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A Day in the Life of a Paralegal

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Being a paralegal isn’t all about interesting legal research and pushing trolleys of files to and from court. Like any role, it’s a job that has its highs and lows… and sometimes also disastrous coffee-related incidents.

You arrive at the office just before 9am and go through the firm’s morning rituals. You get the mail and sort it so that it goes to the right solicitor, do a little bit of admin, some filing or timesheets. Then the solicitor calls you in and asks you to put together a brief to a barrister for one of the more important matters the firm is handling. Excellent, an opportunity to display your well-honed practical legal skills!

You’ve got all the documents indexed correctly and you’ve checked through the observations and there are no spelling or grammatical errors. You’re feeling pretty good about your work and decide to go and grab a coffee as a reward. You ask around and your boss wants one (and also an update on the brief). You explain that the brief done and you’ve just put it together. “Excellent! I can look at it over my coffee when you get back,” your boss says. You’re half way through the day and it’s all gone so well. But things can change quickly…

You return to the office, picking up the brief as you walk past your desk and go to hand both the coffee and brief to your boss when the lid comes off the cup and coffee spills all over the brief, the desk and your boss! You stand there, like a deer in headlights, your legal career flashing before your eyes.

You try and salvage the situation by removing all the documents and drying them out and cleaning your boss’ desk while they are trying to get the coffee stains out of their shirt. Petrified and vowing to never drink another coffee again you return to your desk and start typing out some dictation. You start to wonder what other careers you might’ve pursued and realise that being a waiter is now definitely out.

Your boss comes back in and reminds you that you have a settlement conference to attend with him and that you need to grab the file and head of to another office around the block. Wonderful! A high-stress environment coupled with a coffee-scalded boss. What better way to spend the afternoon?

The settlement conference is going well. In fact, you’re starting to feel like you made progress towards renewing your reputation. You’ve handed the correct documents to your boss at the right time and you seem to be gaining the upper hand. Your knowledge of the file is exemplary, as you’ve worked on it for months.

The first offer for settlement comes across and it’s a lot more than you were anticipating. After an hour or so of negotiations it’s increased substantially and the matter is settled. It feels great to get an outstanding result for a client that really needs it. You leave the conference feeling on top of the world, having been reminded about why you are spending so much time studying.

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