Monday, October 11, 2010

What Lawyers REALLY Want from Paralegals: An Awesome Sense of Humor

Pennsylvania paralegal and Paralegal Pie blogger, Kim Walker, has a terrific new article at, "What Do Attorneys Wish Their Paralegals Knew?" But I think that the most desired quality might have been left out. Maybe because all the attorneys polled thought all the other attorneys polled had already said it, although the one who wants his paralegal to give him True Blood spoilers probably thought he said it.

Judging from my unlearned and completely unscientific survey of legal staff want ads, plus today's post at Above the Law, "In This Market You Don't Have to Try That Hard to Get People to Work for You," I am going to posit that what attorneys really wish their paralegals knew is how to crack or take a joke.

Forget being a whiz at technology, possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of the rules of civil procedure, and knowing the difference between collated and uncollated copies, what you really need is an awesome sense of humor. (If you're basically humorless, I have no idea what to recommend to save your legal career. Stand-up comedy workshops? Clown school?)

The jewel in the crown of my crackerjack theory is that a Denver law firm has made the national legal news in its quest for a legal secretary who wants to come to work with a smile on her face and leave at the end of the day with that same bright, shining smile on her face. (Me, I'm a little suspicious of people who smile all the time.) There's no place at this firm for an employee who lacks a sense of humor (and a bangin' Halloween costume).

I know ya'll are busy and your time is valuable, so I'm only going to give you the career highlights of working at this firm straight from the horse's website, "by an associate who wishes to remain Anonymous." (All rightee, then.) Here's the Good, the Bad and the Ugly:
  • Your missteps during the year are merrily reviewed in front of everybody at the annual Christmas party. (Good times! Maybe you have to be there.)

  • You get a super-ugly trophy celebrating your foibles (fancy word for your shortcomings) at the same party. (It is not clear if this is in lieu of a holiday bonus.)

  • Your co-workers, without any advance warning, sometimes break out into the firm's theme song - complete with a gargling partner. (Because no one can play the kazoo.)

  • The firm's song is about a little pet dog, Spot, who is run over by a car and then his squashed, moldering remains are put in a drawer and forgotten for a month and a half. (The refrain is "Hubba hubba hubba hubba hubba." Okay, I'll admit I am having difficulty finishing this post because I'm laughing so hard right now.)

I keep waiting for someone to jump out from behind a curtain, and shriek, "APRIL FOOL'S DAY!" Only it's not April, but it is Boss's Week. Maybe you can celebrate by telling your boss a really funny joke.

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