Not Quite Speechless . . . “Paralegals an Embarrassment”

August 26, 2015
Image: www.ForCounsel.com

Image: www.ForCounsel.com

Y’all know me – ‘speechless’ and ‘without words’ rarely apply to me. It usually happens when I am too stunned by the comment(s) to respond immediately.

Imagine my reaction to a blog post titled: “Your Paralegals are an Embarrassment“. I clicked the link. My hope was to read ‘. . . of riches’.  (It pains me to post the back link, but I’m no ’embarrassment’.)

Hope.dashed.

The author gleefully states, “Today, I’m going to really annoy the paralegals.”

ANNOY?
Oh, bless his heart.

In short, the author (and several commentators) think our profession is overrated; we should and can be replaced by technology; and/or entry level associates provide more value to a practice than we do.

REALLY???

My comment, awaiting moderation as of 10:45 a.m.:

“Wow. Just, wow. You really have zero, zilch, nada, no appreciation for our profession.

“Paralegals have largely been replaced by technology.” Well, using that logic, so have many attorneys. Tell me, when was the last time tech checked the local rules and forms to confirm that all was indeed in order? Oh, right, ‘my software/service vendor does that automatically.’ Not so much. I have a client in California who relies on his vendor to provide all the latest local rules’ forms updates. All it took was ONE rejected filing for him to realize that the vendor was not updating the forms and that it was more cost effective to have a paralegal take a few extra minutes to make sure the forms in use are, and remain, current.

“Is client communication better handled by the paralegal or by the attorney managing the matter? What about simple tasks like preparing documents for trial?” Let’s look at this from the client’s point of view – does your client want to pay your hourly rate or a paralegal’s?

And if you think paralegals don’t specialize and create niches, you should recheck your sources. 99% of us are – Brad, what did you call it? – oh, right, ‘hybrids’. Our titles may not reflect the jobs we actually do, but, and trust me on this, we’ve always been hybrids.

All of you seem to think the only way to ’employ’ a paralegal is to hire one as a full time staff member. Most solos/small firms don’t have the budget for full-time, salaried employees – especially when those employees’ services aren’t required full time. You want paralegals who are ‘tech-driven’? Open your eyes! There’s an entire subset of trained, experienced, certified/certificated, practice-specific virtual paralegals. We, yes, ‘we’, provide as needed services. That means ‘pay as you go’. You want to improve your bottom line, increase productivity, and keep your clients happy? Think virtual.”

On another note … I wonder if it ever occurred to the author to post credit for his use of the image?

10 Responses to “Not Quite Speechless . . . “Paralegals an Embarrassment””

  1. Linda McGrath-Cruz

    I think he didn’t get enough of mommy’s attention when he was a little boy, or perhaps a smokin’ hot paralegal rejected his gross advances. Or maybe, just maybe, a paralegal on the opposing side humiliated him in a case.

  2. T.Marie Hilton

    As someone who doesn’t work as a paralegal, anymore I was still put off by Mr. Rosen’s post. I couldn’t help but comment, pointing out that those associates that he suggests replacing paralegals with should probably learn some basics first. Like formatting a Word document. Eek, I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to fix a document cut and pasted together by an associate. Sometimes it was so bad that the only recourse was to completely transcribe it myself.

  3. Pamela J Starr

    I had a new associate to the firm hand me a 40 page document, at 4 pm on a Thursday, to be filed immediately with the court. The document was 40 pages of straight prose – no caption, no headers, no formatting. It lacked paragraphs for parties, jurisdiction & venue. Let me clarify – he defined the parties, but failed to include any information about where they might be. I laughed out loud and asked if he was serious. He was adamant that the ‘complaint’ be filed immediately. Apparently he’d chosen to ignore the senior partner’s instructions, 2 weeks prior (in a private meeting, of course), to include me in the process. The associate didn’t understand why I ‘refused’ to file his ‘complaint and practically ran to the partner. I was called in and very calmly explained that 1) I had never seen the client file or been warned that there was a filing to go out that afternoon; 2) The ‘complaint’ lacked basic information and formatting, and the referenced exhibits were ‘somewhere in the file’; 3) The Greater Metro Atlanta Area is comprised of 8 counties – both state and superior courts; and 4) It was a PAPER filing! The partner admonished Mr. Petulant; he never made that mistake again, nor did he ever forgive me for ‘making him look bad.’

  4. Mariana Fradman

    I saw the article yesterday and was like “really? ”

    I think that the author is pretty clueless of the role of the paralegal. I also have a feeling that he was trained by a paralegal as a first year and still couldn’t get over that someone without J.D. behind his or her name was and, based on the article, is smarter when he is.

    I also saw another article toward replacement of paralegals on Mr. Rosen’s blog. As his articles are not dated, I don’t know if they were written one after another or a year apart. However, he has serious issues with his paralegals (if any of them are still employed by his firm) or one paralegal who made a grave mistake being employed by his firm.

  5. Jen G.

    As a paralegal, who was selected to work for an amazing attorney, I am totally disappointed in what appears to be a nit-picking tirade of how attorneys can’t do it without you. I would say that they could and should just replace someone who bitches about their work. Go find something else to do so that paralegals, who are able to perform the job, can be placed into a position where they make a difference.

    Working in law is an attractive field with a much different reality once we get into it. I’m sure attorneys (who were once bright eyed law students) felt like they stepped into the lion’s den at one point, too.

    This blog post was an embarrassing waste of time; so much so, that I chose to take my coffee break to let you know how sad it is that this is what today’s internet paralegals are bitching about. I was hoping to find something that was inspirational, positive, and informative. Instead, I fell into my own sty of a few cows chewing cud together.

  6. Pamela J Starr

    Sty/cows?
    Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and yours is no less snarky than mine.

  7. Kat Mountjoy

    My dear Pamela: My opinion is that Mr. Rosen’s writings stem from an undercurrent of competitive jealousy. Perhaps the reason is his annual pay is less than that of a paralegal? I endured watching a young associate leave the firm because his work was always red lined and mine was not(very frustrating for him), and he got a gander at my paycheck quite by accident and quit the next day screaming that the firm paid staff better than the attorneys and he was going out on his own. I wished him well.

  8. Michele

    Ha ha ha ha ha. I’m a paralegal for a mid-size firm in L.A. who has been with my current employer for almost twelve years but just accepted an offer from an international firm. I may as well have walked in with a molotov cocktail the day I gave notice. BTW – four out of the last six companies I left are out of business now. A FAMILY LAW firm in NORTH CAROLINA/FLORIDA? LOL…oh, honey. Let me take you to school right now…with love, a senior paralegal specialist with nearly twenty years of experience wiping the bleeding ASS of dickheads like you.

  9. admin

    🙂

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