I’m a Miracle Paralegal

Ex-Bitter Columns, Lawyer

QLet me preface this by saying that I am fully aware of the satirical nature of Bitter Lawyer. That’s the reason why I’ve written. The truth is that cynical, humorous viewpoints are often more genuine (and therefore superior) to those secured through purely ratiocinative method.

Cynicism and bitterness stream through these veins, and I don’t fault anyone for feeling the same way I do. So, spice my soup with a merry mélange of misanthropy, but please . . . make your answers genuine.

Background: Paralegal student. Male. Age 33. Sagittarius. Interests: Consumer protection law. Future lawyer?  No, I’d rather be a Certified Fraud Examiner. “Relevant” work experience: Insurance. No real legal experience (except for waging my own consumer protection battles: 1 win, 2 losses). I’ve already arranged to volunteer at Legal Aid (state agency) while I go to school.

But I do have experience working assiduously 12-14 hours daily (& >16 hours about once a week) for sociopathic bosses who wouldn’t cross the street to urinate on me if I was on fire. I have nothing against the all-nighter with no “thank-you” afterward because I know that—whatever the business—sometimes it just can’t wait.  It needs to get done NOW.  Just like invading Iraq. It needed to get done. NOW.

Now for my Question: How has working with paralegals/legal assistants contributed to your bitterness? Have you ever encountered that “miracle paralegal” who made you say, “I am indeed consumed with bitterness. However, this sentiment is somewhat mitigated by the excellent performance of my indispensable paralegal”?

AYes, I worked with several smart, competent paralegals and assistants over the years. But no, they did nothing—ABSOLUTELY NOTHING—to assuage my relentless, all-consuming bitterness toward the legal profession. Nor did they inspire me to become a better boyfriend, son or citizen. Sorry. When someone working for me performed admirably, I was pleasantly surprised and appropriately complimentary. “Great job, Tim. Thanks.”

If you like to change people’s lives, I think you’re in the wrong profession. Perhaps you should create your own TV show.  Touched By A Paralegal. Or maybe The Lawyer Whisperer.

And you may need to start using different words to describe your disposition. You seem more “naïve and optimistic” than “bitter and cynical.” According to your email, cynicism and bitterness really jug through your veins, but, to me, it sounds more like hope and idealism. With a touch of narcissism.

In any event, keep working hard and making your boss’ work-lives better—if not less bitter.  But please stop trying to change their disposition. Remember: Lawyers cling to misery like models cling to rock stars.  So if you really, really need to make a difference in someone’s life . . . get a new job.

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