This is a humorous and sarcastic blog written by a paralegal in a mid-sized law firm in a mid-tier market. The goal is to share some of the pitfalls and foibles encountered in my own day-to-day experiences. Feel free to contact me at aparalegalslife@gmail.com with comments. Complaints, not so much :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

All's fair in law and cost-cutting

A recent missive came down from On High to cut our costs.  Again.  After looking around the bleak and barren landscape that was once a well-supplied law firm, an unfortunate decision was made...

We are no longer to use 3-ring binders for any internal purpose.  We are only permitted to use them for external, billable reasons.  Apparently they are (a) expensive, (b) overused and (c) the only remaining thing that hasn't been cut.  For any internal reason that multiple documents must be bound together, i.e. prepping an attorney for hearing/trial, we are now restricted to crappy 2-hole top-punch slightly-better-than-cardboard report cover things. 

This new policy creates numerous problems: 

Attorneys want binders.  Not report covers.  They need binders.  Hard-to-destroy durable containers for transporting documents on planes, trains, to courtrooms, etc.  Being prestige-driven beasts, the attorneys do not want to show up to a scheduling conference or mediation with something crappier than everyone else in the room has.  Unfortunately, most of these needs do not fit the client's definition of billable.  This puts paralegals in an awkward position, we have to do what the attorneys want (binders) but also have to adhere to firm policy (no binders), which is made by Partners, who are ultimately the very same attorneys.

The things we're now supposed to use are complete crap.  They do not stay together.  They do not protect the documents inside.  They just plain look cheap and unprofessional. 

Now we have to buy everyone two-hole punches, which few of us had before.  This probably offsets much of the savings from switching to a new format.  I know, two-hole punching is a pretty standard legal thing, but for whatever reason our firm doesn't really use that format very much.  The last time I needed one involved a half-hour wandering around the office to find it.

Lastly, on a personal note, it's taken many, many years to get my hands on Bertha, my most-prized piece of office equipment.  Bertha is a heavy-duty three-hole punch, the kind with the big sideways lever on top.  She mows through a couple dozen pages like my cat through his kibble.  Bertha is my secret weapon to getting projects done fast.  Bertha is also a dedicated three-hole punch and cannot be switched to two-hole use.  Bertha is now mostly useless due to the new policy, which makes me quite sad.  If Bertha had feelings, she would be too.

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