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 :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Condecending Attitude Expressed In Print

I typically try to avoid linking to other blogs or legal-oriented websites.  It's a personal thing.  I have no objection when others do.  It's just not the direction I choose to take, since so many others do it so well already. 

Sometimes, however, something pisses me off so thoroughly that it's worthy of being pointed out.  This is one of those times

Above the Law runs a weekly write-in advice column.  Read this week's edition about a Paralegal's request for advice, then come back for my take after the jump.  Plus an update!

If you read the comments, you'll see my initial gut reaction about two-thirds of the way down.  I sat overnight on posting a reaction here in order to calm down and approach this in a more rational frame of mind. 

I have respect for what ATL does.  They serve a much-needed function by delivering important news that tends to slip through the cracks of most industry publications.  My chief concern is their pervasive "lawyers rule, staff drools" bias.  This week's Pls Hndle Thx column really shows the depth of that bias, and in a very ugly way shows the attitude many attorneys have towards "the staff". 

ATL is written entirely by attorneys.  OK.  It's a website devoted to news about the legal industry.  I get that.  But they chose to give job advice regarding a position that they have zero experience with.  In an incredibly insulting manner. 

It shows the stigma that our profession still struggles with in our own industry, much less among the general public (most of whom seem to think we're glorified secretaries).  ATL is widely-read within our industry, and their opinion (for better or worse) carries some weight. 

This is not to say all attorneys think this way.  Many of the comments were from attorneys defending our profession and criticizing the article in much the same way I am.  Many attorneys realize how critical we are to the process.  I just wish more of them did, especially the ones people read every day.

UPDATE:  I've been contacted by Above the Law, and had a very nice e-mail chat with them about the state of Paralegal education.  I've given them permission to quote me for a follow-up piece.

UPDATE 2:  ATL mentioned me in Non-Sequiters on 6/9/2011.  I've also posted a follow up article on paralegal education.


Lynne DeVenny said...

GH, have I mentioned that I love you lately? :D

Paralegal Hell said...

Well done GH!
Hopefully you get more kudos from your peers on this.
I was totally ignored by our fellow peers on the article on Paralegal Burnout. No good job, no "standing ovations", no links.
Hopefully you get better treatment. Awesome job! You did an great thing by standing up for our profession!!
Paralegal Hell

Anonymous said...

ARGH...blogger ate the first comment I tried to post. Anyway, Grumpy, you're awesome. Thanks for standing up for us paralegals!

I get pissed when people start acting like an Associates is worthless. Yes, most firms prefer a Bachelor's now, but I went to an ABA approved program at a junior college, which also happened to be mostly taught by local judges and also some local reputable attorneys. I learned estate/probate law from the chief of the probate division in our county. My legal writing & research teacher was a judge who taught class at the courthouse law library after hours. I don't read ATL a whole lot, but that "advice" was just completely out of touch & seemed to be assholish for the sake of being assholish.

That being said, I am considering taking classes to complete my Bachelor's, just so I have it. You know, in case I decide to "drift" & do something else.

Anonymous said...

I hate to do this, but the word is spelled "condescending."

base.mg01 said...

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