This month’s issue includes an article on how to determine relevance when reviewing documents, as well as some helpful information on legal writing and legal research.
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Where’s the Glamour????
By Lindsay Valek
Ten years ago, my favorite southern belle, Shelby (a/k/a Julia Roberts), lit up the big screen portraying a woman that I, for one, had never heard of. As a result of her performance, everyone in America got a taste for the paralegal profession’s sexy, mysterious, and seemingly thrilling job description. The year was 2000 and Erin Brockovich had stolen our hearts.
Hollywood had created an illusion of intrigue, suspense, passion and the notorious tug of war wherein good triumphs over evil, the big company crumbles, children are saved, the mother dies to protect them, and Erin Brockovich gets a big fat check. Sitting in my first “Introduction to Paralegal Studies” course at the local community college, I just knew that I, too, would soon be sneaking into secret file rooms to discover smoking gun documents for which my boss (and the entire town) would be forever in my debt.
And then I got a gig as a Paralegal.
Within two hours of being on the job, my fantasies were viciously ripped to shreds. I spent my first morning learning how to create a WordPerfect macro to print Bates labels and my afternoon two-hole punching correspondence. Somehow, I didn’t think I’d be getting an Oscar nod anytime soon. What happened to my grand ideas for saving the innocent and sticking it to the man? After a few weeks in, I was seriously considering demanding the community college refund me for that Tort Law course which I obviously would not be using anytime in the near future.
Over the course of my career as a paralegal I have learned many things:
I’ve learned that original stock certificates are priceless and that attorneys’ handwriting mimics that of some of the most notorious serial killers to date.
Q. Did you really tell that police officer that, after the accident, you never felt better in your life?
A. Yep, that’s what I said.
Q. I want you to explain that, please.
A. Well, you see, I was knocked unconscious in the accident, and when I came to I saw this officer examining my horse, and then he took out his gun and shot him in the head. Then he examined my dog and shot him in the head. Then he came to me and asked, “How do you feel?”