense of urgency. Heaven forbid.

My most practical advice for trial prep would be: Come up with a trial prep checklist or game plan well ahead of time. Invariably, I always forget one little thing I could have done before I start getting projects fired at me in quick succession. Try and sit down with your attorney and discuss trial prep as far ahead of time as you logically can. Failing that, whenever you get a chance, pick their brain about what types of exhibits they may want, further research that may be needed, etc. My attorneys want just about everything scanned. My bosses also keep their own working copy notebooks of discovery and pleadings. In some firms it may be the legal assistant’s job, but always make sure the pleadings and discovery files are in good order and scanned files are complete. Unless you’re getting updated medical records in at the last minute, make sure you have the best possible copy of all the medical records to be submitted as an exhibit, and to be used in your other exhibits. Even if you are 99.9% sure that the case is settled or otherwise not going forward, do not get rid of ANYTHING until there is an Order continuing the trial or Settlement Agreement.   Make sure you’ve got a box of supplies for the courtroom, full of notepads, multiple boxes of pens, every highlighter you can get your hands on, post -its and anything else you think you could ever need and more.

Usually, it’s the personal stuff that causes me more grief during trial prep than anything else. As I mentioned, I start worrying about being able to pick up my kid by 6 from preschool or arranging for someone to be on standby in case I’m still at the office at 6. NEVER plan anything for at least the two weekends prior to trial. Plan on being in the office the weekend before the trial date, at the very least. Also plan on eating a lot of lunches at your desk in the weeks leading up to trial prep and drinking a lot of coffee.

Also, clean out your car. Wash and vacuum it. You may end up shuttling clients, attorneys and experts back and forth from the courthouse to your office or even picking experts up from the airport. I was not expecting to be called to pick up Attorney A, the client, an expert and an associate from the courthouse one day. And all their briefcases and boxes of documents. I opened up the back of my SUV and there was the plastic turtle sandbox I had picked up at lunch a couple of days before and had forgotten to take out of the car. Mr. Turtle held more than sand that day. I think somebody had to put their briefcase in T’s carseat. Good thing it wasn’t that far back to the office.

I’ve also done kamikaze runs to the car wash and vacuumed out my car before speeding to the airport to pick up an expert I had never met or even spoken to. Otherwise, Mr. Expert would probably have been walking into the courthouse with Cheerios stuck to his butt.

And my biggest worry before trial? What the hell am I going to wear. Medical malpractice trials can frequently last two weeks or longer. That’s a lot of outfits to try not to repeat. Do yourself a favor and make sure you’ve inventoried your closet well ahead of time and give yourself time to make a trip to the mall BEFORE the chaotic weekend before trial.

But, despite the mayhem and pain-in-the-assedness of it all, I do enjoy trial prep. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to work on appearing to have a sense of urgency. Pronto.

No, really! I am organized!

22 Sep

I am trying to take a moment to collect myself, and maybe trick my brain into remembering where I put something.  I absolutely HATE misplacing anything.  I am a paralegal, for God’s sake.  Organized should be implied with the title.

So I have to confess….I have misplaced original, signed authorizations we received from the plaintiff; authorizations to get their medical records which are, oh, I don’t know, KINDA important in a medical malpractice case!   I usually can put my hands on about anything in my office within 5 seconds.  But. I. Don’t. Know. Where. They. Are. ! 

My second confession:  even though I am organized (that’s my story & I’m stickin to it) I am a “piler”.   I have a pile of notes and ongoing issues for each case.  There is no official place in the file for all my notes and incomplete research projects, so they have to go somewhere.  And I really do need to have the records-to-be-disseminated and unfinished projects where I can see them.  Why unfinished, you ask?  Oh, I will be happy to tell you.  At any moment, any given project, like something to be completed before a depo in 1 week is suddenly a non-priority because the depo is being rescheduled, but the attorney has all of the sudden discovered that Oh! My! God!  This (brand new, never heard of before project) has to be done NOW.   So, half-finished research project goes to the side and it’s onto the crisis du jour.  

Really, I do try to stay one step ahead of my attorneys.  I scan their calendars once, and sometimes twice, a week to keep an eye on what’s coming up.  I try to interrogate them when I can (and when they don’t give me “the look” which means “Finish telling me only what I HAVE to know right now and save the rest for later”) in hopes of gleaning some information about what’s next on the horizon.  In their defense, they have gotten better about trying to let me know when something is coming up.  But, they are attorneys.  And letting others in on what the hell they are thinking isn’t their strong suit.  As usual, I digress.

So here I am, no closer to finding my authorizations.  I’m feeling terribly guilty that I let my desk get to the point where I may have misplaced something.  (May have?  Who am I kidding – it’s MIA!)  My office has been a whirlwind the past few weeks – handling my departed coworkers cases along with my own, 2 cases are in limbo so the piles were exiled to the other side of my office, training the new paralegal, and being told, “Hey!  You’re now the lead paralegal on this case going to trial next month!”  Super.    Still – I had them and now I don’t.  And they should have been mailed out last week with the letters requesting the records. 

I have looked through every other pile in my office to no avail.  (And cussing about my need to “pile”)  Now I am off to spend the next half hour sifting through the stack of documents to be shredded, which thankfully hasn’t been dumped in a few weeks.  I’m feeling woefully inadequate as a paralegal right now.  Please pray for me….

Friday rant

3 Sep

Today, I have been musing on the dynamics of working in an office full of women.  Women with pretty strong personalities.  A few of whom I love dearly, and a few of whom I would love nothing more than to never see again.  I guess you can count me among the ones with a strong personality, or at least strong opinions.  I’m musing on this particular topic because we have a new paralegal starting in my department on Tuesday.  I think she’ll be a great asset and we’ll get along, however it’s the other soul-sucking, negativity breeding people around here that I’m worried about. 

One of my favorite blogs, Paralegal Hell, has already done a post on the mind-boggling question of why some women choose to be complete bitches to one another and cannot mind their own frickin’ business.   Are people just THAT bitter and insecure that they have to stick their nose in everyone else’s business and then talk about it behind their backs?  But I digress.  That’s a question obviously answered with “Hell, yes”, but the reasons why will probably never be answered.  I guess some people are just soul-suckers by nature.  And, I have digressed again.

A few years ago, the only other paralegal who had been here longer than me moved away.  That left me as the unofficial “senior paralegal” in my department since I have endured longer than anyone else.  Not to brag, but the attorneys also see me as entirely competent and trust me.  (Not that it should be something to brag about, since it should be something the position REQUIRES, however these guys are control freaks who don’t trust much of anyone.  So yeah, it’s a bragging point.) That has left me in the position to train and mentor all paralegals who have arrived since.   

There is one paralegal in particular, who is older than me, has been a paralegal longer than me, but did not have nearly as much experience in medical malpractice as I have.  She was also a recent convert from “the dark side” a/k/a Plaintiff personal injury.  Training wasn’t difficult, but it’s been the ‘ever since’ that has been a treat.  This particular soul-sucker has some raging inferiority complex, or other nonsense.  She seems to think that just because she is a paralegal means that she is better than any of the legal assistants, can ask them to do the most simple and mundane tasks that even an attorney would just do themselves, and delights in sticking her beak in whenever she can get it.  She’s famous for interjecting herself in others offices and talk, talk, talk about the same things (or people) over and over, until you want to ram a pencil in your eye.  “Pardon me, I would love to listen to you pontificate on how you do a particular task that I, myself, trained you to do, but I must be going as I would rather sacrifice my eyesight and sit in the ER for hours on end than listen to you blather on”.

I am so SO lucky that she has somehow finally gotten the idea that I do not care for her (because she doesn’t take hints AT ALL) and steers clear of me most days.  (I am also the envy of the office for this reason.)

Which brings me back around to the fact that we have a new co-worker starting Tuesday.  I like to remain neutral when someone starts and let them draw their own conclusions about our fellow staff members.  But I’m afraid this particular person will suck our newbie in with her cleverly disguised “friendliness” and then spew her negativity all over this poor person.   So, you say as the “senior paralegal”, I should be able to put this person in her place?  I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that around here.  Even though I have been here longer than anyone else, and the attorneys look to me to mentor these paralegals, we all have the same job duties and she does not answer to me in any way.  She also has very grand ideas that somehow she is the end all, be all around here. 

Now I do not automatically think I am better than anyone else, or I’m the queen bee.  But it is infuriating the way she will interject herself with any new paralegals that come along.  So while I would like to let this new paralegal draw her own conclusions about the people around here, I am wondering how I should handle the issue with this particular paralegal.  I know that she will be in the newbie’s office as much as she possibly can, nosing around about what the newbie is working on and interjecting her own “lessons”, and even possibly putting work off onto this new person if she can.   Yes, it’s all happened before.   I don’t want to explicitly “warn” the newbie, but I do want to let her know that she doesn’t need to listen to this person and to be prepared to kick her out of her office.   

It’s like working in a frickin’ daycare center sometimes.  But without the crayons and nap time.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  “Sorry, I can’t rehash the details of this case, which are in multiple memos, so that you don’t have to actually prepare for your depo tomorrow on your own.  It’s my nap time.  Would you hand me my blankie & close the door? ”   

Now I’m off to thank God it’s Friday and decide whether today’s lunch will require alcohol to get through the remainder of the day.  I’m thinking “YES”.  And if you made it this far, you probably could use some, too.

Hello? McFly?

14 Jul

Why don’t attorneys listen?  Is there something that happens when they pass the bar exam that automatically inserts a filter on what they hear from paralegals?  (Or other staff members, for that matter.)

Attorney A asked me yesterday if we’d received records from a certain hospital which happens to have incredibly insane requirements for their records authorization.  (Really?  A patient’s privacy isn’t protected if the release they sign isn’t in 14 point font?)  Nope, I replied.  Got rejected twice and then sent the hospital’s authorization to the plaintiff’s attorney for a signature.   So far so good, message seemed to be received okay.

Today, I was bcc’d on an email from Attorney A to opposing counsel saying we haven’t gotten any records at all from Dr. X.  I wanted to shoot an email back saying, “That’s not what I said, that’s not what I said, THAT’S NOT WHAT I SAID! “  sigh   The HOSPITAL isn’t giving us the records.  Dr. X, who is affiliated with said hospital, DID send us his clinic records.  That’s a different story than the hospital not sending records.  And as a matter of fact, we have already produced copies of those to opposing counsel.  It may not seem like a big deal, but seriously, how smart does that make us look? 

I have a belief that attorneys shouldn’t be allowed to touch the original of anything that comes in the mail.  (Not that anybody listens to me, but seriously, it would save us all a lot of time trying to find something that was on the attorney’s desk or in their briefcase the entire time.  Or stop a lot of crazy looks when they act like I’ve seen Document A when, in fact, they never sent it to me.  But, I digress.)  Maybe they should filter all their comments to opposing counsel on what records we need through me before they send it.   I know he’s been an attorney a lot longer than I’ve been a paralegal, but I think I have a handle on what has and hasn’t come in from the 50+ records requests we sent on this plaintiff than he does.   Or maybe take a look at that log of records requests that I’ve kept meticulously updated to see what has or has not come in, and what has or has not been copied to opposing counsel.

Just sayin’.