The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
I’ll confess I bought not just one, but two vintage bow-tie “secretary” blouses when I was out of town last month. The prices had been drastically reduced, and I do love a good secretary blouse, even if I don’t want to be called a secretary at work.
Which is totally different from performing secretarial duties, which I still do. Many paralegals bristle if they are mistaken for legal secretaries, or if they are given work traditionally reserved for legal secretaries, but the practice of law has changed. Many younger attorneys can create their own documents, and voice recognition software has reduced the need for word-processing.
Some firms don’t even have legal secretaries any more, just “legal assistants,” which used to be synonymous with “paralegals,” but now can mean a whole new tier of legal staffers, somewhere between legal secretaries and paralegals.
But even with advances in technology, sometimes there are secretarial and clerical jobs that need to be done in a law firm. Some courts and clients still require paper submissions, and both attorneys and paralegals may find themselves running around like chickens minus heads, making copies, punching holes, and trying to get a FedEx package out before the last pick-up across town.
In a deadline-oriented law firm, anybody might find themselves wearing the secretarial shoe – or blouse – at 5:00 p.m. on a Friday afternoon or the Sunday night before a trial starts on Monday. If we’re associate attorneys, paralegals, or legal assistants, we shouldn’t look at it as a demotion, but simply as being part of a team that pitches in to get the work done.
|The Teen, today’s photographer, rocks a Delia’s neon plaid shirt.|
Team Bow Tie Blouse, or Team Bow Ties Make Me Feel Like Choking?