December 28, 2006

Is the Devil the New Pretty?

Posted in Office Hijinks at 4:25 pm by devilwearsbrooksbrothers

Recently my job has morphed from legal assistant to helper-outer extraordinaire.  See, we are short staffed and during the holidays, with folks taking time off, we are even more so.  My boss, because he knows what a team player I am, asked me to lend a hand, and I, interested in getting on Santa’s “Nice” list said sure.

But here’s the thing, I am not really that good at the whole legal side of my job.

Sure, I can type and answer phones and file with the best of them. But when it comes to filing something in court I wouldn’t call myself an authority. Heck, I wouldn’t call myself, period.

And it isn’t as if all I do is tapes and time entry.I just have a very unique position with the firm; it is not as if the administrative partner is doing a whole lot of subpoenaing and deposing. We do more marketing and finessing.

Still, I wasn’t worried. Mr. Scares the Pants Off of Me has a whole team of crackerjack paralegals to handle all the motions and discovery and pleadings our floor can produce. Me, I am the one they come to when they need a new keyboard tray. Every now and again, they will ask me about converting something to Adobe.

So why did I get an email from New Partner asking me to draft Answers and New Matter to a Complaint? Yes he is new, but he knows who to turn to when you need this sort of work done. It was who I was going to turn to; Patient Paralegal.

She told me to just use the form Answers we had in the system. Really, I thought, this paralegal thing is a breeze.

Next up Subpoenas; turns out there is a form for those too. Persevering Paralegal emailed it to me. She also showed me how to use our medical records service. Amazed at how quickly I was accruing billables, I asked New Partner if there was anything else I could do for him, admittedly with a tad bit too much attitude.

He handed me the Answer with New Matter and asked me to file it.

Gulp.

Having already asked both Patient and Persevering how to do something that week, and not wanting to disturb Pioneering Paralegal, because sometimes she scares me a bit, I set oout to file this pleading on my own.

I called the Prothonotary, I stamped it with a notice to plead, and I even sent an extra copy for time stamping and then sent a copy of that to the plaintiff. I felt on fire. I ran over to where they keep the crackerjack team to gloat.

As I held up my refrigerator worthy pleading to Patient she asked, “Did you stamp it with the Notice to Plead?”

I pointed to the stamp.

Persevering walked in and I showed her what I had done, she asked the same question Patient asked and then followed it up with “Is that the right caption?”

I looked down, blinked a couple of times and said yes.

That is when Pioneering popped around the corner. “Is that the right term and number? Did you stamp it with the notice? What about a verification? Do you have two captions there?”

“Yes. Yes. Yes. No.”

Then they all laughed that they were all asking me the same questions, and started reminiscing about how other paralegals that came before had screwed up similar pleadings.

My mouth just hung open as it occurred to me, “Oh my god, I’m the new Pretty.”

They didn’t say anything. They didn’t have to. I could tell by the way they hung their heads. I wanted to argue and try to defend myself, but what was the point.

I slunk back to my desk, filed the pleading in the right file folder and dreamed of a time when we would have a full staff again and I could go back to doing what it is I do best – holding others to standards I can’t possibly be bothered to meet.

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1 Comment »

  1. Geri said,

    Loved this post!!! The best so far.


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