Oh The Challenges You’ll Have

Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: May 3, 2011

Ahhh, Mondays. Especially Mondays after the Boogieman has been vanquished. Most of the office here in our DC headquarters was abuzz with the talk of Osama getting taken out by a US Black Ops team comprised of Chuck Norris and Jack Bauer. In fact, the night before, GF and I raced out to the front of the White House when we heard the news, really to find out, much to our chagrin, that it was a thinly-guised fraternity party mainly consisting of people to young for 9/11 to have any gravity on the kind of milestone it really was.

However, it was an event. With energy. Lots of it. And I’m glad we went. Not necessarily to be a part of the party, but to embrace the importance of such a milestone. Too bad it was drowned out by college kids singing “We Are the Champions” and chanting

“Osama, You’re Fucking Dead. USA Rules!”

“USA! USA! USA!” could be heard blocks away when we parked and as we finally came to the front of the White House, GF pointed out it was more like Mardi Gras. Yes, there were people there showing off their patriotism, but moreso, most of these kids thought it’d be neat to bring a case of Natty Lite in front of the White House or dress up as Green Man (from It’s Always Sunny In California,) or do little stunts to try to get themselves on network news. One guy climbed a tree and sat in between some branches, all the while wrapped in an American flag. Oh, the cameras loved him. I guess, so did mine…

Kinda a douche, IMHO

Well, all in all, I’m glad we went. Not something I’ll tell my grand-kids, but all the same. But, it was kind of one of those things that would drag you out of bed to go be a part of if you lived in DC. Or I would think…

Getting to work on Monday, I was surprised at how many people I had to tell, “Yes, look at the news. We got Osama.” And, mind you, this wasn’t at 9. This would be at, like, 11 when I asked them in my ironic fashion,

“Why weren’t you at the party last night?”

“We killed Obama??”

“No… Osama. Bin Laden.”

And what wouldn’t be complete without Mr. Clean advising me to ambulate to his annex for an assignment of the utmost urgency without later showing any sign of what has been going on in the world?

“Mr. Paralegal, how are you?”

“I’m doing good, Mr. Clean. Yerself?”

“I am well. I seem to notice more foot traffic on the street today to pick up my cereal.”

One strange thing that I have noticed is that the one displaced modicum out of his impeccably spotless office is that he has a zip-lock half full of Cap’n Crunch on his desk. Well, at least he nutriates with the finest of products.

“I must ask you to procure me documents from the EPA. It is necessary for my review that I have an itemized index of a rulemaking from this past decade, along with any comments posted by such important entities as [client names retracted for the obvious ‘duh’ reasons.]”

Now, that phrase he just used, “itemized index”, is extremely redundant and I would think it would be one of those ‘paradoxes’ which would cause artificial intelligence such as Mr. Clean to crash on the spot. Obviously the powers of Cap’n Crunch are greater than we as humans know.

So, I go out to the EPA for my task. Fortunately, it’s a place I’ve been before and I have my favorite clerk who always helps me out. This shouldn’t be any problem. Normally, a request such as his means that he was unable to grab the comments made by individuals and companies on a particular rulemaking off of the government’s vast database (regulations.gov) and needs for the clerk to physically pull them. Normally, the documents don’t total over twenty pages. I hand the clerk the docket number which Mr. Clean didn’t just recite to me, he wrote down (that part is important as it will play its role later,) and the clerk begins her search.

Index comes right up, no problem. But then the computer begins to work. You can hear it begin to whir and chug inside its government issued Y2K Approved tower. After about 2 minutes, the search for comments brings up a result of about 6000 comments on one rulemaking. I ask the clerk if she can narrow it down to just the clients I need. She does. The filtered result is now at 4500 comments. I hope to God that Mr. Clean doesn’t make me go through all of that.

I bring the documents, loaded onto a CD back to the office and tell the robot attorney. Unstartled, he tells me to search through them and pick out any of them that reference a common type of element. This cannot be done easily. I literally must open every document and peer through the comments.

Working under attorneys, whether they be younger or older than yourself, you quickly realize that no matter what, they are right. No matter how far removed their requests are from reality, they are right. No matter how much more logic you inject into their request by suggesting another path, they are right. I don’t really understand how this happens. I’ve never experienced this in any other field or with any other type of boss. Is it a particular required class in law school I’m unaware of? Illogical Reasoning 101?

I curse under my breathe as I walk back to my little alcove in the universe that is this firm and begin this unduly task. After 4 hours and 600 comments, I pick up the phone to Mr. Clean.

“Mr. Clean, what exactly is your expected time frame on this project?”

“I would like to have it all by COB [“close of business”] today.”

“I really don’t know if that’s possible. It’s 4:30 right now and COB is in thirty minutes.

“Why don’t I send over what comments I’ve compiled so at least you can go through them.”

And then he sighs. Pause. He sighs again.

“Mr. Clean?”

“Okay, please send them to my inbox.”

New Message. Comments Attached. Sent.

Five minutes later I get a reply email: “Can you swing by my office to explain the comments?”

For his utter lack of casualness in person, Mr. Clean somehow is able to pull it off through email. I bet he’s asking his secretary to write it. However, this comes across as a major point: When attorneys act like this (casual with their co-workers), it actually makes less of a need for me to write blog posts. About them.

In his office, Mr. Clean is sitting, stooped down at nearly a right angle, peering at print-outs of the comments I sent him. As I enter, he slowly (and rather creepily) bends back to vertical position.

“Mr. Paralegal, I do not understand these comments. I asked for comments on [blah blah blah], however all I see on these pages are [bleh bleh bleh.]”

It should also be noted that he never gave me specifics on what to look for in my little mission to the EPA. He only gave me the docket code, which normally is enough to go on. Now, I was given 6000 comments on a rulemaking Mr. Clean does not want at all.

“Well, Mr. Clean, that is the docket number you gave me. And I don’t believe the EPA reading room clerk, who has helped me many times before, would not know how to pull up documents. Perhaps we mistook the wrong docket number?”

Near the end of the day, I tend to get crabby and I can easily shoot my mouth off if I think someone is accusing me of making a mistake. However, I have learned that using the term “we” is very conducive to keeping the peace with the attorney. He doesn’t realize you are still showing that you blame him/her but really are accepting you will share the blame, even if you have had nothing to do with a particular decision. Attorneys need a lot of ego stroking for them to stay comfortable.

Mr. Clean sits there for a moment, continues to look at the comments and ponders. I mean, ‘computes.’

“Okay, Mr. Paralegal, why don’t I challenge you.”

Challenge me? In what? A dual? A game of checkers? My skill of origami? What the hell… Am I no longer an employee but a pet you get to teach tricks to?

“Why don’t you procure for me the brief that created this rulemaking. It is over ten years old, so it will not be on any digital database, such as PACER or WestLaw, but you should be able to find it using your paralegal skills. I need it before I go home.”

“Mr. Clean, I can certainly get the court to pull it from archives, but if you look at your watch, it is 5:02. All courts close at 5.”

“So, call our librarian, Mr. Paralegal!”

The long and short of it is that I did call the librarian of the firm and the librarian, like nearly all other salaried staff, had left for the day at 4:30. I wrote him an email telling him it was insufficient time to be able to do anything about getting the brief tonight but that we could do so first thing in the morning. I just wasn’t up for a fucking challenge at 5 in the afternoon when I could be going home in 30 minutes. And since it’s obvious he still didn’t pick up that Osama was killed and since he has no trace of understanding humor, I decided instead to send him a really old parody post about Osama getting captured instead. Challenge me. I’ll fucking challenge you, Mr. Clean. How do you like that?

On the Matter of the Theory of the Lawyer

Categories: Day at the Firm
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: April 20, 2011

It’s always a problem of no.

Those two, little, consecutive letters within the English alphabet seem to trip me up more times at work (and more generally, in life) than the bare fact that my love of vodka spills over the edge of my personal life into other aspects of my life. “No” is the word that SHOULD be created in the depths of my larynx, echoed through the acoustics of my mouth, and then enunciated through my moving lips more often. Especially when four separate attorneys call within a five minute time period asking for their own personal pet projects to be completed at the same time. Instead, the disconnect occurs. Instead of saying perhaps the easiest word in the entire English language (as “no” is the ninth most common first word a baby will say,) I end up saying way too many syllables and way too many words, thereby creating a completely different outcome than the meaning of a simple NO. It would be something like, “Of course I can do that for you,” or “I’d be happy to,” or “Let me drop to my knees and –” Well, you get the picture.

So, it’s of course a day like any other. Waiting around, dawdling until about 3pm when the first call comes in. Well, this call actually has to do with a case I’m on. Hooray. Something worthwhile. Second call is a response of sorts to an email I sent out at 9am… yesterday. “Um, I really didn’t understand what you were saying in your memo, so would you mind coming to my office and explaining it to me with diagrams drawn out in crayon? Preferably in creme brulee and summer harvest. I like those colors.” The last call came surprisingly from Mr. Clean, whom I really had come to believe had been discontinued by the firm and dismantled for system parts in preparation for the pending network OS upgrade from Windows 95 to Windows XP next year. I supposedly was wrong.

“Hello, Paralegal, how are you?”

“I’m doing pretty good [I actually prefer to use poor grammar with Mr. Clean.] Yerself?”

“I am… well. I have a task that requires your immediate assistance.”

“Well, unfortunately right now, I’m –“

“I know that you have experience with PDFs and the building of them from Word documents [It only takes a press of a button…] I would like to ask you to create one of these Adobe-based files out of my social security information and send it to [some strange foreign person whom I am certain does not work for a law firm.]”

“I’d be happy to do this, Mr. Clean. [Dammit! Why didn’t I just say no?? Dammit dammit dammit dammit!!!]”

“Wonderful. I would enjoyably prefer you CC me on the email you forward to [Mr. Weird African Guy Whose Name I Cannot Pronounce.]”

Well, I really would be happy to do this for you, Mr. Clean, because you are only proving to me more that you are a robot. While Artificial Intelligence is capable of logic, it must be first learned. Obviously, Mr. Clean hasn’t been hoodwinked by our fine Nigerian business partners yet.

Then again, can you really steal the identity of an unliving and unloving thing? This theory will obviously be put to the test.

Despite the “when it rains, it pours” axiom I have gotten so used to by the sheer amount of work that drops on my desk suddenly each work day, I’ve come to realize something so much more important to the well-being of myself as well as the course of my future. You see, in a little over a month I will be taking the LSAT. Yes, I know what everyone is thinking… Oh, Jesus, we’re about to lose another one to the Dark Side. But, I really have no interest (at least, as of the posting of this blog) to become a lawyer. Lawyers, as I have mentioned in past posts are by and large the most unhappy and miserable people on the face of this planet. Why would I subject my cynicism to any more darkness?

The truth of the matter is that I want to take the LSAT just for self-satisfaction. Something to do, almost, to see how well I can score. Pear Bottom always boasts about his incredible score and continues to this day to tell me that I would never get into the top 5 schools if I had a score lower than his. And that included Georgetown. And if that’s the case, as Pear Bottom rests his pudgy hands on his widened belly, he gloats that I would never find a job as an attorney at my current law firm. Ho Ho Ho!

Where Pear Bottom is mistaken is that Georgetown is not in the top 5, but is currently ranked 14th. Well, you can’t always win, can you? So, yeah, I’m not even wanting to go to law school. And with attorneys like Pear Bottom giving me that kind of reinforcement, it makes becoming an attorney about as attractive as camel toe. Yet, I’d love to go into his office to tell him I got just one point above his.

Back to the point, the revelation I incurred this past day, which should be oh so fucking obvious to everyone in my position, is that lawyers really don’t do any work. They take the support staff’s work (i.e. paralegal’s) and then they are allowed to step onto the floor of the court and speak with the judge. Now, let me see if I get this right. You go to law school for 2 years, pay out the wazoo, probably go into debt for 20 years, so you get the ability to talk to a judge. Otherwise, you really don’t have to know crap, because you got your army of paralegals to help you convert a Word document into a fucking PDF that only takes a click of a button? It lies along the same principle as the fact that 10-15 years ago we could remember about 100 phone numbers, yet today, because of cell phones and their digital address books, most of us only recall one or two. Shit, I couldn’t even tell you GF’s phone number. That’s an emergency waiting to happen…

All in all, my theory is that you pay your way through law school to inevitably set your brain to atrophy mode. And that’s what it will do. I see all these K Street lawyers in their offices reading, watching YouTube, talking to people on the phone, but I see all of us paralegals racing through the hallways like the Incredible Flash, working so hard at the computer and at the printer, if you start conversation, their head will implode. You ask a lawyer a pretty common sense question and you get hesitation. That’s because his brain has been on idle for so long since he gets all his paralegals do EVERYTHING for him, he actually has to take the time to think if he watched the news last night. Why in God’s name would I ever subject myself to that kind of existence? I already have trouble remembering names. I’d have to start post-it noting everyday objects to remind me what they’re called.

Important Objects to Remember

This Bracket’s Asphyxiating Me

Categories: Day at the Firm
Comments: 3 Comments
Published on: April 15, 2011

There literally is no better feeling than getting to work to see the envelope containing your paycheck invoice on your seat. It’s that feeling of, “Yes! That means I won’t be evicted for the next two weeks!“, “Yes! I can finally pay off a 10% of my anger management sessions!“, “Yes! I can eat something other than Beanie-Weenies and Alpo!” I’m sure the partner across the hall from me (who doesn’t even need an envelope with the tallied amount for the last payment period) has just gotten an email from his financial adviser telling him that because he set aside an automatic transfer of 28% of all new firm shares to be put into venture capital, he now has enough to buy a small Caribbean island. Well, good for him.

But, I’m not him and that is the last thing on my mind. Right now, I have money. I have something that I didn’t have 24, 12, even 2 hours ago. It has magically appeared in my bank account and now I can do whatever I want with it. Mwahahahaha– Oh, wait… Well, shit… Paralegal Hell!! Why did you have to remind me of my eternal responsibilities? Well, thanks SO much. I guess I’ll wait off on buying that one belt for work and keep wearing the same belt I’ve had since I was 14. (Yeah, if only my waist-size was still anywhere near that size. I think it’s doubled since then.)

Still, you all know that feeling of excitement that comes over you when you know you’ve worked well into OT and you’re waiting for that check that will make you feel like Scrooge McDuck diving through a pool of gold coins?

 

Well, at least that’s how I feel. And being at a law firm where you sometimes have to fight tooth and nail to find billable hours to justify your overtime, the big overtime checks can sometimes be a rarity. Well, this was literally the first check I’d received this year for work over 90 hours in two weeks. (Sad, I know, right?) Cumulatively, I had put in 119-and-one-quarter. Bam. I knew I was going to be rich! Richy richy rich ri— What the fuck? What the…. why am I only getting paid like $100 more than what I usually get paid? Where did all that time I put in on the weekends go? Where did all my money go? Where did my fucking gold coin pit go??? 

I seriously have a problem with taxes. And the government. At least right now. Evidently, it doesn’t matter HOW much I work. I am still going to end up with roughly the exact same amount because of what the government decides to take out. I couldn’t give a shit if I see my money at the end of the year. I want it now. I want it now so I can do with it what I please. Government, today is your special SUCK IT day from me and I’m sure a lot of other people out there. You are a sadist for not only taking out more than enough, but also for making your Tax Day happen on Pay Day. You made my frown go from upside down back to down. Bitches.

 

What the Puck?!

Categories: Uncategorized
Tags: , ,
Comments: 3 Comments
Published on: March 30, 2011

Last night, GF and I were in a random discussion with things having to do with days gone by when suddenly it popped in our heads we ought to watch some of the early reruns of one of today’s yesterday’s most wildly popular shows. The Real World. Today, if you can still believe it’s on today (I think it’s in its 25th season?), is really just a showcase of how much of a 24/7 frat party six or seven post college-age kids can throw. However, back in the day, I remember it actually stood for something with our young Generation X social crowd.

So, we started searching for it. Amazingly, we couldn’t find it on any of the numerous Internet TV sites. They didn’t even have it on Netflix. Amazon and eBay, of all places, weren’t even selling the early seasons. Finally, after about an hour of scouring the web, we were smart enough to actually look on MTV’s website. There we found The Real World: San Francisco in all it’s glory; every episode contained the original and unmuddied meaning of:

This is the true story of eight strangers picked to live in a house, work together, and have their lives taped to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.

(However, now MTV’s streaming site is being gimpy, so we have to find yet another site…)

For those that don’t remember the second season (all the way back in ’93), that was a landmark year for the show. I think that in the first season, no one, even the producers, really knew what they were doing. However, this was the moment in the series when we got to see real life drama come together in real life fashion. I think a lot of us (or maybe I’m being a little too presumptuous here) were a little too young or a little too naive to get what really was unfolding before our eyes. Understand, this was the first reality show. We would not have Big Brother, Survivor, The Bachelor, Jersey Shore, The Biggest Loser, The Real Housewives of the Jersey Turnpike, even those shows about the experts helping failing cupcake factories that my GF seems to like so much. Think about it.

Coming back to the show, if you had watched the show at all back then, you’ll immediately recognize and remember all the characters. But even though they are living in a different time, when people acted differently and lived by different social norms, you feel you understand their inter-personal struggles and even inner struggles so much more. Perhaps we all witnessed the evolution of these story lines, because they have since been so prominent in our society. In 1993, the story of the homosexual guy (Pedro) living with AIDS at such a young age moved some but, at that moment in time, really shocked others. However, homosexuality is so ubiquitous and accepted nowadays we don’t even think about it like we did back then. Most of us, straight men included, will have gay friends. My sister even had a gay friend in her wedding party. (He didn’t have to wear a dress, though.) While I watched a few Real Worlds last night though and although back in the day Pedro’s character was in a way like opening a new door to understanding ignorance and prejudice so prevalent in society, he really just annoyed the fuck out of me this time around. He was so arrogant and acted like he was the only one allowed to say ‘gay’. Now, I mean absolutely no disrespect to the deceased (he succumbed to his disease in 1994,) but he really was a whiny little bitch.

Back then, a lot of us thought Puck was a complete bad ass, while everyone else thought he was just an asshole. Within that same timeframe (and remember, this is 1993), no one had really considered the idea of ADD. While still a complete freak of nature, he should also be thought of as the poster child for what a kid without “proper medication” will grow up like. Or at least, that’s what our teachers would tell our parents, right? The fights that he would get in with his roommates were off the wall and made him look bat-shit insane, when nowadays, we would just say, “Awww… he’s just really in need of attention!” While he did get the boot for getting in too many fights with Pedro, he did have some classic lines, like: “Bike messenger is revered as a pretty big thing here in San Francisco.” Umm, okay, please tell me which town worships its paralegals.

However, more important about the show is how it illustrates how far the real world can change in, wow, almost twenty years. Now, for one, this was when MTV played music. It was when The Real World came on right before Headbanger’s Ball. MTV also had really good shows. I think this was around the time that Liquid Telivision also aired, which introduced us to Celebrity Deathmatch, Aeon Flux, even Beavis & Butthead! This is a show before the Internet… You actually see people sitting around socializing. They even all eat together each night! There are also so many throw-backs in the show. Remember the Nerf Vortex? They even talk on those crappy “video-phones,” which would have like a 5 frame per second bit-rate. I really think, though, that one of most pertinent of the show’s ‘anachronisms’ would be the black singer/poet, Mohammed. I don’t mean the person, but the fact that nobody on the show at all reacts in any way different to the fact that he is Muslim.

Before continuing, I should point out that we watched about six episodes and he has not yet expressed he is Muslim, but I am willing to say he is. Mohammed is strictly a Muslim name. No one of the Christian, Judaic, Hindu, or Shinto faith would think to name their child Mohammed.

The obvious answer to the avoidance of this issue is that this takes place before 9/11. However, and I do not want to get too political here, but this did cross my mind, but you never really see Mohammed giving faith to Allah through the Five Pillars of Islamic Faith. The one, I believe, we would most easily see on the show would be Mohammed doing his five daily prayers. However, the cameras never roll. Who knows. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t. Maybe the 1990’s producers thought, “Yikes, no one knows what that is! We don’t have enough time to explain that to the audience!” Fast forward a decade and just about everyone in “Christian” America knows exactly how to point out someone who follows the tenets of Islam. My point is that back then, they were so widely accepted and nobody had an ounce of fear about them. Today, it’s a totally different story.

Okay, let’s all shake off that heavy feeling we just got. We’re here to have fun and relive the good ol’ days. It’s really cool to watch this, too, if not for the human interactions, for the fact that this takes place back when nobody knew what reality TV was, so when the cast got hired to join in, they weren’t trying to act. They were genuinely being themselves. I don’t believe even the producers knew exactly the impact they would have by having the cameras follow these kids around to all the businesses around San Francisco.

Most notable was that the stars weren’t portraying some retarded persona like Audrina or Snookie or someone else completely scripted that the producer told the “reality show” actress to portray because the marketing exec told the producer that’s what kids these days are attracted to because the market researcher told the marketing exec that teenage drinking and partying is on the rise because the legal counsel told the market researcher he won a case to employ laxer restrictions on underage drinking because the paralegal showed the legal counsel a loophole in the system while three-hole punching documents. See? It always comes back to us.

And if you followed that to the end, you win. Here’s your prize.

page 1 of 1

Put It In Your Inbox!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Email Space Monkey
Wanna bitch like me? To me?

I don't mind!

Send It Here

Latest Comments
Ye Ole Archive

Welcome , today is Saturday, August 19, 2017