If you do eventually become a career paralegal, you’ll find yourself at the low end of law firm pecking order, somewhere above inter-office mail people but below the visiting Hong Kong tailor. Paralegals are mostly drifters who are doing time before law school or saving money to do something better (which is fine), but when they discover that you actually went to school for this s**t, you’ll be shunned by your own people. And when the attorneys find out… I mean, have you seen the ATL comment boards? You may want to pre-order some self-help tapes. ~ Excerpt from “Pls Handle Thx: A Degree More Useless Than a J.D.?” (Above the Law)
I’ve had issues with Marin’s condescending advice before when it comes to legal support staffers. (See “What Secretaries Really, Really Want.”)
But honestly, what did paralegals ever do to her to deserve the slam the profession received in her latest column?
Hey, wait. I actually went to school for this sh**t. Are you people shunning me?
Don’t worry, I’m not going to rattle on during your coffee break, because according to Marin, you could be using this valuable time to flex your mad Gchatting and Minesweeper skills.
Part of the reason I don’t need to rattle on is because the paralegal profession has its own white knight in the form of the wonderfully witty and insightful, but anonymous, paralegal blogger at A Paralegal’s Life, sometimes known as Grumpy Humbug. Not only did he comment at the post with a fantastic defense of the associate degree in paralegal studies that many legal employers still require, but he called Marin and Elie on their attempt to advise paralegals or paralegal wannabes, bluntly stating that neither of them “has any clue about what the job really entails.”
And Above the Law listened, and contacted GH for a follow-up piece. Hells, yeah, I’m massively jealous, but so proud of GH, too.
He’s right. Many of us have turned that “useless” associate degree in paralegal studies, as well as a variety of other educational backgrounds, into long and satisfying support staff careers in the legal field – in no small part due to the many attorneys who recognize the key role we play in the practice of law today.
What say we shun future “Pls Handle Thx” columns, and focus on the people who appreciate us.