Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

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09042014

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Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby 09042014 » Sun Aug 03, 2014 12:34 am

I see this flame spread by paralegals and former paralegals.

Sorry bros, ordering my fucking exhibits isn't legal work.

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MKC

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby MKC » Sun Aug 03, 2014 12:42 am

Do paralegals do research and write memos and shit? I've never really been sure what that job entails.

09042014

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby 09042014 » Sun Aug 03, 2014 12:44 am

MarkinKansasCity wrote:Do paralegals do research and write memos and shit? I've never really been sure what that job entails.


I've never met one that did, which is why I'm mystified about people saying paralegals do more than juniors.

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lacrossebrother

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby lacrossebrother » Sun Aug 03, 2014 1:00 am

In suits, one of the paralegals calls herself a lawyer.

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baal hadad

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby baal hadad » Sun Aug 03, 2014 1:03 am

After working I've come around that lawyers = paralegals is flame

We do different stuff

I don't know how to bates stamp things or keep track of the docs etc

They don't know how to research and draft stuff etc

Then again at this point bc I am a bad lawyers it's hard to say who is a greater value add

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Aug 03, 2014 1:28 am

Where I am, the paralegals know way more about their specific areas of expertise than I do. But they're specialized in that they handle one kind of case only. And it's a different kind of way of looking at the cases than the lawyers - they wouldn't be able to go into court and make an argument, but they give me all the info I need to do so.

(Our paralegals don't generally Bates stamp and the like, the legal assistants do.)

deebanger

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby deebanger » Sun Aug 03, 2014 1:32 am

do first year associates at big law firms get their own secreteries/paralegals? or do they have to share them with other associates.

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anyriotgirl

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby anyriotgirl » Sun Aug 03, 2014 1:43 am

I am a paralegal (for another week anyways) and here are some things I do:

Draft complaints
Draft motions to compel (usually response to disc)
Draft discovery (before and after the judgment)
Save ECF bounces and send calendar appointments
Draft the first draft of our monthly client report letter
Draft motions for default and summary judgment (affidavits, brief, motion papers)
Someone let me draft an objection once and it was great
Cite check
Prepare and organize depo exhibits
Asset research/corporate research
Random requests that the secretaries can't handle (ie can you look this thing up for me)
Once they let me research how default motions work in another state for some work they want to bid on.
Calculate damages, amounts owed, interest, liquids, attorneys fees (can get complicated)
Proofread
Document review

I generally work on one specific type of litigation, like Nony mentioned. I don't do legal research, my firm has law clerks for that. I have no idea to what extent the above qualifies as "legal work," but for science I have explained my job.

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Skool

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby Skool » Sun Aug 03, 2014 8:23 am

It's actually not that huge of a flame.

Associates at big law firms do a huge amount of non-substantive work and there is a huge incentive by partners to let them: you can bill a HLS grad at a much higher rate than pretty much any para through the magic of J.D. conferral. For instance, I have a friend who just left big law for PI; she said one of her primary responsibilities during her big law stint was printing and assembling a massive wall of binders for a partner and she was confident he barely looked at them. She was also expressly forbidden from outsourcing to a paralegal. Why would that be?

The only thing a para can't do that an attorney can is original legal research. But when you're in the office till 3am cite checking and shepardizing some error ridden piece of shit an intern thought was acceptable to file with the court, you're basically doing legal research.

One last thing: during the summer months, offices across the country primarily rely on 1 and 2Ls to do their original legal research. Judges also rely on the least experienced people to help them produce their opinions and mange their dockets.

How challenging do you really think the substantive work that litigation associates do is when the entry level qualifications to the elite jobs are really so low?

And by the way, I know lots of paras who have written substantive memos on public policy matters and protocols for filing in accordance with local court rules, just not legal questions. But the work isn't that different (and honestly west law probably does most of the work anyway) My guess is that the lawyers they work for aren't dumb enough to make themselves completely obsolete.

And also, in terms of depositions, paras can certainly second seat (some at my old job did), but they obviously couldn't take a deposition because then you would need the courts leave to appear, which most courts require bar passage for.

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englawyer

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby englawyer » Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:11 am

Seems like small-firm paralegals get to do more "substantive" stuff than biglaw associates do, perhaps because smaller firms don't even hire junior associates. E.g. small firm para might second chair a depo in a divorce case.

Biglaw paralegals at my firm focus almost exclusively on putting together binders, keeping case documents organized, pulling docs from review platforms, etc. They are clearly support staff and need to take instruction even from 1st year associates. The idea of a paralegal drafting a Complaint at my firm is completely laughable.

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sundance95

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby sundance95 » Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:33 am

I drafted an opp to a motion to compel once as a para. But it was a small firm and the head partner had taken me under his wing to help prep me for law school. It def was a revenue loss for the firm.

Skool wrote:One last thing: during the summer months, offices across the country primarily rely on 1 and 2Ls to do their original legal research. Judges also rely on the least experienced people to help them produce their opinions and mange their dockets.

How challenging do you really think the substantive work that litigation associates do is when the entry level qualifications to the elite jobs are really so low?

Lol, not sure I would describe a federal clerkship, or even a biglaw associateship, as a job with 'low entry qualifications.' Most law students don't get these jobs. Nor do firms 'primarily' rely on students for research; they're trying to find out if they are capable.

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Skool

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby Skool » Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:12 am

sundance95 wrote:
Skool wrote:One last thing: during the summer months, offices across the country primarily rely on 1 and 2Ls to do their original legal research. Judges also rely on the least experienced people to help them produce their opinions and mange their dockets.

How challenging do you really think the substantive work that litigation associates do is when the entry level qualifications to the elite jobs are really so low?

Lol, not sure I would describe a federal clerkship, or even a biglaw associateship, as a job with 'low entry qualifications.' Most law students don't get these jobs. Nor do firms 'primarily' rely on students for research; they're trying to find out if they are capable.

It's true, most law students don't get these jobs. That doesn't change the fact that entry level qualifications are low.

The biggest credential is good grades. (It controls access to most other credentials, e.g., law review.) That supply is artificially controlled by law schools via the curve and hide the ball style teaching, which many people complain arbitrarily selects wheat from the chaff. The limited supply of good grades gives an illusion of high qualifications relative to others.

The whole profession runs on producing and controlling limited supplies of prestige with little regard for demonstrated skill and demonstrated experience. The underlying assumption is that prestige is a substitute indicator for demonstrated skill and demonstrated judgment because as Scalia (dubiously) said "you can't make a sows ear out of a silk purse".

I suppose I would concede the qualifications are rare. But given the arbitrary selection and arbitrary limits on who is anointed elite, I have difficulty calling the entry level qualifications "high". And given the amount of clerks and associates that turnover and are replaced every year, and the legions banging at the doors to replace them, You would certainly have to concede these people are quite expendable, no?

My point is, if you can train and replace massive parts of the elite workforce every year who have little experience and training in the job to begin with, how hard are their jobs really, and why wouldn't a paralegal be able to learn a lot of what they do, bar passage requirements notwithstanding?

Now maybe there is a cultural difference between firms that results in interns/summer associate research having different levels of influence (maybe in my past work experience it's been a little on the high side of the spectrum), but i don't think that changes the fact that in principle, a lot of what lawyers do can be done by people who either haven't completed or gone to law school. And yes, this includes quite a bit of legal research.

I think more economically efficient orgs like small law and PI have known this for a while. Biglaw on the other hand probably knows this, but has enough economic incentives (billing recent elite law grads at hundreds of dollars an hour) to ignore it. Maybe as industry economics/ financing changes, this will too.

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sundance95

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby sundance95 » Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:46 am

sorry you didn't get good grades bro

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby wanderer » Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:50 am

I'd rather have a paralegal do paralegal shit. Sometimes I trust juniors, but rarely for paralegal-type shit that needs to be done right. I wouldn't ask a paralegal to do legal research or anything like that (at least I wouldn't ask again--once we had a solid paralegal that said she wanted to go to law school, and had taken the LSAT, and I was busy as fuck, so I asked her to write a simple motion, and she just laughed. I'm not sure if she knew I was serious).

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby yomisterd » Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:52 am

sundance95 wrote:sorry you didn't get good grades bro


LOL

yeah it sounds like someones mad.

u mad bro?

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baal hadad

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby baal hadad » Wed Aug 06, 2014 1:00 am

When I was a paralegal I researched and wrote a mtn to suppress evidence

Case was about a search pursuant to a traffic stop

Mtn was dog shit but DA didn't want to argue it so we got the plea

So I felt that was a success

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Old Gregg

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby Old Gregg » Wed Aug 06, 2014 2:26 am

In corporate, the overlap between what paralegals do and what junior associates do is significant. But nice try to stir the pot.

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dowu

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby dowu » Wed Aug 06, 2014 2:56 am

baal hadad wrote:When I was a paralegal I researched and wrote a mtn to suppress evidence

Case was about a search pursuant to a traffic stop

Mtn was dog shit but DA didn't want to argue it so we got the plea

So I felt that was a success

90 + percent of cases are offered a plea lol

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baal hadad

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby baal hadad » Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:06 am

dowu wrote:
baal hadad wrote:When I was a paralegal I researched and wrote a mtn to suppress evidence

Case was about a search pursuant to a traffic stop

Mtn was dog shit but DA didn't want to argue it so we got the plea

So I felt that was a success

90 + percent of cases are offered a plea lol

Nah this one was gonna go brah

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Skool

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby Skool » Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:41 am

yomisterd wrote:
sundance95 wrote:sorry you didn't get good grades bro


LOL

yeah it sounds like someones mad.

u mad bro?


I see what you did there.

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:19 am

A good paralegal is way more valuable than I am. I'm doing things that more senior lawyers can do better. Some paralegals do things that no one else has a clue how to do n

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:26 am

I'm a paralegal for the USAO. I draft a ton of motions/responses for AUSAs. I cite check. I format. I doc review. I do crim history investigations. I file complaints, read affidavits for pc, work up grand jury paperwork and indictments, read and redact reports. I do a ton of other random things as well. Some of these duties are not in my job description. My job is somewhere in between a legal assistant and a lawyer. Hth.

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Holly Golightly

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby Holly Golightly » Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:28 am

Desert Fox wrote:
MarkinKansasCity wrote:Do paralegals do research and write memos and shit? I've never really been sure what that job entails.


I've never met one that did, which is why I'm mystified about people saying paralegals do more than juniors.

sup? I wrote legal memos and first drafts of motions.

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Holly Golightly

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby Holly Golightly » Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a paralegal for the USAO. I draft a ton of motions/responses for AUSAs. I cite check. I format. I doc review. I do crim history investigations. I file complaints, read affidavits for pc, work up grand jury paperwork and indictments, read and redact reports. I do a ton of other random things as well. Some of these duties are not in my job description. My job is somewhere in between a legal assistant and a lawyer. Hth.

I had a very similar experience as you/anyriotgirl when I was a paralegal at a small litigation firm.
Last edited by Holly Golightly on Wed Aug 06, 2014 1:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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alphasteve

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Re: Junior Associates = paralegal is huge flame

Postby alphasteve » Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:45 pm

anyriotgirl wrote:I am a paralegal (for another week anyways) and here are some things I do:

Draft complaints
Draft motions to compel (usually response to disc)
Draft discovery (before and after the judgment)
Save ECF bounces and send calendar appointments
Draft the first draft of our monthly client report letter
Draft motions for default and summary judgment (affidavits, brief, motion papers)
Someone let me draft an objection once and it was great
Cite check
Prepare and organize depo exhibits
Asset research/corporate research
Random requests that the secretaries can't handle (ie can you look this thing up for me)
Once they let me research how default motions work in another state for some work they want to bid on.
Calculate damages, amounts owed, interest, liquids, attorneys fees (can get complicated)
Proofread
Document review

I generally work on one specific type of litigation, like Nony mentioned. I don't do legal research, my firm has law clerks for that. I have no idea to what extent the above qualifies as "legal work," but for science I have explained my job.


And now I will be printing this off and sending it to the paralegals I use.

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