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Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Small town paralegal in the city. Once ran a law office, now being run by one. Med mal defense litigation. I think it's growing on me.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Good People to Know: Probate Office Personnel

I realized today that there are certain people I rely upon in my local legal community who do not work in my office. They are people who give me guidance and tips, who help me fix my mistakes, and who keep me on my toes. In nearly two years, the one lesson I continue learning above all others is that I still have much to learn. Whether you are an experienced legal professional in a new town, a brand new lawyer, a fresh-out-of-school paralegal, or an attorney stepping into solo practice for the first time, you will need these people. Tonight, I start a series on these Good People to Know, beginning with the Probate Office Personnel.

I have the choice of three probate offices to visit when I need to record a document. No matter which one I choose, the person at the recording desk is always helpful. I most often visit the nearest office, located merely two miles from my place of business. The lady there, we'll call her "G.," has patiently walked me through all kinds of dilemmas.

You may be asking yourself what kinds of dilemmas someone can find at the recording office. Well, as a brand new paralegal to a solo practice lawyer over the past two years, many situations have arisen right before my eyes. G. has been there every step of the way with me. From the time I forgot to include the "This document prepared by" stamp on a materialman's lien to the time I failed to provide a sale price or fair market value when recording a warranty deed, she has guided me through the steps to fix each and every small but significant problem that has arisen. Once, she even saved our client some money by suggesting I staple documents in a certain order.

Even before I arrived, you better believe she was doing the same thing for the Boss. As a fairly new attorney starting his own practice, he needed direction. Apparently law school does not teach local rules, like where to place the "This document prepared by" or the fact that the county will only charge half of the deed tax if a grantor is also one of the grantees on a deed. Legal professionals rely on the experience and knowledge of G. and others like her for this necessary information.

I have learned so much from G., but every time I think I know it all, she has something else to teach me. With her patient help, I have become a better paralegal and a more knowledgeable employee.

So, if you have not already tapped into the fountain of knowledge at your local probate office, get to it! I would still be wandering, lost in a forest of local rules with no way to sort through them, without the help of G. and the many other court personnel I have come to know over the past two years. The wisdom these people possess is necessary to the effective practice of even the best law firms, especially in a small town like mine.

1 comment:

  1. You're spot-on again. There's a world of difference between someone knowledgeable in the court's Clerk's office, and someone who is not. I learned that when I had to figure out how to domesticate a VA judgment in MD.
    On the other hand, it can be extremely difficult to work with unhelpful court staff. Like those triple-seal copies we requested around two months ago, and which are, according to the Clerk's office, "in the mail right now".