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, December 8, 2011

The Paralegal Survival Kit

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.


Anonymous said...

Love it! Every paralegal has to have this. Everyone laughs because I have a locked, "off-limits to anyone but me" file cabinet where I am known to stash supplies, BUT it has definitely come in handy.

jenna! said...

As a paralegal I've found the following two items useful beyond measure. Like your home copier/scanner/fax, I don't need them often, but when I need them, it saves me hugely:

1. Extra pair of comfortable shoes. This is more for the ladies as you never know when you are going to be required to RUN to FedEx or down 30 flights of stairs because of a fire drill. Last month the strap on my shoe broke 7 minutes before the East Coast Fed Ex deadline. I was grateful for the pair.

2. Sewing kit (with safety pins) - I don't use it much but I have aquired more good will in the various offices I've worked in with this $3 item than with any sincere thank you or basket of cookies. People don't remember Halloween candy but they always remember the time you saved them from that rip they had in their pants or that button that popped of their shirt.

Corporate Paralegal said...

Tide-To-Go pens. Much like the sewing kit, they go a long way towards good will.

Superlegal fun said...

Nylons of all colors! Couldn't live without the stash. Also, cans of static spray.

Dana Goggans, ACP said...

All of the things listed are so necessary. I especially love the comment about the extra pair of comfortable shoes... I have been know to strip down to my socks after 5:00. Wearing heels and making numerous trips around the office (especially when you have several attorneys on different floors working on same matter) can be hazardous to your feet... ha!

JJ said...

Don't forget to keep a black pen on you at all times. Without fail I am trying to get someone to sign an important document (before the court closes or last FedEx deadline)as I stand in the parking lot and there are no pens anywhere to be found.

Coffee grounds or instant bottle of coffee. I need caffeine and I cannot tell how many times the office is out of coffee when I'm working LATE at the office.