Top 5 Things Paralegals Want to Tell Their Lawyers

Well, we’re finally kicking off the Top 5 series. We’re starting with a doozy, things paralegals would tell their lawyers if they could. Most of the responses were anonymous, because the paralegals didn’t want their current or future employers to google them and find something that would hurt their future employment options.

Thanks to Shirley Hughes for posting this request on ATLA’s paralegal listserv (I didn’t even know they had one) and gathering these responses.

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Tips from Paralegal Shirley Hughes

Dear Attorney:

You could make my job easier and I could be a more effective employee by considering the following:

  1. Not everything is an emergency. Please prioritize my work.
  2. Return phone calls the same day.
  3. Do not micro-manage me, you hired me for my brain and ability to do the job.
  4. Do not ask me to lie to the client or anyone else, if you don't want to take a call. (I have a solid rule: Lie to me, because I won't lie to your wife when she calls.)

Sincerely,

Your overworked Paralegal

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Tips from Anonymous Paralegal #1

[Based on the sensitive nature of this topic, most paralegals decided to answer this question anonymously. I didn’t have a problem with that, because I’d rather have honest answers than names with guarded answers].

Dear Attorney:

You could make my job easier and I could be a more effective employee by considering the following:

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Tips from Anonymous Paralegal #2

I haven't worked as a paralegal for some time now.  However, here are my thoughts:


  1. Give a more realistic deadline for projects.  Not everything should have to get out the same day.  It takes more work to do something, than the time it takes to tell someone to do it.

  2. The other thing I have found is, many folks do not make themselves available for questions or directions and it has even been hard to get some folks just to sign the documents we draft.

  3. Attorneys should be prepared to cooperate with paralegals and be willing to do some work themselves.

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Tips from Other Anonymous Paralegals

Anonymous Paralegal #3 – My (confidential) input as a litigation paralegal in a very large firm. Our cases can be quite large, but a typical case will have one paralegal, one paralegal clerk, 1-2 associates and 1-2 partners.


  1. Keep me (and everyone on the team) informed. If you limit your communications with me and other staff to assigning specific tasks, we cannot view the big picture and anticipate your needs.

  2. I know you're the boss, but treat me as a respected member of your team, not like "the help." If you display an elitist attitude, you may cause me to become less invested in my work.

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