Politics Magazine

One of the Hardest Jobs I Ever Had – Paralegal

Posted on the 28 January 2018 by Calvinthedog

I had a paralegal job once where they whole damn job was like that. I didn’t have a degree or certificate, but you don’t need one. One of my Mom’s friends worked next door to an attorney who said he needed a paralegal. She told my Mom and my Mom said, “I wonder if Bob could do that?” So she offered me this weird job that I had never done before. I told the lawyer that I had no degree or license but he just shrugged his shoulders and said you don’t need one.

I was summarizing documents and these attorneys just wrote this brain-shatteringly difficult documents. A lot of was they have invented their own language that no one else understands so they can get $300 an hour, but another part of it was just that the case was so so mindbendingly convoluted and confusing that it was worse than a Tolstoy novel. It was extremely difficult to keep up with who said or did what to whom, when, where, why and all of that.

I finally figured out that these lawyers when they were corresponding to each other were making their correspondence almost impossible to understand as some sort of gladiatorial technique against the other side. In other words, it was warfare. The competing sides in a civil case are basically at war with each other, and if you can make it so the other lawyers have no idea what you are talking about, I suppose it’s a good warfare technique for your side.

The problem was that the lawyers from the other side just wrote back the same impossible to understand correspondence as had just been shot at them, so while it was good warfare for one side, the other side simply adopted it too and now you had to defend yourself at your own weapons being fired at you. And paralegals like myself were sitting there getting shelled by both sides.

After a while, this started to make my cynical because it was obvious that these attorneys were writing this idiotically convoluted prose not only as a warfare technique against the other side but also as a way of creating their own language that no one else could understand so they could get paid $300/hour. That seemed pretty cynical and that along with some other things left me with a very cynical view of this “profession” which I think is mostly just getting paid by rich people to lie for them and help them get out of their scams and sleazy behavior.

I had to read sentences over and over until I could figure out what they Hell they even said. Nevertheless, I was able to do it and I was so good at it and that my boss, an attorney, was raving about me to the other lawyers in the office. He was also shaking his head and asking what my major was like he couldn’t believe I was that smart. He was told Journalism, and he said, “Journalism, huh?” And then he sort of shook his head and walked away.

The money was good ($23/hour in 1990 – not sure what that is now) but that job was just brainsmashingly difficult. I could do it and I did it, but I can’t say it was a lot of fun. It wasn’t really misery. Instead it was just so hard that it wasn’t a real barrel of fun if you catch my drift.


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