No matter what firm I work in, or type of law it involves, emergencies always arise. Years of experience has taught me that there is no solution like being prepared for anything...
Following are a few items that every paralegal should have in their very own Emergency Survival Kit:
1. Food. There will inevitably be sudden late nights trapped at your computer for longer than your blood sugar can manage. My kit includes a jar of peanuts (perfect for keeping blood sugar stable), beef jerky (high protein, provides a nice boost without the high caffeine/sugar content of energy drinks), a couple cans of soup and several bottles of water.
2. Paper. ALWAYS keep a secret stash of copier paper that noone else knows about. I keep 2 reams under a filing cabinet (yes under, as in you have to pick the cabinet up to find them). There's nothing worse than running out of paper in this job when you really, really need it.
3. Pain Reliever. There's always a bottle of ibuprofen somewhere in my desk. Always.
4. Tabs. Having a spare set of number and letter tabs squirreled away is incredibly useful. Especially if someone else in your office is responsible for maintaining and ordering supplies.
5. Home. This is important for those of us who live some distance from work. Always keep a set of everything you need to do your job at your own home. The best investment I ever made was a combination printer/scanner/copier/fax. I only use it a handful of times per year, but each time saves me an hour round-trip to my office on a weekend or holiday. Also, always be prepared to go straight to court from your house if necessary, and keep a stash of legal pads, pens, pencils and such at home just in case.
Feel free to share additional tips in the comments. A little preparation can be all the difference between being a zero or a hero to your firm.