Hate Your Paralegal Job? What Field Provides a Quick Escape?

If you hate your paralegal job, and are wondering what field might provide a quick escape, I really like the list provided over at the Practical Paralegalism blog: http://www.practicalparalegalism.com/2009/05/listserv-answer-what-else-can-you-do.html

If you have read my book, then you know that for me there really was only one answer. Small business owner! My experience with the paralegal field is that it is a dead-end job.

Unfortunately, my experience over the years with lawyers and law firms is that they are interested in exploiting paralegals by making them actually perform five jobs at once. The “paralegal” must also be a receptionist, waitress, administrative assistant, travel agent, and paralegal. Sometimes you even have to be the file clerk too. I have no idea why the people in charge think this is an efficient way to work, but they do for some reason.

The “paralegal” will become absolutely burned out by the stress of trying to perform actual substantive casework on files that have been piling up while she has been booking vacations for her boss and his girlfriend, scheduling depositions, and answering the copy salesman’s phone calls multiple times a day. Paralegals as a class of people are highly intelligent, organized, and helpful people. However, just because someone may be capable of performing five different jobs doesn’t mean that they actually want to do that for the long-term. It is a completely unlivable situation to catch hell from your boss because you were busy trying to cancel all of his appointments and failed to email him the draft discovery responses before he had to leave for his 4:00 pre-dinner cocktail hour.

Most lawyers view paralegals (and associates too, for that matter) as servants, not as highly skilled professionals who bring value and intelligent world experience to every client’s case. This is unfortunate, but it is my true experience.

I have heard some stories from people who have fought and made a “quick” escape to executive assistant work. The story doesn’t tend to have a happier ending, though. Remember, CEO’s are complete psychopaths too. The only difference is that they tend to have better private jets than the lawyers. But it doesn’t matter, because you most likely will not be enjoying the view.

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Lawyers a/k/a Psychopaths – Second on the List, Just After CEOs

In case some of you haven’t noticed, most lawyers are complete psychopaths. Don’t believe me?

Check out this article from Business Insider http://www.businessinsider.com/most-psychopathic-professions-2012-11

The defining characteristics of the lawyer as a psychopath is their universal lack of empathy and complete detachment from other human beings. Scared yet?

How about this ABA Journal article that declares that the legal field attracts psychopaths? http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/the_legal_field_attracts_psychopaths_author_says_not_that_there_is_anything/

The Recovering Paralegal is of course, not surprised by any of this. I have seen it all firsthand. I have known for years that lawyers are psychopaths. It just makes me feel a little bit better to see some scholarly research to legitimize my personal opinions.



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Craigslist Job Post for Law Assistant in Tallahassee, Florida

Anyone interested in this awesome $10.00 hourly job?

Law office seeking full-time legal assistant, no experience necessary. Recent college graduates with a high GPA and intentions of going into the law profession are required. Must be hard-working, punctual, responsible, dependable, self-motivated, adaptable to change, detail oriented, and able to multitask. Must be a skilled and fast typist. Experience with Excel and other worksheets preferred. Send one page resume, cover letter, and sample writing to this e-mail.

Primary Responsibilities/Duties:

• Research relevant state and federal court rules
• Record all litigation documents in docket database and calculate procedural due dates
• Assist with the maintenance of the litigation docket/preparation of documents
• Research relevant state and federal court rules; note applicable court deadlines and notify attorneys of upcoming due dates.
• File legal documents with various state and federal courts
• Collaborate with the team members to manage all case-specific information in applicable jurisdictions
• Responsible for electronic filing of documents
• Responsible for knowledge of ECF protocols and maintenance of ECF passwords
• Monitor case progress in assigned courts, obtain decisions, orders and other relevant documents; communicate case status to responsible attorney

Any takers? Gee, I wonder why not? This job ad is a clear attempt to exploit someone who is unemployed. It makes me absolutely sick!

Categories: Terrible Job Ads | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Why Are There So Many Asshole Lawyers?

Just brilliant.

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Quitting a Job You Hate

Some years ago, I was seemingly trapped in a litigation paralegal job that was literally sucking the will to live right out of me. While on a quest to get some peace on vacation, I found myself on a guided hike through the Red Rock Canyons. I struck up a conversation with my guide. He looked at me and said: “Yeah, I get a lot of people out here who hate their jobs. Why don’t you just quit?”

I was stunned. Clearly this man was an idiot, who was completely incapable of grasping the inner complexities of my little world, and how every little intricate layer of the life I built revealed an issue or detail that prevented me from “just quitting.” I believe I gave him a more tactful response, in the way of declaring: “But it isn’t that simple.”

This time, the sage guide looked at me as though I was the one with the mental problem. He said: “Yes it is.”

Looking back in my rearview mirror on the job and city I left in the dust, I realize of course that the guide was right. Most things really are simple. Everything is as easy or as hard as you make it. Decide what you want, and set your course. The inner complexities are probably just fear and insecurities, not actual problems that are preventing you from changing.  

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Being Called in on Saturday

An associate lawyer I know shared this little nugget with me. Once, when she was just starting out, her cell phone rang early on a Saturday morning. There weren’t any deadlines coming up, and she couldn’t for the life of her figure out why her boss was calling her. When she answered the phone, he only gave her a cryptic: “I need you to get in here.”

She of course got dressed quickly and sped through several traffic lights to get in the office as soon as possible. When she arrived, her boss passed her in the hallway. She said to him: “What do you need?” His response? “I just think you need to be here working on Saturday.”

We both agreed that of course if he had something specific in mind, it was reasonable to ask her to work. The point is, there was literally nothing going on. She was begging for billables and he wasn’t delegating any tasks. She sat there and cleaned her office for a little while and then went home. Ridiculous!

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Regular People

Ran into a lawyer today. He regaled me of a horrific time he had just had while being forced to travel via commercial airplane. Apparently the weather suddenly took a turn for the worse, and the airline cancelled his flight. He said:  “Thankfully, there was a Westin at the Airport, but I had my nanny, and my two kids, it was hell. I felt so sorry for all those regular people just standing there at the gate. They looked like they didn’t even have any credit cards.”

I just nodded my head in agreement. Yes, that surely is a terrible problem you had to overcome. A. Big Shot Attorney has it so rough!


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Hate Your Paralegal Job? What Other Fields Can Provide an Escape?

If you hate your paralegal job and are exploring other career opportunities, I really like this list (even though it is a few years old) that was posted on the Practical Paralegalism blog: http://www.practicalparalegalism.com/2009/05/listserv-answer-what-else-can-you-do.html

If you have read my book, then you know that there was really only one viable long-term answer for me, and that was to become my own boss. Find a business you love and grow it. You can find yourself in a paralegal job that is tolerable, but that isn’t what life is supposed to be. We should be thriving and growing in all aspects of our life.

My experience in the field led me to the conclusion that being a paralegal was a dead-end job for me. I understand that not everyone feels that way, and it probably has a lot to do with personality traits. I have seen a lot of lawyers over the years who view paralegals as servants instead of valued professionals who have intelligent perspectives to bring to each case. Unfortunately, my experience is that a majority of lawyers and firms want to exploit their paralegals into working five jobs at once. You must at all times be able to switch between being a receptionist, waitress, travel agent, administrative assistant, and paralegal. This is just exhausting. Making the mental switch between different roles and tasks while under constant performance pressure to complete actual case work is just not a livable situation.

Paralegals as a group of people are highly capable, organized, and helpful creatures. But, just because we are capable of doing five jobs at once does not mean that we want that, or that it is actually the most efficient way to use us for generating profits and helping clients. It’s sad, actually. To have a pile of case files in front of you with a list of substantive work to complete, and to have to mentally fight to concentrate to accomplish the smallest thing because your boss needs you to answer his phone, book his plane tickets, and schedule a deposition. Then, at the end of the day, he will bless you out because you didn’t get the draft discovery responses to him before he left for his 4:00 pre-dinner cocktail hour.

I have heard some transition stories from a few people who have been able to become executive assistants. However, the ultimate outcome was the same as far as what happens when you just pick another psychopath to work for (you are just choosing a different type of hell). Psychopath lawyer vs. psychopath CEO. Pretty much the only difference is the size of their private jet, but you probably aren’t going to be on it, anyway.


Categories: Paralegal | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

A. Big Shot Attorney Seeks Secretary with Benefits


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10 Reasons You Have to Quit Your Job in 2014

This article gives me chills!



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