The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
Some days a paralegal shouldn’t get out of bed (if only we knew in advance which days those are going to be). Those are the days we should call in “afraid”, as in “I’m afraid I can’t come to work today.” For example, on my first day at my current job, I spilled a can of sticky (and fast-drying) Dr. Pepper all over my keyboard – not at the top of my list of things to do to make a good first impression. Fourteen years later, I’m still at the same job, despite my inauspicious beginning. (It would have looked much worse to call in “afraid” on the first day.)
Then there was the time my lovely obligatory professional faux pearls broke and dropped down my obligatory white silk blouse – in court. What to do if you’re sitting right behind plaintiff’s counsel table? There was nothing I could do until the next court break, unless I wanted to fish them out of my bra in front of the jury, except hope that no stray pearls rolled out of my slacks, while I stiffly and carefully handed over trial exhibits.
On one occasion I saw my life flash before my eyes, while riding with one of our firm’s partners when he drove the wrong way down a one-way street in a major downtown area. We were going to a meeting with the state superintendent of the schools to discuss adding an additional racial category for multiracial children, in the days before MapQuest directions and GPS systems. We were also running really late (not unusual for attorneys who believe that they are an exception to those silly and overly conservative estimated drive times). Careening around a turn to suddenly face four lanes of oncoming rush hour traffic is far more eye-opening than the 12 cups of coffee this partner drinks every morning.
Paralegals also form close relationships with clients, to the point that they sometimes feel a bit too comfortable with us. One client finally felt comfortable enough to let me know that he was a fan of pretty feet and that he noted I took very good care of my feet. (Well, I do like my peddys.) He actually said a bit more than that about liking feet, but nothing I can share here. After a long awkward silence, I told him it was nice of him to notice but that I had to go (anywhere).
Of course, we’ve all had the days when we’ve shown up to work wearing one black shoe and one navy blue shoe (haven’t we?) Remember when panty hose were pro forma and we kept a bottle of clear nail polish in our drawers for the inevitable giant twin runs right before court or depositions? And please tell me I’m not the only one to head to a distant, rural courthouse for the first time – only to end up in another state. When you live in North Carolina and see the “Welcome to Virginia” sign, it is not a good day.
Have you had a day, when in hindsight, you should have called in “afraid” and stayed in bed with a legal thriller?