As you know from working with your attorneys, e-discovery has been evolving very rapidly and has become a substantial part of litigation in our country.
With this in mind, we included an article on “What’s Hot in E-Discovery” this month along with one legal professional’s personal story we think you will enjoy, and two useful tools that can help you be more efficient.
We encourage you to send us information that has helped you in your work and that you think will benefit other legal professionals.
A Mature Paralegal’s Story in Today’s Legal Market
By Karen George Florida Registered Paralegal, Miami, Florida
I am a paralegal. I am a “mature” paralegal. I rose through the ranks to become a paralegal. I didn’t take a class, get a certificate or any other degree (AS/BS). I am of the “original” paralegals, that worked her way up to paralegal. I have knowledge gathered through years of doing the work. I have experience in many different areas of law. I learned through trial and error, asking questions, watching.
Here is one “mature” paralegal’s story. Sit back. This is going to take you down memory lane and a road the new, the young, the recently certificated, college-educated paralegals, who lament not being able to get a job, have not traveled and never will. This is a story of a time gone by.
The year was 1976: I started working for a law firm shortly after graduating high school as a runner. In those days fax machines were few and not very good. Remember the rolls of fax paper? In those days, there were two choices to get your product out: mail or hand delivered. I did the hand delivering. I took an interest in the documents I handled, copied, and filed in the court. I asked the legal secretaries questions. I read everything I got my hands on, and my legal education began.
I watched the legal secretaries typing away at their Selectric IIs, rollers jammed with multi-colored carbon paper. On each of their desks sat a row of various colored “white out” bottles. These legal secretaries were the heart of a law firm. They were amazing working machines. Legal secretaries answered calls, scheduled hearings and depositions, and typed like their fingers had wings. These women (in those days only women were legal secretaries) knew every in and out in the legal field. I wanted to be a legal secretary more than anything in the world! I took a legal secretary course at night and “graduated” with a certificate saying I had successfully completed the course of legal secretary. I was thrilled and excited. I was a legal secretary!
“… During my twenty years of practice as a plaintiffs’ lawyer I took many, many depositions … far flung and all over the United States and Canada.
“I used to say, and used to make it crystal clear to my clients, that the most important person in the deposition room was the court reporter. The court reporter who never said anything other than asking my client to raise their hand and recite the oath. The CSR who listened to lawyers bicker and hostile witnesses escape and evade. The officer of the court who ensured the rest of us stayed inside the lines of decorum. That one.
“The one, who at the end of each deposition, folded up the legs of the tiny tripod and packed away the little box with the funny keyboard. The one whose job was to spit out an endless stream of nonsensical characters on an endless paper tape, then later deliver a spotless record of everything said during the proceedings. That one.
“My hat’s off to you ladies and men who made my life easy, who protected the record and covered my back in court. I owe you a lot.”