Mission Statement

I had almost ten years of litigation paralegal experience when I walked away from a “good” job.

I want to get people talking about what it is really like to work in a law firm as a paralegal. Based upon countless talks with anonymous paralegals across the country, it is my opinion that my own experiences were not unique to me. What I speak of in the book is something that goes on in toxic law firms everywhere! Unfortunately, it is a sort of dirty secret that people just don’t talk about for fear of losing their jobs.

Not all paralegals (thankfully) get to work with both a self-proclaimed “Dirty Old Man” and a boss who barks at his staff every 7-9 minutes like a dog at the same time, but it seems that almost every single one is exposed to some sort of psychological torment, which always felt like abuse to me. Bullying is alive and well in the law office.

I would like to shine a light on the psychological warfare that lawyers engage in with their own staff on a daily basis (some for fun to boost their own egos, others because they are so broken they don’t know how else to communicate). I would like to warn those who are looking to enter the field and perhaps even provide some comic relief to those who are still working as paralegals. I wish someone would have written the truth before I entered the field. I certainly might have been swayed to consider another career option.

Looking back, I have made the connection that I have never actually been yelled at by a partner for anything that was actually truly within my control to fix. For instance, I have only been subject to abuse when I failed to get a Delta Captain to hold a 747 because my hung-over partner was yakking in the bathroom. I have been yelled at because an associate decided to file confidential client medical records with a court filing on a day I was on vacation, and I have even been held responsible for witnesses (who were properly served with a subpoena) who failed to show up for trial.

Needless to say, working with litigators is a truly horrible job. I once found myself having a conversation with a co-worker where we were asking each other if we were dead and the law firm was hell.

There is a reason that paralegal and associate are two job titles that frequently make the top “Worst Jobs in America” lists. I talk about all the reasons why in my book, and use real emails that I have accumulated over the years to illustrate a few points.

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14 Comments

14 thoughts on “Mission Statement

  1. Mae

    What is the name of the book? Has it been released?

  2. Kerrie Jordan

    Where do I get the book?

  3. This is a great topic to discuss. I think there are many paralegals who share similar experiences. Bullying is not okay.

  4. Once again, great blog! And male paralegals are hassled in much the same way, I’m sure, as female paralegals, so the ladies need not feel they’re the only ones.

  5. Gaia

    I found your blog after a contentious interaction with my boss who first told me to keep my mouth shut and then proceeded to berate me telling me that I needed to accept blame for a project whose outcome he was not pleased with in spite of my clearing the project progress at each stage for him. I learned that this was a result of our opposing counsel disparaging the end result. I refused to acknowledge wrongdoing because I did precisely as asked and checked at each level that things were as he desired. I need to escape this place. Thank you for confirming what I suspected, namely that many hate this profession.

    • We hate it because of the insanity and toxicity levels. There are less crazy people confined within the walls of the asylum or incarcerated in our penal system.

      I hope you get out! Keep us posted.

  6. Bob Davidson

    Yep. Law in and of itself can be very interesting. The problem is attorneys. Law turns more on attorneys instead of the clients law is supposed to serve and protect. It all boils down to attorneys and their infantile needs, need to scapegoat someone when something goes wrong, and/or their Machiavellian MOs.

    We had settled a case but the client did not want to distribute at that time. I don’t recall why. A year later, client decided to distribute. We looked for the BI carrier’s settlement draft high and low, but it was nowhere to be found.

    My inbox tended to be full all the time, but the draft was not there. Nonetheless, the attorney blamed me for losing the draft. He called the BI adjuster and asked for a replacement.

    Now, as Paul Harvey would have said, the rest of the story was BI adjuster never forwarded the draft! He held off sending it because we held off distributing the proceeds. As I reflect upon the incident, it made perfect sense – settlement drafts must often be negotiated within a time certain. In any even, BI adjuster forwarded the draft and we distributed.

    I appreciate that I was a lucrative target for blame because I had a full inbox, but, as always, when something goes wrong, blame the paralegal. The attorney may have apologized to me.

  7. Tami

    I’m so happy to read about someone that has gone through what I’m dealing with. I have worked in several different firms for about 20 year period and only ONE was functional. I’ve tried to find a great fit but it really doesn’t exist. Now days attorneys want you to do EVERYTHING AND MORE and pay you pennies!! Most days I’m bored bored bored out of mind. I’m working my way out of this trap.

  8. Not to mention disrespectful in the extreme.

  9. Chrisy Lloyd

    Can anyone repost the link to alternative job choices? I wasn’t able to access or print and after 30 years as a corporate/securities paralegal I’m desperate to find a way out. Thanks!!

  10. I used to love litigation, but I’m in a new situation where my shareholder uses an associate for everything but filing, omg. I’m spent trying to decipher what they’re so much as aiming for – I can’t stand it anymore. No, really. It’s bullshit from hell.

  11. This site is valuable – hopefully more considering the paralegal field will decide NAH!!

  12. Joy

    Pbullying at a large law firm caused my fellow paralegal and I, both of us have 30 years of experience, to leave in April and strike out as freelance paralegal is. It’s frightening and scary but we had reached our limits.

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