MEMO RE: My desk is not a trashcan
TO: Albert, The Arrogant Associate
FROM: Your Faithful Paralegal
SUBJ: Common courtesy
Trial preparation is a stressful time. I understand this. The weeks before a trial are critical. This is when you realize that all those billable hours we wasted writing motions didn’t accomplish squat and distracted us from what we’re actually supposed to be doing—winning the goddamn trial. Sure, busting the other side’s balls about document productions and writing angry letters is fun, but that doesn’t do me any good when I have to deal with all of you assholes running around like crazy people because you don’t seem to know what this case is actually about now that we have to, you know, try it.
These are daunting days. You’ll actually have to leave the confines of BigLaw, walk into court, and (gasp) do some real lawyer work. I know that the prospect of actually acting like a lawyer in court (or sitting next to a real lawyer for eight hours a day) can be terrifying, but it’s no reason to abandon common courtesy.
Allow me to sketch this out.
You: Working with/taking shit from the head partner in the conference room down the hall, talking about witness prep while eating lunch.
Me: Sitting at my makeshift desk in a conference room, eating my lunch and minding my own business.
Okay, Albert, here’s where the story gets complicated, so try to follow along. After an hour of swallowing the partner’s shit in between bites of your lunch, the partner tosses you his empty Chinese takeout container and tells you to throw it out.
But apparently grasping simple instructions is as challenging for you as figuring out how to serve an out-of-state corporation because your interpretation of his instructions were to walk down the hall (past a dozen trash cans) and put the partner’s discarded lunch on my “desk” as you muttered, “Paul needs this thrown away” under your breath.
I assume that your cognitive skills are advanced enough by now to tell the difference between a garbage receptacle and a desk. I make this assumption even though I’ve never seen your kindergarten diploma on your office wall hanging next to your degrees from law school, college, and yes, high school (seriously?).
Now, I understand that the way your lizard brain has evolved over time here has trained you to focus most of your mental capacity toward the many ways you can further delegate the tasks that have been given to you. And I know even better than you that shit rolls downhill here in BigLaw. But let me give you some simple advice: Don’t work so hard at being an ass. It comes naturally to you. When you walk by, count ‘em, 12 trash cans to order someone else to do your dirty work, you’re being an ass.
This doesn’t mean that I didn’t throw out the trash. I did. But being an ass for no good reason does have consequences. My power at this place may be small, but my memory is long. I can forgive, but I will not forget. And that’s bad news for you. Because tomorrow we’ll be going to court, and you’ll get that chance, the one you’ve been waiting years for, to finally cross-examine that witness. It’ll be your big moment, the chance to show everyone that you’re partner material, and I’ll be right behind you, binders at the ready. The partner, the one who told you to throw out his lunch, will have the right binder. The only question is: Will you? Or did I accidently mix it up with lunch?
Going forward, I suggest that you do what you are told re: lunch disposal, and I’ll continue to prepare those nice trial binders for you.
You just got the memo. From: Your Faithful Paralegal