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Who’s the “Nice One” on Your Legal Team?

Who’s the “Nice One” on Your Legal Team?

The idea for this post came from Twitter, where the exchange of ideas, information – and quips – occur as fast as lightening. As I’ve said before, I’m an impatient sort (which this post will do nothing to disprove), so any medium where you have to exchange ideas in 140 characters or less suits me down to the ground.

This particular Twitter exchange started with me tweeting, “Leave the ‘dripping sarcasm’ out of your legal briefs”, based on Legal Blog Watch’s recent post, “Now Comes the Judge: Sidley Partner Hit for Sarcasm and Missing Mantra.”

Melissa Hinote (@melihi), an Alabama paralegal for a sole practitioner and an incredibly thoughtful blogger at Paralegalese, tweeted back, “This is why I edit the Boss’s motions…:^)”

That’s when our brief private or “DM” (direct message) conversation continued (Melissa gave me permission to share it):

Me: “My boss is the nice one on our team – he has to ‘nice up’ my correspondence and motions :P”

Melissa: “I’m the nice one here. He always asks me to read the slightly sarcastic briefs and motions before submitting them. Thank goodness.”

Me (this took two tweets): “I’m always writing ‘You are a dumbass for denying plaintiff’s emergency surgery and it’s your fault he’s almost dead’”…

Me: “…which my boss changes to ‘Your ill-advised refusal to authorize surgery for my client caused him great physical hardship’…:P”

The Legal Blog Watch post illustrates why it’s so important to write as a team and to have someone else proofread and critique your work, especially if you’re a wee tad hot-headed in the pursuit of justice. Dripping sarcasm may be cathartic but it isn’t particularly helpful to resolve most legal disputes.

Who’s the nice one on your legal team?

5 Responses to Who’s the “Nice One” on Your Legal Team?

  1. This is so timely, Lynne – I just spent a whole day working with one of the attorneys I support on a brief. I always enjoy those opportunities for close collaboration. When you get two or three really smart people working together on something, the synergy can be just amazing. (Plus, when I talk through stuff with her, I always learn something.)

  2. Thanks, Mel and Tammy, for the positive feedback. We have a great writing team here and a very high success rate with motions and briefs. My boss is a fantastic legal writer, but he can't spell! lol

    I thought about this post last night after it was published, and acknowledged that anger and/or outrage is helpful to advocate for your clients and to even get your thoughts down on paper, as long as the final product is professional and effective.

  3. Once again, Lynne, we are kindred spirits! No one has ever accused me of being the "nice one" on the team. Could that be why I'm still unemployed? That's some food for thought. Unfortunately, the "food" may be my own size 7.5 wide in my own lovely (albeit oversized) mouth!

  4. Margaret, you are a wonderful writer and would be an incredible asset to any legal team. I do joke around a lot, but when faced with pure idiocy, we tend to vent here, say a few things that I've agreed to teach Melissa in private so she can advance from "Stupidface!" (she is *so* nice and I love her!) – and then settle down and do what needs to be done.

Contact Info:

Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

Owner & Virtual Paralegal, DeVenny Paralegal Services

Email: lynne.devenny[at]

Telephone: 336-582-0003

Inquiries are welcome, with free quotes available.

Meet Lynne:

Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

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