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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.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Trials of Trial Prep

Trial prep is stressful.

Even since before I started my new job, my office has been home to a very large case file. Because of its location, I was tasked with the organization and maintenance of the file. I became close with the file. When a paralegal or attorney would rush in looking for a pleading or deposition, I would point them to it.

I knew the relationship was too good to be true. Now this case has come up for trial, a day that seemed so far off until a few weeks ago. The case has become a monster that threatens to drown me in paper every day. It demands every second of my time at work, forgetting that I have other relationships with other cases that must be maintained as well. When I attempt to work on a pressing matter in any other case, this case acts hurt for a moment, then narrows its eyes and promises revenge. Last week I began to feel like the victim of an abusive relationship.

When I worked for the Boss, trial prep consisted of reminding him of the upcoming trial. Many of our cases fit into one redwell. Those were the larger ones.

That was before I was introduced to med mal cases, many of which last for several years before either settling or making it to trial and sucking the joy out of the lives of a few legal staff members in the process.

I jest, but it has been a stressful couple of weeks. I am a fast worker, but this level of trial prep makes me feel slow. I try to maintain an organized office, but these days I am just happy to find a trail to my door. I have been challenged with emergency binders and seemingly missing deposition exhibits. I tried and tried last week, but even during a day with absolutely no breaks, I felt as though I could barely keep up and breath at the same time.

All that being said, it's kind of fun. The demands of litigation are both vexing and enticing at the same time. I hate missing lunch, or being so worked up that I don't even get hungry, but I enjoy working so hard to meet deadlines and help the team. I enjoy the feeling of doing a job that matters.

I guess this is my introduction to the real, nitty grittiness of litigation. For a newbie, I hope I am doing well. Of course, we are all so busy that I'm not sure anyone has time to tell me if I've made mistakes or not.

So until everything slows down a little bit, I rely on the advice of a very kind associate at my firm. She noticed how stressed I was the other day and how my eyes looked kind of glazed over with computer screen glare and reminded me of one unfailing truth: "The most you can do is your best, Mel. That's all any of us can do."

And she is correct. In careers, in relationships, in life in general, the most we can do is our best. So I survived the week and lived to endure the inevitable time crunches that the next week will bring. Here's hoping that I patch things up with the file on Monday so that it will be more inclined to work with me, rather than against me.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, how I can relate. I am in the middle of trial prep myself and no matter how many years you do it, med mal trial prep is a beast. I say I dread trial prep, which I do to a degree, but I also enjoy the challenge and fast pace. Hang in there, you'll have that file eating out of the palm of your hand in no time!