Pet Peeves Working With Attorneys

Posted on | August 31, 2010 | 4 Comments

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Ran across this list from Paralegal Gateway.  Thought it was interesting to share here, as I am sure you can relate some, if not all.

The Collection of the Top Twenty Paralegal Pet Peeves on Working with Attorneys
20.  When an attorney gets his hands on the case file and rearranges the exhibits in your trial exhibits box, or takes original documents received from a client and writes on them!
19.  When an attorney assigns a project to more than one paralegal because he “forgot” that he had already assigned it, and you find out about it after you have spent hours on it!
18.  When an attorney treats you as if you do not have a brain and feels compelled to spoon feed you instructions on how to do your job. “Be sure to send those documents to all counsel by certified mail, and . . .” How about you let me be the paralegal and you be the attorney?
17.  When an attorney has an internal deadline (one he has set for himself) and comes into your office at 11:45 a.m. announcing that he needs whatever it is he needs, and that he would like “. . . to see a draft when I get back from lunch.” How nice, he expects you to drop everything else, including real deadlines, and your lunch!
16.  When a supervising attorney asks you to help train a newly licensed associate and the associate cops an attitude!
15.  When an attorney expects you to be a mind reader with his cryptic instructions and then acts as though you are stupid because it is not in the format, or does not contain everything he needs because he didn’t give full, comprehensible instructions in the first place, despite you having repeated his instructions to him, and being assured your understanding of the task was correct.
14.  Let us not forget the all knowing, new attorney/associate who thinks he knows everything about what he is doing and the old lady who has been a paralegal since before he was born, knows diddly squat. Sometimes it makes you want to go ahead and do it his way and let him screw something up—but your conscience will not let you after all. Or the associate who dictates his objections because he likes them better than the ones which have been used (again, since before he was born) which serve the exact purpose.
13.  The attorney who wants revisions, over revisions, and then some, on a cover letter to a district clerk, or another attorney’s revisions, or just for the sake of making them, and all are completely unnecessary!
12.  An attorney who cannot seem to understand that no one has control, or can hurry responses from any state or federal governmental agencies, no matter who you are!
11.  Being asked to complete an assignment which is needed right away, then the attorney wants to sit and chew the fat with you about a case he is excited about! What, is this a deadline or not?!
10. The attorney who disappears, literally! One minute he is there, the next, he’s gone and he knew Mr. Big was coming to the office for an appointment. So, you get to entertain Mr. Big, and tap dance around with him, in other words lie (See Pet Peeve Number Four), that the attorney got held up on a conference call, or some other such nonsense.
9.  When an attorney does not pay attention to the contents of an e-mail. For example, responds to your e-mail, but does not answer the one question you asked, or when he reads only the first line or so, then asks you a question which you answered in the same e-mail! Or when a client copies you on an e-mail sent to the attorney asking for something, and then when the client sends a follow-up e-mail because the client has not heard from the attorney, the attorney comes to you and asks why he didn’t know about it!
8.  When an attorney sends you an e-mail concerning a case, or a conversation he had with a client, judge, or opposing counsel, then comes into your office saying, “I just sent you an e-mail, . . .” and proceeds to tell you the entire contents of his e-mail! Let me read it for goodness sake!
7.  When an attorney has unrealistic expectations regarding completion of projects. The attorney drops three major projects on your lap and as soon as you turn in the first one, he asks about the third project, and why it is not ready. Oftentimes the more seasoned attorneys forget how much time some projects take to complete because it has been a long time since they have actually worked on something. They becomeused to giving instructions and once they have done so, the project is out of their head and they consider the project “done.”
6.  Procrastination on any front. Whether it is preparing for trial or meeting a deadline which the attorney has known about for months! Then, they expect you to put everything else aside
to work on it since now it’s really important. Procrastination causes office wide panic, brings unnecessary stress and leaves the door wide open for mistakes. Not to mention, it gives you the opportunity to work until close to midnight, that is always so much fun!
5.  Failure to communicate! When an attorney expects you to know everything that is going on in a case, yet he fails to inform you of, or include you in his telephone or e-mail communications with clients, witnesses, or opposing counsel, and then he looks at you with disgust when days later he asks you a question about it, and you have no clue what he is talking about!
4.  When an attorney asks you to tell a blatant lie because he or she has not taken care of what he or she was supposed to do, or because the attorney really does not want to talk to the person (usually a difficult client), so they make you the only line of communication between them. (Ah- reminds me of my Criminal Law days…Paralegal)
3.  The attorney who does not own up to his mistakes, but instead blames you! ( This happened to me once at a Litigation firm I worked for.  The attorney handled ALL the trial prep because she was a control freak, made lots of mistakes and threw me under the bus when her boss called her on it.  Who was he going to believe?  Of course his attorney.  Why would she lie?  Bitch.  Paralegal)
2.  Utilizing paralegals solely for clerical/administrative tasks such as giving you their dictation to type, giving you his handwritten hieroglyphic time entries to decipher and enter into the system for billing, collecting fees and, asking you to fill in the little bubbles on the CLE forms, including the state bar numbers, for all the attorneys who attended a CLE!
And the number one pet peeve?
1.  An attorney with a superior, condescending attitude–who walks away when you are in the middle of explaining something to him, or tells you, “Not now.” Making you feel as if you are the most unimportant person in the office! What happened to manners, such as “please,”and “thank you?” We all know what attracts flies–honey, on the other hand, attracts the worker bees!
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4 Responses to “Pet Peeves Working With Attorneys”

  1. Corporate Paralegal
    August 31st, 2010 @ 4:37 pm

    Can I add…

    13a. The attorney who makes revisions to his own letters/documents used the month before in the same situation. One month it is “henceforth” and the next month it is “therefore” and then back to “henceforth” the following month. Make up your mind!

    7a or 11a or 17a: An attorney who tells a client, “Sure my paralegal will have that answer for you in two hours” without bothering to check your schedule or other projects. In the corporate world, the clients are my coworkers so they know where I work and can walk over to my office in 2 hours asking for the information. Never mind that I am in the middle of handling the project from this morning that the attorney needed right away – even though it is a beautiful day and he is unreachable on the 11th hole at the golf course.

  2. Paralegal
    August 31st, 2010 @ 5:10 pm

    Oh God! Yes, that is so annoying. Or, if it has been the same letter and they bitch about the font. “No- this should be in Arial instead,” when the whole time you have been using the same damn font.

  3. GrumpyHumbug
    August 31st, 2010 @ 5:25 pm

    This only scratches the surface. Should be 200, not 20…

  4. Pet Peeves Working With Attorneys |
    September 1st, 2010 @ 7:45 pm

    […] is the original post: Pet Peeves Working With Attorneys | Try these also:Pet Peeves Working With Attorneys | Let us not forget the all knowing, new […]

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